My Hosptial Bag

When I had baby #1 I had a vague idea of what to pack, by baby #2 I had it down to a science! Our hospital provided everything for baby, diapers, wipes, a pacifier, a brush, blankets and even clothing (they had specific tee-shirts they look like this  they wanted baby in to do easy temp and heartbeat checks). For me they had a gown (UGLY) and towels (Scratchy) and pads. Baby #1 was full term I had my bag packed for when labor started. I had things like snacks for me (but mostly for daddy I had a fear of pooping on the table so I didn’t want to eat before pushing), magazines, a playlist on my iPod, lemon juice to squeeze on ice chips, oil absorbing wipes and wet wipes, hair ties and a headband, and massagers to rub my back… none of these came in handy since baby #1 ended up being breech and a C-section ensued. I had my first baby in less than a half hour! Go me:) Because of certain condition I opted for a repeat C-section for baby #2 rather than a Vbac. I skipped the lemon juice and music this time since I knew this would be quick. Instead I packed my own hospital gown (from Pretty Pushers)  and nice towel and flip flops for the shower. I also remembered how awful hospital pillows were so I packed my own. I got a new set of PJ’s and robe since I knew I would have guests and wanted to be covered but comfortable and a going home outfit. I bought some new undies since my pre-pregnancy ones most likely still wouldn’t fit and would hit right about the same spot as my incision and my maternity ones would be too big. Yes I bought Granny Panties for this occasion. I threw in a few snacks for those late night feedings when the kitchen is closed but for the most part our hospital had really good food. I got a new nursing bra. I only bought one because I knew my size would change over the next few days and weeks. I brought disposable nursing pads as well, my milk has a habit of coming in very fast so the colostrum stage is short maybe a day and then I start leaking like a sieve! Toiletries: Make up, shampoo, conditioner etc. (Don’t forget your glasses contact case and cleaner if you wear contacts). I brought my computer for those times when baby is sleeping and no one is visiting (with a C-section my hospital stay was a day longer and so there were down times). I brought my child’s baby book (it is important to look through carefully before baby arrives because mine had a page for hospital visitors to sign) and an outfit for bringing baby home. My boyfriend’s and my tradition has been for daddy to pick the take home outfit out for our kids. I brought a special shirt for baby while in the hospital for day  3 after they allowed him to have clothing (see it here). I packed my Camera (extra batteries, an extra SD card, and charger). Cellphone and charger which I left a note to myself to grab on top of my hospital bag since I am notorious for not having my phone or it being dead. A black nursing tank and shirt for photos after baby was born and a stuffed animal plus his musical sea horse (see it).

What’s in my bag:

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Free Printables

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Abby Birthday Cake

So I always go gaga over amazing cakes and think I can pull them off and then about half way through realize I am in over my head! Someday I will figure out how to decorate with fondant but for now it is not in my repertoire of skills. Lucky for me I have the beautiful Miss Mallory in my arsenal of weapons:) I found this amazing Abby Cadabby cake I wanted to make for Trinity’s 4th birthday. Of course I knew I couldn’t pull it off and honestly had my doubts that anyone including Mal could but as you will see she is AMAZING!
Here is the inspiration:

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The real thing~

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Granted the photos were taken in our garage so the lighting is a little funny but pretty close don’t ya think? Thanks Mallory she turned out perfect! Here are some of the cake artist other masterpieces:

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Teething

I’m a happy teether with my amber teething necklace!

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When Trinity was teething for the 1st time so was I. My wicked wisdom teeth decided to rear their evil heads while my baby girls central incisor’s were poking through her bottom gums. She took it like a champ! Mom on the other hand curled up on the couch and thought she was going to DIE! I continuously chewed on Gummy Bears (which was a surprisingly effective method for dealing with the pain) until I could get into the oral surgeon to have my teeth removed.

Number 1 = Trinity; Number 5= Mommy (only worse! there should be a number 6 wisdom teeth you think you will die and at the worst point wish it were so!)01010

 

For me it was chewy Gummy Bears that were my saving grace but you can’t give a baby candy to ease the pain. There are a million options available but here is what I have found works (and what didn’t).

