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Written by Mama Monday

Blog posts written by mamas on cloth diapering, green living, natural parenting.

A few weeks ago I shared with you all how we were moving our youngest daughter into our oldest son’s room. We’re preparing for baby #3, who is due really any day now, so our two oldest have to share a room. We wanted to get everything started so that when the baby comes our daughter will be comfortable and used to being out of the crib. She’s quite the territorial almost-three-year-old little girl and my hope is that she’ll soon start to see her new shared room as hers. One can really only hope when dealing with a toddler, right? Yes, I thought so too so we’ll have to wait and see.

I’m happy to report that actually moving her into the room was an easy process! About a week before the big move I started moving her clothes into her new room. Once the clothes were all moved we started using the room to change in. She was resistant at first; it just didn’t make sense to her why she was getting dressed in her brother’s room. Slowly but surely she got used to it though and that was step one completed.

Part 2 Moving One Kid into a Room

Next we really started talking it up with her. We had slated Wednesday, April 16th, as the big move in day. The morning before the 16th my husband started talking with Kendall, our daughter, about how that day was the last day she was going to sleep in her crib and wasn’t that so exciting that she’s going to be a big sister. He must’ve done a great job because that afternoon she announced to me that she was going to sleep in her, “I a big sister now bed.”

We weren’t home on the 15th because my husband is an accountant and every year his firm hosts a end of tax season dinner. She slept in her crib that night because we weren’t certain how she would handle us being gone and the big change into a new bed and new room.

The next day was move in day. She took her nap in her big sister bed with flying colors. Since she’s the only napping child in the house going down for a nap was the easy transition. It was just me and her doing the nap routine and then she was alone to rest. The nighttime transition is what I was worried about the most. Both of my kids are excellent sleepers (a lot of work went into it though, it didn’t come naturally to my son at all) but they’ve always had their own bedrooms. The few times the kids shared a room it took a good part of an hour to get them to settle down enough to sleep. This consisted of my husband (he’s the patient one in our marriage) sitting in the room with them shushing them as needed. Needless to say we were prepared for a few long nights…

We couldn’t have been more wrong. So far, they’ve needed a few reminders that it’s time for sleep and not for play. The mornings have definitely been early since Brennan, our oldest, is an early riser and Kendall, adores her big brother so she’s willing to do whatever is asked of her. Other than the mornings the transition has been relatively painless and I’m really shocked.

As far as tips go, here are a few that I’d suggest:

1. Keep age in mind – the older your child is the better able he/she will be to understand what is happening and why.

2. Make it fun! Let them be a part of the process from decorating the room to moving stuff into it.

3. Look at life as a whole – What big changes are in the near future? A new baby? A major change in schedule like daycare or school? Any big change that’s happening in conjunction with the move will have an impact on your child.

4. Make a Plan B. If you are able to have a backup plan I would highly recommend it. Now, some living situations just won’t allow for that but if at possible always look for another way to approach a big change just in case the whole thing back fires. If this entire thing hadn’t worked out for us we would’ve been fine and would have just waited to move Kendall into Brennan’s room after the baby was born.

Using Mother Nature to Dye Eggs the Thirsties Blog

Unnatural food coloring is a hot topic out there and while there isn’t any firm evidence from the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration) you can’t deny that biting into a bright pink deviled egg is less than appetizing. In the past the FDA has banned the use of Orange Number 1 and Red Number 2 finding the first to be toxic and the second to be a carcinogen. There have also been studies out there linking some food dyes to the increased number of children with ADHD. All I’m pointing out is that you might as well stay on the safe side and use the dyes out there that Mother Nature gave us.

How do you dye eggs naturally? From the research that I’ve done I’ve found that there are two ways to dye eggs naturally: Hot Dye Method and Cold Dye Method. The Hot Method for dyeing uses the natural dye as part of the boiling part in hard boiling the egg. Basically you place the item you’re going to use to dye the egg, like a beet, and boil the vegetable for about 15 minutes. Then, use a hand held strainer to get the plant particles out of the dyed water, add the eggs and enough water to cover the eggs. After that add a little vinegar (most things I’ve read have said 1/8 cup) into the beet-dyed water and begin boiling again. This time you’re dyeing your eggs and hard boiling them at the same time.

