Monday, June 2, 2014

A Tale of Two Fabrics

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the perfect baby carrier for you.  Once you realize that you want a ring sling, you would think that your decision making day are over.  You have worked your way through all of the pros and cons of each different carrier styles and decided that you wanted a carrier that was exceptionally versatile, easy to put on, grows with your baby, fits all body types and is easy to breastfeed in. Did I miss anything?  Sadly there are still decisions to be made.  I always tell people that figuring out that you need a Snuggy Baby carrier is the easy part.  Now you comes the hard part...choosing which one. Choosing the right baby carrier is a very individualized and personal decision.  Probably the number one question that I get asked is, "What is the difference between your cotton and linen slings? and which one is right for me".

Linen Sling vs Cotton Sling
Linen vs. Cotton
To determine which sling is right for you, first you need to decide what is most important to you and what are you looking to accomplish with your sling.  Are you looking for the most supportive carrier that makes carrying your 3 year old easy,  or do you live somewhere where the summers make you melt if you even think about leaving the air conditioning and you just want to stay as cool as possible.  Are you new to babywearing and want something that is easy to learn on, or are you an experienced babywearer who is willing to work with a sling to break it in?

Snuggy Baby Green Ombre Prestige Ring Sling
Prestige Ring Sling - cotton
 Cotton is a great comfortable fabric.  Probably 90% or more of the clothes in your closet are made out of cotton.  This is because it is comfortable and easy to care for.  The same properties hold true with a cotton ring sling.  My cotton slings are soft an comfortable and you can wash them with all of your cotton clothes in your regular laundry.  Snuggy Baby's cotton slings are also made with a double layer fabric so they are very supportive. Also the double layer of fabric provides some natural cushioning in the shoulder which helps make the sling even more comfortable during extended babywearing sessions.   The downside to cotton (because everything is life has a downside) is that because it is a double layer sling, there is a lot of fabric that goes through the rings.  This can make the sling more difficult to adjust until it is broken in.  Once it is broken in, the fabric glides easily through the rings, but learning to use a new cotton sling can take a bit more patience.

Snuggy Baby Fantasy Forest Linen Banded Ring Sling
Linen Banded Ring Sling - Linen
Linen is a cool fabric.  If you have linen clothes in your closet, I can pretty much guarantee it is part of your summer wardrobe.  I have never even heard of a linen sweater.  This is because linen is a great fabric that helps keep you cool.  Again, the same thing holds true for your baby carrier as it does for your clothing.  If  you are looking for the coolest option...If your number one concern is not melting as soon as you step out of the air conditioning (with or without your sling) then I would recommend that you look at a linen sling.  The other benefit to linen is that it is a single layer sling which will make it easier to adjust.  This makes it a great starter sling for a new babywearer.  The downside to linen is that you want to be more careful when you wash it.  You would wash your linen sling like you would your sweaters.  If you bought your sling to use in the summer, you are probably not doing too many loads of sweaters, but you still want to take a little extra care with your linen sling.  You can machine wash linen, but use cold water and a delicate cycle and line dry.  Also, because it is a single layer of fabric, it is not quite as supportive as the cotton sling.

"Does this mean that you HAVE to have a linen sling if you want to wear your baby in the summer?"  Absolutely not.  You are still very comfortable wearing your cotton clothing all summer long, right?  the same thing is true for your sling.  While the linen is slightly cooler, the cotton sling will still be comfortable.

"I only ever plan to have one baby carrier.  Should I forget about linen because it won't be supportive enough when my baby is older?"   Again the answer is no.  While the cotton sling is the most supportive option, Our linen slings are made with a very supportive fabric that is heavier than other linen slings so that it can be very supportive even with older babies.    

 So in a nutshell, your cotton sling is the most supportive, but can be harder to learn to use.  The linen sling is your coolest option and easier to learn to use, but not as supportive for larger babies.   So which is most important to you:  Support or cool?   If they are equally important to you, then it may just come down to the overall look of the carrier.  Do you want more of a print, or a solid sling?  Our cotton slings have an all over print while our linen slings have a solid body with a print accent.

So now that you have decided between cotton and linen, you have one final decision too make... which print do you want.  Thankfully we have lots to choose from, so hopefully you can find THE one that speaks, begging to be part of your family and help you keep your loved one close.  

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Leftovers are encouraged

Mommy Tip of the Day: To save time at dinner make a double batch of a meal and freeze half. Then you can just reheat it on another night when you need a quick dinner.