Teething Necklaces~

They make both baby and mommy ones. The amber is a great natural pain reliever for babies to wear when teething just don’t let them nap or sleep with them on. Ryder’s is a necklace from The Art of Cure but there are many vendors available. For moms they have tons of options also. Most mother teething jewelry is silicon or rubber but some are knit, wood or fabric. Chewbeads, Jellystone, and Uggla Land on etsy are some of my favorite brands.  I also adore Mommy Necklaces but as far as helping with teething my babies didn’t love them for that.

Chew Toys~

I have spent a fortune on toys that are supposed to help with teething but neither of my kids like to chew on them. I have friends that sware by Sophie the giraffe made by a French company most parents are aware of, I also tried Lela the deer from a German company neither of which interested my kiddos.

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I thought maybe imitation food would work since Ryder loves to eat anything (including paper and cardboard!). I purchased jellystone’s candy bar teether and appetheethers broccoli teether. He doesn’t love either.

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Next I tried a paci type teether. Ryder likes his Nuks so this went a little better but only when he is sleepy does he use it more than a minute. Here is the one I got him KidGear Teethifier:

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Trinity loved her RaZbaby paci but Ryder wasn’t as big of a fan. I think the mouth shape is the difference between the 2 kids because Trin liked MAM pacifiers which are shaped more like the RaZbaby teether and Ryder likes Nuk brand pacifiers.

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Last I thought maybe something with flavor would do the trick. I couldn’t find any pacifier or teething toys with flavor but I did find some that had a smell. I went with the Vulli Vanilla teether (from the makers of Sophie). They smell AMAZING but didn’t interest Ryder. 😦

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Biscuits, Popsicles and Food Items~

I found a great idea for a popsicle teething treats on Momdot.com Ryder actually loves:) Here it is:

All you need is a silicon pan.  Any shape will probably do and I own a heart one. Here are some Silicone Pans On Amazon .

Applesauce Popsicle Toddler Treats

I added my squeezable pouches in (I layered two flavors here):

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applesauce popsicle toddler treats

Put the pan into the freezer till they were solid ( this took a few hours, but will ultimately depend on how much food you layer) and then I popped them out. They come out super easy!

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Now another way to do this would be to add little Popsicle stick handles in them or even use a thin apple slice (or carrot, celery, etc) as a handle so your child can pick it up without getting their fingers cold.

These frozen treats are a great alternative to grocery bought ice cream and you can control the fruit or vegis and it tastes just as good! And if you have a pantry full of left over baby food, it helps clear that up as well.

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Another BRILLIANT idea I ran across was this form howdoesshe.com:

For your little ones, just take a wash cloth,
wet the center with a little water,
spread on a Tbls. of apple sauce, secret home remedies
roll it up,
then freeze it.
Babies love this b/c it’s sweet, chewy, and cold so it numbs their gums!

If you don’t have applesauce try these DIY Frozen Pacifiers for Teething Babies found on Diary of a Fit Mommy:

Freeze a pacificer in an ice cube tray to soothe teething baby's gums.

Teething milk pacifier!  Buy the pacifiers with the cover cap, use breast milk or formula and pour the milk into the cap, put the pacifier in the cap and stick in the freezer for a few hours. Once the milk is frozen run the pacifier under warm water for a few seconds and pull it out of the cap and you have a nice cooling teething pacifier for your baby!

Frozen Soothie Pacifiers for Teething infants :)

How to create a frozen pacifier for teething baby: 1. Squeeze all the air out of the nipple. 2. Submerse it in water and release nipple to fill it with water. 3. Freeze it and give it to baby.  Home remedies for teething - Homemade DIY teether

Teething biscuits also seem to help. Try this recipe from My So-Called (Mommy) Life:
1 c. infant rice cereal
1 c. wheat flour
1 mashed banana
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp water
 
 
DIRECTIONS
 
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees; line a baking pan with parchment paper
 
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in rice cereal, wheat flour, banana, coconut oil, cinnamon, and water
 
3. Stir until completely combined
 
4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough until it is 1/2 an inch or so thick
 
 
5. Use a cookie cutter to cut into shapes

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6. Place biscuits on a pan and bake for 15 minutes

 
7. Let it cool, eat and store in leftovers in a freezer bag.  They can also be frozen!
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Or try this fool proof recipe from sometimescrafty.com:

Take a plain old slice of bread and turn it into the perfect teething biscuit!

This idea is nothing short of genius!

It’s perfect for small hands. It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s cheap. You many never buy a box of teething biscuits again! Check it out…

Start with a slice of your favorite Whole Grain Bread.
Skip the ones with seeds which may pose a choking hazard

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Cut off the Crust

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Store the crust in a ziplock bag.
It makes great breadcrumbs! Just save up all the crust and then run through the food processor.

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Squish down the Bread.
You can use a roller, but I just press with my fingers

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Take a small amount of Unsweetened Applesauce.
This is optional, I like to add a little flavor and the moisture helps make the bread “stick”

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Smear the Applesauce.
Just a super thin layer

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Sprinkle with Cinnamon

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Roll as tight as your can, squishing as you go along to have the bread stick together.

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Microwave for 60 seconds

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60 Seconds should be all your need but if the bread still seems real soft, microwave for another 30 seconds.

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Let it cool.
It may still be slightly soft, but as it cools it will harden nicely

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Offer it to the unsuspecting baby.
He’ll think you slaved all day in the kitchen 😉

*My personal addition to this recipe is to add teething oil to the applesauce for extra rough days.

Tablets, Gels and Oils~

Baby Oragel didn’t work for Trinity and because of the bad rap it’s had in the media I never tried it with Ryder. The adult stuff didn’t help with my wisdom tooth pain either so I think this is a fail.

Humphrey’s worked AWSOME for Trinity but I couldn’t find them when Ryder needed them so I used Hyland’s teething tablets for him and they worked well.

Homemade teething oil has also become popular. I like to use 2 drops peppermint oil, 1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil and 3-4 drops clove oil. You can purchase these oils through doTERRA, Essintial Oil Company  or another company you trust. Natural clove oil needs to be diluted and can be EXTREMLY dangerous if used at full potency! Just be aware that natural doesn’t always mean safe. Here are some other oils that provide benefits for the mouth and teeth.

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Brushing~

Remember once baby starts popping teeth you need to start caring for them. I like Baby Orajel’s 1st toothbrush and paste. The brush is actually a finger cover with nubbies on the end that massage babies gums and help alleviate pain (it also works as a barrier when a teething tyrant try’s to bite you while brushing:) ) Babies should have a dental well check at 1 year where your dentist can recommend a toothbrush for your little one.

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For more information on how babies teeth develop check out Tooth Nature. Here is an model of how babies teeth form in the skull. No wonder teething is so troublesome!

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How to Make Marshmallow Fondant

How to Make Marshmallow Fondant via Clockwork lemon

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Marshmallow fondant is easy to make and pretty fun to use. You can cover cakes and cookies with it to give them a smooth professional-looking finish or you can cut out shapes and designs to decorate your icing with. Its cheaper to make your own fondant than it is to buy it pre-made plus the pre-made stuff tastes a bit like cardboard unless you are willing to pay for a very high end product. 

All you need is:

  1. Marshmallows – they can be big marshmallows or mini ones, either one works fine.
  2. Icing sugar – You’ll be mixing the icing sugar into the marshmallows to make a dough so I usually make sure that I have an entire bag on hand.. but I rarely use the whole bag.
  3. Food colouring
  4. Flavoring oil – This is optional. If you don’t add this your fondant will be sweet and flavorless which works well if your got all the flavors your want in your cake already

P1150680This time I decided to make it with those mini fruit flavored marshmallows. I had to sort them by colour first. I figured they would add a little bit of flavor to the fondant so I wouldn’t have to add much flavoring oil.

I use gel colours to dye my fondant but regular food colouring will work too. You won’t be able to get really dark colours without making your fondant sticky, but for lighter colours you can just even it out with more icing sugar.

I also had lemon oil and coconut flavoring on hand.. oh la la the value brand  (which still works fine).

P1150704 Step One:

Take a couple of handfuls of marshmallows and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Add a couple of drops of water and toss the marshmallows in it until they are all a bit damp. If you are going to just make one colour then put the whole bag of marshmallows in the bowl and add a couple of teaspoons of water. If you’re going to put flavoring oil in, add it now and add less water

I like to make smaller batches because its easier to add the colour to the melted marshmallow than it is to work the colour into the fondant later.

