Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nesting? Or Winterizing?

So if this really IS nesting, there are ways to make those nesting instincts work in your favor if you're a green-lovin' momma like me.  In the pictures below, you'll see two exciting things happening in my kitchen.

First, my Advent Conspiracy gift from my husband and parents-in-law is that my kitchen was finally painted!  Huzzah!  I love that bright, cheery yellow color.  It goes so well with the candy apple green in my living room and I'm convinced we'll actually turn the lights on less because it reflects so much of the natural day light we get in our windows.

But second, take a look at my hubby using his mad skills to help me winterize my kitchen windows!  This is a chore I've been doing since I was a kid.  I remember my mom putting this stuff up and then enjoying poking at it, watching the cold air billow on the other side.  I'm sure what my mom loved was that we weren't going to spend a fortune on heating the house that winter!  After some coaxing to get my pregnant belly off the couch, we've now winterized everything but the bathroom window... just one to go!  What a GREEN friendly option - green for my wallet AND green for the earth!

What techniques do you use to save a little green during the winter months???

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

So all of you out there who feel I need to slow down and take it easy will be glad to know that during the entire Christmas weekend, I repeatedly thought to myself, "I should blog right now," but never actually did.  The result means that I've been absentee from this space longer than I wanted to be.  But the other result is that I actually did do a lot of nothing on my 3 day weekend.  Perfect, really!

Christmas this year was excellent - on Saturday we went to my in-laws and participated in an excellent yankee swap where Ben received a knife sharpener (very baby friendly, I think...) and I received a singing, dancing christmas tree.  I haven't put the thing together yet to make it sing and dance, but let's be honest, that's AMAZING!  Sunday was literally a whole lot of nothing.  My Advent Conspiracy for my hubby was not really a secret.  But I think he enjoyed it anyway.  I made his favorite sausage rolls and delivered them to him in bed on Sunday morning.

The rest of Sunday consisted of watching movies, chatting with family and doing a whole lot of nothing.  We returned back to Boston on Monday where my hubby (and his family who came down with us!) painted my kitchen and hall for me!  An excellent yellow color which I think is going to be absolutely cheery and beautiful.  Just what I'll need if I'm gonna be around the house full time for 3 months this spring/summer.

And then surprise of surprises, my parents-in-law stayed in Boston today and my mother-in-law cleaned my house for me!  Literally the best Christmas present I could picture... better than anything she could have purchased.  Our bathtub (and the rest of the bathroom for that matter) is actually cleaner than I've ever seen it-- like, cleaner than when we moved in.  My laundry is done and folded.  And cobwebs are swept out of corners I didn't know existed.  I feel SO RELAXED and blessed tonight!

But it makes me think about the concept of "nesting" which the websites say kicks in during the 2nd trimester.  As I'm rounding out my 2nd trimester (just a couple more weeks to go!), I'm wondering if I've felt the nesting urge.  Ben and I started the long, slow process of reorganizing and redecorating our apartment in the summer (before I was pregnant).  It's been long and slow because we're both sorta ADD about it, but also because we both work full time and it's hard to get to any of it.  So yes, when we have free time, I crave things like finishing the living room projects, starting the kitchen painting, or planning out what we're gonna do in the nursery.  But I don't think it's really to a full blown "nesting" situation.  I think it's just who I am!

Have you guys felt the "nesting" feeling? What did it feel like to you? Did you end up doing any crazy things around the house?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2nd trimester aches and pains

So today I'm learning about fibroids.  Maybe it's a little TMI, but it turns out I have one (as MANY women do) in my uterus.  In? On?  Near?  I'll be honest, I'm not sure.  The ultrasound tech told us a few weeks ago when we were there that it was no big deal, not near the cervix, and we shouldn't worry.  So we haven't.  But today I'm having some bizarre cramping and my midwife wonders if it could be the fibroid giving me issues.

If you're related to me, DO NOT GOOGLE THIS!  Googling medical diagnoses is never a good idea without actual collateral medical back up.  It only serves to freak you out, no matter whether the diagnosis is fibroids or something as simple as toe jam!  Trust me on this.

For the time being, I'm taking it easy, using a heating pad, hydrating, and taking a little tylenol for the irritation.  Ben is, meanwhile, making fun of me for how silly I look while typing and lying in bed. :-)  We'll see the midwife this week and get another ultrasound just to make sure everything's doing okay, which I'm 100% sure it is.  But if you're the praying type... prayers are also welcome.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Consider me registered

Is it odd that I want to have a well stocked library for my little one?  Probably not, given that I'm the daughter of a librarian myself.  But wow... this list is awesome...

If I got nothing except the items on that list as gifts this year, I'd be THRILLED.

Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY baby wipes

So... I suppose I owe at least some of you a status update before I talk about DIY baby products.

We're 22 weeks pregnant today!  I've got a bit of a baby bump going... I mean, I think it's more than a bit.  But everyone at work very kindly says, "oh you ARE showing just a little!!!"  Ben, on the other hand says, "um... did you grow a belly over night?"  :-)  So yes, it's there.  Our little girl is definitely moving around and I can feel her, but she doesn't keep at it long enough for Ben to feel it (or maybe I can only feel it on the inside?).  I can't wait for it to be enough that he can feel it and participate in this excitement.

So this week, along with discovering, I'm thinking a little about ways that we'll DIY life both to make it healthier/more organic but also ways to save money rather than just simplying buying things mindlessly.  One thing that I've come across on my blog hunting is making your own baby wipes.  The top two/easiest "recipes" are here:

Kitchen Stewardship

Homemade Mamas

Of course, it would be more eco-wise to create/use something that isn't disposable, like this:

My Crazy Happy Life

hm... has anyone done this?  I continue to weigh the pros and cons of reusable (which means less landfills) and washable (which means more quarters required for the laundry in my basement... no one factors that in when they say that reusable is "cheaper.")

Monday, December 5, 2011

My First Christmas Tree!

This weekend for my birthday, my husband bought me my first christmas tree.  My first real one that I have to water, at least.  It was quite fun and I even teared up a bit-- I'd love to think that I'm just sentimental, but let's be honest, it was probably the hormones.

Regardless, we had a great time blending his traditions of Christmas with mine.  I insisted on shrimp, sausage, cheese, crackers, and Manheim Steamroller (per my family's traditions)

and he taught me how to string cranberries and popcorn (per his)!
p.s., don't ask me why he didn't tell me to smile.  I suppose I'm just special like that.

Meanwhile, we've begun some of our own new family traditions, even before little girl Warren is born... if you look closely at the tree, you'll see two different, unique-to-the-Boston-Warrens things.

First of all, we have mostly home made ornaments on there right now.  We made a bunch together in 12/2009 out of clay and paint.  And then last year, I used our saved wedding cards to make some paper ones too!  I love them.

But second, did you notice the green glow behind/above the tree?  That's right... marry an Event Engineer and your christmas tree gets it's very own LED spotlight.  I'm a lucky girl, no?

I can't wait to include baby girl Warren in some of these traditions next year, in whatever way she's capable.  She'll be about 8 months old so I'm thinking finger painting more ornaments.  Anyone else have ideas on ways to get a little one involved in home made Christmas crafts?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent and other gifty memories

As a child, I remember pulling out the christmas decorations (typically around my birthday, thankyouverymuch!) and getting excited to see the "new" things each December that were included.  They weren't new... it's just that after 10 or 11 months off of them, they were re-"new" and exciting to look at, play with, or read.  There were nativities, advent candles, and of course, christmas story books... the best.  When my parents could get us to sit still (I'm sure some years were better than others) we'd even take the time to read favorites aloud.

That's why I was so excited to see this idea on a blog I like to keep up with: An Advent "Calendar" made of Books!  How brilliant is that?  Take the same books that your kids loved last christmas season, wrap them up, and open one at a time!  What a great way to keep the excitement going all month long.  Of course, we should also consider more eco-friendly options than using all that wrapping paper.  Anyone have suggestions for some sort of re-usable wrapping that might work?  Or you could re-use old wrapping paper if you're one of those who unwraps carefully enough.  Or what about a big Santa bag that a child could blindly grab one out of per day?  Hm... I've got time to figure out what works for us, huh?

It also reminds me of the habit my mom had when we were kids about bringing "presents" along on long trips.  I wish I knew where she got the idea from.  But when we'd get in the car for a road trip, her purse would always be secretly full of these little cheesy toys... each one probably worth a dollar at the local Walgreens... each one carefully wrapped.  We'd get a little too bored, too restless, or too irritating, and POOF!  Out would come a NEW TOY to be unwrapped and played with.  Small travel games, little books of riddles... whatever it was, it kept us busy for a few more minutes or hours as dad drove farther down the road.  Brilliant, if you ask me.

2nd half of the pics

As promised... I figured out where the "reveal" part of the gender reveal party pics were.  For your viewing pleasure:

p.s., MAD PROPS to the baker, T.B. who made this tasty treat!  Amazing fondant work and yummy cakey inside!  Evidently it was his first one!  What a rock star.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Well, those of you with whom I'm close have already heard the results.  But for posterity's sake...


