Monday, November 19, 2012

Crayon-Approved Mommy Gear Part Two

Missed Part One? Make sure to read it here.

Before I get into items 6-11 I wanted to take a minute to explain why I chose to make my own moby-style wrap instead of just buying one at the store.  As usual, it really boiled down to cost. Moby wraps retail starting at $40 and go up from there depending on their color and if they have a screen printed design. Being as cheap budget concious as I am, I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on what is simply a giant rectangle of knit fabric. (Not lying...that's all it is.) I especially couldn't do it when I wasn't sure if I would like using it or not. (I did mention some pretty big down-sides in part one.) There are several tutorials online for making your own moby and I chose the one I linked based on that extra piece of structured cotton fabric. Instead of buying 6 yards of knit, cutting it down the middle and then only using half of it, I could buy 3 yards, cut it in half and sew the ends together. Half the fabric, half the cost. (The 6 yards of knit would still have brought me up to around $35.)  You can't do this unless you add on the structured fabric, because this center seam is directly where the baby sits when wrapped.  The moby has the potential to split at this seam, but the extra panel of non-stretchy fabric prevents this from happening. Using this logic and a 40% off coupon at JoAnn the total cost for my fake moby was around $15. Bonus: It's super cute and there isn't another wrap like it in the whole world.  : )

6. Travel System. We decided on the Chicco Cortina Keyfit 30 after playing around with all the options at Babies R Us. This is another one of those items that is on the pricier side, but well worth the cost.  I like it because the infant seat snaps into the car base and the stroller (which is what a travel system is designed for) so I can buckle baby in and go from house, to car, to stroller, to store and back again without having to take her in and out constantly.  This is especially nice when she has fallen asleep, because I can move her where I need without waking her up. Since we have 2 vehicles, we got a second car seat base and she can be snapped in to either without us having to deal with buckles, latch systems, and reinstalling the seat every time we want to ride in the other car. We specifically chose this system over others because of the way the stroller folds up (it was also lighter in weight than the Graco models), the fact that it can be used up to 30 pounds (which is higher than other infant seats), and it has one of the better safety ratings compared to other travel systems. The only thing I have a problem with is that it takes up a lot of room in the back seat of my car (I drive a mazda 3). So much room, that we had to place it in the center seat in order for the front passenger to have any leg room at all. Nick's car has a slightly larger back seat (He drives a Saturn Ion) and it fits much better there. The infant seat was also the only place Avery would sleep for the first 2 weeks after we brought her home.  We have now learned that she hates to sleep on her back and the reason this worked is the curve of the seat kept her upright enough to be comfortable, but she could still stretch out in it.

7. Cloth Diapers. We use BumGenius 4.0's for normal wearing, and on wash day or when we're away from the house we use the FLIP system which is made by the same company (Cotton Babies). The FLIP's have the benefit that they aren't quite as bulky to pack in the diaper bag which I why I like them for outings. This woman is practically my clone when it comes to why I love these things. She even has a doxie.  I heart her explanation, so go read it. Unlike her though, we just double up the inserts at night and call it good. The FLIP's can also use disposable inserts, which would be nice for longer trips away but we haven't tried them yet.

8. Pacifier Leash. You can see how to make your own from this post. My kid can eject that pacifier with a force great enough to launch a rocket.  It either ends up on the floor or inexplicably underneath her when she's in her swing or car seat.  Rather than cleaning the thing off constantly, we just keep one clipped to her (or us, or the visor on her car seat) at all times.  It makes it a lot easier to find it too.

9. Sound Machine. Avery can fall asleep without the white noise, but for some reason at night it'll only last an hour or two.  We started using this machine from Homedics, and now when she stirs in her crib she'll go right back to sleep. We can get a solid 5-6 hours before she wakes and by that time she's ready to eat.  Most of the time she'll have a snack and then zonk out again right away. I don't think that's too bad for a 3 month old...

10. Camera. You want photos. All your relatives want photos. Your kid is going to have a lens shoved in their face constantly.  The one on your cell phone is great when they are still, which basically means only when they're sleeping.  Baby smiles and expressions also change lightning quick, which means by the time you press the button it's already gone. You need something with a faster shutter speed if you don't want 5000 photos of a blurry baby.  Invest in a decent digital camera and you'll thank me later.