The Cold Dye Method is basically your standard way of dyeing eggs: hard boil the eggs first, make your dye (the same way you do with Hot Dyeing Method) and then add the egg to the already cool dye. The longer you soak the egg the more vibrant the color will be. Obviously, if you are going to let the egg soak for more than an hour you should place it in the refrigerator.

Dyeing Eggs Naturally Thirsties Blog

Here are some recipes for dyeing eggs naturally:

Dirty Gourmet’s Natural Dyed Easter Eggs

Itsy Bitsy Foodie’s Natural Easter Egg Dyes

Food Network’s Natural Dyes for Easter Eggs Recipe

Observing Earth Day on Thirsties Blog

This month marks the 44th anniversary of  Earth Day. Created in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, many consider the 1970 Earth Day observation as the beginning of environmental awareness both nationally and globally. No matter, your political preference or personal beliefs you cannot deny the impact we have on the environment which we live in. It’s an important lesson to pass on to our children to ensure we’re treating this world we live in with respect and care; after all, aren’t we supposed to be its caretakers?

I vividly remember as a child learning about how bad it was to litter on the highway. In fact when I reach back into the depths of my memories I can see litter skewed all over highway ditches. There’s a different scene now that’s for sure. I also remember spending an entire unit in elementary school learning about the three R’s – you know, reduce, reuse and recycle. Being a proper caretaker for the world we live in is something that we need to teach our children; the environment affects our health and wellbeing. What better time to really focus on that than this month leading up to April 22nd?

Here are some easy ways to teach your child about Earth Day and taking care of the world we live in:

freebie earth day poster from Nothing But Country

One of my favorite ways to add a little change into our home decor is by finding seasonable printables on Pinterest, printing them out and then putting them in a frame that sits on one of the buffets in my living room. I love this free printable from Nothing But Country.

DIY Palette Herb garden from Second Chance to Dream

I still have snow on the ground here in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get my seeds started inside. I love fresh herbs, especially cilantro and basil. Not only do I love the adorable look to this palette herb garden from Second Chance to Dream but if you’re new to gardening and a little timid in trying it out, herbs are a very easy way to get started. Plus, fresh basil is SO darn expensive in the grocery store that I just can’t justify buying it when I want to make bruschetta. It’s better to have my own supply on demand at home.

Earth-Day-Activities-for-the-family

I love the ideas that Trish, from Mom on Time Out, has for Earth Day activities that you can do with your entire family. Whether they’re in preschool or in high school there’s something for everyone in this post.

9-recycled-mothers-day-crafts-

Get a head start on celebrating Mother’s Day and teach your child(ren) the principle of reusing by creating some of the ideas for recyclable gifts from No Time for Flash Cards.

Earth-Day-Globes

How cool are these paper mache light-up globes from Housing a Forest?! I’m definitely getting on top of making these with my five-and-a-half-year son. Sure this is a little more time consuming than some of the other crafts that you’ll find out there and I know that my almost three-year-old daughter would last about five minutes (and create a terrible mess) but I like the way they look and can envision having them around the house as a decoration.

Steel Can Flower Planter

I love this idea from Make Myself at Home for a steel can planter. You take magazines, an empty steel can, dirt and flower seeds to create a unique planter that your kiddo can claim as his/her own. If you don’t want to watch the seeds grow just use a grown flower from your local nursery. The materials are minimal, the concept is simple and it’s not going to take forever so it should hold the attention span of your toddler.

Whether you make something at home, take a nature walk, pick garbage up as the snow melts make sure you stress the importance of taking care of the earth to your child(ren) this Earth Day. It’s a great reminder for us grown-ups too!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, I’ll be 32 weeks pregnant. Technically only eight more weeks to go, however, it feels like an eternity. Yes, I’m a little uncomfortable now and doing the normal mommy tasks like changing Kendall’s diaper on the floor is daunting. Overall, it’s not been all that bad. I’ve mentioned before that I live in Minnesota and the winter (like much of the US) has been relentless. Yesterday we had our first taste of spring with a high of 60*F! Supposedly today we’re going to have another winter storm. Sure it’s rain/snow mixed, however, I think I may throw something breakable out the window if I see that white falling from the sky. I think that’s one reason why I’m just so ready to be done with this pregnancy. I’m ready for a change of scene and if I’m not going to get it from the weather than by golly I want to see my new baby!

