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Pennsylvania Public Library – Quest Summer Reading Program

Growing up, visits to the library were my favorite! (Thank you, Aunt Debbie) This summer Caden is the PERFECT age to start attending some of the different activities they have to offer. I wasn’t sure which library to check out since we have so many amazing ones near us. We have Carbondale, Dalton, Abington Community, and the Nancy Kay Holmes library all within a half hour drive. There are even more that I just haven’t visited yet. Best of all – their activities are FREE!!!!!

We have attended BabyGarten at Nancy Kay Holmes and Baby Storytime at the Abington Community Library. Both activities involved play, songs, listening to a story, and a craft. Next week, we plan to dive in with some more activities, such as other “age level” story times since Caden is in between the baby and the pre-school age crews, block parties (building with Legos), and music time. All of the Lackawanna County Libraries have rotating times for magic shows, jugglers, art exhibits, zoo mobiles, and other animal exhibits. Children 4 to 13 can even earn a free ticket to attend a RailRiders game!

Abington Community Library Schedule

June Schedule

July Schedule

Special Event Schedule

Nancy Kay Holmes Library Schedule

June Schedule

July Schedule

Ages 0 to 5 Summer Quest Recording Sheet

Children earn “points” for reading for 15 minutes or completing an activity. Some of the activities that I think are really cool are –

  • Visit a Farmer’s Market – Shopping local is SO important! I desperately want to instill this in Caden from a young age.
  • Eat a “tech-free” meal with your family – I am hoping that we can always keep our meals “tech-free,” but I know that this is a struggle for many families.
  • Write your name in the mud or sand – This is great for sensory exploration and practicing letters!
  • Find shapes in the grocery store – This is something simple that I can start incorporating in our weekly visits to the grocery store. We can also point out the different colors or food groups, too!

Adult Summer Quest Recording Sheet

Adults also get points for reading for 30 minutes or selecting an activity to complete. Some of the adult activities that I think are really cool are –

  • Visit a local business that is new to you – Clarks Summit has so many amazing small businesses that I would like to explore. This will be the push that I need.
  • Visit a farmer’s market – same reason as above 🙂
  • Write someone a thank you card
  • Complete a DIY or home improvement project – Another activity that I need an extra push on!
  • Visit a new city – This is ALWAYS on my summer to-do list!

Happy Reading! ❤️

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Cloth Diaper 101

You’re going to touch your child’s poop?! You’re going to put THAT in your washing machine?!?!!

NEWSFLASH: You do this with disposables, too. Has your child never had a blowout diaper????

I LOVE sharing my love of cloth diapering with other. I am always here to answer questions and help anyone get started. It saves you money and the universe a ton of extra garbage in landfills! If anyone needs help, feel free to comment on this post, shoot @TheTeacherMama_ a message on Insta or FB!

There’s a lot of information out there about cloth diapering. I like to stick to the basics to help a newbie decide what is best for them. When we first started out, I ordered a few different types to see what they looked and felt like. Overall, I stick with one-size diapers and don’t worry about newborn or specific sized diapers. This is easier on me and my pocketbook. My boy also came out 9 pounds, 3 ounces, so newborn diapers would have been a total waste! He fit in one-size perfectly from day one.

What types of diapers are there? (There are more, but I’m keeping this simple!)

-Pocket – You stuff an insert into the diaper. When you wash, you pull out the inserts.

  • PROs >>>> You get to customize absorbency.
  • CONs >>>> You have to take the time to stuff the diapers.

I love Charlie Banana pocket diapers. They have leg straps that you can adjust. 

-All in one – This diaper has everything you need attached.

  • PROs >>>>> No stuffing 🙂
  • CONs >>>>> You don’t get to customize absorbency as easily. You made need to add in extras to make it work for you.

I love Grovia and Thirsties Natural All in Ones!

-Covers – This is the most economical route you can take.

  • PROs >>>>> You can reuse the cover as long as it’s only peed in. You just change the refold inside.
  • CONs >>>>> This seems intimidating, but it’s really not. We use Grovia covers and Osocozy prefolds which have the folds sewed into them. You just have to fold it into thirds. You can do super fancy folds and use snapeez, but I like to keep it SIMPLE.

