Saturday, May 30, 2015

DIY No Sew Baby Wrap/Wrap Skirt for $5.75

If you're a baby wearer then you know the exorbitant cost of a wrap or carrier.  And if you're like me, you just can't bring yourself to spend that kind of money on a piece of cloth - especially if you're like me and sew.

I've seen Facebook pictures, google images, and emails of friends and acquaintances smiling proudly with their little ones all trussed up in some yardage of cloth. Cute prints, cute babies, cute mommies, ugly price.
I think I can fix that last part. It depends, however, if you are a label person. I personally am not and will never be. Most definitely I will not spend huge sums of money on a piece of cloth I can only use for a couple of years.  If you are a label person, no judgement, there's nothing wrong with buying what you like if you can afford it. I can't.  If this cloth was going to go with my kid to graduation, I'd spend a couple hundred. However I don't plan on child wearing for 18 years so.....

On to the "fix".  This is the most budget friendly option I could find.  I modeled it after the African back carry in a kanga.  The cloth I had is not traditional kanga and is just a couple yards of cotton. I bought it on sale at Walmart for $5.75.  Not the prettiest, but it functions for what I needed it for. I had the scarf on hand.

If you can get to any fabric store, you're likely to see some items on sale in prints you like.  I would advise you to use cotton or hemp, thin and breathable. If you've ever used a Moby wrap, you know how warm the synthetics can be.

Follow the video instructions below if you want my version of the back carry.

There was no need, none at all, for me to go out and pay the kind of money I see these items sold for.  I could have picked a better print, for sure, but I just needed something on the fly and that cost was too good to pass up.

I would suggest, if you've never back carried before, to do some practice runs with someone around.  Use a chair if you have to or start out on your knees.  I strongly suggest using a friend, partner, etc.

There is a different way to carry a baby that needs head support, an older baby, and a toddler.  This demonstration was for a toddler, however you can make your own baby wraps/slings for next to nothing and with no sewing.

If you want a finished edge, rather than the raw one I have and you don't sew - get some binding tape from Joanns, Walmart, or any sewing notion store. You can get about 3 yards for under $3.  If you get six yards, plus fabric for under $6, you'll have your own carrier for $12.  Even if you spend more on fabric (remember to get light-weight fabric) it will still pale in cost-comparison from buying an actual baby wrap.

If you wish to buy an ACTUAL Kanga, visit They list themselves as, "Kanga USA is a project of Expanding Opportunities, a 501c3 organization and a registered NGO in Kenya. / Copyright © 2012 KangaUSA All Rights Reserved"

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dollars to Kopi Luwak. A DIY Mom's way to save money and have cool stuff.

I've tried to sit down and write this post nearly 20 times, but each time I get distracted by, um, super important stuff. 

Attempt number 21 commencing in 3....



tappity tap tap....

Lately I've noticed a trend of baby wraps, baby carriers, clothing, handbags - etc. It feels like if you are a woman and/or a mother, you must buy these things in order to be viewed as a good mother. Part of the popular crowd.  As if in some way, our insecure selves as new parents need yet another reason to feel insecure about our parenting choices - now there are even more labels, and even MORE pressure to buy or get the newest best thing for our kids. I've been suckered more than once.  Over the years though, I've grown more practical.  When I did cave and get or ask for some cool item that wasn't exactly necessary but really fun to have, I didn't feel bad about it.

It used to be (and yes, I remember these days as I was a mother figure back then too) some 10-15 years ago, that a baby carrier was used to carry a baby.  Now it's used to show status with some soft carriers running as high as $329 on Amazon such as the Vaude Koala Pack all the way down to the Cosmo Cow baby bag sling for $0.01 (plus $30 in shipping).

Absolutely my family looks like this.
Wraps are no better, and the same goes for strollers, diaper bags, and if you're female and reading this I don't need to tell you about shoes, handbags, and clothes.  I'm sure there are many of those out there who can afford a pram for $3,999, however I am not one of them.  

While I don't like "cheap" I do like practical and inexpensive.  A name tag means nothing to me.  If what I have can do the job I don't care if it has a pedigree or not.  The only time I stray from this is when the brand gives back, like Toms Shoes and Alex & Ani's Charity by Design.  