11. Thrift Store. Obviously, this is the item I do not use every day.  But it truly is your best friend.  Finding one specifically tailored to kids is even better.  We go to a shop called Once Upon a Child. Registered for an item and you find you hate it, or received something you know you'll never use but you've got no idea where the gift giver purchased it so you can't take it to be exchanged (and you don't want to be rude by asking)? Or did you find a baby gear item you love but you aren't willing to fork over that much money again? Enter your savior the thrift store. Once Upon a Child will buy used clothing and gear from you, and you can purchase slightly loved items at a steep discount.  They'll either give you cash or you can choose to take store credit for a higher payout percentage.

While we loved much of the clothing we were gifted for Avery, a lot of it was simply the wrong season. (It gets cold in Michigan. Go figure?) She was born in late summer, so all of the clothes were short-sleeved because that's what stores had stocked at the time she arrived.  Now that she's finally into those sizes it's 40 degrees outside, so she'd be freezing if I put her in them.  I can go into Once Upon a Child and usually walk out with 6 to 10 outfits for her for under $30.  And since most of the infant apparel is what people registered for but couldn't return to the store, 90% of it is BRAND NEW and still has the tags on it! One of my favorite finds was a pink zippered Detroit Tigers Hoodie.  It was in perfect condition, and probably cost around $50 knowing ball-park apparel prices.  I paid $4.50 for it. And just last week I found a new, high end brand, Christmas dress for her (we wanted one for a formal portrait) for $1.

They also have great deals on gear too.  I mentioned that we have 2 bouncy seats.  I wanted one for our bedroom upstairs because I wanted a place to set Avery down when I was getting dressed in the morning. She'd be awake and want to play but would cry if I left her laying in the crib while I was trying to get around. I paid $12 for it at Once Upon a Child, instead of shelling out another $40 at Babies R Us. I also love that they stay up to date with safety standards and recalls.  They had a Bumbo play seat with a tray that I was interested in last week but refused to sell it to me because it was missing the seat belt. Bumbo has the seat out on voluntary recall because of the belts, and the store is holding it for me until the conversion kit comes in the mail. When it gets here Avery will have a new spot to play and practice sitting up for half the cost!

And that's my list! Have any items you think a new mom needs to keep sane?

Update!  We got our new seat and she loves it. It's funny to watch her though because she's more interested in how to get the tray off than the toys sitting on top.
That black blur would be Moose running around behind her...

Crayon-approved Mommy Gear Part One

The little one is asleep and I was feeling particularly blog-ey so I decided to make a 2nd post for the evening. My girl turned 3 months old last Thursday, which means I haven't been doing this mom-thing for very long but it's been long enough to have found my favorite pieces of baby gear.  And since I was so interested in reading about the kinds of things new moms know and love while I was pregnant, I decided to put together my own top 10 11 list of "this keeps me sane" items. They may be numbered, but they are in no particular order.  I consider all of these items essential and I use them on a daily basis (save for one, but it'll be blatantly obvious which it is.)

1. Xbox 360 Kinect (with a Netflix subscription).  No. I'm not crazy. And yes...this is an essential baby item. I mean, I wouldn't tell somebody to go out and get one for this express purpose, but it comes in EXTREMELY handy and since I already own it, it's going on my list. Why? Here's why...

You are a new mom with a squirmy infant. Who needs to eat. A lot. You find yourself settling down on the couch to feed that little bundle of joy every 2 to 4 hours depending on if you're breast or bottle feeding.  You just get comfortable, baby is settling in and eating nicely, the dog has already positioned himself on any remaining lap space you have, and you know you're stuck in this spot for the next 15 to 20 minutes at least. So you go to reach for the remote control, because staring at the wall/floor/ceiling for that long, that many times a day is enough to drive you batty...and then you realize that it is clear at the other end of the room because you chucked it there 5 minutes ago to make room for you and all the baby crap you had to haul to the couch for this feeding. You have 3 choices at this point: Forget the TV entirely and resume staring at the wall/floor/ceiling, disrupt everyone and everything to get up off the couch to retrieve the remote and start the process all over again, or if you have the kinect just yell at the TV and your show magically appears making you *not* bored while you get on with the feeding. I choose option 3, thanks.  It's also nice for when baby spits milk down your arm.  While you may have wiped it up with a burp cloth it can still leave your hands sticky, so now you don't have to transfer that to the buttons. Kinect FTW.

