Archive for September, 2009


Pregnancy is a wonderful time to cherish the life growing inside of you. It is also the time to dress as a pregnant nun or the Pillsbury Doughboy. Sporting a watermelon-sized belly this fall and wondering how to best feature it in this year’s Halloween festivities? Check here if you want to view a photo gallery of some homemade costumes for pregnant women. (I love the “bun in the oven” costume!) Thrifty Fun has many excellent ideas, many of which I’ve listed below.

juno pregnant maternity halloween costume idea

  • Man with a beer gut  (Optional: Your companion can dress as the wife)
  • Santa Claus
  • Pregnant animal—Say, a cat. Wear all black, attach a tail and ears.
  • Deviled egg
  • Construction worker wearing a hardhat and a tool belt. Fill the tool belt with diapers, wipes, bottles, and other baby gizmos.
  • Eight ball (Optional: A companion dressed as the pool cue)
  •  Beach ball—Wear a bikini top and shorts or a skirt, then paint the beach ball on the belly.
  • Lady bug—Add black polka dots to a red maternity top. Add antennas made from pipe cleaners and make or buy some wings.
  • Shotgun bride
  • Mother Earth—the belly is a globe.
  • Homer Simpson
  • Pregnant nun (Optional: Bring along a priest as a companion.)
  • Pumpkin
  • Fred Flintstone (Optional: Your companion dresses as Wilma.)
  • A cow
  • Black widow
  • The Pillsbury Doughboy
  • Juno (Optional: Companion dresses as Paulie Bleeker, complete with sweatbands and tall socks.)
  • The pregnant celebrity of your choice (e.g., Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, Katie Holmes)
  • A barefoot and pregnant woman

Any other costume ideas for the mother-to-be? All suggestions welcome!

Do-it-yourself Halloween costumes work for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family.

The Art of Under Indulgence

too many toys clutter home practice art of underindulgenceI’m convinced that indulging your child is all about the law of supply and demand. The extent to which we overload our kids with heaps of stuff is in direct correlation to the diminishment of joy they get upon receiving them.

Case in point: during potty training my son earned a matchbox car (purchased used from a thrift shop) every time he pooped on the potty.  The more successful he became, the less he cared about each toy.  He would play with them for a matter of minutes and then demand that he receive the next one.

When indulgences become a habit, the amount needed to satisfy the child mount.  For example, if you buy your child a warm cookie every time you visit the bakery, it quickly becomes an expectation instead of a treat.  Then, to get something special, you have to upgrade to a donut or cupcake. Once that starts to seem routine, you have to find another item to satisfy your child’s craving for something unique.  When those treats are fewer and further between, however, they become something to be savored and remembered.

The same goes for toys.  If I brought them home on a daily or weekly basis, my son wouldn’t have the time or space to really appreciate all that he has. As it is, we rotate his moderate number of toys out of the house every few months so that he can enjoy them all over again when we pull them out of the storage box.

What has your experience been with indulging your child?  Can you attest that the law of supply and demand applies in your house as well?

sleeping-baby-1Emptying the compost bin, washing the cloth diapers, and tending the garden are all regular green lifestyle routines, but they’re tough to keep up without sleep.  Some parents are resolute about  nursing on demand and happily sacrifice sleep for a few years. Others declare that letting baby learn to self-soothe by crying it out is best for everyone in the long run.  What has your experience been with sleep (or the lack thereof)?

How to Make a Television Set for Dolls out of Recycled Materials:

1. Find a little cardboard box.
2. Locate a picture of a television set from a magazine that will fit on one side of the box.
homemade doll television set from recycled materials
3. Cut it out and glue it on.
4. Accessorize! Glue little pictures of DVDs or remote controls to the sides. Cut out a picture of a plant, glue it on some cardboard, and stick it in a slot at the top.
5. Cut out a slot on the front. This is the DVD player. Cut out small pictures of DVDs. Your child can feed them into the slot and retrieve them by opening the box back up again.
6. Prepare yourself for hours of fun watching your dolls gaze at an old cardboard box.
DIY doll television set from a cardboard box

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  • Filed under: Eco-crafts
  • The bliss of breastfeeding can be suddenly interrupted when baby decides that she will never, ever consider drinking expressed milk from a bottle.  As you may have heard from my desperate post awhile back, my own baby went ten hours without drinking a drop of milk when I went back to work, just because she decided not to.  We had tried all temperatures, all bottles, and all times of the day, but she held fast to her decision to starve to death rather than suckle on silicone.

    transition from breast to baby bottleLuckily, with the help of our readers and some ingenious thinking on my husband’s part, we have gotten her to loosen her policies on bottle rejection.  She still only drinks about three ounces a day while I’m gone, which makes for long nights of breastfeeding, but we’re grateful she’s taking any milk by bottle.

    Here are some of the great suggestions we had from our wise readers:

    • Hold a used nursing pad up to baby’s face while feeding for the smell.
    • Put a drop of breast milk on her tongue while she’s calm and wait for her to suck.
    • Make sure the bottle temperature is quite warm.
    • Hold baby close while feeding.
    • Offer the bottle every hour, but only for five minutes or less unless baby starts to drink.
    • Keep trying with bottle feeding even when mom is home so baby gets practice.
    • Try soft latex nipples or the Adiri Natural Nurser bottles.
    • Try using a spoon or even a cup and letting baby lap up the milk.
    • Have the feeder take off his/her shirt so the baby has skin to skin contact (obviously you couldn’t ask your daycare provider to do this but partners, mothers and sisters might be willing to try).
    • Feed the baby while she’s sleeping so that she doesn’t realize that she’s drinking from a bottle.