I am always looking for a quick way to get dinner on the table without calling Pizza Hut. One of my standards, for quick dinners are Rachael Ray's 30 minute meals. She is fun to watch and has some great food. I highly recommend that if you don't have one of her cookbooks....or several of her cookbooks that you head out and get one right away. At the very least you should really check out where you can find some of her recipes and lots of kid friendly recipes.

Another one of my favorite ways to make a quick dinner is to eat leftovers. Now, I am the first person to admit to an aversion to left overs. Thankfully my Husband take care of the clean out the fridge meals on a fend for yourself nights. The left overs that I am talking about is to make a double batch of something and then freeze half of it for another night when I don't feel like cooking. All that I have to do then is reheat, and it is only a little more work to make a double batch the first night.

Some of the easiest meals to freeze are chili, and spaghetti sauce. Lasagna always makes SO much more than we can eat, that it really is best to make in 2 small batches that I freeze half. Since I am such a Rachael Ray fan, I love her mini chicken cannelloni bake . This recipe makes enough to feed an army. You don't even have to double it to have enough for 2 meals especially if add a green salad and some warm crusty bread.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sticker Rewards

Mommy Tip of the Day: Stickers are a great, affordable, low calorie way to reward positive behavior and motivate kids to do what you want them to do.

Right now we are at the stage where my daughter thinks that every small accomplishment justifies a "treat". If it were up to her, every treat would be candy. Thankfully she also accepts being able to watch a show, or have mama read her a book, or my favorite, a sticker.

I really like stickers for a few reasons. First of all, they are fast. I can pull out the sticker book give her a reward and continue on with the task that I really want to be doing with them. She is happy because she gets to see the sticker and it reminds her of her good behavior.

I love that there are no calories in stickers. I really struggle with a balanced diet for myself and work very hard to teach my girls better eating habits. Although it works, and I do provide the occasional reward of candy, I don't want her to get a bunch of empty calories every time that she does something well.

I am also a big fan of positive reinforcement. I absolutely believe that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I know that I get better results and decrease my chances of a melt down (from both of us) if I praise my daughter when she does things right, instead of yelling at her for negative behaviors. The other component of positive reinforcement that people often forget about is that you have to work at it. You have to provide praise throughout the day, not just once. Kids are easily distracted and they remember your last action. So we need to make sure that we are giving lots of praise so that the last thing that they remember is the praise and not the time that you had to correct their behavior.

I really like the stickers because they are a good reminder that just like the stickers fall off and are forgotten as the day goes on that our praise is also forgotten as the day goes on and kids need lots of positive reinforcement for things to stick with them. My daughter does not get a sticker for every good thing that she does, but if I don't see a sticker on her, it is a good reminder that it is time to dole out some praise.

Of course you can over due it.

This little girl must have had a REALLY good day.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mommy Tip of the Day: A house that smells fresh gives the impression that it is clean and tidy. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet before you go to bed to absorb any odors in your home. Then vacuum in the morning for a fresh smelling home

Not a picture of my house.
(I never let pictures be taken in my house when it looks this bad. LOL)

I would much rather be sewing or playing with my kids than cleaning my house. Surely I am not the only one. I learned a long time ago that there are only so many hours in the day and the first thing that had to go was keeping a spotless house.

Yes, it feels GREAT on those days when I feel really productive and get my house all cleaned up. I love to have everything in its place. (Now if I could just figure out where that place is.) Unfortunately those days are few and far between.

We have started to make cleaning up the floor and putting all of the toys away part of our night time routine. We have our "clean up " song that we sing while my daughter picks up her toys. Then the floor is clean when we go to bed. It is ready for the baking soda and then it smells fresh and clean in the morning.

I love this tip because it is a quick cheat. ( I can find time for those.) It helps my house to feel fresh and clean even when I don't always have time to keep it that way. I especially love this in the winter time when it is too cold out to open the windows and air out the house.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sing a Song

Mommy Tip of the Day: Make up silly songs about your child's live/day and sing them to common tunes.

I remember reading somewhere that kids love to hear all about themselves. Personally, I don't know if my life is interesting enough to hear stores about after I have lived it, but this is my daughter's current favorite game.

I find this especially helpful when I am trying to get her to accomplish a task. When I want her to accomplish something that she is procrastinating about it is amazing how "me" in the story is able to quickly and efficiently do the task the first time that mommy asks. She is soon able to do the same thing.

Even before we got to the storytelling stage, my daughter has always loved to sing. Since she was little I would make up songs about what was going on, or things that she had done and sing them to common tunes. Yes, for the record, this was partially because too many years had passed for me to remember the actual words. I thought that I would share a few to get you started. Be aware....once you start, she may never let you stop.

