As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.
Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.
They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.
We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.
Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.
Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.
When Ella was a baby, we went through ALL of the brands of baby wipes available on the market. No matter what brand we tried, her “diaper rashes” got worse and worse. Huggies were by far the most harmful brand to her skin.
We eventually learned that diaper rashes are NOT normal, and are in fact chemical burns caused by the wipes. So I began making my own baby wipes, which completely stopped the rashes. The only time new rashes appeared were when she went to family members houses that still used store-bought wipes.
I have been making my own baby wipes ever since for all of my babies born after her, and have since switched to cloth diapering after learning how dangerous disposable diapers are for babies health as well.
Making your own wipes is inexpensive, easy to do, and SAFE for your babies.
Phenoxyethanol – harmful to children’s health including adverse effects to the central and peripheral nervous system, skin irritation, lung irritation, toxic to kidneys and liver,
Benzyl Alcohol – causes irritations and rashes and inflammation on the skin of young children including: irritation, severe itching, reddening of skin, loss of sensation, eye irritations, vision problems, pain, peeling skin, heat burn.
Formaldehyde – carcinogenic to humans. Causes cancer and contact dermatitis including blisters, scales, thickening of skin, leathery skin, asthma, respiratory problems, eye, nose, and throat irritations, conjunctival irritation, allergies, low blood pressure, headaches, irregular breathing, abnormalities of heart rhythm, unconsciousness, restlessness, loss of red blood cells.
Polypropylene – can cause dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, lung disease.
Viscose – Derived from wood pulp, the process to make viscose involves many harsh chemicals. Those chemicals cause coronary heart failure, birth defects, skin conditions, and cancer. Viscose is highly pollutable to our planet and has a devastating impact on forests, people, and animals.
Polyester – Polyester is absolutely detrimental to our environment. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. It is the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the oceans. Each time you wash polyester, up to 1900 fibres are washed off back into our water systems and oceans. It takes up to 200 ywars to biodegrade- that is more than 2 lifetimes. The production of polyester uses very harsh chemicals including carcinogens. Carcinogens generate skin problems and lung and heart cancer. Polyester causes chronic and severe respiratory infections. Causes rashes, itching, redness, eczema, and dermatitis. Causes allergies, chemical sensitivity, and other serious health problems. Lowers sperm count in men. Toxic to babies immune systems. Not breathable material.
Petrochemicals – Ethylene Oxide, 1,4-Dioxane, Polysorbate 20, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, PEG-75 Lanolin, Ceteareth-20. These cause cancer, birth defects, headaches, respiratory irritation, and both female and male reproductive harm. They cause leukemia, lung cancer, nose, throat, and sinus cancer, blood and lymphatic cancer. Affect development of children including brain development, learning and behavioral problems. Using while pregnant will affect both you and your unborn baby.
Phthalates – usually found under the name “fragrance,” “perfume,” or “perfum.” This causes allergies, hormone disruptions, infertility, dermatitis, and respiratory distress. Causes damage to liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Lowers sperm count and quality and lowers testosterone levels. Has a lasting impact on neurodevelopment including lower IQ, problems with attention and hyperactivity as well as poor social communication, depression, and aggression. Changes hormone levels, alters development of genitals. Causes breast cancer, obesity, thyroid problems, asthma, and metabolic issues.
These are just a few of the chemicals that are found in store-bought baby wipes including the brands you have put your trust into. As you can see, these are NOT safe for anyone, especially babies, yet they are marketed for mothers to use on their babies. The FDA is a scam, and should NEVER be trusted. Always do your own research before using anything, especially on the tiny humans you are responsible to take care of and keep safe.
Note: The “natural” wipes do not mean they are safe. There are few rules, regulations, or guidelines when it comes to a “natural” product. “Natural” does not make a product vegan, organic, non-toxic, cruelty or chemical free. Remember, crude oil is natural.
Water wipes would SEEM safe, but they contain grapefruit seed extract which may contain harmful contaminants meant to act as preservatives. Grapefruit seed extract is a general lable to hide: Benzetheonium Chloride, Methylparaben, and Triclosan. Water without a broad-spectrum preservation system cannot prevent the growth of mold and bacteria which can cause seriously infections. No cleansing agents, means that when babies poop it does not properly disinfect babies genitals. The poop residue left behind can cause skin irritation and leaves bacteria behind which can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis, septicaemia, and purulent conjunctivitis. Meningitis and septicaemia have been known to cause death in infants.
The ONLY way to know that the wipes that you are using on your baby are safe is to make them yourself. It sounds hard, but it is not at all!
How to Make Baby Wipes (Step by Step)
● Start by putting your dry wipes into your wipes container. You can also make reusable cloth ones which is a better option for our environmental waste and I hope to get to that point, however I currently use disposable wipes.
● Measure 2 cups of warm to hot water.
● Add 2 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil.
● Add 1 Tablespoon of a non-toxic soap such as Young Living’s KidScents like I use, or Dr. Bronners Castile soap.
● Add 5 drops of Young Living’s Lavender Essential Oil (or any of their Seedling oils specifically for babies). Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, use grocery store essential oils including those purchased on Amazon, Target, or Walmart- they are NOT pure and NOT safe to use especially on an infant or child.
Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company in the WORLD that has a Seed to Seal promise and conducts intensive testing to ensure that they are 100% safe to use.
● Mix together using your tablespoon to make sure you get all of the residue from the coconut oil and soap and don’t waste any.
● Pour mixture evenly over wipes container and leave upright for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip container over to sit for another 20 minutes. This spreads the mixture to absorb evenly.
It looks soapy when first poured, but it soaks into the wipes as it disperses over the setting time.
It is as easy as that! Takes a minute to mix up and pour, and a total of 40 minutes to settle. I suggest making them during nap times, or at night once baby has fallen asleep so you don’t find yourself needing wipes before they have set.
My oldest baby just turned TEN years old on July 31st. I cannot believe that I have already been a mom for a whole decade! It really does fly by! He will be an adult before I know it!
Over the last ten years, I’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks especially when it comes to mega motherhood!!!! I wanted to share my FIVE favorite items that have gotten me through the last ten years & mega motherhood a lot more smoothly.
1 • Itzy Ritzy Purse
New moms, this one is for you. I have some eye opening news for you. You have too much stuff.
When I had my son, I had this giant diaper bag that was heavier than he was stuffed to the brim with all of the things that the baby books told me I needed with adorable little travel size everything, safety kit with every size bandaid imaginable, bubbles, chalk, lipgloss, a small grooming set, tampons, pads, vomit bags, kroger bags, lysol, advil, bibs, toilet seat covers, grocery cart covers, multiple outfit changes, a blanket, winter gear, books, toys, activity packs, snacks, etc. I was ready for anything.
As I added kids, this bag became the bag of car essentials that I stopped bringing in because it was so heavy and so stuffed, it was just added stress. Plus, I hardly ever actually needed anything from it. I began carrying a smaller bag of the essentials while also carrying a purse.
Then I found this hands free crossbody Itzy Ritzy purse which is absolutely needed as a mom with young children. The back section is your purse, the front section is your diaper bag. You can now combine everything into one small, adorable bag.
In the diaper bag section, there is a pocket for your wipes and a small changing mat that is included. There is also room to hold diapers and a pacifier. That is literally all you need on a daily basis for outings. All of the extra stuff is just over-stimulating you and making it feel stressful to leave with kids when it doesn’t have to be.
In my purse section, I keep my wallet and a few small items. It keeps me from cluttering up my purse and it only takes a few seconds to clean out. Keep the essentials with you, and leave the rest at home (or at least in a secondary bag in the car if it makes you more comfortable). You don’t need it.
I clip my keys onto the outside so they are easy to grab and I don’t have to fumble around for them with children in a parking lot.
When you have multiple kids, you cannot be weighed down with things that you may need one day. You need your arms and eyes free at all times. This Itzy Ritzy cross body bag allows you to fashionably have everything that you need.
It is lightweight enough that I can carry it to and from the car by myself which means that getting it in and out of your vehicle is not a struggle. It also folds up well so that it will be able to fit into any vehicle.
I place my toddler in the front seat, and my baby in her car seat in the back portion so that we are facing each other, but it is very versatile for moving children around and allowing older children to ride as well. Each side has a handle bar on it where I have my older girls hold onto while we are out so that they are all safely in one place in front of me.
3 • Cloth Diapers
I highly recommend cloth diapers. In fact, so much that I wrote an entire article about them! If you are planning on having more than one child, these are a MUST!
Cloth diapers grow with baby from newborn to potty training which saves you from buying a LOT of diapers, especially since you can then reuse them with future babies, or even save for your grand babies.
Cloth diapers saved us during this 2020 pandemic! When all of the stores ran out of diapers, we had our trusty cloth diapers already! We never had to worry once that we would run out. I highly recommend buying at least one pack of cloth diapers to have in the off chance that there is another emergency since the world saw how fast and unexpectedly that can and will happen. Being prepared is key to motherhood. It would be a great gift for a new mother at a baby shower as well! 😉
4 • Built-in Potty Seat
We live in a very tiny starter home with four young ladies. It was originally a very tiny one-bathroom home until we added a second one on the upstairs floor to create a master suite. A tiny bathroom with a crowd full of tiny ladies runs out of room really quick, leaving us very little space to have a separate potty chair.
We installed a built-in potty seat onto our toilet so that we could still have a potty seat, but not lose any necessary space or add clutter to our floors which is vital when you have crawling tots!
5 • Bumbo
This portable seat called a Bumbo is so important! It is easy to carry with you so you are able to bring it from room to room or on-the-go.
● You can keep a supported-sitter with you while doing your housework.
● You can bring it to older siblings sporting events.
● You can bring it with you on a picnic, or to a restaurant so your baby doesn’t need to sit in a dirty high chair that is covered in germs (I have worked in enough restaurants to know how unclean restaurants are in general 🤢). You can add-on this Bumbo Play Tray to turn it into a portable highchair anywhere!
● You can bring it with you while traveling for hotels that may not have high chair recommendations. Make sure to add on the Bumbo Play Tray!