2. Boppy Pillow. She's only 6 big deal.  YEAH RIGHT.  That kid gets heavy! And fast! The boppy gives your arms a break while you're feeding. It's also designed to help position the baby for your comfort while breastfeeding. It props the kid up so you don't have to hunch forward to get a proper latch.  You can also use it for tummy time or a little back prop for when you're taking pictures. (With supervision of course.) If you have more than one level to your home, get 2.  I have one in the living room and one in our bedroom upstairs for feeding at night.  You don't want to have to wander around and figure out where you put it.

3. A Swing or Bouncy Chair. Each has nice features to entertain your kid (which they'll either love or hate depending on the day) or to calm down a fit of infant rage, but more importantly than those is the fact that it's a place to set your kid down! Besides your arms or back getting tired and needing a break, at some point you're going to need to pee, and bringing them to the bathroom with you is pretty much impossible.  Bring on the baby chair! We have the My Little Lamb Cradle and Swing by Fischer Price, which is pretty high-end for a baby swing but it is well worth the money I spent on it.  My favorite feature is that it can swing sideways, or can be twisted to swing front to back. There are times when Avery prefers one motion to the other so it calms her down faster. We also have a couple of bouncy seats (one on each level of the house) but they are pretty standard issue, so I don't really have a preference for using one or the other.

4. A Glider. Babies like motion because it reminds them of floating around inside mom before they were born, so plopping yourself in the glider accomplishes that without you having to do laps around the house.  Rocking chairs work too, but I prefer the glider because it moves without making our hardwood floors creak (very important at bedtime) and most come with an ottoman that rocks right along with the glider. That's nice for getting comfortable for a feeding or just getting cozy to read a story.

5. A Moby Wrap or even better a knock off one you made yourself (like I did. See why I chose this tutorial in Part Two). If you make your own definitely use the style in this tutorial that has the extra fabric panel.  These things stretch like crazy and you really do need that extra bit of structure to keep baby supported. (P.S. You can buy half the fabric and sew it end-to-end if you choose this style. I wouldn't advise it with any other DIY wrap though.) Moby wraps are things that moms either love or hate. I am in the love camp.  They take a bit of practice to figure out how to wrap them so that you have baby snug to your body.  They are also extremely long in length (they have to be in order to wrap around your body several times) so the amount of fabric can be a bit of a pain to manage, especially when you're in a parking lot and you don't want to spend 5 minutes standing outside your car juggling the ends to keep them off the ground while tying your wrap. Another downside is that they can get really hot. Body heat from you and baby tends to stay snuggled up in the wrap between you.  When I wear mine I make sure I strip to at least a T-shirt, if not my nursing tank top before wrapping it. That said, I love mine for 3 main reasons.

One, it's a personalized fit. We also have a traditional soft-structured carrier that buckles. This is the one that my husband prefers because he can get it on and off faster. But since we are 2 different sized people, every time I wear it I have to adjust and tighten down all the straps.  And after I'm through wearing it he has to loosen them all again to adjust it back to his size. Since most of the adjustments are located on the back of the carrier it's a hassle to do it by yourself, and you can't do it before you put it on or the fit would be wrong.  With the moby, since its' wrapped directly around your body each time, it's automatically adjusted to fit and I don't need anyone's help to get it on.

The second reason I love my fake-moby is that the stretch fabric is very forgiving on your back. The soft-structured carrier is designed to distribute the baby's weight in a certain way, and that creates pressure points on my shoulders and lower back. After 10 minutes of walking around I'm sore. Since you can't move the straps to a new position, you're stuck with what the manufacturer gave you.  With the moby, that weight is more evenly distributed so there's no pressure points. I can also slide the back crosses to a different spot to make it more comfortable if I need to, but this is rarely needed.