The gender reveal party went smashingly well.  I was far more popular than I expected to be.  Our little home was sorta busting at the seams!  They say a picture says 1,000 words, so I'll be brief and let the party pics speak for themselves.  If you're pictured here and have a huge problem with it (sorry I didn't ask first), please feel free to email me off line and I'll blur you out or something. ;-)

The cake... pre cutting.  Who know's what's gonna happen?!?!?!

The pink and blue voters... or those who randomly wore pink or blue and were forced into pictures.  Thanks, Ben for getting your boxers out.  We appreciate it. :-)

My moms with the belly bump.

okay... some how I'm not yet in possession of the pics of actually cutting into the cake and seeing that it's pink.  So when I get those, I promise I'll add them.  This will have to do for now. Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Green Christmas with Children

Hey guys... this is why I can't be a "real" blogger.  'cause I get busy and I don't write a post for 10 days.  And then by the time I return, the title of my blog doesn't make sense any more because I know what gender my child is.  No... I don't know the gender yet!  But we ARE finding out soon!  The ultrasound is on Thursday and the Gender Reveal party is on Saturday.  So exciting.  You gonna be there?

Anyway, I don't have any brilliant links to share tonight or new information about ways to live green in the city or with your kids.  But I have been thinking about it, as always.  This last weekend, I hung out with a few of my lady friends from church, working on a variety of craft projects for ourselves and for Christmas. See my friend, Emily's blog for details:

And while we were working away with our hands, the two of us ladies who were expecting got all sorts of amazing mama advice from our two friends with kids under the age of 3.  It was wonderful!  One thing we talked about is how to keep your Advent Conspiracy principles with extended family who may not follow Advent Conspiracy.  What is Advent Conspiracy you ask?  Check it out here:

I think I leaned toward this concept for years, just simply because of my frugality and my green-ness.  But it's so nice to take that principle of spending less and turn it into giving more in other ways, through time, donations, etc... really linking my moral and practical values to my Christian beliefs.  But I will say that as an impending new mother, I'm nervous about how to follow through with Advent Conspiracy when involving extended family and in-laws in family holiday traditions.  My current thoughts are:

- make requests for items that we/baby actually will need over the next 12 months, whether it be clothing, educational items, toys, etc.
- encourage the concept of less-is-more and minimalist living by request family/friends spend time and perform acts of service for our family rather than putting wrapped items under a tree
- model great behaviors by giving recycled/reused, homemade, or acts-of-service gifts or by giving donations in family's honor rather than giving brand new retail gifts
- love family anyway, even if they don't understand what we want to do and buy us more than we want or need despite all of the above.

Anyone have any other brilliant suggestions for me?  I love hearing your advice!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Gender reveal party!


Today has been a pretty exciting day. Ben and I decided that our first ultrasound (at 10 weeks) was anticlimactic, so rather than find out the gender of our little olive at the second ultrasound, we would host a gender reveal party!

It's gonna be hilarious and ridiculous, I'm sure. And if I had more energy tonight, I'd post pictures from a variety of other parties I've seen online. But due to my exhaustion, I'll let you go look it up yourself on pininterest or google images or something.

BUT the exciting news is that we told my parents about the party and my dad bought my mom a plane ticket to fly in for the party!!!! Isn't that the best? My dad is pretty awesome. As my (not so little any more) friend, CW in Milwaukee says, "Jeff Whitmill? I love that guy!"

Okay. I now release you to the intranets for gender reveal party hunting. But before you go... Tell me what the likelihood is that baby won't cooperate and my poor mom comes from MN and wwe don't know the gender...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dave Ramsey would be SO FRICKIN' PROUD!

I cannot stop smiling about how much of a deal I got today.  So some how (maybe craigslist???) I ran into an ad for this event at an organization called Parent Talk in Needham.  Basically, twice a year, they host a HUGE rummage sale aimed at ages 0-8 years.  The sale runs at typical yard sale prices from 10am-11:45am.  Then at 12:00, they switch over to a "bag sale" where anything you can fit inside a brown paper grocery bag you get for $10 total for the bag.  Well, T.E. (soon to be T.B.... if she's taking his name, that is...) went with me today to scope out the sale at 11:15 and to do some MONDO shopping at 12:00 sharp.  And look what we came up with!!!

In case you can't tell from the picture, that includes:

1 baby bath tub
1 bouncy seat
1 boppy
1 changing table top pad
9 board books
7 cloth books
6 other random cloth toys
5 hats
11 bibs
2 blankies
3 maternity tops
1 maternity pants
20 onsies
10 cotton/light weight sleepers
5 warm/fuzzy sleepers
9 light weight sleep sacks
25 pairs of pants
6 kimono/wrap tops
4 sweaters
4 other longsleeved tops
1 bathrobe
1 pair of socks

If my (really bad) math is correct, I think thats 133 items... 

wanna guess how much I spent?!?!?!