For those of us who don't want to mortgage our house or get run over by crazed soccer moms for some "preppy styled clothes" or contemplate selling a kidney to get a decent baby carrier/wrap that works for more than one thing - going forward every Friday I will post a way to get the SAME EXACT THING as some "high-falutin" overly expensive item.  Some videos and photos may accompany my post.  Actually video and photo will always accompany my post. Any item I do you are free to use my pattern.

The trick is you have to do the work.  If it's just covenience you want, and not cost savings, then go buy the item you want and keep it moving. No one will judge you.  But if you want to save money, then follow along and take whatever money you've saved and go put it in the bank or take your family to get ice cream.  Or buy Kopi Luwak. Whatever floats your boat and puts you in your happy place Mom or Dad.

Please feel free to message me if you have something you want to recreate, to work around, or to get but don't want to spend the money for. I'll try and figure out a way to get it, make it, or trade it for next to nothing.  

This week?  Baby carrier/wrap, skirt, and some super comfy wrap pants - all from one single piece of cloth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Label of "Parent"

The purpose of my blog originally was to write about my journey as a SAHM, or a stay at home mom.  I do that sometimes but I think lately I've been getting away from that and trying to stay "current".   I'm not awesome at that.

I've been reading other bloggers lately and trying to find my groove. I'm not a shock-blogger, I don't have a lot to say that's edgy.  A few things, but not enough to base a whole blog on. I'm not into any industry that is marketable really - unless you count parenting. I do know one or maybe three things about parenting my children.

Something invaluable that my parents taught me was that just because a thing is out there and costs money, has a label, and says it will sing your little one to sleep while making dinner, walking the dog, and giving you a foot rub - doesn't mean that is in any way true.  The only thing that can do that is yourself or your partner.  Unless you are a celebrity, then I suppose you could have a team of assistants. But for those of us less celebrity-fortunate, it's down to us.

New parents. Be easy on yourself.  Trust yourself to do the right thing for your babies but know that

once in a while you will fail. Because you are human and are not perfect. If you try to live up on a pedestal with very little sleep juggling first a baby, then add house work, a job possibly, a to do list, going to the doctor (yours and the pediatrician), diaper rash, colic, groceries, dinner, the dog walks, play dates, mom's birthday - guess what? You are going to drop something or you're going to fall off the pedestal and land down here with the rest of us mere mortals.  We will gladly offer a hand and pick up your spilled groceries and re bag them, offer to walk them into your counter, help you find an app to schedule your mom's birthday reminder, advise some diaper rash cream, get you a cup of tea and take your dog for a walk.  Because we've been there. You are not alone.  Every child is different, yes, but every child is still a child. And you are still a person who needs attention and a village.

Co-Parents of a more than one kid - please take time to yourself. Remember that you aren't being selfish by doing something for yourself, but you are being healthy. Your relationship MUST have time for you and your partner if you are going to survive the tiny terrors that are threatening your very existence yet affirming it at the same time. Such a constant battle - being so proud and so in love with your little ones yet - so desperately needing to get away. Don't forget the one you chose. Remember how you thought they'd be a good parent? Don't get mad when they don't live up to your expectations.  They're juggling too. Talk to them and then LISTEN too.  Don't think that just because you know what's going on that they'll know why you're mad.  Your children will grow up and move on - you have to work harder to keep your partner.  Do the work.  Reap the rewards.  Love them but more important, love yourself too.  This is hard.

Single parents - you have one of the hardest jobs in the world.  Being your kids' everything at some point. Having no one to really share the burden with. Feeling all of the responsibility and man that's a heavy load.  Your children WILL remember how hard you worked for them. They will grow up and if they have kids of their own become awed by how much you did and marvel at how you did it all on no sleep, $7 in the checking account, and worry always nipping at your heels.  Think back to when they were tiny and you had no sleep? You've got this. You can do it.  Find people around you who can be your support, your rock, your friends and family. Other moms, dads, or grandparents. We are out here, and can lend a hand.

