Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fun, New & Easy Baby Shower Activities that Both Mom & Guests Will Love!

Spring is here and that means the flowers are budding, baby animals are being born and yes- baby showers.  Uh... that's human baby showers.  I've been a part of many of these over the last few years (3 of my own) and we are having one for my best friend this summer.  For those of you planning one as well, I've created a list of activities for you to incorporate into your next shower.

Here's the thing.  They aren't lame.  No standard, boring, play-at-every-shower-even-though-no one-likes-it games.  Nope.  None of that nonsense here.

Instead, these are "crafty" activities (that can be done by even the least crafty of people) that are both fun for the guests and provide the mom-to-be and baby with treasured keepsakes.

I wrote this post as a guest blogger for Angelcare, so head over to their blog The Peaceful Parent to read all about the ideas and how to execute them in your next baby shower! (Psst... I'm only showing 2 of the 4 ideas in the picture below.  You have to read the post to find out the others. And trust me... you want to!)

Monday, April 3, 2017

DIY Mermaid Tail Craft Kit!

As I scrolled through the million zillion photos on my phone I stumbled across a few that I took at Christmas that I want to share with you.  Let me make one quick disclaimer though- these were taken very late into the evening and it's not my best photography work.  My "model" (my son) was asleep and I really just wanted to get everything wrapped and ready for Christmas.  Looking back I still can't believe I laid everything on yellow tissue paper when taking a photo in our very yellow lighted room.

Oh well- I'm sharing the idea with you, not the pictures.  Check out my older posts for better photos!

Here's the backstory: I have twin 5 year old nieces who are into mermaids, fairies and crafty stuff.  I had planned on buying them some of those mermaid tail blankets but being the crazy crafting lady that I am- I decided to let them get crafty too!  So I took a trip to the fabric store, bought some fabric and craft accessories and got to work:

You will need:
-solid fleece large enough to cover both legs and up the waist a little.  (Remember it needs to wrap around you)
-printed fleece for the fins.  Again, remember that it is double sided.

-batting for inside the fins.  Batting can get super expensive so just go with the cheapest kind you can find in the thickness you want.
-crafting accessories like pom pom balls, sequin, buttons, fabric paint or other remnants of fabric.
-thread to match your fabric.

[Part 1- Making the blanket]

Sorry I don't have a pattern for you but it's so easy you don't need one.  Take a solid piece of fleece and fold it in half.  Slide your legs inside of it and using pins or tape make an "outline" around your legs.  This will not only get it the size you need but it also helps create that fitted mermaid tail shape.  Next, cut it out.

For the fins, simply mark off the shape you want with tape or pins and cut.

Note:  Don't forget to add a few inches outside of your lines when cutting it out to account for seams and so the blanket isn't too fitted. 
*For a tutorial on how to do the whole project, check out Cut Now, Measure Later.  This is the basic idea I followed when making mine.

[Part 2- Making the craft kit]

Here's the part I really wanted to share with you.  Instead of just gifting the blankets (which are adorable by themselves) let them use their imagination to create their own custom mermaid tail!  When you wrap up the blankets, include things like pom pom balls, fabric paint and spare fabric for them to cut out their own shapes.

I went ahead and cut out some common shapes from fleece as well...

If you want to include glue in the kit, that's good too.  I figured the family already had some so I did not.  E6000 is an amazing super glue but hot glue would work well also.  I have not had great luck in the past with fabric glue on fleece.

[That's it!]
I love that this isn't just a great gift but also an activity for your kids to work on!  Plus- if they have extra materials they can craft again with it later.  Who else has a little mermaid-lover in their life?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

MAM Anti-Colic bottles {review}

If you follow us on facebook (if you don't, you really should) then you may have seen my announcement about how Target stores are now carrying the Anti-Colic bottles by MAM.  I really wanted to go into why I recommend these bottles so that you didn't just see the announcement and move on. So... from one mama to another- here's the low down on these bottles:

{Disclosure:  I have received free product from MAM for the purpose of this review.  However, all opinions are my own and I actually owned the vented base MAM  bottle prior to this review so I really do use and trust them!}

A little background on myself:
I have two kiddos- a son who is nearly 2.5 and a daughter that just turned a month old.  I am a very-pro-breastfeeding mama who is very careful about not doing anything that might jeopardize being able to breastfeed.  With my son I took 3 months FMLA after he was born and then went back to work for a few months before leaving again to become a stay at home mom.  During my time back at work I would pump and my mom (who watched him) would give him bottles.  We only used MAM bottles.   For the remainder of his bottle-using time, whenever someone else would watch him, he would drink from our MAM vented-base bottles.