The Third reason I love my fake-moby is the way it supports the baby.  In the soft-structured carrier there is support directly behind the baby, but not so much at the sides. So while Avery isn't going to fall out of the thing, there's still a lot of room for her to flop around and you have to be careful about how you move so you don't slam her little head. In the fake-moby, if you're wearing it properly, baby is hugged right up against you so there isn't that extra space for her to flop in. She can even lean away from me if she wants and the front crosses support her neck. When she falls asleep I can pull one of the crosses over top of her head to give her even more support. The fabric keeps her secure, but has enough stretch so she doesn't feel squished. Also with the fake-moby (again, if you're wearing it correctly) the fabric spreads below baby's bottom in a way that aligns and supports the hips and thighs.  Some soft-structured carriers can do this, and others can't. It just depends on the width of the "seat" portion beneath the baby. Babies' hip joints haven't fully hardened when they're born, the socket portion is still soft cartilage, so if they aren't properly supported in a carrier it can actually cause dislocation and lead to hip dysplasia.  Even before we introduced Avery to a carrier she was being watched for issues with her hips, so this is especially important for us. (Not to worry, 2 ultrasounds later and she's been cleared as healthy.) With the fake-moby I never have to worry about if she's getting that proper support.

Okay, I have a 4th reason I love my fake-moby, but I guess it could be applied to any carrier...It frees up my hands.  She is secure enough to my body that I can bend and move and I don't have to worry about her flying out or feel the need to support her with one hand while doing a task.  Avery is very clingy and has been right from the start. She's not one to want to be away from mom for more than 5 minutes or else she'll start screaming like she's on fire. (Even if she can see me.) There is absolutely no way I'd be able to do anything except sit on the couch and shout at my kinect while holding her if it wasn't for this wrap.  ABSOLUTELY NO WAY. And you know when I mentioned it gets a little hot to wear?  That's not always a bad thing.  When Avery is really fussy I can pop her in the wrap and 9 times out of 10 that body heat creates a toasty, sleep inducing pocket.  She can be screaming her head off and then out like a light. It's a miracle really.

Items 6-10 coming in Part Two...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's festive, adorable, and finished before naptime ends??

Jingle Socks!
See the directions in my Ravelry notes here.
You know you want to make some...

Monday, September 10, 2012

2.5 weeks down...18+ years to go!

It happened. Birth, that is. Our darling Avery is now just over 2 weeks old.  She was born August 23rd. 6 pounds, 10 ounces and 20.5 inches long. And that's all the info you get since I'm going to take advantage of her short morning nap time to do fun internet-ey things since I never have the chance any more! I will however leave you with this fabulous photo of our sweetheart...

Monday, July 23, 2012

House Rules for ALL Post-Partum Visitors

We're in the home stretch as far as this pregnancy is concerned, so I wanted to fill everyone in on how Nick and I feel about a few things before the little one arrives.  Placing our house rules in a place where all of our loved ones can access it seemed like the simplest way to make our feelings known.  It is not our intention to exclude or offend anyone, but this is a very new and challenging time for us. We know everyone is excited to meet our new addition, and we're just trying to be sure that our household will have the opportunity to adjust without its members getting lost in that excitement. Love it or hate it...this is how things will be going down:

·        Unless expressly invited to the hospital, don't show up there!  Mommy doesn't want an audience during birth and she feels pressure to entertain guests who are in the waiting room. While still in the hospital after birth, Mommy will be making a hearty commitment to sleep, recovery, and adjusting to the needs of a newborn.  Please do not interfere with this plan! If you're not immediate family, please plan your visit to take place in our home, ideally a couple weeks after baby's birth. Additionally, please refrain from using our door bell when you do visit.  It drives the dog into a barking frenzy that is not easily calmed.  Instead, give Nick or I a quick call to tell us you're outside.

·        If you are ill, have been ill recently, or even *think* you will be ill- DO NOT COME TO VISIT.  Let me repeat that.  DO NOT COME TO VISIT!! Mommy and baby will both be recovering from traumatic physical events to our bodies.  We do not need to deal with your unwanted germs on top of it.  Trust me, if it exists, we will most likely catch it. (The hospital stay will be bad enough.) I'd also like to remind you that newborns have not yet developed full immunities to common diseases, which means that your small "cold" is actually endangering my child. Just stay away so I don't have to kick you out.

·        Baby's room is OFF LIMITS when the door is closed.  She is either sleeping, in which case I don't need you to wake her -or- she is eating, which involves awkwardly learning to breastfeed.  No matter how much I love you, I guarantee you are not on my list of approved people to see my boobs, so don't make it more awkward by trying to be in the room.  In addition, do not be offended if the 2 of us pack up and retreat to this room at a moment's notice.  It means something needs to be addressed and I wish to take care of it on my own.