And all of us, if we practice patience, kindness and make a commitment to ourselves and our kids, it will be ok. They will grow up and think of us one more time as super heroes.

Because we are.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Run Money Pig, Run. My thoughts on Josh Duggar and Mama June

Run money pig run! Before Big Bad Wolf Mama Shannon catches ya and eats ya all up! Or the Duggars! They have a lot of mouths to feed, and clearly they have at least one predator in their midst.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I don't watch reality television, with the exception of Wheeler Dealers or anything with Chip Foose.  I had remained, until recently, happy in my ignorance of everything Honey Boo Boo.

However -  thousands (maybe more) watched every week with horror and rapt fascination a mother exploit her child for money and fame.  This "Mother of the Year", Mama June Shannon also exposed, knowingly, her children to two DIFFERENT sexual predators. One of those children was molested by one of the predators.  This very same woman is seemingly blasé about that and is now angry that her molestation issues have caused her money pig to run away but didn't cause the Duggars money pig to go away.   She's mad that people are upset she let men abuse her daughters and then INVITED ONE BACK????  Unbelievable.

On the same network (The I-don't-know-what-it-is-we-are Learning Channel), we find out that the eldest Duggar has also incestuously molested young children. This man ran the Family Values Association. He has since resigned.  The law was not brought into it because the statute of limitations ran out. Statute. As in crime.  However Mr. Duggar was a minor as well and in my opinion his parents and church were complicit in the crime by covering it up, because let's just be real, that's what it was, a cover up.

People are trying to blame the networks but I don't really blame them.  Who do I fault?  Wilkinson County and the state of Georgia's Division of Child and Family Services. The Washington County Police and the Arkansas Child Welfare Department are responsible for failing those 4 or 5 sisters. THEY failed their communities. THEY should be held responsible for the atrocities these children faced and will probably continue to face as there are no repercussions for their abusers. Those poor little girls, one as young as FIVE.

Just to give you some clue as to the rates of abuse in these states:

Arkansas - Population 2.96M*Georgia - Population 10.1M*
REPORTS of Child Abuse (not confirmed)45,656**,***33,723**,***,
* for 2014
**In 2011, 11,105 children were victims of abuse or neglect in Arkansas, a rate of 15.6 per 1,000 children, representing a 13.4% decrease from 2010. Of these children, 71.4% were neglected, 18.1% were physically abused, and 20.5% were sexually abused.
* for 2014
**80.9% of perpetrators are parents; 6.3% were relatives and only 2.8% were unknown (
15.6 per 1,000 children7.4 per 1,000 children

I have no idea why those states aren't prosecuting these offenders.  I do understand that the "church" and Josh Duggar's parents helped him avoid true repercussions and enabled him to do this again but be more careful and discreet. Helped him rise to a position of authority.

Josh Duggar is sick and depraved.  You don't molest 5 year olds when you're 14 because you are curious. That's masturbation, hiding magazines in your mattress and sneaking into porn on the internet at a friends. You put your fingers in a five year old's vagina because you are a pedophile. You have a predilection for children and should be kept FAR FAR away from them.  Not hired for a position where you can shape their future.  And his parents, Jim Bob & Michelle? Well my personal message to you is:

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL ACTIONS HE TOOK,  and for any damage to your daughters that could take decades to manifest.  You. You were responsible for protecting your daughters and you didn't.  You protected your son from his repercussions.

Mama June - She is a disgusting human being putting her children in danger. Valuing her love life over the lives of those she brought into this world. Valuing her daughters' marketability over their safety.

The lot of them, the Duggar parents and June and her "boyfriends", should be roudned up and put on an island and left there to rot or eat each other.  They are all terrible human beings.

Just my two cents.

So what's the deal CPS?

In Maryland, a family is being vilified by the local authorities. Their children were taken from them for a few hours and the local CPS has given an unofficial report on them. Their crime? Letting the children walk home from the park. They are the Meitiv family and are self proclaimed Free Range Parents.

