Category Archives: Kate the Chicken

And it only took two years…….

Over Memorial Day weekend we painted Hazel’s room. We have now painted every. single. room. in. the. house. That includes hallways, bathrooms, stairwells, and weird pass-through areas between the main rooms.

As you may recall, when the house was re-wired, the electricians had to punch holes in every wall to access the old wiring and install the new. So we were left with large unsightly drywall patches all over the house.

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We painted our bedroom first, then all the downstairs rooms, and ended with the kids’ rooms (hey, they don’t pay the mortgage). Hazel, by virtue of being the youngest, went last.

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Her bedroom is my favorite, and I knew from the first time we toured the house it was meant to be hers. It is on the northwest corner of the house, and gets pretty light all day long. Both sets of windows look out over metal roofs, making the rain sound awesome. It was painted a soft buttery yellow, which was perfect for Hazel’s sunny disposition.

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While we were at it, I decided to edit Hazel’s furniture and furnishings. Like most kids, she is a magnet for castoff items – mostly hand-me-downs from the older kids, but also free coozies and sunglasses and keychains and whatnots.

One of the biggest challenges in her room is that the big, beautiful windows are….big. I’d put a low chest underneath one set of windows, and put Hazel’s books in it. But the books often ended up in other places, and the top of the chest was a tempting spot for clutter. I decided to get it out of Hazel’s room to see if that made a positive difference. We also discarded anything that was broken or missing pieces, and re-organized her toys.

I don’t believe in letting children have total control over the color of their bedrooms, but I do get their input. Hazel vacillated between yellow (essentially the same color already on the walls) and pink. As much as I love the yellow, I was interested to try something different. The winner was “Quaint Peche” by Sherwin Williams.

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If you’d told me I’d ever paint a room pink, I would have called you a liar. But it turned out beautifully, and Hazel loves it.

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Most of her things still “go” with the new color, but I did have to remove some artwork. I was able to hang up the buntings I made for her third birthday party, and they make the windows look quite festive.

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And there you have it – a sweet space for a sweet girl. And now we can hang up our brushes for a while!

 

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Halloween Crafts with Toddlers: A Primer

Doing crafts with toddlers is one of those things that sounds sweet and wholesome in theory, but in practice is aggravating and messy.

Nevertheless, I decided this year that Hazel possessed enough rudimentary motor skills to attempt a couple of cheap, easy Halloween decorations. Now I will share the wisdom of my experiences with you.

Step one: Wait until 5:00. Pour yourself a drink. This makes the toddler crafting process 100% more bearable.

Step two: Pick something simple. I chose this ghost windsock and this candy corn garland. They’re so easy that there aren’t any instructions. Hamsters could pull off these projects.

Step three: Be flexible. Your project will look little, if anything, like the pictures. Embrace the abstract imperfection of it all.

Step four: Repeat step one as needed.

We started with the candy corn garland. I had to buy cheap white paper plates (about $2) but already had orange and yellow craft paint and twine. Hazel and I each painted a few plates and let them dry overnight.

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I cut each plate into eight wedges and hot-glued them to a long piece of twine. Hazel supervised. I hung one string on the stair rail and short strings over the windows in the kitchen.

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Done and done. Next up: ghost windsocks. I didn’t have any tin cans, but I did have some empty toilet paper rolls. GOOD ENOUGH. I had white craft paint, and bought a roll of crepe paper streamer for about $2.

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First we painted the toilet paper tubes, then drew ghost faces on them. Then I glued some 12″ lengths of streamer inside the bottom, and hung them up on the porch using fishing line.

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I find Hazel’s (on the left) to be far creepier than mine.

I also attempted some DIY decorations of my own. This Boo sign turned out substantially similar to the one I spotted on Etsy:

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There will be MOAR Halloween to come, including the return of the bats. I’m psyched.

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I’m calling it

Hazel continues to grow up at an astonishing rate. Since we moved, she has outgrown bed rails, her high chair, and diapers.

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AND THERE WAS MUCH REJOICING.

When we moved, the prospect of laundering cloth diapers with only intermittent power was daunting, so I decided to go ahead and potty train Hazel. It was fine – like all other potty training experiences, it was occasionally gross and got better over time. I don’t think anyone needs a play-by-play.

The most important lesson I had to impart to Hazel was that it is VERBOTEN to wipe yourself and then use the same toilet paper to blow your nose.

Gross.

I didn’t start this post to talk about potty training, per se. I set out to talk about cloth diapering – specifically, how I feel about it now that it’s over.

Cloth diapering was one of our best decisions, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I mean, yes, there were days when I just did not feel like washing the same d@mn diapers for what felt like the millionth time. But the cost savings and environmental impact were worth it.  We had several brands in our arsenal, but our clear favorite was Charlie Banana. Unlike FuzziBuns and BumGenius, the Charlie Banana inserts load from the front. That means that if your baby has pooped, and the poop has migrated up her back, you don’t have to touch it to get your insert out of the diaper. It seems like a small thing, but in parenting, the small things matter. These diapers also seemed to work better on Hazel after she became mobile.

