A Trip to Battle Creek Michigan

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A few weeks ago we visited some friends in Battle Creek, Michigan. I was a little leary of taking a 1-year-old on a 5-hour trip. But a few stops to stretch our legs and a few cat naps broke up the trip into manageable legs and we had very little resistance.

Chicago skyline

We didn't make any set plans for the trip and just played it by ear because we're casual vacationers like that:) So, what we ended up doing was perfect for us. A few museums, lots of swimming and plenty of downtime.

One of the days we were there, we went to a children's museum. The children's museum in Kalamazoo is amazing!!! Their learning centers are so incredible. There are sections that teach about the weather, braille and blind learning, alternative energy, night creatures, music, pretend news stations and a lot more. They even have a special section devoted to tiny kids, so that's where Rayna and I spent a good chunk of time while daddy took Kayne on adventures through the building. It's so impressive to me that this museum is completely free! If I lived there, we'd be going all the time.

They had little sections in the baby area
with different animals: amphibians,
butterflies, bugs, jungle animals, etc.

Little wooden farmyard.

Old-fashioned general store

Kayne was learning about the stages of a butterfly life cycle in school at the time.
They had these Eric Carle felt boards where he showed me the entire life cycle of a butterfly.

Wind energy

One of the other days we were there, we visited another museum that was right up my alley! It was a museum about Dr. Kellogg (whose brother is the name behind the Kellogg's brand) and his research into health and fitness. He ran a huge sanitarium that was basically a cross between a medical center and a health resort. For a good read about some of his contraptions, read this.

This contraption here was a leg vibrator thing
that was supposed to increase circulation in
the legs from sitting too long.

Sitz bath

Here is a picture of the gym on-board the Titanic that was designed by Dr. Kellogg. Cool, huh?

Dr Kellogg believed in the healing powers of the sun and fresh air. So, he brought
the powers of the sun indoors with different light baths, much like today's light boxes for SAD.

There are a few other historical buildings on-site as well including a one-room schoolhouse and a church.

But, we had to leave the Kellogg museum tour early due to some mini crabby person that needed a nap;) On our way out, I got to see a little weasel that had made a home under a museum outbuilding.

While in Battle Creek, we stayed in a decent motel and so for some of our downtime, we had fun using their pool and fitness equipment. We invited our friends to enjoy pool time too!

On our last night there, we had one last big group dinner with our friends at a Big Boy. We haven't been to a Big Boy in probably 15-20 years. Even though Hubster had some really bad luck with his meal, but it was fun to go back in time a bit.

After dinner, we hit up the Battle Creek mall for a little while. I found some clothes and a bamboo wind chime at an import store. I also found the most adorable bedtime yoga book and a few other things at Barnes and Noble. I love having a meaningful bedtime routine for my kids and myself, and this book is absolutely perfect! Kayne loves going through the little vinyasa and the pictures are swoonworthy.

We had a great time just doing these easy things on a whim. The trees were changing color and the sun was out, so the timing was perfect. We planned the trip so we'd return on a Saturday and still have Sunday to rest before going back to work.

An Alice in Wonderland Tea First Birthday Party

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I love Alice in Wonderland. I've loved Alice in Wonderland since before loving it was cool, haha. That was one of the only kids' movies we owned growing up (we would rather have rented), so I saw it upwards of 50 times, no joke. So, when I was trying to decide on a theme for my daughter's first birthday, it was only natural that an Alice themed tea party would strike me as appropriate.

The cutest, most appropriate, invitations ever!
I added little AIW details like the party time: 3pm, don't be late for this very important date.
And the event: a very merry unbirthday to you and a happy first birthday to Rayna.

I tried not to go all out though and stress myself out. I wanted it to be about celebrating my little girl, not an over-the-top obligation. Kayne's first birthday party didn't even have a theme, and I'm not sure they're completely necessary. But I guess I was strung along by all the other mommas in my mommy groups that had set themes and picture-worthy decorations. You know how that goes... We wanted to keep it simple. Hubster and I definitely committed to easy food. The crockpot, some veggie trays and grape skewers were very easy food choices that took the pressure off.

Idea from here

I found some "drink me" labels to try
to recreate this Pinterest post

We really did serve tea too and set out a beautiful teacup collection from my mom.

Clean cup, clean cup, move dooooown!

For some reason, my mom also had some tea party themed balloons in her party stash which couldn't have been more perfect. This pic isn't the greatest, but we used the balloons, a doily bunting banner and a few hand-drawn (by my sister) Alice pictures for decorations. I forgot to get a picture of it up close, but I made a sign at the center bottom there that had arrows pointing "this way," "that way," "wrong way," "tea party" inspired by this Pinterest post.

I found the most adorable Alice dress from an Etsy shop for the pretty lady, although I'm not sure the 12 month size was accurate. She sure made an adorable Alice. And the most adorable card from the seller certainly made up for it.

We couldn't find a tea party or Alice in Wonderland cake at the grocery stores we tried, so we settled on a generic princess cake, that even came with a complimentary smash cake.