Now that my daughter is a month old, I feel comfortable taking a few hours away to go on a "date" alone with my son.  Of course, we wanted to make sure that she would take a bottle before I left so we gave her the MAM anti-colic bottle a try and she took right off!

{Here's a good look at the front design of the bottles.  These new ones have 2 sides- one design and one to measure!}

Why MAM?
Mam was the first pacifier my son took and in turn the only pacifier he would take so I figured he would like the bottles as well.  MAM is also known for using it's patented silk nipple on it's bottles and pacifiers which 94% of babies accept and makes transitioning from breast to bottle easy because of the feel and "flat" shape. (Which, like I said was a BIG deal for me)

MAM bottles are also super easy to use.  They easily twist apart into 6 pieces which can be washed in the dishwasher, boiling water or by using MAM's 3 step self-sterilizing instructions. (psst.. the pacifiers also self sterilize in their container)

{So easy to use my toddler could help feed his baby sister.  And boy, was he SO proud to do so!}

Why use anti-colic?
Neither of my babies had trouble with colic.  They did however both have trouble with taking in too much air when they drank.  My son is a gulper- whether on the breast, bottle or even sippy cup- and my daughter although she doesn't mean to gulp has trouble keeping up with an active letdown while nursing.  Over time I have found positions and tricks that help with this but because my babies were used to drinking this way from the breast, I wanted to find a bottle that would lessen this problem if possible.  *Enter MAM anti-colic bottles*

MAM Anti-Colic bottles are made with a vented-base.  This means that the bottom of the bottle has holes that help regulate pressure which prevents air from getting gulped down into babe's tummy when s/he drinks.

(Above) How the vented base looks with the rubber part in.
(Below) How the vented base looks underneath the rubber.

These awesome bottles come in both 5 oz and 9 oz sizes (we have both and like them each for different uses) and a variety of colors/designs.  The gold bunnies and blue foxes are my favorites!

Like I said, these are the only bottles I have used with my children for the last 2.5 years and I personally recommend them to anyone.  I would like to say something that I don't love about them to balance out this review but honestly I love everything about them.  We are a huge MAM family and as an active breastfeeding proponent, I love MAM products.  Of course, you don't have to be a  breastfeeding mama to love these bottles (or a mom of a baby with colic) that's just a few of the reasons why I personally advocate for these.

...and hello, they are available at Target now!  I need to go back there anyways to shop for that summer swimsuit! (come on, warm weather!)  Okay... and we all know I'll probably come out of the store with a few additional items- darn you dollar bins! #dontjudgeme

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Baby Gift from Older Sibling- DIY

As you may have seen in my most recent post, we welcomed our sweet little girl into the world a few weeks ago.  Things have been a whirlwind as we adjust from 1 to 2 and try our best to survive solely on coffee and love.  Even through the exhaustion and normal adjustment, I have the urge to craft and blog.  It's my one thing that is "just for me" so I really feel like I need to make time for it if I want to stay sane (kidding... mostly.)

Although I haven't gotten much crafting done since she arrived, I did want to share a craft that my son and I made just before she was born.  I kept hearing that it's helpful to have your older child give a "gift" to the new baby as a way to help them transition (and to give them a little something too so that they don't feel left out).  I understood this idea but I didn't want to just buy something from the store and then tell my son to give it to the baby- something about that just seemed off.  So here is what I came up with instead...

I let my son make a gift for the baby.  This way he would (1) have fun crafting and (2) feel more involved in the process than simply having to give an item that he liked in the store to this new intruder!

This was so easy to do but if you are working with a 2 year old, I do recommend giving yourself plenty of time.  Although my son loves coloring, I had a feeling that (probably because I actually wanted him to do this) he wouldn't be interested in it for long enough to complete it.  I was right.  We had this fabric out for over a week and every day or two he would color a few new spots and then walk away.  It got finished though.  Slow and steady wins the race...

{Here's how to make it}

You only need a few materials:

- Scribbles Fabric Crayons

- Cozy Flannel Fabric- solid color (I get mine at JoAnn Fabrics)
   *good swaddle blankets are between 44x44 inches and 47x47 inches.  Go smaller for receiving   
     blankets or larger for crib sheets (do not put blankets in cribs with sleeping babies or while
     unattended as it poses a suffocation risk) Cozy flannel does shrink a little when washed.

- Sewing machine/thread and needle or pinking shears

(Step 1) Wash & dry your fabric then cut to desired size.

