Sunday, November 29, 2015

McCall's 4236 Sew A Baby Sleep Sack

This was the third time I have sewn a baby sleep sack using McCall's 4236.  I thought it was high time that I write a review about it.  I'm always on the lookout for good patterns or sewing projects.  I appreciate it so much when others share about their sewing projects.

As a mom of two myself I absolutely love gifting others with a baby sleep sack knowing that it will help keep their baby both warm and safe.  There is no fear of a baby smothering with a blanket in the night and no chance of the baby kicking off their covers.  This is one of my go to gifts for babies born in the fall or winter.  For this project I again chose McCall's 4236 view C in a size small.  In my experience this will fit a baby for more than just a few pounds as the pattern indicates.

This pattern is straightforward and easy to sew.  My only caution would be to make sure that you don't stretch the fabric in any way when you are sewing around the arm holes.  I've had a little trouble with things looking wonky if I stretched the fabric in any manner.  The only other change that I made was finishing the edges with a serger.

Back view of McCall's 4236 Baby Sleep Sack

I made one of these sleep sacks for my daughter Eva and it worked like a dream. She slept in it almost every night for months.

My daughter Eva in her sleep sack. 

Thanks for stopping by to check out this review of McCall's 4236 Baby Sleep Sack!  

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
Sew a New Native Sling: McCall's 5678

What is your favorite gift to give as a baby shower gift?

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Week's Goals

Happy Monday!  How was your weekend?  We had a nice time despite Eva being under the weather one day.  Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed a lovely walk as a family.  

1) This week I will be focusing a lot of attention on Eva's therapy and care.  We will be attending three therapy sessions this week and at least one appointment with one of her physicians.  Next week we are taking the entire week off from therapy in honor of Thanksgiving!
2)  Have an at-home date with the happy hubby.
3)  Enjoy an outing as a family.  I'd love to go hiking again but we will probably head indoors since the weather is turning cold.

4)  Sew two Christmas gifts this week.  I have lots of ideas up my sleeve.  Now if I could only find more time in my day!
5)  Spend an hour clearing out clutter and organizing our third bedroom.

6)  Have labs drawn early one morning.
7)  Attend my yearly checkup with my doctor.  (Did you know that almost every health insurance company pays the entire cost of a well checkup with your doctor?  There are also a number of routine labs which are covered completely free!  If you do schedule a "well checkup" with your doctor be sure to ask that it is coded correctly.)

Ministry & Friendships:
8) Write four thank you notes this week to friends who have really blessed my heart in the past two weeks.
9)  Prepare a nice collection of songs for worship on Sunday.  I will be playing a lively arrangement of Come Ye Thankful People come as the offertory.

10) Spend an afternoon helping my grandmother.

What are your goals for this week?  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

October Reads & Money Making Mom

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children by Sally Clarkson: This book was such a blessing to my heart as a mom and I simply can't believe this was my first book by Clarkson.  As I was reading the book I found myself highlighting like crazy and making dozens of notes.  I was so encouraged in my pursuit of motherhood that it felt like I had invited Mrs. Clarkson over for afternoon tea. So much of motherhood is about training & discipling your children in the ways of the Lord.  How I pray and yearn,
 "that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children."  Psalm 78:6

This book was the sweet shot in the arm that I needed this month to encourage me in purposeful mothering.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Above The Line.  All opinions are my own.  

Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie:  I picked up this book for the sole reason that I simply adore Sarah Mackenzie's podcast The Read Aloud Revival.  It is one of my all-time favorite podcasts to listen to and I find myself so encouraged to build a culture of reading within our home.  Although her book didn't focus on reading, I gleaned so much from Mackenzie's insightful book.  I appreciated many of the things that she said and plan on incorporating many of the ideas from the book into our daily routine.  The best idea I gleaned from the book was the idea of having a focused, intentional period of the day set aside for important things that I want to cover with my children but so often get squeezed out.  We have set aside about twenty minutes each morning for our own "Morning Time" and it has been lovely almost every morning.  I am sure that what we actually do during our morning time will change with the seasons.  For now we use this time to talk about our plans for the day, enjoy a few books, sing a few songs, and have a short devotion.  I also applaud Mackenzie for not constantly plugging her personal blog Amongst Lovely Things.  This book was so inspiring that it inspires me to seek out her blog as time permits.