And smash it she did!

This kid was totally asking for it, lol. Like literally, "throw cake in my face, momma" asking for it.

All in all, Rayna did pretty well for all the noise and ruckus in our house. I loved it! Our house was filled with our closest family and friends. Especially ones I hadn't seen in a long time. I love having a full house! It had to be overstimulating for the baby, but she hung in there and begged us to open her new toys in her own baby way: by bringing them to us and whine-crying to get her point across. So darling!

We had a fabulous time ringing in this milestone day with our pretty little daughter (it's still weird for me to say "daughter." I have a daughter!). She's finally one! She finally has a number!

I'd like to thank all my friends and family that were able to make it. You know who you are! We couldn't have made Rayna's day so special without you. These precious moments will be captured in her memory book forever and we're so glad you were a part of it!

Happy birthday Rayna!

Lavender Earache Compress

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Kayne complained one day when he had a cold that he had an earache. Unsure whether we needed to call the pediatrician for antibiotics yet, I thought I'd give a home remedy with essential oils a shot.

First, I consulted my book about essential oils for children. Did you know many essential oils that are safe for adults are not safe for children and especially babies? Do a little extra research before you use them with abandon. I also consulted the book for advice about earaches.

Out of the essential oils I already had in my cabinet, what I found was that lavender and tea tree (melaluca) are great for children's ears. So, here's what I did:

Sweet almond oil (or other carrier oil)
Lavender essential oil
Tea tree oil (optional)
Warm water

  1. Pour a small pool of oil in the palm of your hand. Drop in one drop of lavender oil. Add one drop of tea tree oil if you wish, too. Use your finger to stir the mixture in your hand.
  2. Rub the mixture around the outside of the child's ear. DO NOT put any inside the ear.
  3. Dip a washcloth in a bowl warm water (you can add a drop of lavender to the water too) and have your child rest their affected ear on the washcloth for about 10 minutes. You may want to put a plastic bag underneath so the wetness doesn't get on your furniture. Re-warm the washcloth if necessary. Alternately, you can have the child rest their head on a low-heat heating pad.

My son said his ear didn't hurt anymore after using the heating pad method. So, it worked! Some of the cure might have just been the coziness and tender loving care from his momma, but that just comes with the recipe:)

Any other home remedies for earaches that you've tried with success?

Baby's First Birthday

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Oh my goodness, I know no other mother has said this before, but how did an entire year go by already?

This girl has brought more joy to our lives than I could ever have imagined. I never felt the desire to be a stay-at-home mom until she came along. I cried almost every day thinking about returning to work and begged Hubster to take a different position so that I could stay home, but it just isn't in the cards for us. I just had such enjoyment spending those first 9 weeks of her life with her. I so enjoyed reading her books, cuddling up with her for naps, taking her for walks, and letting her watch me sew and work on projects from her bouncy seat. I was at a different place in my life when her brother was born and I didn't have those same desires, although it cut me deep to leave him every day.

This girl was a champion sleeper right from the beginning (she's regressed a bit recently, which is odd), and for that we have been so blessed. She has been such an easy baby. She only cried when she was tired or hungry, never for no reason.

She surprised us with her shocks of bright red hair when she was born. I didn't think she would be born with any hair at all. And the fact that she did and it was RED just blew me away.

She is a very active, curious, smart child. Forget toys! She wants to investigate nooks, crannies, books and...well...everything. She is also a huge garbage picker. I mean, I know babies like to stick everything in their mouths, but this girl will find the tiniest hair on the carpet or piece of dust on a windowsill and try to taste it. And she literally loves to pick out of every garbage can in the house.

This girl also skipped right over pureed baby food and went straight to table food. She would literally have NOTHING to do with purees or baby cereal. I even made some pea and squash purees from scratch for her that may never be used. She wants what we're eating. So, we started her on soft things, but she pretty much eats what we eat already.

She is a water baby, loving baths and sticking her own head underwater. She's super funny, like the times she puts clothes on her head and crawls around laughing. Or when she clunks heads on purpose or blows raspberries on momma's belly. She is a huge daddy's girl and she especially loves her Auntie Jenny and her daddy's friend David.

She beat her brother with not only hair and birth weight, but also teeth. She has had four for months where her brother cut his first on his first birthday.

I love the place she is at now. She understands many things and she rushes to meet me when I get home. She waves and gives hugs. She's easy to make laugh. She has quite a personality, even though she can't really talk yet. And she always gets her way. If baby ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

Her nicknames have been Raynaliscious, Rayna Pants, Dolly, Miss Thing and currently, Booga. She is also the prettiest girl in the world:)

Her brother made me a mother. And she is the one who completed our family. They both have such a special place in our family and lives. I am so elated that I get to have both a boy and a girl. I can't wait until she's a little older and we can do girl stuff together. We'll probably get our nails done together by the time she's 3, haha. I just looooooooove this little girl and thank God for sending her to me.

Happy Birthday Booga!