Monday, April 21, 2014

DIY disposable tea bags- a quick tutorial

A series of events brought me to finding myself in need for a good way to steep loose-leaf tea. Prior to discovering a Thai tea that I HAD to have (I LOVE Thai iced tea) we didn't keep loose-leaf tea in the house. We mostly drink coffee and buy bags of our favorite varieties. Thus, I don't have a tea strainer/diffuser/thingy for my newly acquired tea.

First, I brewed it per the recommendations by mixing the tea straight into the hot water and then filtering through a coffee filter in a mesh strainer. This is similar to how I finish making a cold brewed coffee. It worked okay but takes a while for just one cup. So I googled DIY tea strainer and found a few tutorials that I adapted to make my own tea bags. It's pretty quick and easy but I only had time today to make 4 of them. 

I had a few people ask about my method when I instagrammed the process earlier today so I took pictures and decided to share the process here. 




Items needed:
  • loose leaf tea (1 tsp per bag fits best)
  • round paper coffee filters 
  • scissors
  • cotton string/yarn 
  • stapler + staples

See below the photo for the steps....



  1. Take 1 coffee filter and cut into 2 rectangles by cutting in half and then cutting the rounded edges straight. 
  2. Fold in half "hamburger style" (anyone? anyone?...) to create a crease. Put 1/2 teaspoon tea on each side of this crease. 
  3. Fold the long edges over the tea.
  4. Then place your finger on the crease and bring the two ends together. 
  5. place the end of your string at the top and fold one corner over, then place the other end of string and fold the other corner over it- creating a point. 
  6. Fold the point over then bring the string up and staple the string to the tea bag securing it shut. 
Don't forget to find a little helper to untie your moccasins and drive trucks around the kitchen...it's crucial to the process...

{oh, hello to baby sister too}


I brewed mine and then put it on ice. I'm wondering now if I could cold brew this like my coffee. I'm just following the directions the Thai tea came with...




Tah-dah! Quick and easy, but also pretty messy (only because I tried putting in too much tea the first time.). Enjoy! 






Tuesday, April 15, 2014

20 week ultrasound + gender reveal...

Today has been a whirlwind! I headed out just after noon to meet Ben, his mom, my mom and brother at my doctor's office for our big ultrasound! When Ben walked in he didn't look so great and he let me know he wasn't feeling well. Not great news 4 days after Malakai had a stomach bug, but he hung on.

Malakai + Desmond came back with us for the beginning of the appointment. Malakai was the most excited, he had a lot of questions and his favorite part was seeing the baby move. Almost immediately we saw the gender of our baby. I knew it before the tech said a word. She told us what she thought but said she would get a better look before really confirming it. 




Once the boys were more interested in the toy in the room than the ultrasound Ben took them to the waiting room to hang out with the grandmas + Cody for the rest of the appointment. After a few minutes, she confirmed the gender and we are expecting a baby girl!!! 

{that's my DAUGHTER!}


We are a little in shock, but beyond thrilled to have a daughter. We got a ton of photos of our sweet little girl and even a few videos. Our tech was so great, we really enjoyed the entire experience (except the part where Ben felt sick). 

After the appointment we went into the waiting room and Ben asked the boys if they thought it was a boy or a girl. Desmond was more interested in the water dispenser, but Kai answered girl (as he has from the very start) and Ben told him "you're right!" he jumped up and down and did a little fist pump. He hugged my belly, he is so thrilled to have a little sister. My mom and + Ben's mom hugged each other with excitement, this will be the first grand daughter for both of them. 

Poor Ben helped his mom get the boys out to the van and she took them to her house while I waited for my OB appointment. He went straight home, he was feeling so badly. My mom + brother waited with me for a bit while I texted + called family to tell them the good news and then I went back for my appointment. It was pretty quick, just some vitals and a chat with the nurse and my doctor about the ultrasound. Everything looks great, healthy baby + mama! She is measuring a few days small but not enough to make any changes. At this point she'd have to measure 2 weeks off to change her due date. 

