Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long! Week 3: Half Square Triangles

Hey, friends! Just posting my latest update for the quilt-a-long. I was lucky enough to win the drawing for last week's link party, so I got to go do a little fabric shopping on Cotton Bliss's cute site. I ordered four charm packs, and they are already here! :) I love me some free fabric!! Here they are, four cute Moda charm packs: Wishes, Storybook, Mixed Bag, and Honeysweet. I'm trying to stretch my fabric comfort zone. ;)

I have only sewn with charm packs once before, but I loved the convenience of it! Cutting is probably my least favorite thing about quilting, so I don't mind skipping that step one bit!

Anyway, here are all my happy little half-square triangles for this week's assignment. I haven't trimmed them, yet. I think I will start trimming tonight, but I'm guessing it will take me a few days. I have been busy, busy, busy lately!

That's it for now! I can't wait to start putting the blocks together this coming week!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Apartment Makeover! Baby Steps...Bedroom Style

Well, friends, the time has finally come. Our humble abode is getting a face lift! (Yes!) The first year living in our apartment didn't give us much time to be home with both of us being in school and working, and my first months home with Zia were too full of cuddles and spit up to leave me a lot of extra time to think about redecorating. Our apartment has basically just had the bare essentials, lots of food, and a few decorations that my parents helped us hang when we first moved in.

Now that I am getting used to the whole mom thing, and I am still spending most of my time at home, I have been antsy to make this house a home for us. I have made a few changes here and there, but we are finally making some bigger changes that I have been looking forward to for awhile. It's kind of an early anniversary present to each other, which is great!

One of the first things to go was our old comforter. I'm not sure I ever took a picture of the whole bed all made up (who thinks of these things?), but here is a cute picture of a just-bathed Z on the old comforter.

It was a nice comforter set, and it served us well these past almost-2 years. But I love changing things up, and it was high time for some new clothes for our bed! Introducing, our new bed set!

I saw it in one of the bedrooms in the show room at Ikea and instantly fell in love. I even took a picture of it, I loved it so much.

Our bedroom is a little simpler, but that works for us. I married a hot body, so we can't afford to have more blankets on the bed than just one comforter. We also are notorious for never making our bed if it takes much effort, so less pillows is better for us. Anyway! We have some cute pictures that we are hoping to hang above the bed...

They were in my bedroom back home years ago, and they resurfaced when we got married. They have been unused all this time, so I am happy that they will get a chance to see the light of day again. I am also hoping to do a little makeshift drapery headboard thing. How's that for specific? I think school is frying my brain. :) It will look something like this:

Love the idea of using a sheer curtain sash as a go-to headboard.
We still have a long way to go, but Z already loves our new bed! We love it, too. So much, actually. And that's all that matters!

Look at that cute little valentine! I dressed her in red and pink all week, and I loved every minute of it!

Well, that's just a tiny taste of the changes that have been happening in our house! I've done lots of organizing (my professional organizer mama even came down to help me with it), and lots of other things are changing over the next few days. We are getting hand-me-down couches soon, which is pretty exciting! Anyway, stay tuned for some more fun changes. I have a lot to share!


Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies

About a month ago, Little Z came down with an awful cold. Her nose was runny and stuffy, and she was coughing like crazy. She woke up often during naps and during the night, either because she couldn't breathe or was coughing her poor little lungs out. I think all you parents can agree--it's the worst to see your baby sick. It's especially rough when your sick kiddo is too young to understand why she feels so crummy. 

Before too long, with the help of some of the remedies I'm about to share, Z was feeling better. Unfortunately, Austin and I caught the bug soon after she was back to normal. It was probably one of the worst colds I've ever had. It lasted almost two weeks, and I was completely worn out. My nose was red and peeling from blowing it so often, my throat was raw, and my cough just would not leave me alone.

As a nursing mom, I know that many medicines (specifically for colds) are not recommended if you are breastfeeding. Even though they may be considered "safe," by medical standards, the drugs that help dry up the mucus and phlegm that cause runny noses and coughs can also dry up milk ducts. That is the opposite of what most nursing moms want, so I am here to share a bunch of natural, safe home remedies for you to try if you and your little one start feeling sick. They helped us a lot, and I hope they work for you, too!