Like everything else in modern life, the internet can be a valuable resource in the world of cloth diapering – but it can also be a land of treachery and deceit. Many people made cloth diapering out to be a lot more complicated and snowflake-special than it needed to be. For example, I never stripped my diapers with bleach. I also never used special, expensive cloth diaper detergent. I followed the care label on the diaper (how novel!). I used regular powdered Tide and dried them in the sunshine when I could.

So, now that Hazel is all grown up, I am in possession of a ton of cloth diapers and cloth diapering accessories and am looking for a buyer. I have at least 30 diapers (mixed brands) with inserts, a diaper pail with two large wet bags, diaper liners for older babies, and everything else you need to cloth diaper a baby for two years and three months.

If you know someone who is interested in trying cloth diapers, please put them in contact with me. I would love to help!

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Make. Do.

NOTE: If you’re here for adorable Hazel pictures, skip to the bottom.

When I wrote about my mom suffering from lack of initiative, I realized that I also have a hard time “biting the bullet” and starting any of the projects that are rattling around my head.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been doing….better.

I planted herbs and vegetables for the first time in a couple of years. Two weeks in, they’re all still alive. I even used my own basil in pasta sauce last night.

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I’m also growing mint for the first time, because it’s easy.

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So far I have made a mint-infused simple syrup to be used in mojitos (or, um, tea). I see lots of mojitos in my future.

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I’ve also been using my sewing machine more. I bought an actual pattern and made Hazel a play dress out of scrap fabric:

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I took the opportunity to try a new decorative button attachment. Sexier words have never been uttered.

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And finally, using this tutorial, I turned another of Jason’s castoff shirts into a dress.

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Hazel and I are both pretty excited about it.

Now, off to whip up some well-deserved mojitos!

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Halloween

True story: Jason doesn’t like Halloween. I adore Halloween. He doesn’t think it’s a holiday. I don’t either! But I think it’s a lot of fun. And I don’t hear him complaining as he’s crinkling his way through a bag of leftover candy. AHEM.

We agree to disagree on Halloween.

Last year, we hosted a big Halloween party. This year, we were too busy.

Friday night was Trunk or Treat at our church. A group of young adult members wanted to put together a series of Seuss-themed trunks. We had the Lorax, the Grinch who Stole Christmas, the Cat in the Hat, the Sneeches, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Hazel was roped into duty as the fish in a bowl from the Cat in the Hat.

Inspiration:

Execution:

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I made her costume using a red t-shirt, red remnant fabric (felt and velvet), a red bandanna for the hood with black and white felt for the eyes, and a posterboard on which I painted the fish bowl. Total cost: $8.87 and about two hours of time.

Saturday was Halloween. Jason and Tyler went to the FSU game while Hazel and I made chili and pumpkin cream pies for a party that night.

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Hazel wore a hand-me-down Tinkerbell costume, which was perfect because it was 85 degrees outside.

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Despite my repeated prompting, Tyler failed to come up with any clever costume ideas, so he recycled a mask from last year and that was that.

I’m glad we had a breather this year, but I hope to put a bit more effort into Halloween next year.

 

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A Whole Year of Chicken

Guys, we made it.

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In some ways, the hard part is over. I won’t miss the frequent diaper blowouts, for example.

In other ways, the easy part is over. Loving a baby is simple and straightforward.

This past month has been rough, as I’ve been helping my mother deal with a medical issue,  but through it all Hazel has been a champion. Not many babies can say they perfected their walking skills in the Mayo Clinic halls.

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Even though Hazel is enjoying more foods, we are still nursing three times a day. Attempts to drop the mid-day feeding have been met with….resistance. And yes, we’re still cloth diapering. I have a load drying on the line right now.

As for tricks, she will now wave good-bye and blow kisses. She claps and gives high-five.

She makes all of us laugh, every day, with her funny faces and baby gibberish.

We are completely enamored of her, and can barely remember a time she wasn’t part of our family.

Happy Birthday to my tiny bunny.

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Eleven Months of Chicken

Hi, my name is Hazel. I’m kind of a big deal.

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So how’s our little chicken doing?

Eating: The eating situation has improved dramatically. She is madly in love with those little Halo oranges, and I buy them by the crate. She also will eat yogurt, grapes, squash, cheese, and whatever you’re eating. She’s sampled everything from hot dogs to pickled onions to etoufee.

Walking: Not yet, but soon. Last night she took her first unassisted step, and she’s repeated that trick a couple of times today. I predict she’s fully mobile within the month.

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Words: She meows at the cat, and is learning “dog” and “please.” Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my experience as a parent so far, I’d much rather my kid be polite than smart.

Cloth diapers: Yes. It’s warm enough to dry them outside again, for which I am grateful. Since Hazel started eating real food, we’ve been using these diaper liners to catch the, um, solids. They work well.

We’re looking forward to celebrating a whole year of chicken next month. A whole year with this delightful little person! I can’t believe it. I have been very intentional about enjoying every phase with Hazel, and the time has STILL flown by.

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