Oh yeah... $36.00 even.  Not a penny more or less! 

T.E. and I totaled up what the sale prices were if I'd shopped before the 12:00 bag sale.  That alone was $200+.  And when we estimated what the likely retail price was of these items, we felt it was highly likely over $1,500.  

I pretty much feel like a rock star.  And you can bet I'm joining whatever listserv I need to be on in order to be alerted of the next sale.  If they do this twice a year, I think I've found my only necessary source of kids clothes, toys, etc for the next few years.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Maternity Clothes

So tonight's obsession is about how the heck I'm gonna make it through the pregnancy without spending a fortune on maternity clothes. It doesn't make sense to me to buy a bunch of new stuff for several reasons. First, I'll only wear the stuff a few months, and then they're back in a box for years (or ever?) until I... what... have another? That's so not something we're even gonna discuss right now. Secondly, what a WASTE of money!!!

Thus, I'm really keeping my eyes peeled for interesting ways to keep my maternity expenses down. Right now, I'm using the 'rubber band trick' which, from what I can tell, most moms know about. (Where did we learn this stuff before the internet?) And things like Belly Bands, of course, make a lot of sense to stretch my 'normal' pants a few more weeks/months (I'm ordering mine tonight, because they were out of my size at Isis this weekend). But what other ideas can I find or think of?

Turns out, there's a lot of great ideas out there on the internet! Who would have thought?!?! Take a look: shows how to turn two shirts that are too-short into one that's long enough. It's actually brilliant for tees and for tanks. The question is, are the bright, contrasting colors too cheesy? Maybe putting a neutral like tan or black in the middle would make sense for work. shows how to take one larger shirt and turn it into a slightly tighter one. Hm... might require a trip to good will, especially if I don't want to just steal all of Ben's shirts. ;-)'s ribbon tied top

and finally, here's a couple top patterns that honestly, while I have the skill for, I probably just won't take the time:'s men's button down top

Any other ideas for me???

Sunday, October 23, 2011

BPA free? What else you got?

So sure... BPA is bad. We got that news a few years ago. But when my patients at work ask me, "what bottle system would YOU choose?" I always wish I had a better answer which was more earth friendly than the average. The next step up is glass. Not only is glass BPA free, but it's also free of any other toxins in plastic we don't yet know about. And using glass bottles fits with the face that Ben and I stopped using plastic Tupperware containers last year too. We just really feel we want to minimize the plastic in our lives.

But glass bottles have their downfalls too. In my recent search, I've come across a new possibility. What about stainless steel? I mean, it's the preferred material for adult bottles these days, why not kiddos too? Check these out:

stainless Steel bottles by Pura! They are unbreakable, toxin free, and adaptable to grow with our little Olive until he or she is a toddler and beyond!

Thoughts? We just might be crazy enough to break out of the box and try 'Em...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reduce reuse recycle

Hey! I feel strongly about the ideas of 'cheap' and 'reuse' in all walks of life. But especially as I start this new chapter as a parent, I really want to get off on the right foot. Thus, I've signed up for this awesome new website called Thred Up. You can find them at The principle is that you exchange (for a small fee) your box of unwanted items for a box of someone else's unwanted items. It looks pretty cool, actually! If you're a parent or grandparent (or uncle, aunt, or cousin with a spending problem), I highly recommend you check it out.

Thred Up even has a referral program. So if you decide to join, use my referral code in the pic above and we both get a deal!

Start at the beginning

I had a first post written. It was witty, intelligent, and thoughtful. And then somehow the iPad deleted it. The iPad is not witty, intelligent, or thoughtful. But the bottom line... You guessed it, is we're pregnant! We've made it to the 14 week mark and I'm even starting to bulge a little.

Yes, we'll find out the gender.
Yes, we are getting excited (slowly... Day by day...)
No, I haven't felt too terrible.
Yes, I told work already and they took it well!
No, we haven't decided on cloth diapers vs disposable, but I am very pleased that so many of you have asked me because it means you see me as the green person I want to be!

What other questions have you all been asking? ;-)

I don't envision myself becoming a hard-core blogging momma. Every time I start a journal for myself for a blog for the world, it tends to last a few months and then fizzle out. But I am, for some reason, trying hard not to become 'that mom' who only talks about her pregnancy or child on Facebook. Thus, I thought that for now, while my head is swimming with pregnancy related thoughts, a blog might be a good place to track them. That way those of who who care can read it and those of you who don't can skip right by without being too irritated or annoyed with me.