I love Grovia covers and Osocozy prefolds!

What type of closures are there?

Applix/Hook & Loop/Velcro –

  • PROs – Super easy to use. Just like a disposable.
  • CONs – A little bit higher maintenance because you will need to make sure the velcro is attached before washing. Velcro doesn’t have as long of a life expectancy as snaps.

Snaps –

  • PROs – Snaps generally last much longer than velcro.
  • CONs – May take some trial and error to find the right fit.

 

How do you wash your diapers?

What works for me, may not work for you. This is a lot of trial and error. It also will depend on the type of water you have. We have harder water living off of well water, so I use Tide powder. It has a softener in it automatically. If you post your washing machine and water hardness in a cloth diapering group, they will help you figure out a wash routine.

I keep my large pail liner/wet bag in the bathroom. I spray poop diapers and place them in the bag. I put pee diapers straight into the bag without rinsing. I wash every 2-3 days… sometimes 4, but I try to stick to 2-3. I put all of the diapers in my top loading washer as a  SMALL load, cold, quick wash with line one of Tide powder. Then, I do another small load, hot, FULL cycle, with a full cup of Tide powder. I dry the inserts and line dry the diapers.

Where do you get your diapers?

I love www.abbyslane.com. Join Abby’s Chatties on Facebook to get all of the promo codes from the pinned post for each day of the week. Their rewards program is awesome! You always get at least 11.5% back on all purchases! 🙂 ***ETA: My favorite shop closed in December! (Worst. Day. Ever.)

Some other shops – Ulmie’s Nest, The Natural Baby Company, and The Green Diaper Store!

 

PS: Check out the AMAZING GroVia chart they made to help parents decide which diaper is perfect for them! >>>>> https://www.grovia.com/pages/clothdiapers

Pampers PURE Review

We cloth diaper of course, but it is important for those that use disposables to really inspect their diaper ingredient lists. There are so many toxins for something that goes on such a precious bum. Pampers PURE are a great place to start if you aren’t ready to go full-on-cloth! They’re a brand you can trust with an environmental conscious. On the EWG’s Skin Deep app, Pampers Pure wipes scored a 1, which is great! They have no chlorine bleaching, fragrances, parabens, or latex. Premium Cotten is used in this plant-based product.

****This item was received free for testing purposes from Influenster, but all opinions are my own!*****

Caden’s Golf First Birthday

I’m a little late to the game, but I wanted to share how we decorated for Caden’s first birthday party!

Caden’s attire:

-Custom Moccs from Everleigh Meadow Moccs

-Custom Shirt Embroidered with Caden and 1 with a matching bib from Etsy (Addie Kakes Kreations)

– Shorts from Gymboree

Food:

-TeeRiffic Pasta Salad

-PUTTato Chips

-Watermelon Wedges

-Putting Green Dirt Cake

-And of course pizza, hoagies, wings, and macaroni and cheese!

-Two Amazing Cakes from Cakes in Cups

-Extremely Creative Cookies from Jess Dunleavy

-We has an Arnold Palmer Making Station, too!

Caden’s Smash Cake 🙂

Decorations:

-White paper lanterns and printed the Titleist logo on them to look like gold balls

-green table cloths

-a balloon arch

-Centerpieces: $1 glass bowls from Walmart filled with golf balls and navy blue flowers

-Guest Book: We plan to always have a new book that matches the theme for guests to write a happy birthday message. We chose Badges, Egg Salad, and Green Jackets: The Masters A to Z!

Favors:

-Plastic golf clubs with balls from the dollar tree. We turned a large cardboard box into a Titleist golf bag.

End of the Year Teacher Gift

As a teacher, gifts are never expected or necessary, but they are always appreciated! 🙂

We adore Caden’s daycare teachers, and he will be moving up to the next room when he returns in the fall.

We made a S’Mores basket with an added Amazon Giftcard for an extra sweet treat as an end of the year gift! It was super quick and easy, but looks adorable all assembled!

What’s in it?