● With the Bumbo Play Tray, you can create a minimal mess space for your baby to engage in messy play such as finger-painting or shaving cream play.
There are so many uses for the Bumbo! You cannot go wrong with getting one of these! It minimizes messes and is extremely easy to clean. I have had the same Bumbo for the last 10 years, it has made it through 5 kids, and is still in the excellent condition! It is definitely built to last and worth every penny!
I hope that these tips helped you for yourself or with finding a baby shower gift idea! Best wishes to the new mama-to-be! The best start to motherhood is being prepared not for one stage for one child, but for all stages for all children. 😘 Have a beautiful rest of your day.
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I want to start by saying I did not cloth diaper all of my babies, but I wish I did. If I had any advice for a first time mom, it would definitely be to consider using modern cloth diapers.
Yes, you save money in the long run (and we’ll get to that), but that isn’t what motivated me to switch. Although, it is a nice added benefit 😉. These are my top reasons why I decided to ditch the disposables.
About 20 BILLION disposable diapers go into landfills each year. That is more than 3.5 million tons of waste. If that wasn’t already bad enough, it then takes 500 years for disposable diapers to break down! When I think about how many disposable diapers I have used on how many children, that makes me sick to my stomach. I was stealing from my own children and grandchildren’s futures without even knowing it. As soon as I learned this fact, I immediately decided this was a no-disposable using home and began my journey to cloth diapers.
Something I noticed as a #girlmom vs. #boymom was that my girls had diaper rashes that my son did not experience. These were NOT normal diaper rashes. They were chemical burns. I had tried different brands of diapers, different brands of wipes, had medical ointment prescribed from our pediatrician, began making my own wipes, got rid of any white diaper rash cream (these trapped the infection and led to yeast infections), tried anything and everything I could think of, but the bad rashes still came. Athena has been cloth diapered since birth, and she has never had one of these rashes. The box of diapers and wipes may claim to be “all natural,” but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, they aren’t really natural at all.
Our money & convenience
This is the part that the dad’s like to hear: you WILL save money. Up front, it seems like what you are doing is spending a bunch of money on the diapers that you were told would save you money, and it feels a bit like you were misinformed. Cloth diapers are sort of like business, you have to spend money to save money. BUT once you realize that you are no longer spending $80+ a month on diapers, you start to see the money being saved.
I know that there are such cute patterns for any gender, and it’s very hard to resist buying all of the cute patterns! But to save EVEN more money, I suggest buying only or mostly (because seriously, there are some CUTE patterns) unisex diapers so they can be passed down to their future siblings, or even resold if you really are done having children. The diaper resale market is BIG!
The convenience. Have you ever had that horrible moment when you go to change your baby’s diaper and suddenly find out it is your very last one? I have! 🙋♀️ I still don’t know what happened, I could have sworn I still had a back up sleeve of them in the closet? 🤷♀️ It happens to even the most organized of us. Mom brain is real!!! Cloth diapers grow with your baby from infant to potty training. No more frantically searching for an old disposable diaper that one of your kids outgrew when you have cloth diapers. No more buying an entire box of diapers just to open it and have your child grow overnight into a new size. More saved money!
There are SO many different kinds out there, and when first starting out it seems incredibly overwhelming. I didn’t know where to even begin. Luckily, I knew another mom that cloth diapered – Rachel! •(She is such an awesome and inspiring mama!Connect with her on YouTube: Boy Moy Beta or Instagram: @racheljones13)• So I messaged her and I asked her for some advice. It felt so much less scary having a friend in the journey, and that is what I want to be for you: a friend on your cloth diapering journey.
I personally use Mama Koala and Nora’s Nursery pocket diapers. They each come with an insert, but you may want to buy an extra pack of inserts for overnights. They are very easy to use and the process is very similar to disposable diapers. They are easy for dads/caregivers to learn how to work with because they have easy snaps instead of having to work with a pin. I have had zero issues with staining with either of these brands. I also love how the lining is very soft. Athena has a hemangioma on her stomach, and some diaper covers made me a nervous wreck worrying if they would scrape against it and cause it to bleed. I do not have to worry about that with either of these brands. Plus they are both extremely soft, and both offer beautiful patterns.
Every baby is different. The best cloth diaper is the one that works best for you and your baby. Some moms swear by prefolds, but I’m not one of those moms. I will say they do make excellent extra inserts if you make the same mistake as I did and buy a bunch before trying 🤦♀️ but hey, they also make the perfect burp cloths so even though I wasn’t a prefold loving mama, they weren’t a waste of money.
I love being a cloth diapering mama. I didn’t use them with all of my babies, but I wish I did. I am very glad I made the switch, and I wish you the best of luck on your own cloth diapering journey.
• 💬 If you are already a cloth-diapering mama, what are YOUR favorite reasons for why you cloth diaper? Let me know in the comments!
• 🙏 If you know any moms-to-be, please do me a small favor and share this article with them!
I am not a professional, and this article should not be viewed as such. I am simply a mother, sharing my personal opinion with others. These statements and opinions are my own and not that of any organizations that I am affiliated with. This is an informational article and is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge. As stated, I am not a professional. Please consult a professional regarding any health or financial concerns.