Lydia's Nest

Currently

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We took some family pictures the other day, and I just have to say…This kid!

Watching¬†This Is Us! Ugh this show. Its definitely a “feeling” show, but not in a cheap, cliche way. It fells very real, and relatable. I’m dying to know what is going to happen in the season finale, but at the same time I’m dreading it!

Reading not much at the moment, thanks to a certain playful baby ūüėČ but, I am exploring the¬†Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook¬†in preparation for when D is six months and is ready to start BLW. This book has been really helpful with knowing where and how to start – the first few chapters are full of tips and tricks, and then the rest of the book has recipes that are healthy, good for babies, and also tasty enough that the whole family will enjoy them. If you’re curious about BLW, it’s a great read!

Listening to this fun playlist that I made for Deacon. Lots of songs that get you moving!

Learning¬†all I can about starting a vegetable garden. Now that we actually have yard space, I want to try gardening! My mom is a pro, so I’ve been asking her for advice on where to start. I’m thinking I’m just going to start small, with a few of the veggies we eat most, and see how it goes this year. If you have any tips for me, leave them in the comments!

Loving¬†this weather we’re having! It’s supposed to be 70 today. Definitely the perfect weather for a walk. Deacon loves it too – he gets so excited when we go outside, and he’s been having a blast playing on a blanket in the yard.

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Yay Sunshine!

Trying¬†forward facing in the¬†Ergo 360! Deacon is now old enough that it is safe for him to face outward, and he loves it. In fact, yesterday I put him inward facing while I did some stuff outside, and he got so mad because he wanted to see what was going on! He’s a curious, sociable one, thats for sure.

Planning a little family vacation. We’re going to celebrate Cory’s graduation with a few days away this summer, so I’ve been researching fun vacation spots with a baby. I’m thinking something relaxed, with lots of outdoor space, and that isn’t too far away. If you have any suggestions, let me know ūüôā

 

Have a wonderful weekend, folks!

love, Lydia

Lydia's Nest

Cloth Diapering Basics

cloth-diaper

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers, but every google search I did overwhelmed me with info. My hope is to give you a good starting point, that would have been helpful to me. These were some of the questions I had, and the answers I’ve found in the last several months:

What are cloth diapers? Simply put, cloth diapers are some sort of absorbent material put on baby’s bottom, and then a layer of waterproof fabric over top to keep the ickies contained. There are several different types: All in One’s are basically the same as disposables, just washable. Pockets have, well, a pocket that absorbent material is put in. All in Two’s are waterproof covers that absorbent inserts snap into. Prefolds/flats are different types of absorbent material that can be folded around baby with a cover, or laid inside a cover to create absorbency.

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How Do They Work? This depends a little bit on they type of diapers you use, but the basics are that the diaper goes on the bum, the baby makes it dirty (they’re good at that), and then the diaper gets washed. Sometimes you will have to get close to the ick, by removing inserts or rinsing poop (yes, you have to rinse poop), but if you can get over that it is totally worth it.

What Do You Use?¬†I haven’t tried everything, but what works for me right now is AI2’s and Prefolds/covers. The covers are universal, I can just fold a prefold in thirds and lay it inside. I also have inserts that snap into some of my covers to make AI2’s. My inserts are hemp – I haven’t tried microfiber, but what I’ve heard is that it is less absorbent than natural fibers, and also isn’t good to be next to baby’s bum (you have to put something else over it).

How Do You Wash Them? The good news is diaper laundry is just like any other laundry – yes really! You just have to treat it like a very very dirty load of laundry. So what I do it collect the dirty diapers in a wet bag, and then when it’s full they all go into the washer. I do a pre-rinse with a little bit of detergent (I use tide powder), and then a hot main wash with lots of detergent and a heavy duty cycle. Then, if I’m in a rush, I just throw it all in the dryer. If not, I will pull out the covers and hang them (drying on high heat all the time can eventually wear them out faster), or hang everything to dry outside. The sun is awesome for getting stains out.

What not to do: you don’t want to use softeners or dryer sheets on cloth diapers because they can coat the fibers and make them less absorbant. The same goes for diaper creams – if they contain petroleum products they can repel. I usually use coconut oil for minor redness, or just put him in a disposable if a rash is bad and needs heavy duty stuff. There are diaper creams out there that are cloth safe, though.

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Where Do You Buy Diapers? The brands I have are Best Bottom, Buttons, and Nicki’s Diapers. I have purchased most of them at¬†Baby Sweet Pea’s Boutique, and I’ve also found Best Bottom and Nicki’s at¬†Nicki’s Diapers. I haven’t tried them, but I’ve heard great things about the prefolds sold by¬†Green Mountain Diapers.

What Other Resources Are Out There? There is a TON of info out there about cloth diapers. Unfortunately, not all of it is good. Two sites that I found to be accurate and helpful, however, are¬†Padded Tush Stats¬†and¬†Fluff Love and CD Science. PTS is great for reviews of different kinds of diapers. They survey parents for what types of diapers work for what types of kids (skinny, chunky thighs, heavy wetters, etc). FLCDS strives to educate people on proper diaper care and washing. There is so much info on their site about what works and what doesn’t! I also recommend joining their¬†Facebook Group. The ladies on there are super helpful and will work with you to figure out what’s going on if you run into issues.

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Mom, why are you taking my picture??

I hope that helps you get started! Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be scary at all. If you have any other questions about it, ask away!

Love, Lydia

 

Lydia's Nest · Uncategorized

Deacon: Four Months

 

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My growing boy

Hey guys, I thought it might be fun to do a post periodically about where Deacon is in his development. He is growing and changing so fast, I want to have a record of some of the things he has done! Also, this is a little more of an in depth Deacon fix for all of the family that lives out of state.

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Selfie with mom!

Physical Development

Deacon is getting so big and strong! At his last Dr. appt., he weighed 15 lbs. He loves when we help him stand, and he likes to shift his weight around like he’s dancing (He is definitely his father’s child!). He has rolled over, both front-to-back, and back-to-front. The back-to-front is actually a funny story – When he rolled over the other way, I kind of knew it it was coming because he was pushing and leaning and working really hard before it happened. But for going from his back, it was totally out of the blue! I was drinking my coffee one morning, watching him play on the floor on his back, and he just flipped over! no fuss, no working for it, just casually rolled.

He also loves to grab at hanging toys, my hair, and Cory’s beard. Once he even grabbed Cory’s glasses off of his face and started to chew on them! I had a chuckle at that one. One thing I’m not too excited about is that Deacon has figured out how to arch his back and scoot himself backwards like an inchworm. I’m thrilled that he’s figuring out how to move, except that he keeps doing this in his crib and bonking his head on the bars!

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Matching Lion King shirts

Social Development

Deacon looooooves people. He is definitely an extroverted baby. Everyone thinks he is a great, happy baby because when he is around people he is all smiles (for the record, he IS a great, happy baby, but boy can he throw a fit!). Sometimes I wonder if he gets bored just sitting at home all day with me.

He loves playing games like Peekaboo, Where’s Your Nose, and Airplane. He also loves being tickled, although he doesn’t seem to have very many ticklish spots. He enjoys watching us do whatever we’re doing, and he gets mad if we lay him down, because he wants to know what’s going on.

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This face is the warning sign! Tears are coming!

Eating

I am still exclusively breast feeding Deacon. He is a good eater, and usually eats about every 2.5-3 hours. Now that he is four months old, we could start introducing cereals, but I haven’t decided if I want to do that yet. I’m really interested in¬†Baby-led Weaning, which starts your child off on normal table foods (that have been cooked to an appropriate eatability), and lets them pick and choose how much and what to eat. It’s really intriguing to me, as it can help fend off pickiness later in life. BLW recommends, however, waiting until six months to start so that your child’s digestive system has a chance to finish developing. If you have used this method, I’d love to know your tips in the comments!

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He’ll chew on anything

Sleep

Deacon was¬†doing a great job of sleeping at night. I would put him down at 8, “dreamfeed” him around 11, (which simply means nursing him without fully waking him up) Then he’d sleep until 7 or 8 in the morning, waking up once or twice for a quick snack. However, in the last week or so, we’ve been experiencing 4-month sleep regression. Deacon has been waking up every 2-3 hours, and taking much longer to fall back to sleep. I’ve been trying to teach him to put his paci in on his own to help him self-sooth, but he hasn’t quite figured it out yet.

During the day he has been learning to fall asleep on his own, which has been hard but seems to be working. There were a few days there where he would cry for an hour, only to fall asleep for twenty minutes (don’t worry, I would go in and soothe him every 5-10 minutes until he fell asleep). But he seems to be getting the hang of it. Today for both naps he fell asleep within 10 minutes of being put down, and didn’t cry at all.

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There’s that¬†WubbaNub!

What’s Next

Deacon is working on grasping objects and sitting up. Soon he will be on the move, I expect! Hopefully soon he will get back on track with his sleep schedule. In the meantime, I guess we will just have lots of middle-of-the-night snuggle sessions.

And because sleeping baby pictures are the best:

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Have a great day!

Love, Lydia

Lydia's Nest

New Mama Must-Haves

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When I was around 35 weeks pregnant, I remember telling my doctor about all of the stuff we still needed for the baby. She waved her hand dismissively and said “All they need is love and milk!” Gave me a chuckle.

While that is, I suppose, technically true, there are things out there that will definitely make life easier for a new mama. These are the items I’ve found to be most helpful in the last four months. I also did a post on pregnancy must haves – check it out¬†here.

  • WubbaNub. This is a pacifier with a stuffed animal (kind of like a beanie baby) attached. They have been great for Deacon. The legs are weighted so it stays on his chest, and now that he is old enough to grasp things he likes to hold it and play with it.
  • Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets. Or really any muslin swaddle blanket – thre are a lot of great brands out there now. They just need to be big (like 47 x 47). These are great for snuggling, tummy time, burp cloth, you name it. The wash wonderfully as well – they just get softer!
  • ¬†Graco Little Lounger. I’ve seen a lot of people recommend the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play as a bassinet for newborns. I never used the Rock n Play, but what concerned me about it is that it isn’t recommended for babies to sleep for long periods of time at an incline, because it can squish their airway. So instead, I found the Little Lounger. It’s the same concept as the Rock n Play, but with the added feature that it reclines to pretty much flat. Deacon slept in this at night for the first 6-8 weeks. It probably would have been longer, if it weren’t for the next item on this list:
  • Angelcare Video, Sound, & Movement Monitor. This thing is awesome for nervous first time mamas. It has video, so you can see baby (a plus for us because Deacon usually starts moving/stirring before he fully wakes up, so if we see him and can get to him we can settle him down before he fully wakes up and starts crying). But even better, it has a movement monitor pad that goes under the mattress. This detects baby breathing, and if it doesn’t sense any movement for ten seconds, it sounds an alarm. I could put Deacon in his crib and go down stairs knowing that he was ok. (A note of warning though, make sure you calibrate it properly. it took us a few weeks to get it properly set, and we had several mini heart-attacks because Deacon rolled off the sensor or was breathing too shallowly for it to sense. The alarm will definitely wake you up, thats for sure!)
  • Baby Carrier.¬†I actually have three. A stretchy wrap (Sleepy Wrap, mostly because it’s less than $20 on Amazon), a woven wrap (a¬†Didymos Lisca), and an¬†Ergo 360. The stretchy wrap was awesome for when Deacon was itty-bitty. I thought it was really easy to use and very snuggly. The woven wrap has been great since the start as well, but since it is more supportive I’ve been able to use it longer. I like it because it’s so versatile – there are lots of different ways to tie it, and when he gets older I’ll even be able to put him on my back. Deacon is only just now fitting into the Ergo (we never got the Infant Insert), so I haven’t used it as much as the other two. What I like about it so far though, is that it is way faster to put on. Also once Deacon gets older he can face outward in it, and I think he’ll really like that – He’s a social baby.
  • Coconut Oil. I know, I’m THAT mom. Coconut oil is pretty great though. It’s moisturizing and doesn’t irritate the skin. Deacon gets chapped cheeks in the cold a lot, and it really helps heal and protect. I also use it for a diaper cream, because most mainstream diaper creams aren’t cloth diaper safe. Which brings me to the next item on this list:
  • Cloth diapers. I won’t say too much about this, because I’m planning a whole post devoted to CD’ing. But, I will say, if you are interested in cloth diapering, do it! I promise it’s not scary at all, and it is so nice not to worry about running out of diapers in the middle of the night.

 

Uncategorized

The Easiest Fudge Ever

Hi guys!

I have a super simple fudge recipe for you. Seriously, this is totally I-have-a-two-month-old-and-can-barely-remember-to-brush-my-teeth easy.

Granted, the texture isn’t quite perfectly fudge-like, but it’s close enough to satisfy my fudge craving and the ease of this recipe totally makes up for it. If you want a true fudge recipe, beg Mom in the comments to share hers! it is also delicious, and a much more accurate recipe. This one is totally cheating. I think I originally found this recipe in the Hershey dessert cookbook? It has been a long time since I’ve looked at the recipe. I’ve got it memorized!

Here’s how easy it is:

Melt flavored chips with sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, and cool. Thats it. 

here’s the step by step:

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Chocolate Chips (I prefer milk chocolate)
  • 2 c. Peanut butter chips
  • 2 cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla, divided

Instructions:

  1. line a 9×9 pan with aluminum foil, bringing foil up over the sides.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, place chocolate chips, 1 can of condensed milk, and 1 tsp. vanilla. I like to line the bowl with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  3. Microwave on Med (50%) for 1 minute. Stir. If chocolate chips aren’t melted smooth, microwave in 15 second increments at 50% power, stirring after each. (I only needed one extra 15 sec). 
  4. Pour into prepared pan and spread with a spatula.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with peanut butter chips and remaining sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.
  6. Pop the pan in the fridge to chill for at least 2 hours. 
    I halved the recipe for this batch – that’s why it doesn’t fill the pan. If you want to halve it, a can of sweetened condensed milk is 1 and 1/3 cups (so half is 2/3s)
  7. Use aluminum foil to lift fudge out of pan and invert it onto a cutting board. Remove foil.
  8. Slice into 1-inch squares. Pour a big glass of milk (If you are like my hubby) or a nice mug of tea (If you are like me) and enjoy!

This fudge does tend to get a little sticky when left at room temperature, so I recommend keeping it in the fridge until it’s serving time. 

Shop Talk

Etsy Shop Opening!

I am so excited to announce that Two Nests Market is up and running! There is a lot more I want to do with it, but for the moment, with an infant around, I’m really happy with my start! At the moment I feature Polymer Clay jewelry and home goods. This is one of my personal favorites:¬†img_4063

How cute is that!

Check out the shop here: Two Nests Market.¬†I’d love to know what kinds of things you’d like to see me sell, polymer clay or otherwise. If you have suggestions, leave a comment!

Also, stay tuned on Instagram and Facebook for a giveaway to celebrate my Grand Opening!

Love, Lydia

Lydia's Nest · Recipes

The Best Ever Chicken Noodle Soup

Today is Election Day. Not just any election day either, but a presidential election that could drastically change America. No matter how you slice it, no matter who you are voting for, that is a pretty scary thought. A the beginning of the year, I couldn’t wait for today. It will all be over, I thought. But now the day is here and I admit I’m still scared. Whatever the results bring, a lot of people will be upset. I might even be pretty upset.¬†But I can only worry about it so much.

In fact, I’m not supposed to worry about it at all.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. (Matt. 6:34)

I’ve done all I can. I have cast my vote, and I have prayed.

So, it is time to do what I can: spend time at the stove, nourishing those I love. Praying for our country while peeling carrots and sautéing onions. Distracting myself with the heavenly smell of roasting garlic.


I’m stepping away from the internet for just a bit, to make this Chicken Noodle Soup.
Step 1. Preheat your oven to 375, and place a pound of chicken in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt, and pepper. Chop off the top of a head of garlic to expose the cloves, and nestle in the baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the garlic, and bake for 20-30 minutes, turning at about 10 minutes.


Step 2. While the chicken is roasting, chop up some onions, carrots, and peppers. I prefer bell peppers in my chicken soup, rather than the traditional celery. I just like the taste better. If you’re a celery person though, you do you! Once everything is chopped and prepped, saut√© the onions and carrots in a big soup pot on the stove. If someone in my house is sick, I have also been known to mince up another few cloves of garlic and saut√© them with the onion.


Step 3. Once the onion and carrot are nice and soft, add the bell peppers and cook for a minute or so until they are soft too. Then, throw in the broth. You need about 8 cups of liquid. Sometimes I have homemade bone broth on hand, but that can be kind of bland as a soup base so if I use that I will do four cups of that and four cups of water with a boullion soup base. Also add some thyme, oregano, and a bay leaf, to further flavor the broth. Bring to a boil.


Step 4. When the chicken is cooked through, pull it out and let it rest and cool. Take the head of garlic and squeeze the cloves out and add them to the soup (be careful not to get any garlic paper in the soup!). Chop up the chicken into bite size pieces and throw them in too.

Step 5. When the soup returns to a boil, add the noodles. You can use pretty much any noodle that you you have on hand, i like smaller noodles like rotini. Be careful though – it is really easy to add too many noodles! You really only need a cup or two of the dry pasta. If you expect to have leftovers, its not a bad idea to cook the noodles separately and add them into each indivdual bowl so they don’t get soggy.

Step 6. When the noodles are cooked, its time for the secret ingredients that really make this soup killer. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon, and add two teaspoons of dill. Taste it to see if it needs anything else, then stir and serve!


I hope this is as comforting to you this election season as it is for me.

Best Ever Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken (breasts, tenderloins, or thighs)
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano, divided
  • A dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 onions
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 8 c broth (if using bouillon soup base, cut half with water)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c pasta
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dill

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Place chicken in a glass baking pan, and drizzle with 1 1/2. Tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp of oregano, salt and pepper. Chop off the top of the head of garlic and place in baking pan. Drizzle 1/2 tbsp olive oil onto the garlic, and roast the pan for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Flip chicken at around the 10 minute mark.
  2. While chicken is roasting, peel and dice carrots, and dice peppers and onion. In remaining olive oil, sauté onion and carrots in a heavy-bottomed soup pot until fork tender. Add peppers and sauté for a minute to soften, then add broth, thyme, 1/2 tsp oregano, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  3. Chop chicken into bite size pieces, and add to pot. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of the head and into pot.
  4. When soup begins to boil, add pasta.
  5. When pasta is cooked, remove from heat and add lemon juice and dill. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, and serve immediately.

Love, Lydia