I used another blanket we had as a template but to measure it out, see my notes above.  If you don't want to sew, pinking shears will help keep the edges from fraying.  However, I highly recommend sewing the edges if you are able with this type of fabric. (I did both)

(Step 2) Tape down the edges of your fabric to a table so that the fabric is taut.

This is important because the fabric will move when you try to color on it. Making it taut lets your little one draw on it without getting bumps and wrinkles (and thus...frustration).  I used washi tape to hold it down so that it didn't damage the wood in our bay window but every day I had to re-tighten it because the fabric would pop loose over night!

(Step 3) Give your little one the fabric crayons and let them create!

*Optional: Include your child's name on the blanket so that it continues to be a keepsake for years to come.  We didn't know the sex of baby so we just wrote "to baby" (that's what he called her anyways).

(Step 4) When finished drawing, follow the ironing instructions on the back of the fabric crayons.  This step is critical if you ever want to be able to wash the blanket (and I am more comfortable knowing that the wax is sealed in a little).

(Step 5) Fold over the edges and sew.  This helps keep the blanket from fraying and just looks nicer.  For a thicker blanket, feel free to add a second layer of fabric and sew together.

(Step 6) Give the blanket back to your older child to give as a gift to the new baby.  Make a big deal out of it and emphasize how proud you are of them and how nice it is that they made this for their sibling!

I love these fabric crayons!  The colors are surprisingly vibrant and the instructions are easy to follow.  Did you have your older child buy/make a gift for their little sibling when they were born?  I always take advantage of the opportunity to make a gift, especially when it lets my toddler get creative too!

Monday, February 6, 2017

"Welcome Baby" Prize Package GIVEAWAY

My arms may be full but my heart is even more full...
Last week we welcomed our sweet girl into the world.  Everyone is doing well and big brother is very proud (we all are).  She is perfect.

Our small business Chubby Bunny, Happy Home is celebrating with an awesome giveaway!  Whether you are expecting, just had a little one or know someone who is- you won't want to miss this.  We- along with three other amazing small businesses are sharing the baby love with a "Welcome Baby" prize package giveaway.

To qualify, you must like, follow or favorite each shop on at least one social media platform.  (Each shop has 2 available options).  To earn more entries, follow each of us on both platforms listed!  We will be checking with each other to make sure this rule is met- so please follow it!

{Photo credit to Elizabeth Hannah Studios}

Enter to WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*A special thanks to Quinn and Lane, Shabby Mint Chic Party, and Rise and Shine Kids for joining Chubby Bunny Happy Home in this giveaway and for helping us celebrate our sweet new babe.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Scrapbook Title HACK using vinyl!

Happy Wednesday friends! I wanted to share some crafty inspiration with you today but I'm typing this up as my toddler plays quietly by himself (whaaa? I know... don't... so I will keep it brief.  As you may or may not know, I'm a *little* behind on my scrapbook.  Anyone else?  Now I'm not quite as far behind as my mom, who is still working on my elementary school pages but I haven't reached my goal of being caught up on my son's photos before the next baby comes... 3 weeks.  Yea, it's not going to happen.   That being said, any free time lately has gone to scrapbooking (or working on our business) instead of other crafts.  I'll share some layout ideas with you later but HAD to share this little hack with you before I forgot!

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Products I link are products I personally use.  Thank you for supporting my blog.

No, this isn't about coming up with something clever as your title but rather about what material you should be using for the titles on your scrapbook spreads!

There are a few options available when putting a title on your scrapbook page.

(1) Write it out by hand.
       Pros: easy, always available
      Cons: doesn't look as nice

(2) Use scrapbooking stickers.
      Pros: fairly easy, looks nicer than handwriting
     Cons: can get expensive, time consuming, limited to size/design of sticker

(3) Cut words out of paper with your cutting machine.
      Pros: Unlimited font styles, unlimited options for size/paper design, inexpensive.
     Cons: Very time consuming to glue down every letter


(4) Cut words out of vinyl with your cutting machine.
      Pros: Unlimited font styles, unlimited options for size/color (as long as you have that color vinyl on hand of course) easy to apply, fast to do
      Cons: a little pricey (cost of vinyl & transfer paper) but not any more than scrapbooking sticker packs from the store.

I'm a big fan of option #4.  If you already have a cutting machine and vinyl at home, then this is a no-brainer.  If you don't but scrapbook a lot, it's something to consider having on hand (the 
Silhouette is awesome to have for scrapbooking and other crafting... not just for titles!)

My super crafty and amazing mother shared this idea with me (here's a guest post she did for me sharing how to make personalized necklaces from Shrinky Dinks!) and I'm so glad she did.  It has completely changed my scrapbooking game.  I have always hated hand written titles and it seems that the store bought stickers were never the right size or color that I needed (or I ran out of letters!) plus they were expensive.