  • Small Blue Tote from The Dollar Tree
  • Box of Graham Crackers
  • Bag of Marshmallows
  • Pack of 6 Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
  • Amazon Gift Card

*Shrink Wrap Cellophane and Bow are also from the Dollar Tree!

I printed out a label that says, “Thank you for making this year S’MORE fun than anything! Love, Caden”

Sneak Fruits & Veggies into your Child’s Meals with Beech-Nut Naturals!

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Beech-Nut Naturals offers a variety of natural purees. Some flavors available are…Just Sweet Potatoes, Just Apples, Just Carrots, Just Pear & Blueberry, Just Apple & Kale, Just Carrot, Corn, & Pumpkin, Just Spinach, Zucchini, & Pears, and so many more! Beech-Nut Naturals is inspired by homemade. It is made with real fruits and vegetables, just like you would use at home. 100% natural, nothing artificial. Beech-Nut Naturals uses only ingredients you can pronounce (which is important!).

Caden would share that the honeypot jar design is really fun for stacking. He is constantly trying to sneak them out of our cupboards to stack!

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My favorite think about Beech-Nut Naturals is their great taste! Caden is past the days of eating purees out of the jar (or a bowl) on a spoon. He wants to be on the move. I scoop one of the many delicious flavors into a Squeesy Gear reusable pouch and let him run free! Caden THINKS he’s getting some special snack, but really I am just pumping him with fruits and vegetables.

Another big mom secret is Beech-Nut Naturals purees are perfect for sneaking into meals. If anyone else has a pasta monster like I do, Beech-Nut can be added in for a boost in vegetable intake. I love to sneak sweet potatoes into Caden’s macaroni and cheese. 🙂 Just look at that smile…. he must love Beech-Nut Naturals as much as Mama does!

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#BeechNutPartner #realfoodforbabies #ad #FreeProductsWereReceived

Why Exclusively Pumping?

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child. 

I wanted to share a little about Caden’s birth story and why I ended up choosing the exclusively pumping route.

I was induced, so labor was EXCEPTIONALLY long. Sean and I have different blood types, so although no one mentioned it, I really believe there was some type of Rh+/- thing going on between us. Caden had trouble staying latched. I was in severe pain. There could have even been a lip/tongue tie issue, but I didn’t really hear much about those until I was in mommy facebook groups after we were already home. Caden was jaundiced (although he didn’t look it, his bilirubin levels were high!). We had to keep him in the incubator box with lights shining on him. I wanted to be able to take him home as quickly as possible, so I was afraid to take him out to feed with all of the issues we were having. I knew eating a lot was the best way to flush the bilirubin out of his skin. We had tons of lactation consultants and nurses practically forcing me to latch Caden, even though I was balling my eyes out in pain and fear. I BEGGED for a pump. I wanted to try one before we left anyway just to be sure I was using it correctly. (PS: Definitely use the pump in the hospital, since then you get lots of extra pieces to take home if it’s the same pump you have at home! It’s also SUPER powerful!) The lactation consultant on duty was kind of discouraging. She told me that I probably wouldn’t get anything. I got 10mL! PERFECT! We fed it to Caden through a syringe to keep him in his little light box. I would occasionally take him out to try latching, but I felt comfortable knowing that I KNEW he was getting so much from pumping.

We had to stay an extra day in the PICU. The nurses were awesome, but we were so exhausted and just wanted to get home. I continued to pump and latch occasionally with great success.

Funny-ish Side Note – When we were released, Caden still had elevated bilirubin levels, but we just had to go get bloodwork daily/every few days to watch the levels. The one day in particular they were higher than anticipated. They told us to put him in a window to get some sunlight since that is supposed to help. We set him up in his rock-n-play under our sunlights. He sat there for about two and half hours. Then, I asked Sean if he remembered the doctor saying anything about how long we are supposed to have him in the light for. I call back to be sure he’s fine still in the light. Her response….. “About 10-15 minutes. Most babies won’t be comfortable and will begin to whine when they want out anyway.” Whooooop!