Homeschooling 101: A Guide to Getting Started. by Erica Arndt: As a fan of Erica Arndt's blog Confessions of a Homeschooler I really wanted to love this book.  Sadly I didn't.  (I really dislike leaving negative feedback about books because I can't imagine just what goes into writing a book.  I also really do enjoy her blog and her youtube videos.)  This book was so incredibly basic that it is one of those books that I am relieved that I didn't purchase.  I had great expectations for this book and expected it to be filled with great ideas about learning at home.  I don't want this to sound overly harsh but the entire book just felt like it was filled with plugs for the author's blog and contained minimal helpful information.  If you feel like you are completely clueless and don't have an earthly idea about homeschooling then this might be helpful.

Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference by Crystal Paine: One of the great trends that I have noticed over the past decade is the increased number of women who are creatively making part-time jobs work for their families.  I know so many friends who work opposite shifts from their husbands or squeeze a work at home job into their day while their young children are sleeping.  Since becoming a mother almost six years ago I have earned a small income from a variety of different jobs.  Paine shares openly and honestly about her past business failures and successes.  This book is jam packed with money making ideas for moms to find creative ideas to make an income without always committing to a full time job working 9-5.  I loved this book and plan on revisiting many of the ideas in this book in the future when Evangeline's therapy decreases. This book really helped me to see that I am right where I need to be during this season of life.  Yes more money would always be great but during this time I really need to focus on all of the hats that I am currently wearing.  Please note that I did receive a free copy of this book from the Money Making Mom launch team.        

The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book (Time Series) by Daria Song:  I have secretly been intrigued with the idea of an adult coloring book ever since I heard about them this summer.  Doesn't it sound so relaxing to sit leisurely coloring away?  I really enjoyed coloring as a young child but I don't remember spending long periods of time coloring once I learned to read on my own.  My son is reluctant to color (as most active five year old boys are) so I picked this up in hopes of encouraging him in artistic pursuits.  Eli is rather intrigued by the idea and loved looking through the pictures with me.  I also thought it would be such a fun activity to do with my children.  Just think, a mom with her own coloring book!  Ha, ha.  This book looks so inviting and would appeal to a wide variety of adults.  Please note that I did receive a review copy of this book from Blogging For Books.  All opinions are my own.

What about you?  What books did you read in October?

Monday, November 2, 2015

This Week's Goals

How was your weekend?  Ours was a little productive, fairly relaxing, and filled with fun!  We all enjoyed our church's annual Trunk-or-Treat and bonfire.  Eva dressed as a ladybug and Eli dressed himself as Captain NBC from American Ninja Warrior. 

Setting goals helps me to live my life with purpose and intention.  I hope that you are encouraged to this end as you set your goals for this week.  

Here are my goals from last week:

Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  Enjoy an out of town date with the happy hubby!  We had a blast getting away and out of town for just over 24 hours.  It is so refreshing!  
2)  Attend two therapy appointments with Evangeline and one meeting with a coordinator.   So thankful for the progress Eva is making!  
3)  Take both children on a fun outing one afternoon.  We had originally planned on a zoo trip but it was raining.  We spent a lovely afternoon at the local library picking out a basket full of books and movies.  The children and I also enjoyed playing two games at the library which you can check out while you are there.  

4)  Finish reading The Ministry of Homemaking, Teaching From Rest, and Money Saving Mom.  These two books were really good.  I had the opportunity to read a pre-release copy of Crystal Paine's new book Money Saving Mom which is available for purchase as of today!   
5)  Schedule yearly checkup.  

6)  Schedule family pictures.-Still not sure where we are going to squeeze these into the next few weeks.  
7)  Swap out both children's summer clothes for their winter clothes.  This took forever but I am finished!  
8)  Sew one Christmas present. -I have about 30 minutes left to finish. 

Ministry & Friendships:
9)  Learn a new song on the piano.  I played Cindy Berry's arrangement of Rejoice The Lord Is King yesterday for the first time.  
10) Attend Women on Mission and Trunk or Treat.  Women on Mission was canceled this week but we did have a blast at Trunk or Treat.  The happy hubby and I dressed up as Publisher's Clearing House.  Brandon dressed up in a suit as Ed McMahon complete with balloons and a giant check.  I dressed up in my bathrobe and curlers as the lady at the door who screams, "Oh my!  I'm going to quit my job.  I can't believe it!"  It was lots of fun but we forgot to snap a picture!  Eva dressed up as a lady bug and Eli was a American Ninja Warrior.  

11) Spend a few hours helping my grandparents.
12) Write two blog posts including one post about Eva's feeding therapy.  

This Week's Goals:

Marriage, Mothering, & Family:
1)  Attend two therapy appointments with Evangeline.
2)  Enjoy a date with the happy hubby.
3)  Weather permitting I hope to take the children to the zoo this week.