"Baby Kat Went to the Zoo" to the tune of "Old McDonald Had a Farm". This one is great for teaching animals and animal sounds just like the original. It is also a great way to "read" a picture book.

When it is time to sleep, especially when she was little, I would sing Brahms Lullaby to the lyrics "Go to sleep....Little Girl...go to sleep now, your tired...go to sleep now, baby girl...close your eyes now you are tired."

There are also some great songs that I learned from youtube videos.

I love the elephant song. We make up our own animals now. This one can keep her entertained for a good 15-20 minutes most days.

Here is another song that we adapt to whatever objects catch my eye. If I need to burn off some of her energy, I will have her run and touch the object before we can sing the next verse.

I hope you guys have fun singing with your kids. And remember they NEVER care if you are in pitch.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Zucchini is your friend

Mommy Tip of the Day: Zucchini is your friend. Shred Zucchini very finely and add it to all kinds of meals to boost your veggie content.

Lots of moms have a hard time getting their kids to eat vegetables. Thankfully that is not my problem. My girls will eat all kinds of plain vegetables. Never mixed in a salad or casserole, but plain, they will gobble them up. In my house, Mom and Dad are the ones with the problem with veggies. Actually we have a problem eating well in general. Not that we don't like them, it is just that our schedules don't work well to sit down and make a "real" dinner. The girls only want plain food which is easy enough to make, but I usually don't eat dinner with them. So this one is for the moms with picky eaters, or anyone else who wants to eat a little healthier.

I thought that I had a picky eater. It turns out that she will eat lots of things, she just wants them plain. Before I realized this, I was looking for all kinds of ideas on how to get her to eat more variety. One of the things that I found was a book called The Sneaky Chef. She suggested the idea of adding veggies in purred form and hiding it in foods that they already eat.

The most versatile veggie that I have found to "hide" is zucchini. It is really great to add into Spaghetti or chili. Shred it finely and add it when you are cooking the meat and/or onions. You will never know that it is in there.

My favorite recipe is for Chocolate Zucchini Muffins. I bake a bunch, then freeze them and bring them out for breakfast. (If they last long enough for me to freeze.) Here is the recipe that I use. I hope you enjoy it.


Mix together: 1 c. white sugar 1 c white flour, 1 c whole wheat flour, 1 c wheat germ 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. cinnamon 4 oz. grated Hershey bar 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Mix separately and add to dry ingredients the following: 3 tsp. vanilla 1 c. oil 1/2 c plain yogurt 3 c. grated zucchini 1/2 c. nuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 2 dozen muffins. For bread: Bake at 350 degrees. Makes 2 loaves. Bake for 1 hour.

*you can substitute 3 cups white flour for the white flour, wheat flour and wheat germ.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Give them a choice

Mommy Tip of the Day: When disciplining your child, give him the choice between 2 options that you are ok with. You get the result you want every time because he can't make the wrong choice.

This one works on the toddlers through the teenagers. Everyone wants to have some control in their life. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you never got to make a decision, and how much more relaxed when you are in control and getting to decide what happens.

The same is true for kids. Giving them the power to make small decisions about their lives goes a long way towards stopping power struggles. I don't know about you, but I definatly believe the world would be a better place without temper tantrums.

This works the same way if you are dealing with teenagers or toddlers. The only thing that really changes is the thing that they want.

For my toddler....She really likes to be in my sewing room when I am working. The problem is that she also has a few toys that a really big and loud and not the best for using in a smaller space. (Thanks again, Grandma) Of course there are times when she wants to play with this annoying toy in my sewing room when I am trying to work. This is not a good combination. I could take the toy away from her and put it away, but that would just start the melt down. Burning it in a fiery abys is something that would rather do many days, but she really would miss the toy. So that I can keep my sanity, still be productive, and keep a happy child, I give her a choice. I let her decide if she wants to play with a calm quiet toy in the sewing room (look at a book, play with stuffed animals, etc...) or she can go into another room and play with the loud noisy one. I am happy with either decision she makes, so she can't make a wrong one.

For your teenagers...say they want to stay out late on a school night to go to a haunted house after it gets dark (or any other late event) I would give them the option to go to the haunted house after dark on the weekend when they may have a later curfew, or to go earlier so that they can be home before their curfew. This option puts the control in their hands. They get to make the right decision because they only have right choices to choose from. Because teenagers tend to be a bit stubborn and really want things their own way, I may offer an 3rd option if they want to argue with the 2 choices. The third option is that they are not allowed to go at all.

Not only does giving your kids a choice help give them some control and diffuses arguments. It also helps them learn decision making skills which is an invaluable skill to master.

Next time you find yourself in a power struggle try this and let me know how it works.