·        It's not your place to second-guess our first parenting decisions. We're breastfeeding, we're cloth diapering, we might be doing something else you wouldn't do in a million years.  If you can't be supportive, keep your 2 cents to yourself!  A tip here and there may seem welcome to you, but to sleep deprived parents who've spent the past 9 months weighing the pros and cons of these options it may come off as snarky and judgmental. Some of these decisions might be great for our family, or they might be great failures.  We won't know until we try, and we shouldn't have to defend ourselves constantly.  If you don't like it, pretend it's the greatest thing in the world until you leave my house.

·        Don't expect to be entertained.  As stated earlier, both Mommy and Baby will be in a state of recovery.  We will be exhausted, sore, cranky, and generally not in the mood to be perfect hosts to our guests.  We will do our best to be polite and exchange some conversation, but please keep your visits brief so they don't become overwhelming.

·        If you are willing, feel free to lend a hand around the house. (And if you aren't willing, don't create more stuff for Mommy to do!) Some items we would appreciate help with: Loading/Unloading the dishwasher, Sweeping the floors, De-cat-hairing the furniture, Cooking us a meal or preparing a snack, Taking the laundry to the basement so Daddy can wash it, folding laundry that has already been washed, and taking out the garbage. Furthermore, we want to be especially clear that the first few weeks are an important time of bonding between Mommy, Daddy, and Baby.  That means we will be the ones to hold her, while you will be the one doing the housework if you volunteer...not the other way around.

·        Our pets do not enjoy visitors (and that's putting it mildly). They will also be unsure of the tiny screaming human that has just become part of our household, who is monopolizing all of mommy's time.  (This will be especially true of the dog.)  Mommy and Daddy also are unclear about how they will react to baby, as they have never been around small children before.  Please do not antagonize them. We're learning how to be a new family together and everybody is stressed out.  Unless they show interest in you (wanting to play, rubbing against your leg, etc.) please ignore them. Another note about the dog: Even before baby, Moose is extremely protective of Mommy.  He has never bitten, but has shown aggression when he has felt someone is too near to her, so the potential for a bite is there.  DO NOT PRESS HIM as he gives little to no warning about where his breaking point lies.  If he starts to get rowdy, Mommy or Daddy will remove him to another room.  In general, he is more comfortable with women than men, and he seems to do better when men are seated in our home rather than standing or walking through rooms.  Please listen if we tell you to back off.  We have enough medical bills to pay now, we won't be paying yours too. 

·        Please keep perfume and cologne to a minimum. Mommy and Daddy are both extremely sensitive to strong scents (Baby may be too). Perfume and cologne often trigger migraines for Mommy and allergy attacks for Daddy.  Not ideal conditions for caring for a newborn...

Now that we've had baby #2 I wanted to update this list with one more item (or 2, sorta...) for any future readers.

Please greet my toddler first.  She is still too young to communicate when she's feeling left out. When you walk in the door and immediately start fawning over the new addition she doesn't understand why she isn't included in the attention. It's been just her for 17 months and she's never had to share before. On a good day she'll keep playing with her toys and only upon a mother's close inspection could I tell you she is really upset.  On a bad day she'll throw a temper tantrum the size of Texas and start chucking those toys at her brother's head the second you sit down on my couch to hold him. (Alternatively she will explore every dangerous option in the room so that constant intervention is required to prevent death or injury, just to get a little attention.)  Give her a hug, invite her to sit next to you while you hold the baby, and if someone else is taking a turn with the new guy spend some time playing with her. (P.S. If you get down on the floor with her you'll have a new bestie for life.) Additionally, if you bring gifts for the new baby, try to bring something small for her, even if it's the straw from your soda that you drank on the way over. One of our early visitors brought a bag full of things for Jake.  They let Avery open it while Jake and I were nursing in the other room. Then they proceeded to take all the items away and tell her, "That's not for you.  It's for your new brother." This action confused her and it made me angry, especially since I wasn't in the position at the time to do anything about it. Giving her something small makes her feel included and it also gives her something new to explore.  And for the love of all that's holy, don't pull the stunt that this guest did and take something away seconds after handing to her! "It's for your new brother" implies that she's not important and is being replaced.  Nobody wants to feel like that, and those emotions are compounded when you're too little to understand that that isn't the case.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Moar Behbeh Crafts...