4)  Visit the dentist for a dental cleaning.
5)  Finish reading Teaching From Rest and complete chapter 5 of The Wisdom of God: Seeing Jesus in the Psalms & Wisdom Books.  

6)  Finish sewing at least one Christmas present.
7)  Pack up my summer clothes and de-clutter my closet.  I'm hoping I can also get the happy hubby on board with this project but we will see.

Ministry & Friendships:
8) Write a note of encouragement to a friend going through a difficult time.  I am also going to spend some additional time this week praying for this friend.
9)  Catch up with a friend this week via telephone.
10) Write and mail 6 thank you notes by Thursday.

11)  Work four hours this week from home.
12)  Write three blog posts.  I am hoping to blog more frequently from now until Christmas.

How did you do on your goals last week?  What goals do you have for this week?  Have you started working on any plans for Christmas?  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Eva's Feeding Therapy Update Part I

The day Evangeline ate a banana.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, a Facebook friend, or a real life friend you have probably been following the story of Eva's recent health concerns.  Our world was completely turned upside down when in July we found out that my daughter has a chiari one brain malformation.  We met with a neurosurgeon last month and were relieved to find that they were not anxious to perform decompression surgery this fall.  We are scheduled for a follow up mri and neurosurgery appointment in March but for now the majority of Eva's medical care involves feeding therapy 2-4 times per week.

If you happen to be wondering, "What in the world is feeding therapy?" you are not alone.  I didn't even know that such a thing existed four months ago.  Feeding therapy involves working directly with food through a progression of steps to help a child hopefully one day eat food on their own.  I found it interesting to learn that both occupational therapists and speech pathologists are involved in feeding therapy.  I don't think all children involved in feeding therapy see both speech and occupational therapy but in Eva's case she does.  Each specialty focuses on a different area and we have been thrilled with Eva's progress in both areas.  In my non-professional opinion her speech therapists work more closely on how Evangeline is actually chewing the food, what her tongue is doing at the time, and how her chewing muscles are developing while the occupational therapists focus more on the sensory aspect of eating.  They both actually sit down with Eva and  have her eat during each therapy session.

Eva is delayed in her eating skills and does not eat what is typical of a 24 month old.  Right now our main priority is that Evangeline would eat real food and continue to grow.  For months we have begged the Lord to give Eva an appetite and a desire for food.  Prior to August she never appeared hungry and wouldn't ask for food or show signs of hunger.  I still remember the day about two months ago when she looked up at me and said "I eat."  Never before have I broke down in tears when my child asked for food.  You see aside from nursing, she had never asked me for food.

Eva drinking juice from a nosey cup for the first time.
Today Eva continues to have difficulty with food but she has made so much progress.  It really does feel like a miracle that she has made as much progress in therapy.  Let me just take a moment to say thank you to each of you who have prayed for Evangeline.  Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.  It means so much.  Thank you also for the many friends and family who have personally called, sent cards, mailed care packages, or squeezed money into my hand with a wink in your eye saying, "Please take it, it's for Eva."  Words can't express just how much our family has been blessed by your encouragement.  You have truly helped to bear our burden the past few months.

To date Evangeline will tolerate most food being placed on her tray and will even lick most of the foods with encouragement.  Last week she actually took four bites of a banana!  The next progression in feeding therapy is to have Eva take bites of food and then eventually one day to swallow them.  She continues to receive the vast majority of her calories from Pediasure and I look forward to the day when we can reduce how much Pediasure she is drinking.  Her oral skills are developing and we continue to work on building up the muscles in her mouth so that she will not grow too tired from chewing that she stops eating.  

Part of Eva's difficulties with food also involve sensory issues.  She works closely with two occupational therapists during her actual meal times.  They enjoy sensory play together and then sit down to work on actually touching, licking, and attempting to eat food.  We also work weekly on oral, stimulating exercises with a Nuk brush or vibrating toothbrush.  At first many of the sensory exercises seemed incredibly silly but I have seen so much improvement in Eva's tolerance of sensory stimuli.  Eva will even tolerate one of the vibrating toothbrushes without crying!

I've thought a lot about whether Eva really has feeding difficulties and sensory issues or whether she is just plain difficult or lazy when it comes to food.  In my professional mom opinion she really does have feeding issues.  She's not just trying to get attention or be difficult the vast majority of the time.  (I have been concerned about her lack of eating for over a year.)  Yes I would say that about 10% of her food resistance is attitude but the majority of it is a true problem.  We are incredibly thankful for the grace that God has shown us in giving us wonderful therapists to walk alongside us during this journey.

You might also enjoy reading the following posts where I have shared more about Eva's health concerns:
My Daughter Has Chiari
What The Neurosurgeons Had To Say