(All opinions are my own, and I am not sponsored by any of these companies to write about their products. I used to be a wellness counselor at a local health food store, so I do have some training with these things, but I'm not a doctor! I just want to share what has worked for us.)

Here is a picture of everything together. I'll go more into detail about each item below.

Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies


When you are sick, your body usually needs a little boost in the vitamin department. For respiratory illnesses, I think vitamins A, C, and D are especially helpful. A is supposed to be especially good for coughs, and A and D are both great for immune health in general. (D has also been linked to clearing up asthma and other respiratory problems.) Brands don't matter, but these are the specific kinds we took. I love to take vitamin C in the form of these Emergen-C drink packs. They are fizzy, and they also have other vitamins for added goodness. The tiny bottle is a children's melt-in-your-mouth tablet version of vitamin D. Babies love it! Baby versions of vitamins can be found at most health food stores or online.

Herbs and Homeopathic Remedies

Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies: Fenugreek, Homeopathics, Garlic

From left to right:
  • Fenugreek: Commonly recommended for lactation help, fenugreek is also a natural decongestant. It isn't as strong as the over the counter stuff, but it helps!
  • The middle three bottles are all homeopathic cold and cough blends. Homeopathics are natural and fairly low-dose, but they are clinically proven to help shorten the duration of a cold. There are many different brands and blends, so I would look for a blend that specifically suits the symptoms you have. The middle bottle is Hyland's Baby Cough Syrup. It helped Z so much, and I would highly recommend it. She loved how it tasted, as a funny side note. Silly girl!
  • Garlic: Garlic is kind of the best thing ever. It would help with just about anything health related, and it is awesome for colds! You can also cook with fresh garlic for extra garlic power, but I like to take enteric coated garlic tablets when I'm sick. You don't burp it up too much, that way, but you still get all the benefits of taking it. Garlic acts as an antimicrobial agent, so it kills the yucky germs that make you sick. It is really good stuff! We keep it around throughout the year. Since it is just a food, it is perfectly safe for moms and babies.
  • Other ideas: olive leaf extract and oregano are other herbs with antimicrobial/antiviral properties. My husband and I have both taken them many times with wonderful results. We didn't have any on hand this time around, or else I probably would have taken them! I have not read any studies about their safety for breastfeeding mothers, but I would imagine they are safe. You could ask your doctor to make sure!
Tissues, Essential Oils, and Chest Rubs

Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies Lotion Tissues, Essential Oils, Chest Rub

Lotion Tissues

I don't feel like these need much of an explanation, because we all know how sore noses get when we're sick! It's awful. My nose peeled for three days after I was finally better! I wish I would have had these the whole time I was sick instead of just the second half of the time. They are wonderful!

Essential Oils

I don't know about the rest of the world, but essential oils are the biggest thing since sliced bread around here! There are so many essential oils that would be helpful for colds and coughs, but these are the three that we used. My wonderful parents sent bought the first two, DoTerra's Breathe and OnGuard, for us when Z first got sick. They helped so much, and I would definitely recommend them. Remember to dilute them with a carrier oil, especially for use on baby feet or skin. The last oil pictured is Nature's Fusions Oregano. That is strong stuff, so be careful with it. I wouldn't use it on babies. Austin and I put it on our feet, and I think that and OnGuard made the biggest difference (out of everything) for me. Peppermint Oil (not pictured) is also wonderful for opening up the sinuses. Put a couple drops in the back of the shower to help you breathe easier.

Oils can also be taken internally, but I wouldn't recommend doing so for babies (just my opinion). For adults, you can put a drop or two in an empty gel capsule or just take it in water. Just be careful when using oils this way. Essential oils are very potent, and they can cause allergies and sensitivities when they are not used properly.

Chest Rub

This wonderful Tea Tree Therapy Chest Rub helped all three of us so much. It is a wonderful blend of eucalyptus, tea tree, and other oils. It was gentle enough to use on Z's baby skin, which is great. It can also be rubbed under the nose or on the bottoms of the feet.