So why is Maryland persecuting the Meitivs? Why aren't the state and county dealing with the 4 in 1000 kids who are victims of abuse including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse?  Just to give you an idea of how many that is, according to the 2010 Census of Montgomery County there were almost 154,000 children in this county alone.  In Maryland that year there were almost a million.  The 4:1000 ratio means  618 children are suffering from REAL ABUSE in Montgomery County.(See table below for state figures)  Not the made-up abuse CPS and the County Police don't want to back down on.  Real children sufferering actual abuse.  While CPS and the MoCo Police are wasting their time on the Meitivs, real offenders are harming children.

There is a big debate going on right now about whether or not the Meitiv children are being put in danger by letting them walk home from the park. The answer is resoundingly "no". Even the state couldn't officially say that the children were in danger.  Maryland's CPS seems to think that the Meitiv's put their children at risk for abduction and worse citing them for being, get this, responsible for unsubstantiated neglect.  I don't get it.  How can you be responsible for unproven things?

But for argument's sake, let's look at some numbers, shall we? And ChildFind of America reports on Familial vs. Stranger abductions:
“An estimated 203,900 children were victims of a family abduction in 1999. A family abduction occurs when a family member takes or keeps a child in violation of the custodial parent's/guardian's legitimate rights." 78% of abductors are the non-custodial parent."
This is what ChildFind says about NON-family abductions:
“An estimated 58,200 children were victims of a non-family abduction in 1999.   Non-family abductions occur when someone who is not a relative abducts and detains a child without lawful authority or parental permission with the intention to keep the child permanently.  In 1999 there were also  115 stereotypical  kidnappings.  A  stereotypical kidnapping occurs when a stranger or slight acquaintance transports a child 50 miles or more from home and either kills the child, holds the child for ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently. "
Fifty thousand children is A LOT of children. One is too many, I don't know of anyone that is in disagreement with that statement.   

The "Mother of the Year", Mama June.
But abduction isn't the only evil thing, there are also sexual predators that tie into abductions right? That issue with the Duggar Heir molesting his sisters and Mama June Shannon knowingly allowing her children to be around not one, but TWO sexual predators.  Both are responsible for substantiated ABUSE.

  • An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.  
  • About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members
  • Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse  are strangers to the child.  
  • Not all perpetrators are adults—an estimated 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.
Wait just one minute. Ten percent are strangers?  TEN?  These websites are telling me that NINETY PERCENT of sexual abusers are family or trusted people?  So what about that video that was viral where a man named Joe and his cute fluffy white dog went up to a kid and "snatched" him or her? That shows how easily a child can be taken right?  Clearly YouTube is the authority and not NSOPW.  But actually, no.  Maryland and Montgomery County, you should take note:

According to “Have Sexual Abuse and Physical Abuse Declined Since the 1990s?” an article released by the Crimes Against Children Research Center in 2012, there was a 56% decline in physical abuse and a 62% decline in sexual abuse from 1992 to 2010. And, 

Despite some skepticism of reporting methods by various agencies, declines in child physical and sexual abuse since the 1990s, as reported to National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), reflect a true decline in prevalence. 
The decline in sexual abuse in NCANDS was consistent with other data sources. 

So there you have it.  Those are the facts. Our world is NOT more dangerous. There aren't strangers lurking in every corner at every park. The molesters, abusers and abductors of our children are US. Our sisters, brothers, spouses and caregivers. Terrifying isn't it?

It's a sad day in our society when a neighbor sees these kids walking home from a park and decides they are being abused and yet, daily, people tune into "Honey Boo Boo", "Toddlers & Tiaras" and "16 & Pregnant". (Basically, TLC, MTV and all the other educational channels)

Why don't we, instead, focus on helping children like the Duggar's daughters, or Alana's sister who was molested by one of her mothers boyfriends?  Why don't we get involved then?  Instead of being overly concerned nosy busy bodies about clearly well cared for children?

If you are interested in helping the Meitivs and staying current in the case with Montgomery County, MD, please visit the family's Facebook page.  If you wish to help out their legal defense, please visit this post on Facebook or here to donate directly.

To learn more about the frequency of abductions and abuse in your state, and to find out where and how you can do something to help, please visit these links below: