I Have a New YouTube Channel

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've posted anything... and with good reason. I will spare you all the gruesome details, but I fell and sliced two of my fingers pretty bad. So bad in fact that I had to call my husband to rush home from work to take me to get stitches. Needless to say, it's been a little hard to sit down at the computer and type! I had my stitches removed this week and I'm slowly gaining the ability to use my fingers again so I thought I would take a quick couple of minutes to write a little something and share some exciting news!!

I wanted to let you know though that I created a YouTube channel for Naturally Creative Mama where I posted a couple videos already and hope to post more as time allows. So far I have a couple cloth diaper videos and a look into a popular diaper bag that I recently purchased. I'm hoping to get some crafting/sewing tutorials up and some other fun goodies.

I ordered a bunch of new cloth diapers on Black Friday (and Cyber Monday.. and all those other fun little days of deals) and so I started posting about some of the new things I got. If you want to check out what the new Thirsties One-Size All-In-One cloth diapers look like go take a look at the quick little video I put together. Please give it a thumbs up if you like the video and you want to see more. Also, feel free to leave me any questions or comments you have.

Thanks everyone! I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!

Tutorial: Easy Peasy Envelope Closure Throw Pillow Cover

These are so super easy that you will want to make throw pillows for every couch cushion, bed, and friend that you have!!

We love throw pillows in our home, and the BIGGER THE BETTER!! When JoAnn's had their awesome Black Friday sale, I scored two 18" pillow forms that were 50% off, plus I used a 20% off coupon. Then with some cute fabric I had on hand I made these two throw pillows for our couch.

Want to make your own?


Today only... FREE SHIPPING on EVERY ORDER!!! 
{U.S. only} 

PLUS, use coupon code CYBERMON10 to get 10% off your purchase!! 

Coupon code is only valid for today (12/1/14) and will expire at midnight. This deal is not good on previous purchases or custom orders. International order must still pay for shipping, but can use the coupon code. Please contact me prior to purchase to set up shipping. 

Fall Wreath Tutorial Repost

I love the look of a nice fall or winter wreath, hanging from the door, or on the wall. BUT, they are so expensive! So, I opted to create my own simple grapevine wreath all for about $7. Sure beats the $35+ they want for them in the store!  I used a coupon from JoAnn to get my grapevine wreath for 40% off. Then I found a cute pre-done mix of silk flowers that I liked. That's it! So easy.

Here's how I did it and what you will need to finish yours.

Honest Company Review and Coupon Code {Plus CYBER MONDAY deal}

Occasionally I will do product reviews here ... but they have to be real awesome for me to share. Well, I found a new brand that I absolutely LOVE!
The Honest Company  is an eco friendly company dedicated to products that contain only all natural ingredients. I was a little skeptical just because I normally use chemical cleaners and didn't think that a natural cleaner could do the trick. Boy was I wrong!
This all purpose cleaner was way better than all the others I was using.
Not only does it clean really well but it smells heavenly! I am throwing out all my other cleaners and sticking strictly to this one. It's all I need!
Honest company also sells fantastic bath and body products. The kids and I have been using their shampoo and conditioner for a while now.
I can totally feel the difference between Honest Company shampoo and conditioner vs [insert any name brand here -- I've tried most of them]. My hair feels cleaner and definitely more healthy. Again, I love the smell of it and my kids love it too!
The spray hand sanitizer is equally impressive. I keep one at my diaper changing area.
Once I've changed a diaper, and before I pick my cute little baby back up, I use a quick spritz of the hand sanitizer. LOVE!
I just purchased my first bundle from their website. You can save 20% or more by signing up for a monthly subscription. With that subscription you can choose any 5 products {and there are lots to choose from} for only $35. An awesome deal for awesome natural products!!!
Plus if you use my link (http://www.honest.com/accept_invitation/649832) you can enter code INVITE10 at checkout and get an additional $10 off your first order!
The subscription can be canceled at any time so even if you just want to give it a try you can get your $10 off deal and then cancel if you don't want to get it monthly. You can change the items in your bundle each month and be able to try everything! You won't be disappointed!!

** FOR TODAY ONLY (CYBER MONDAY) get an extra 25% off your purchase using code: THANKSGIVING2014. 

5 Month Update on Baby Jacob

I CANNOT believe that nearly 5 1/2 months have gone by since my little guy was born! He is the sweetest, happiest little guy and I LOVE him! 

You wouldn't know it looking at him now, but if you've been following on my facebook page you know we have been struggling to get him to gain weight! At his 4 month check up he had reached 12 pounds and finally made it onto the growth charts at a whopping 2%. I have never been so happy to hear a 2% score in my life!! 

We struggled with breastfeeding and ultimately ended up with a combination of breast and formula to get him to put on the pounds! He is the sweetest, best baby I could ever wish for. He only cries when he needs mommy!

Plus, he has the most handsome smile ever! He's sportin' his Thirsties cloth diaper and a newsboy hat I made him in these pictures.  His baby blue eyes are sure to make him a heart breaker in a couple years.

He goes in for his 6 month check-up in a few weeks and I'm hoping he has continued to put on some weight. I have been making my lactation cookies to try and keep up with him!

Lactation Cookie Recipe {Dairy, Egg, and Peanut Free Options}

If you are nursing a little one and haven't heard about lactation cookies... well, you're in luck! Essentially a Lactation is cookie is pretty much what it sounds like. It's a cookie you can eat to help with your lactation {milk production}. The cookies are full of yummy and super healthy ingredients to help give your body a little boost! 

Nursing a baby takes a lot from us moms (literally!) and sometimes we just need a little something extra to help us get through it. Plus, it doesn't hurt that they taste so darn yummy! I have to make these in 1/2 batches so that when I eat them all in 2 days I don't feel so terrible. AND, as an added bonus... when your hubby says so sweetly, "haven't you had enough cookies?" you can sincerely reply, "NO. They are for the baby and I need to eat them!". Ha!

Seriously... doesn't just looking at the picture make you drool!? Well, wipe off your keyboard and write down the ingredients so you can make some of your own! If you scroll down to the bottom of the recipe you can find some *egg, **dairy, and **peanut free options too! 

Not Your Average First Day of Kindergarten

For anyone who isn't an avid reader of my blog, here's a short version of our food allergy story:

We first discovered that my son (now almost 6 years old) had food allergies when he was only 2 month old. We had given him a small amount of formula before a road trip hoping it would last a little longer in his tummy. By the time we arrived at our destination -- about 1-1/2 hrs later -- he was bright red from head to toe.

We left my daughter with the family we were visiting and rushed him to the hospital. He was breathing fine, but we didn't know at the time what was going on. They monitored his oxygen for a while and I breastfed him hoping to flush it out of his little system.

The next few months were spent arguing back and forth with the pediatrician who was convinced it was grass, or a change in detergent (because everyone knows that I would let my barely 2 month old lay in grass and I hadn't changed detergents, soaps, shampoos, or anything else) and that it couldn't possibly be a food allergy. But when I would see my little guy look like this....

I knew something wasn't right. I exclusively breastfed him just in case. Still he would have allergic reactions and we didn't know what from. I finally tracked down an allergist who did blood work to test my little guy. We then found out the extent of his allergies: Dairy, Eggs, and Peanuts. The trifecta!

The last 4 years have been spent honing in on some allergen free recipes and working hard just to keep my little guy alive! I carry Epipens and Benedryl with me everywhere he goes. I quit school (with only student teaching left before I received my teaching credentials) because I couldn't send him to daycare with his allergies. A tough decision, but one I will NEVER regret making!

Now we reach a new chapter in our lives. SCHOOL. Never have I felt so anxious in my life! Every parent goes through some anxiety, and maybe some sadness when their child starts Kindergarten. But, imagine not only sending your child to school for the first time, but putting your child's very life in the hands of people you may only have known for a few weeks. Yep, that's what happens to parents of children with food allergies.

Does the teacher know what symptoms to watch for? Does the office staff know what to do in case of an anaphylactic emergency? Will his lunch table really be clean enough to keep him safe? Will the kids who drank chocolate milk for breakfast touch my son? Will he remember not to trade his food or take food from anyone? 

These are the kinds of things that go through my mind as I get ready to send my little guy off to school for the first time. Add to that the fact that up until now (1 week before school starts) the school staff and nurse have been taking a nonchalant approach to the whole thing, reassuring me that everything will be fine and they will take care of him, and I'm feeling just a little stressed out.

So, though I am feeling a little uneasy about everything I am still hopeful that it is all going to fall into place over the next few days. My son has been fortunate to take part in a program run by First 5 that gives incoming Kindergartners a chance to "experience" the Kindergarten setting for 2 hours a day for a two week period. It's a great introduction to sitting on the carpet, working in small groups, playing with others, and following directions. It has also been great for us in that we were able to put various things into place for my son in the classroom to keep him safe and to get the other incoming Kindergartners accustomed to some of those safety practices.

If anyone else out there is sending their allergy child to Kindergarten this year, we can cry together (a la American Tail -- somewhere out there) on that first day of school as we kiss our little ones goodbye and release all the control we have had over their little lives. If you are gearing up for that still my advice for you is to start early with your paperwork and meetings. I did that and it still isn't completely ready. If anyone is curious as to specifics on how we are handling things at school let me know and I can put together a post about it.

Cloth Diapering 101 with Newborns

First off, this post is intended for anyone who will be cloth diapering a newborn or who is considering taking the plunge and starting cloth diapering with their baby. What I write and share is my honest opinion. The great thing about opinions is just that... they are opinions. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that's what makes the world great! While what I share may work for some of you and your little ones, it may not work for others. Every baby is different (trust me on this, I've had four babies) and what works really well for one baby may not work so well with another. 

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A little background: I started cloth diapering almost two years ago with my then almost 6 month old. I came across some cloth diapers at Target (Charlie Banana's) and bought a box thinking it would be really easy to cloth diaper. I was right, and wrong, all at the same time! After reading a little more about cloth diapering, I quickly realized that it was a real commitment. Not just in the money to buy all of the supplies needed for cloth diapering, but in the time as well.

With disposable diapers, it's really easy to buy a package from the store, take it home, change you baby, toss your diaper in your trash pail, and be done! With cloth diapers it's a little more complicated. Before you can even use a cloth diaper you have to wash it/pre-treat it. Then you can use it on your little one. Once it's time for a change, the soiled diaper has to be placed in a wet bag (hanging or in a pail) and you have to wash them every couple of days {I will get into my washing routine in another post} and dry them.

Once I did my research I increased my cloth diaper "stash" (all of the diapers and wipes you have) and jumped in! I will be the first to admit that the first couple of months of cloth diapering is hard. You have to figure out the best brand and style of cloth diaper for your little ones bum, then you have to learn how to put it on your baby so that it doesn't leak. (My daughter went through many outfits a day during our trial and error period -- so don't feel bad if you do too!) I finally figured it all out and now have my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE cloth diapers to use on her -- she's now two. {I will be sharing about her cloth diapers in another post too!}

Officially two plus FOUR now! Welcome baby Jacob!!

Now that our little guy has arrived, my new blog title is right! 

After passing my due date by a couple days... my little guy finally made his debut! I was induced {more on that in another post} and it was a fast labor and a quick delivery!! 

He was my smallest baby by more than a pound! But the moment we saw him we fell in love instantly. 

He had this cute little scowl on his face for most of the time we were in the hospital. I'm pretty sure that since he was induced he was just a little grumpy because he wasn't ready yet.. haha! 

There is something about newborns... you just can't help but smile just to look at them! He has such kissable, squishy cheeks! 

I love baby toes, wrinkly, flaky, purple and all! They are cute and kissable. I always forget to take pictures of my babies little feet... but this time I remembered! I am so glad I did. It's fun even now -- almost two months later -- to look back at these tiny toes! ♥

I LOVE this little guy! 

He was able to stay in my hospital room the whole time with us. I loved it because we could just sit and stare at him... which was most of the time. With each of my babies I always had a hard time sleeping when they sleep because I just want to look at them! I know we are supposed to sleep when they do so we can get our much needed rest... but I just find it so hard to do! 

His big brother and sisters (the younger one not pictured because she can't seem to keep her little 22 month old body still for a picture) were so excited when we brought him home! 

I will post more later... including a short version of my birth story if anyone is interested. For now, I'm off to feed my little guy! Have a great weekend!! 

April Visiting Teaching Message and Tag

Sorry I'm late with this one.. and I realized I didn't do one for March. This pregnancy has kept me super busy! 

Here is the printable for this month's Visiting Teaching Message

{download yours here}

I cut out the tag, punched a hole in it, and tied it to a cute little Easter basket that I filled with colorful plastic eggs. Inside the eggs I put various little chocolate candies... because really, who doesn't love chocolate!??! 

The tag and message printable are on the same page, so it will print both. Feel free to use just one of them or both! Mount it on some thick cardstock, embellish it with your own stickers, washi tape, or twine. Have fun... 


Coming Soon -- Little Ark Fabric Line -- PLUS... a HUGE Sale going on NOW!

It is always fun to add new fabric to the shop and these are just too cute NOT to share! I'm so excited {**eeek!} for these new fabric prints to arrive. They are set to get here in a day or two... and YES, I will be stalking the UPS truck! 

I am planning to make at least one quilt using this fabric line to add to the shop... and maybe one for baby #4! These prints are just too cute!!!!! 

This line comes from designer Carina Gardner and is released through Riley Blake. Here is an up-close look at the new prints. Once they are listed in the shop I will link to their listings here so you can get a hold of them too!

Perfect for quilting!! 

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Just in case you haven't been to visit the shop in a while.... everything in the entire shop is currently ON SALE for 20% off! I'm gearing up for baby #4 {due in a little more than 4 weeks} and trying to make room for some new inventory. SO.... I'm having a spring cleaning sale! The discount has already been taken on all items in the shop... so you don't have to remember a coupon code! Woohoo! 

SunButter Cookie Recipe - Peanut Free Cookie Option

One thing you probably don't know about me is that I am a HUGE peanut butter fan! Well... peanut butter and cheesecake!

So, when we found that my son had not only a peanut allergy, but an allergy to dairy and eggs as well ... I literally saw all my favorite foods flash before my eyes. A little dramatic, maybe, but ask anyone in my family and they will tell you that I am the worst person to have a child with allergies because I love peanuts and dairy so much! 

On the upside... I am the best mom for my son because I have learned how to adapt recipes, create some of my own, and hunt recipes down! I stumbled upon this delicious recipe in a magazine I subscribe to called Allergic Living. The recipe is actually from SunButter.  If you or anyone in your family has food allergies you should look into it... seriously! 

Don't these SunButter Cookies look delicious!?! 

They don't taste like peanut butter, but it is very similar and the texture is the same! PLUS, I was able to make this recipe dairy and egg free as well by substituting a couple ingredients!

SunButter Cookies:
from SunButte

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup SunButter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1 egg, beaten
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sunflower kernels

Mix in order as listed. Roll into balls, Dip into sugar; flatten with glass or spatula on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350ยบ for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

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This recipe is great because a) it only requires 1 egg which lends itself nicely to egg substitutes, and b) it is already virtually dairy-free! Two biggies in my house. Here is how I adapted the recipe for our needs:

Dairy-Free and Egg-Free SunButter Cookies
adapted from SunButter

1/2 cup dairy-free margarine (I like to use Fleischmann's unsalted)
1/2 cup SunButter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1-1/2 tsp egg replacer mixed with 2 T warm water
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Same as above, but instead of using a glass or spatula to flatten my cookies, I used the fork method {just like homemade peanut butter cookies}. To me it gave them a more "classic cookie" look. I only cooked mine for 8 minutes and let them cool on the cookie sheet for another 2-3 minutes before transferring them to my cooling rack. This way they don't over cook and they are still nice and soft.

*Chocolate Topped Option

I sprinkled some dairy-free chocolate pieces (we use ones by Enjoy Life) on top of some of my cookies after I took them out of the oven. Once the chocolate had melted enough I used the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate around. The kids LOVED both the chocolate and the regular cookies. I am a purist and just wanted the regular cookies.

As an alternative to a peanut butter cookie, these are not bad at all! My kids don't know the difference and they are really, REALLY tasty. ENJOY!!!

Spring Coupon Code -- And A Sneak Peek!!

Yesterday was the first day of Spring! Yay!! I love Spring. The birds are out, the winter storms {not that I worry about those being in Southern California} are gone for the most part, and the world just smells fresh and new! 

To celebrate this wonderful time of year I have a special coupon code for ya! 

It is valid on both regular and sale priced items... so stock up on those Spring and Summer essential fabrics for all your sewing and crafting projects! 

Here are a couple of my favorite Spring fabrics:

Baby Pink Small Chevron - $8.75 per yard

Ombre Yellow Dots - $7.25 per yard

Medium Green Dots - $8.75 per yard

Orange Ombre Dots - $7.25 per yard

Plus lots, LOTS more!!! I am hoping to be able to share some Spring sewing and crafting ideas here on the blog... but with about 7 weeks until this little baby is due... we will have to see... 

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Nursery Update: Muslin Crib Sheets and Changing Pad Covers - How To

If you have ever felt or owned anything by Aden and Anais you know how fantastic their products are. My first experience with them was about 2 years ago when baby #3 was born. I splurged and bought a package of their swaddle blankets. My daughter lived in them for several months!!! We still use them today (she's almost 20 months old). Well, one purchase led to another and so on until we now have a couple crib sheets and a couple changing pad covers. BUT, they can be pretty pricey {even when using coupons or shopping the clearance section -- which I do frequently!}.

This time around I am planning ahead. I tried my hand at making my own sheets and changing pad covers using the same soft muslin that Aden and Anais uses. The difference!?!? It only comes in solid colors... and it's WAY CHEAPER! It is also not called Muslin here in the US... that's an entirely different kind of fabric. Here it is known as cotton gauze... but it's exactly the same stuff!

I bought mine here at fabric.com. There are lots of colors to choose from and it is soft and easy to work with. Plus at less than $4 a yard it's totally worth experimenting with if you are looking to save some money! As always if you have at least $35 in your cart your fabric ships for free!

Here is how my changing pad cover turned out. I used the gauze in turquoise for this one.

{Here is the tutorial for the changing pad cover.}

"Quilt-a-Long Series": Baby Quilt - Assignment 5: Quilting and Binding

Last week you finished creating your quilt sandwich {the layers of your backing, batting, and top}.

This week we are going to be working on actually quilting our baby quilt. You can do this several different ways, but the most popular are to "tie" it or to machine quilt it. I will be sharing how to machine quilt your baby quilt in this post. If you are interested in simply tie-ing your quilt you can search the internet or youtube for instructions. Tied baby quilt are super cute, but since I can machine quilt I prefer to use that method so that I can save my fingers from the tie-ing process, and I think it makes a really neat finished product!