Although I didn't take a picture of our humidifier, it was a big part of our war against the common cold. We turned it on in Z's room for naps and bedtime, and it helped so much with her breathing. It works great for moms and dads, too! ;)


Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies Enzymes

Enzymes help with two different aspects of sickness. They can help with any pain and inflammation that comes with being sick, and they also help break up mucus. I had never thought to try them for cold relief before, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much they helped.

Throat Spray

Natural Cold Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms and Babies Throat Spray

If you have a sore throat, you need a good throat spray! I used Barlean's Fresh Olive Leaf Complex Throat Spray. It has the antiviral properties (mentioned above) from the olive leaf, and it has menthol for pain control. It is a wonderful little product, and I would definitely recommend it.

A few more things that didn't make it into the picture:

Tea: A good herbal tea helps so much when you're sick. My favorite is Traditional Medicinals' Throat Coat, and I have also heard wonderful things about that same brand's Gypsy Cold Care, though I haven't tried it. Holy Basil Tea is another one we took when we got really sick. (All of these teas are fine for nursing moms. No caffeine or anything else to worry about. :) ) For a little extra goodness, add honey and lemon to your tea. (Remember, no honey for babies, though!)

Sleep: That's a little tricky to take a picture of, right? ;) Rest is so important when you are sick! If you have a tiny baby, take advantage of her frequent naps and nap with her! If your baby is older, set up a bed on the couch and rest while she plays. I did that a couple times, and Z liked it more than I thought. It was like all my attention was just on her, and she loved it! When I was feeling better the next day, she seemed frustrated that I was back up and about, doing chores and such. It can be hard to rest with kids, but it's important to try!

Try to eat: This is one I struggle with when I'm sick. If you're a nursing mommy, it's really important to keep your calorie intake up! Your body can't make milk from nothing, so make sure you eat plenty, even if you don't feel like it.

Drink lots of water: The reasoning is the same with water as it was with food--and I would say water is even more important when you're sick. Steer clear of soda and drink lots of water and herbal tea instead.

That's about it! I hope some of you find relief with one or more of these products. They helped us so much, and we are all finally back to normal.

What are your favorite natural cold remedies?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long! Week 2: Flying Geese

Week two of the quilt-a-long was lots of fun! We just had to make the flying geese for the quilt. I have never made flying geese before, so my little baby quilting muscles got a chance to stretch a bit. ;) Melissa's no-waste method has thoroughly converted me to that little block, though! It only took two little sessions to sew up all of these, so I was happy! Here are my happy little geese!

I'm looking forward to next week! Hopefully I can stay caught up! It will be fun to see how it turns out. :)

Linking up to the weekly post for the quilt-a-long here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Star Light Star Bright Quilt-A-Long! Week 1: Cutting

As you can see from my new button on the left, I am participating in Melissa of Happy Quilting's Star Light Star Bright Quilt-a-long! Yippee Skippee, as she always says. ;) This week was our first week with an assignment to complete and link up, so I am just posting my progress. I finished all of the cutting for a baby-size quilt. I haven't decided if I will keep it for Z or do something else with it, but I have been looking forward to working on this project since the day she announced the quilt-a-long!

I picked out my fabrics at my favorite local quilt shop. They have a "Fat Quarter Friday" every month, so I thought it would be the perfect time to buy my fabrics! They are a mixture of brands and lines, so I hope they go together in the end!

This is the fabric that I based my theme around.

Here are all the happy piles! It took me almost all of Saturday to finish, but I did it! As Z has gotten older, she has become increasingly fond of being exactly in the middle of whatever I'm working on. She loves to stop and sit on my cutting mat (which is often on the floor because of limited space). She cracks me up.

You may notice that I have an extra pile of printed fabric. Since I am a little nervous about the way these will look together, I decided to get one extra so that I can toss one out if I decide I hate it before the next step. ;)

That's about it! Click on the quilt-a-long button in the left sidebar to find out more about it or check out other people's progress!

Thanks for stopping by!