This week I finally got around to sewing up some things for baby.  First, I tackled a very easy project using some scraps in the fabric stash.  Pacifier clips! (Although I'm sure they'll also be great for toys when she's hanging out in the stroller or playing in the seat of a shopping cart.)

I made the first one (with the baby pins) using the directions from SewMamaSew's website.  Super easy, but the interfacing annoyed me because it just seemed too fiddle-ey for such a small project.  When I made the 2nd clip I cut my fabric to 4 inches wide.  I pressed it in half length-wise and then opened it back up.  Then I pressed the edges to the center fold line I created.  After that, I refolded the entire piece in half, so that my edges were sandwiched in the middle, and then I topstitched down both sides of the fabric.  It was much faster than having to cut a separate strip of interfacing, and with 2 extra layers of fabric sandwiched in the middle it still had that extra bit of support. I finished the clip following the directions from the tutorial just like the first one I made.  The whole thing was super easy and I had them both finished in under an hour.  Plus, they're cuter than the ones you can buy in the store and they were almost free since the only materials I had to purchase were the mitten clips. (I don't recall how much I paid for the clips, but I want to say around $3?? at JoAnn.)

My next project was a swaddle/sleep sack.  Nick and I took a baby care basics course through the hospital a couple of weeks ago and they taught us how to swaddle a baby using a regular recieving blanket.  Bless my husband's heart for trying, but he can't swaddle worth beans, so I knew 1 or 2 of these "cheater wraps" would come in handy.  He just couldn't remember which side of the blanket to fold up first, and even if he did the baby's face was usually half covered or he still had a foot sticking out some place.  He'll get the hang of it eventually, but I thought I'd help him out.

This project was a little more costly than the pacifier clips, because I actually purchased a pattern to make it.  The only supplies needed were 1 yard each of 2 fabrics and sew-on velcro, so if you only count that, the project was around $10 or half the price I'd pay for a pre-made swaddler from the store.  You could make it for even less if you already had the fabrics.  But...the monkeys were too cute to pass up, even at full price so I caved and bought the fabric.  I also bought the flannel for the lining to match the green dots on the monkey fabric.  If you wanted a warmer swaddler you could also use fleece or maybe some super soft minky. Being that our little girl will be here at the end of August though, I didn't feel the extra warmth was needed quite yet.

The pattern was great and the directions were easy to follow.  My only complaint is that the placement for the velcro pieces should have been traced on the right-side of the fabric and not the opposite as instructed.  The velcro is sewn on last, through all layers of fabric, so the markings are sandwiched between the outer fabric and the lining (where you have no access to them). This also has the disadvantage that you can see the stitching on the other side of the fabric.  For me this was no big deal, but if you were using a thread that didn't match exactly it might look a little wonky on the outside. Thankfully, I made my placement marks with a disappearing ink marker which was visible through the right-side or I would have had a disaster on my hands. So just a heads up for next time...Either: sew your velcro on the exterior fabric before you join it to the lining pieces -or- mark the placement on the right-side of the exterior fabric.

Now all daddy has to do is slip baby's feet into the pocket and cross the arms where the velcro matches!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Peanut butter Mock-Icecream Sandwiches

Along with the many discomforts of pregnancy during the summer, baby has blessed me with gestational diabetes.  That means no fun stuff like lemonade and popsicles because there are too many carbohydrates and sugars that can do wonky things to her growing little body.  So...I've had to get creative in how I treat myself on hot sunny days.  This recipe is something I came up with based on a peanut butter cookie recipe from Diabetic Living.  I tried making the original recipe, which tastes great, but the batter only made 1/2 the amount of cookies that it states.  Which of course, means that the carb count for each cookie was twice the stated amount on the site, and therefore out of my range.  (Not entirely true...I could have 2 with no problem, but I couldn't have the milk to dunk them in so I decided it wasn't worth it. Hubby got to eat that batch.) So then I tried making the cookies with Splenda.  They tasted fine but were very crumbly and fragile.  I didn't want to waste them so I combined them with a craving for icecream sandwiches that I'd been having and managed to come up with this frozen treat...

Peanut butter Mock-Icecream Sandwiches-makes 7-9 sandwiches based on how evenly you scoop your cookie dough

1 Cup Peanut butter
1 Cup Granulated Splenda
1 large egg
Approximately 4 oz (half a tub) Lite frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed
(I used the store brand, but it's better known as Cool Whip)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or grease it generously) and set aside.