Step Two:

Stick the marshmallows in the microwave for ten seconds at a time until the are puffed up and easily stir into a goo with a wooden spoon. Tip: Grease your spoon with butter, things can get a bit sticky.

Step Three:

Add food colouring  to the melted marshmallows until you get the colour you want. Remember that you’re going to be adding icing sugar which will lighten the colour so make it a bit brighter than you need.

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Step Four:

Start folding icing sugar into the marshmallow goo until it becomes a soft and fluffy dough. Grease your hands with a bit of butter and turn the marshmallow out onto a table sprinkled with icing sugar. Continue to knead in icing sugar until the fondant is stiff enough to roll out.

If you add too little icing sugar the fondant will be very sticky- Just add more icing sugar

If you add too much icing sugar the fondant will be very stiff and hard to roll out – knead in a little bit of butter

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Fondant with the icing sugar kneaded in.

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Finished fondant!

For this batch of colours I made larger batches of lighter colours and then worked some extra gel colouring into the already made fondant to make smaller batches of darker colours. The dark purple and dark green were made from the a light pink and light green.

All you need to do is knead the gel colour in.. it takes a while to get it all mixed in which is why I only do it for smaller batches.

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To store your fondant wrap them in pieces of lightly greased plastic wrap and keep them either in a big ziplock bag or a tupperware container. The fondant is essentially a sugar paste (its just marshmallows and icing sugar) so it has a shelf life of three or four months. If it feels a bit stiff and hard to use after being stored for a long time you can soften it up by kneading a bit of butter in or putting in the microwave one-two seconds at a time.

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Now its ready to roll out and use to decorate your cakes and cookies!

 

Marshmallow Fondant

 

Ingredients:

½ of a 400g bag of mini marshmallows

2½ cups icing sugar

1 tablespoon water

Vegetable shortening

Food colouring (optional)

Method:

1. Place the marshmallows in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl. Next, toss the marshmallows with the tablespoon of water to make them damp. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they are puffy and mostly melted. Measure out the icing sugar and place in a separate bowl (this makes it easier to add it in as you go).

2. Grease a spoon or spatula with some vegetable shortening and stir marshmallows until smooth. If you are making coloured fondant, then stir in some food colouring at this point. The gel or powdered food colouring works better than the liquid. If you are using liquid food colouring you may need to add a bit of extra icing sugar.

3. Stir about a ¼ cup of the icing sugar into the melted marshmallows. A lot will stick to the spoon but don’t worry about it, or try to scrape it off. Keep adding icing sugar into the bowl, and using the spoon or spatula to stir and stretch the marshmallow and incorporate the sugar.

4. When half of the sugar has been added to the bowl and worked into the marshmallow, use the shortening to generously grease your hands and begin to gently knead the remaining sugar into the fondant. At first it will feel very soft and puffy, but as you work in the rest of the sugar the fondant will become more firm and dough-like. Keep kneading until all of the sugar has been incorporated.

5. Take the fondant out of the bowl and place it on a clean counter. Knead a teaspoon or two of shortening into it to get rid of the powdered sugar from the outside and to keep it from drying out. If your fondant is still very sticky at this point, put it back in the bowl and add icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it’s easier to handle.

6.Cover the fondant with a piece of plastic wrap and stick in a Ziplock bag. Allow to rest for about an hour to cool to room temperature.

7. When you are ready to decorate, grease your work surface well with shortening. Knead your fondant to get it workable, and then roll out to your desired thickness (I’d recommend 2 mm to ¾ cm). If the fondant is a few days old then you can get it workable again by putting it in the microwave for 2 seconds at a time. Even stubborn fondant will give in after a little bit of heat and being kneaded on a greased surface.

8. You can use the fondant to cover iced cakes, cupcakes or cookies. Use round cookie cutters of different sizes for cute and easy polka dots or cut the fondant into even strips to layer for a striped effect. Shapes like hearts and flowers look great on icing or on top of a base layer of fondant. Leftovers can be stored for up to three months wrapped in plastic in Ziplock bags at room temperature in a cool spot away from direct sunlight.