Using my Silhouette allows me to design my title in any font I like and in any size or shape.  Using vinyl saves me time because applying individual pieces of paper took forever and resulted in SO. MUCH. GLUE. on my hands.  With vinyl I simply design it, cut it out, weed it and then use transfer paper to move the entire title to my scrapbook page at one time.  It's amazing.  I seriously can't get over how brilliant of an idea this was.

Don't stop at page titles, use this to create your own "stickers" for your spread!  No need to search the stores for a sticker or embellishment that sort-of works, simply design exactly what you want, in the size and color that you want!  I just wrote "Baby's First Christmas" but you could easily personalize it with your child's name (I'd like to see you do that sticker company! ha!)

Vinyl is also very thin so it lays nicely on your pages, creating a very crisp and smooth appearance.  If you are like me and have to include something lumpy bumpy on your pages, stick with the vinyl title and add a few small touches elsewhere to add dimension.  Here's what I did on this particular spread:

I just cut out a few trees (by hand) from the background paper and attached them to the top of some plain creme colored buttons.  It drew the different elements from the page together and added a few pops of dimension.  I also used a similar idea for creating a layered tree on the title page where I wrote the year details.  I like to use hot glue as a way to bind layers together and create dimension (other scrapbook adhesives will just stick them together flat) but there are other options available at the craft store- like those spongy little squares... what are those called again?

Whether you occasionally scrapbook or have years and years of spreads ahead of you- trust me- this idea is worth a try.  It's been a complete game changer for me and in many cases will be the way I title from this point on.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Map Inspired Home Decor

I have always had trouble buying gifts for people.  I really do want to give a gift that shows I put some thought into it and that I care- but most of the time it ends up just being a standard clothing/accessories that has something about it they like (like a sports team or pattern).  It's no surprise that I struggle with this though, being as "receiving/giving gifts" is 5 out of 5 on my Love Languages.  It just doesn't come naturally.

Crafting comes naturally.  I love creating with my mind and hands.  Some people aren't as receptive to "handmade gifts" as I am though so I tend to steer clear of them.  That all changed this Christmas.  As I was searching the stores and racking my brain to find the perfect gift for my mother-in-law (who we think has the #1 love language of gifts) this idea hit me.  It's sort of store bought but with a creative twist.  Easy, meaningful and perfect for anyone on your list (or yourself!) who loves to travel or has loved ones afar.

{Sorry for the poor lighting in the "after" photo.  I forgot to take one until it was being wrapped up!}

[Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  Purchasing through these links gives me a small commission at no extra charge to you.  Products I link are products I personally use.  Thank you for supporting my blog.

Here's how to make your own:

Step 1: Find some frames/shadow boxes that you like.

I found these at T.J.Maxx for around $5 a piece.  They had several sayings like "family always & forever" , "soul mates" , "best mom ever" and "best dad ever".  It didn't really matter what they said since I was painting over them but I did love the square shape and how they all coordinated together.  The round pieces also stuck up from the background which added dimension.

My MIL lives in Georgia now but her three children reside in Indiana, Florida and Pennsylvania.  I wanted to make something that captured all the places that her heart is scattered across the states.  Oh, and all three kids attended Purdue University so the black & gold colors were fitting!

Step 2: Paint the back or whatever spot you are going to re-decorate!

It took several rounds of gold paint to cover up the black wording, but luckily acrylic paint dries pretty fast.  Just keep doing it until the original design is covered up.

Step 3: Create & apply your vinyl design.

Using your Silhouette or other cutting machine, create vinyl pieces in the shapes of your choosing.  I wanted basic shapes of Indiana, Florida and Pennsylvania.  Tip:  Make sure you measure your shapes to fit inside the space in every direction. I measured side to side and up and down but forgot about making it fit diagonally!  Oops.  I had to re-cut my states!

Position the vinyl where you want it and remove the transfer tape.  Press down the vinyl so it sticks well.

Step 4: Draw hearts in the states using a metallic pen or marker.

You can do this with vinyl or by hand, I just thought it was faster by hand!  Add hearts in the locations where loved ones live, in the state capitol, or in between multiple locations.

That's it!

I love how easy this project was and how personalized you can make it.  I chose to keep the fourth shadow box as it was- saying "Family Always & Forever" but you can make it as small or big as you need.  What a perfect gift this would make for anyone with family out of state or for those who have moved from state to state themselves.

Love this?  Check out my most popular post for another map-inspired DIY!