2. Combine the peanut butter, splenda, and egg and mix until smooth.  Do this by hand or the splenda will fly everywhere.

3. Use a mini icecream scoop (or roll into 1" balls) to dish out the dough.  Set the dough mounds 2 inches apart on the prepared pan.

4. Using a small piece of parchment and a flat bottomed drinking glass, smash the dough mounds into flat discs.  If you don't have parchment, grease the bottom of the glass to keep it from sticking to the dough.

5. Bake for approximately 9 minutes or until slightly puffed and barely golden around the edges.  Remember, splenda won't brown up the same way sugar does, so don't bake them too long. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. They are going to be very crumbly and fragile, so be delicate when removing them from the pan.  Set the pan aside so you can re-use it in the next step.

6. Once the cookies are cool, begin assembling the "sandwiches".  Flip a cookie so the flat part is facing up.  Place a generous dollop of whipped topping on the cookie and set a 2nd cookie on top with the flat side facing the center of the sandwich.  Place the assembled cookie on the cooled baking pan while you arrange the rest.

7. After all your cookies have been turned into sandwiches, pop the entire pan into the freezer and leave it there for about an hour.  The whipped topping will firm up and have a taste and texture very similar to vanilla icecream.  At this point, you can enjoy your treat or individually wrap them in plastic wrap to enjoy later.

If you use the lite version of the whipped topping, an entire sandwich yields roughly 10g of effective carbohydrate, or 1 carb serving. (Which means I could chow 3 if I really wanted to!)  The cookies are approximately 4g carbohydrate each and the Whipped topping is 2g. This is based on plugging the ingredient information into the recipe calculator at and the nutrition facts printed on the topping container.  They're not the same as a real icecream sandwich and they're still a bit crumbly, but they're a good enough substitute for this chick on a hot summer day.  I hope you like them too.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Secret Project Revealed and a bunch of side bar projects to go with it

Back in December I told you I had a big project I was working on.  Remember?  If not, just scroll down a bit.  Should be in the last post before this one.  (I know, I'm a slacker.) Any-who... she is!

Nick and I are both so excited.  We've been waiting to share the news on the blog until we were a little more sure that things were going smoothly.  Of course, if you're one of my readers you probably already knew about the baby, but who cares?  It's just one more place I can be super excited for all the world to see.  (It is my blog after all.)

This kid also opened up a whole new world of crafting possibilities too, so I've been having tons of fun diving into them one at a time.  For starters (being the cheap-skate that I am)  I've been sewing my own maternity clothes.  I can't get enough of the tutorials on diymaternity.  I've made myself 3 tops and 2 pairs of jeans using the great instructions on her site, and it's saved me a TON of money.  My pieces were purchased at goodwill for a whopping total of $10.  Yes...for all of them.  Beats getting one pair of maternity jeans from the motherhood store for $90!

I've also taken a turn at screen printing.  The idea came from a design I made for a t-shirt.  I tried the iron-on transfers, but I hated the way it turned out.  After washing it once the whole picture pulled off the shirt, but the design is far to complicated to paint on by hand with fabric paints.  So, I did some research and screen printing was my solution.  Being it was my first time playing around in this medium I did make a major mistake and ruined the intended design for that particular shirt, so it's still a work in progress.  I did however, make a sweet onsie that I can't wait to put on my kiddo.

Guess What?  Chicken Butt! (Still makes me smile every time.  I'm such a dork.)

Other onsie crafts followed the success of the Chicken Butt shirt.  The most time intensive, and still very cute Ruffle Onsie Dress inspired by barefootinthekitchen.

I'm happy with the way it turned out, but I was a little disappointed with some of the construction. The way the skirt is attached to the onsie, it puts a lot of stitching on the front side.  It's hard to see in the photo, but trust me it's there.  I've seen photos where others covered this with ribbon sashes and fabric flowers, so I may add some more embellishments.  I haven't decided yet.  My favorite part though probably has to be the fabric I used.  I already made a skirt for myself using the same fabric so baby and I can match as soon as she gets here!

We're getting a little lengthy, so I'll save the next couple of projects for another post.  Ta-Ta for now!