30 weeks pregnant on Thirsties

The other reason why I’m so ready to be done with this pregnancy is because I have no clue what gender the baby is. If you remember we didn’t find out with this pregnancy and despite my wanting to know I honored my husband’s wishes to be surprised. We had found out the gender with our first two pregnancies and he’s always wanted to be surprised. It’s the least I could do for him (to fully understand this you’ll have to read my previous post). This past week alone I have had three friends have their babies. I want my baby!! Not knowing what the gender is has been killing my patience (and I’m not a patient person to begin with).

I love this baby growing inside of me but the surprise of the gender kind of makes me feel like the baby is ambiguous. I don’t want to think of it as one gender more than the other because if it’s wrong I don’t want to be thrown off. I also don’t really have a preference for any gender over the other. I know the baby’s movements, a basic schedule, and I can kind of picture my baby but it’s definitely not the same as my other pregnancies.

If I could do it all over again here’s what I would do:

  • Baby #1 would be a surprise because I could focus solely on the pregnancy and nothing else. Having other children to care for has really kept me busy and distracted so I rarely lay around soaking in all of those pregnancy moments you have as a first time mom.
  • Baby #2 and #3 would not be surprises for the mere fact that I do not have time to be still and focus on my baby. By knowing the gender of my second child before her birth I was able to think about her, dream about what she would look like while I was chasing my oldest around the house.

That’s my little update…I’ll do my best to be patient. I mean I don’t really have any control over when I’ll meet this child. In the meantime I’ll get to know his or hers quirks until I can see this child face to face.

Before I became a parent and even after I had my son, I never understood how anyone could want to sit alone in a restaurant or a coffee shop. Didn’t they feel completely awkward with the silence? Didn’t they miss the conversation with another? What on earth were they thinking about? Their food? The place setting or decor of the restaurant? It was beyond me to even understand those “weirdos” who enjoyed the company of themselves.

That is…until I had more than one child.

Mommys Me Time on Thirsties Blog

I get it now and I actually crave it. Depending on the kind of day I’ve had, the kids will go to bed and I will revel in the silence of the house. I will turn on my TV and watch anything that doesn’t have a talking animal, fairy or cartoon girl with buttons for eyes. Is it reality TV? Yes. Is it a nighttime TV drama that borderlines on a soap opera? Why yes, yes it is! It’s anything that’s mindless, doesn’t involve me thinking about responsibilities or the well-being of another human being.

Sitting alone at restaurants? I love it now! I can eat a meal at one time without any  interruptions. I don’t have to stop eating to get more water or spaghetti or any other thing that causes me to never finish a hot meal in one sitting. I can sit and eat; I hear my own thoughts when I’m alone. There’s no one to badger me about wanting to watch more TV or invite someone over for a playdate. I don’t have to referee who had what toy first or try to decipher the cries of my youngest, who has learned that she can fain getting her own way by shedding a few tears. There’s none of that; I can sit, in peace and the only voice I hear are my own thoughts.

It’s not that I don’t love being a stay-at-home mom; I do. It is by far the best job I have ever have and will ever have but that doesn’t mean that I’m supermom who can do it all without a break for herself. Clark Kent enjoyed his job at the Daily Planet when he wasn’t out saving the world as Superman. I look at my “me” time as my Daily Planet job; the time I get to spend where no one needs anything of me. I can get recharged; I can come back refreshed and ready to love and care for my children and husband.

So are you making sure that you’re getting some “me” time in daily? Even if it’s for 30 minutes a day, are you making sure that you’re stepping away from life to care for yourself? I really believe that as a mother it’s one of the most important things we can do: be alone, with our thoughts. Whether it’s hitting the pavement with a pair of running shoes or sitting at your local coffee house with nothing more than a book or your tablet, you need that time to yourself. Stay-at-home mom or working mom, there has to be a time set aside each day where the only person you are focusing on is yourself. You’ll be a better mother for it.