After my appointments the boys and I hung out at their Grandma's house where they invited us to have a celebration dinner. Sadly, Ben was so sick that he couldn't come. We still had dinner but agreed to postpone the celebration part to when everyone could be there, especially daddy! 

{26 weeks + 2 days and 19 weeks + 4 days}

As I've mentioned before, my sister-in-law Kristi is expecting a baby boy in July. I love that coincidentally she was wearing blue and I wore pink today!



It's a bit surreal to think I won't be quite so drastically outnumbered. I'm just so elated and surprised. Thank you all for your congrats on facebook, and your patience as our odd day unfolded. Please pray for Ben as he's still very sick and for me to not get what has been making it's way through our family. 

As I mentioned on facebook earlier today, we don't announce the baby's name until they are born. We don't have a name yet, we have a very long list of girl's names so it may take us a while to narrow it down! We love having something stay a "surprise" for the day baby is born. It'll be harder to keep a secret this time around with a older kids in the house, but we'll do our best! 

And now I'm off to rummage through baby clothes!...





Friday, April 11, 2014

sunny days

It has been a gorgeous week of sunny days around here. We've been limited in our enjoyment of it, but have been out in the spring weather when we could. Desmond is on a nap strike so I decided to wear them out earlier in the week and we went for a walk to the park in the mid afternoon. I got some fun pictures and had some sweet conversations. 

Desmond has been narrating everything he sees, he will ask some questions but mostly he tells you what he thinks about the world. Malakai still asks a million questions a day, I love it (most of the time). As we walked by a house with freshly cut grass and clippings on the sidewalk you could smell it in the air and Kai said "mama...I smell green beans" in a disgusted voice. I try not to laugh at him when he says things that strike me as funny, but it's so hard sometimes. I explained to him that it was the grass clippings, but he insisted it smelled of green beans. 



Malakai looks so big to me, walking around without someone holding his hand (until we come to a street of course, no one lecture me please). 


Kai got ahead of us once we were on the path to the park, Des had to catch up with him and I felt super slow lagging behind them. They did wait up for me when they got to the park, how nice. 

{not quite heavy enough to teeter totter on their own}


They climbed around on the play structure and went down the slides a few times as usual. It amazes me how independent Des is compared to the last time we played at the park on a regular basis (early fall). He's all over the place and I'm not too worried about him stepping off of ledges to nowhere. 

I always suggest they run up the hill when I want to wear them out and head home soon. It's their favorite part of this park. Kai took off and Des ran after him...




This is the only photo in this post that I edited, because I wanted to see the joy on their faces but they were a bit backlit. However, it doesn't post large enough here to see. Click through and you may be able to view it bigger. Such happy kids!

At the top of the hill they discovered a patch of dandelions with a cucumber beetle in it and they had to investigate. 


I suggested we go on a walk before heading home but Des was breathing hard after the hill so we found a picnic table to take a rest but instead they both picked me flowers. 

{I came home with handful of daisy and dandelion tops}

On our walk Malakai declared that white trees are made of paper...I love the way his mind works...



We walked a few blocks away before Kai declared he wanted to go home, so we turned around and  headed back. This was the first time that they've both walked the whole way to and from the park. In the past Des has gotten too tired and needed to be carried back or we've had the wagon. They were pretty exhausted so we took a rest when we got home and early bed time went very smoothly. 

Des is still on a nap strike so I'm thinking with this pretty weather (if it lasts) I need to get them out of the house in the mornings to wear them out in hopes he'll actually go back to nap. Mama needs a break!

I can't wait for this weekend, while I have a lot of decluttering to do I plan to spend some time outside with my guys! 

Happy Friday!



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Baby P #3: 19 weeks

If you follow me on social media, you might already know the latest, but for those of you that just read updates here...our ultrasound was supposed to be this morning but was cancelled. That was the 2nd rotten thing to happen today. The 1st thing was that Malakai woke up hysterical at 4am and started throwing up shortly after for the next 3 hours (Des had been sick a few days earlier, we thought it was a food reaction, but clearly it was a stomach virus). I've never seen Malakai that sick, it was so sad. Ben + I discussed what we should do about our appointment and decided to ask his mom to still watch the boys, but at our place. She agreed and was about to head over, but we got a call from my OB's office saying that they had a tech call in sick and they might have another one and they could possibly get me in later this morning, but they would call me back to let us know... 

I was ready for whatever needed to happen. I thought worse case scenario, we'd get in tomorrow. Sadly there were no openings at any of their imaging offices until Monday afternoon. We were bummed, but it turned out to be better this way. Our original plan was for Malakai + Desmond to come to part of the ultrasound and then wait with his Grandma + Mima in the waiting room. With Kai sick that wouldn't have happened. God knows best, and I feel fine about the whole thing knowing the boys will likely still be able to come. I went from having 3 appointments today (including dental work) to none, but with my boy sick there is nowhere I'd rather be than taking care of him. 

We did really need groceries though, so Grandma still came over so I could get some shopping done. She generously handed my her Starbucks card to get myself a little treat while I was out, which was a definite "pick me up". I had my first "stranger comment" at the grocery store while bagging my groceries next to another mom and her boys she asked when I was due. She then asked if I knew boy or girl yet and I told her about this morning's cancellation. She was so sweet and sincerely bummed for me, it was an unexpected blessing to have a stranger be so concerned I truly felt God's love through her. We parted ways but after she left the next customer noticed her little boy had left his toy car, I offered to run it out since I was heading to my car but it's a BIG parking lot. I looked around for a while, then loaded my groceries and tried driving to find her and I did! I honked at her and waved the car out my window and she stopped and we met outside our cars, she was so thankful- I was just happy to return her kindness. It's funny how being on the giving end of a blessing can turn around a crummy day just as much as being on the receiving end. 

I picked up some essentials and found some goodies for the boys' Easter baskets and decor for Malakai's birthday party along the way. I also scored some coloring books to give the boys when I got home, they were so excited. When I got home Malakai assured me that he was "all the way better", now my biggest challenge is explaining to him that he can't eat for a while...

{this kid loves selfies}


Here is the latest on Baby P...

How far along:  19 weeks

How big is baby: comparable to a mango, approximately 6 inches long, 8.5 ounces

What have you been up to: getting everyone better, then taking care of sickies again...hope there's an end to this cycle. Regardless we have been enjoying the sunny spring weather!
Maternity clothes: I just went through another round of putting away clothes that don't fit and pulling out more maternity clothes. I'm running out of places to store my pre-pregnancy clothes!

{another photo by Kai}


Sleep: sporadic
Milestones: Ben felt baby move at 17 weeks, just after I posted the last update. 

Best Moment: how excited our friends + family are to find out more about our new little baby. It's fun to have so many people share in our anticipation! 
Worst Moment: Malakai + Desmond having a stomach virus

Food cravings:  pastries, specifically donuts. 
Food aversions: not as many as before, but I still avoid spicy and acidic foods due to heartburn. 
Symptoms: I went to the chiropractor earlier in the week and what I thought was sciatic pain is actually my hamstring, which explains why all the stretches I'd been doing weren't helping. He did an adjustment and it felt somewhat better, I'm trying some new stretches to get some relief. 

Movement: Baby started moving a lot more and for longer last night + earlier this morning. 
Gender: still a mystery!
What I’m looking forward to: our ultrasound, still
What I’m nervous about/praying for: I'm not nervous about anything, just praying for a healthy baby!

What I miss:  my appointment. haha, just kidding. I just miss having a healthy family honestly!
Next appointment: Monday's ultrasound
Weekly Wisdom: go with the flow, be flexible and let God bless you through the unexpected. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Cloth Diapering- a year later



It has been a year since we started our cloth diapering journey and I'm still just as happy with it as when we first started. It has been such a money saver and I've learned so much along the way. I've been happily sharing my experience with other parents and totally understand the enthusiasm my friends who started before me had for sharing with me when I was new at it.

I posted a few times when we first started but haven't said much since. I've compiled my posts in a page with some info about my research and our journey to converting from disposables to cloth. Just click on the Cloth Diapering tab above to access it.


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