    Thanks so very much for rescuing us with your wise advice!  My stay-at-home husband was coping with my son’s first week of preschool, a stomach virus, and a screaming baby so your help was very much appreciated.   Please feel free to share any tips on how to get our little one to chow down more food during the day!

    I was six months pregnant on Halloween a few years ago. Of course my main concern was how will I find an eco-friendly maternity Halloween costume?! After considering dressing as a compost bin, a rain barrel, or a Hybrid car, I found the perfect thing at the dollar bin of my local secondhand maternity shop: a 1980s-style yellow maternity jumper. Because I’d dressed as “Eighties Girl” for the previous two or three years, I knew “Pregnant Eighties Lady” was just the costume for me.

    maternity halloween costume

    So figure-flattering!

    The best part is, I still have this romper, which I use as a painting smock. Also, as soon as one-piece floral jumpers come back in style, I’m all set. I could probably gain up to a hundred pounds and still fit in it, so there’s really no reason why I shouldn’t hang on to it forever.

    Stay tuned for more maternity Halloween costume ideas next week!

    This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family.

    Underwear, socks, a basketball, and a typewriter. One Christmas, this was the extent of my holiday loot.  My sister and I (who had to share the typewriter, by the way) were always embarrassed about the sad gifts we received from our skinflint parents. Not only were they limited, they often seemed to miss the mark when it came to thoughtfulness.  As teenagers we developed a comedy routine to use when our friends boasted about their presents so we wouldn’t be quite as embarrassed.

    You might be expecting me to declare that those limited holiday gifts reinforced love and unity rather than materialism. Here’s the truth—it was no picnic.

    thoughtfulness and under indulgence on giftsCompare that to my husband’s childhood experience of being heaped with treasures for birthdays and holidays.  He had toys I never imagined I could ever possess, including a huge fleet of matchbox cars and almost all the Star Wars toys available in the galaxy.   You might imagine he took them for granted, but he actually kept all their original boxes and carefully displayed them in his bedroom with pride.

    So how do the two of us compromise on gift giving for our children, especially since we’re trying to practice the art of under indulgence? I’m hoping our odd combination of gift legacies have helped us find greater balance.  I’m always reminding my husband to keep it simple, and that less is more.  He counters by sharing that a few quality toys can make lifelong memories and are worth a bit of money and thoughtfulness.

    Last year my son received a generous bunch of toys from garage sales and was utterly thrilled. This year we did buy a few quality new items that we knew he’d enjoy, but it was interesting to see that he was most thrilled by the Hotwheels moving truck that cost just under a dollar.

    We haven’t set a strict monetary limit for birthday gifts, but I’m convinced that it’s possible to make the receiver feel special on a budget if thoughtfulness is the main ingredient.  There are wonderful homemade crafts and garage sale scores that would thrill any child—it’s just a matter of taking the time and consideration to find the right treasures.  Our family’s version under indulgence for birthdays includes a few new toys, lots of used items, and the realization that thoughtfulness, not expense or newness, is the most important part of gift giving.

    200271182-001What do you think of treating your children, whether it’s with food, new toys, or quality clothes? Is there such a thing as over-indulgence or too much deprivation?  We have an upcoming series of posts focusing on “The Art of Under-Indulgence” so please share your comments and stay tuned!

    End of Summer Accomplishments

    Around this time last year, I wrote about my End of Summer Regrets (Or, Green Things I Failed to Do). I am sure everyone has been wondering for the last twelve months if I would turn things around this year. Would I plant a garden? Would I go to U-pick farms and pick fruit? Would I can and freeze produce? Would I unlock the secret to reversing global warming? The wait is over! Here’s the report on my summer’s eco-activity:

    Gardening. Check! I maintained a green, organic lawn. (Then I let it turn brown to conserve water. So it is not green in all senses of the word.) I planted an organic vegetable garden, and then I complained about my garden being a huge, gigantic failure. And then I (and my garden) bounced back. Then I had an overabundance of tomatoes, for which I was grateful.

    Check out my prize tomato–that is ONE tomato:
    huge organic tomato on the vine in the garden

    U-Pick Farms. Check! I believe I accomplished this goal before summer even started, way back in May. We drove in an electric, solar-powered car to Sauvie Island and picked five or more pounds of strawberries, which we made into delicious strawberry shortcake. That is a true story, except for the part about the car.

    Preserving Produce. Check! Okay, I didn’t preserve that much. I still have several huge basil plants I can blend into pesto, and I’m waiting for my tomatoes to turn red so I can do something with them—maybe even can them, if I can rustle up about forty pounds at one time. At the rate we eat tomatoes (maybe four or five pounds a week), this does seem like a pipe dream.

    Hanging Laundry. Check! This was not one of my end of summer regrets last year, but I am happy to report that I didn’t use the dryer more than once or twice all summer, saving at least a pound of carbon each time I hung a load of laundry to dry.

    What green goals did you accomplish this summer?

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  • Filed under: General
  • Some mothers leave the hospital wearing their pre-pregnancy jeans. For the rest of us, it can be depressing to return to our closets and find that we have to chose between maternity wear and clothes sized too small for our post-baby bellies.

    thrifty post partum wardrobe for new momsMy sad little rotation of four outfits was giving me the post-baby body blues but I didn’t want to spend money on clothing that would only be used while I transition (hopefully) back to my old size. It also seemed like a waste to buy several new items to fit my temporary figure.

    Finally I decided to bite the bullet and buy some better fitting duds at our local thrift shop, which was serendipitously having a half off sale on the day I took action.  I returned from an hour of shopping with twelve garments purchased for less than twenty dollars.  The clothes are beautiful and include such brand names as Calvin Klein, Gap and Dockers. Even after my body shifts, I think I’ll keep some of these pieces just because I have instantly fallen in love with them.

    Have you had to deal with a transitional wardrobe?  What are your tips?

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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