When we got home, it was just easier to pump than to struggle with latching. I was producing over 3 ounces at that point, so it was going really well! I only had 3 weeks off, so Caden was going to have to get used to a bottle soon anyway. We used Dr. Brown’s bottles and had great success. We rarely (maybe once?!) struggled with any type of tummy trouble or gas and that one time was when we started solids!

Exclusively Pumping Life

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child. 

 

 

I knew I wanted to provide breastmilk for my little one from the moment I realized I was late. I had heard time and time again how beneficial it is for children. It helps them get over illnesses quicker, it helps produce antibodies to avoid getting sick, etc….. I was still nervous though. I am super sensitive, so it petrified me. I knew I would have to go back to work quickly, so I made sure to have all types of pumping supplies on dock for when that time came. We had some trouble with jaundice at birth, and I knew I only had 3 weeks home with Caden. This led us to the pumping life.

What worked for me!

-I pumped every 2 hours at the beginning. Yes… even through the night. At about 3 weeks when I went back to work, our super star was gaining weight fabulously and sleeping through the night (yes, we were EXTREMELY spoiled!). I was still pumping every two hours through the night at that point. Since I was back to work, I desperately needed more sleep, since naps during the day were not an option. I decided to stay every two hours (or as much as possible at work) during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. Sleep is very important for mama’s, so I think that sleep just helped me produce even more milk. From 3 weeks to about 4 months, I pumped at 12:30-ish am, 5am, 7am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:30-ish pm when I had work and 12:30ish am, 5am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm, 9:30-ish pm when I was home. It was a lot, but it helped build my supply. Around 4 months I had a freezer FULL. I decided to drop the 12:30ish am pump and let myself go 3-4 ish hours when I needed to if we were out and about. This meant I got a full night sleep and could leave my house again. I did wake up soaked occasionally (sorry, Sean!), but I was pumping out 15-20 ounces just in the morning. After about 5 months, I started to drop a few pumps each month. I didn’t really have a rhyme or reason when I started to drop. I mainly just dropped the ones that annoyed me the most and were the most inconvenient. Around 9 months I was at just 2-3 pumps a day. My period returned and my supply dwindled. I had a lot of upcoming events, 5+ months of milk left in the freezer, and decided to throw in the towel. Sometimes I get annoyed that I didn’t continue because I know fresh milk has SO MANY benefits, but for my sanity I couldn’t keep missing out on the fun to be hiding in our bedroom pumping.

-Supply wise – drinking LOTS of water is was helped me the most. I drank well over 100 ounces of water a day! I also snacked very often throughout the day. I did not diet or try to watch calories. Pumping (and breastfeeding) burns so many calories that it is actually recommended to eat over the daily recommended calorie count! I have heard great things about oatmeal. I LOVE Ben & Jerry’s oatmeal cookie ice cream. I didn’t do enough research into whether it actually helped my supply, but it did seem to at least! Whenever my friends ask about any supplements (fenugreek or special teas), I tend to suggest they leave those to a last resort. A lot of my research into those products show that they have varying effects for everyone. I know lots of people whose supplies dropped because of those products. Power pumping is huge for triggering your body to make more milk. I would avoid doing it TOO often though because it can damage your nipples.

-Items that made my life easier –

#1 – A partner who would wash pump parts and bottles! This was such a big relief, since I spent so much of my day pumping as it was. I had no desire to then have to wash said items.

#2 – Freemies. These things are LIFE. I was able to use these are work to pump and respond to emails, grade tests, and type up assignments. They are cups that hold 8 ounce each, connect to your pump, and slip right into your bra. There is a learning curve, so practice with some water in them first, but they are SAVIORS!

#3 – Lanolin/Bamboobies Organic Nipple Cream – Pumping can be just as painful and damaging to your nipples. You need something to keep them from chafing and rubbing on the pump. It definitely helped calm my pain!

#4 – Wet bags – I would put my pump parts in the fridge between uses. This is NOT recommended by medical professions. Definitely don’t do it with any immune-compromised babies. For my overall healthy kiddo, this was an easy way to lessen the load.

#5 – Dr. Brown’s Bottles connect to Medela parts. Pumping right into the bottle you will feed from saves extra dishes to wash!

Happy Pumping! ❤

 

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child.