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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flat plush toys (no stuffing)

So I decided I wanted a "stuffed animal" for my daughter to sleep with but don't want the stuffing. She loves sleeping with blankets to cuddle with, but they can get so hot in the summer months (as she likes the heavy, soft blankets and has to have at least 2). I don't want to fill her crib, so I want something that won't take a lot of room or cause breathing troubles. I also want to find a new "security" object for my daughter so when I eventually begin the transition away from the pacifier (which luckily she only uses when she sleeps, and will leave it in the crib when she wakes up), I have something for her to self-sooth with.

I started looking for something I could purchase, and found a few, but decided I could just make something quickly, at least for now, to see if my daughter even liked them. I found a tutorial to give me something to go on. Then I proceeded to create my pattern.

I chose to go with one continuous piece rather than separate arms and legs. I also wanted a longer body because I wanted it to be a little more blanket like and more to snuggle with.

Before I sewed around the edges, I embroidered a face on one side. Then I sewed the edges, leaving the bottom open to turn it right side out. After I did so, I hand sewed it closed.

I also made a bunny version (by simply making the ears longer) out of another fabric I had. I used left over fabric I had from making a blanket earlier.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Traveling with young children

So now that our first airplane trip with a child is over, how did it go? What went well? What would I do differently next time?

First thing first, our daughter is 14 months old, and she did great (as far as I am concerned) with her first flight. She slept through take off and just watched the landing on the way there. She struggled some on the way back, but we circled the airport for about 20 minutes, gaining and losing altitude as we waited out a tornado warning. This was hard on Little Miss's ears, and I could not have done anything else for her that I wasn't already doing. I was brokenhearted that her ears hurt her and I couldn't help, and also just didn't care if it was bothering others because she is so young I just figured others could deal with it. I didn't bother fretting about if others were upset or anything because all I wanted to do was try to console her as best I could until we landed and her ears could stop hurting.

As for the packing, and what I took with me, here goes:

Car Seat:
This is our car seat.

We decided to purchase the travel cart for our car seat to make it easier to transport it through the airport.

This purchase was one we would definitely recommend! It made it so much easier to take the car seat with us through the airport. We placed Little Miss in the car seat and wheeled her around in it. This made it much easier for us to transport everything we had with us. VERY glad we had this with us!

We took this head rest for when she falls asleep, so her head does not fall. This works wonders on car trips for us already.

This worked great on the trip as well. I knew I liked it for the car trips I have already used it for, and it worked great on the plane as well.

Carry-on bag & contents:
I purchased this Vera Bradley bag for my carry-on so I could take what I needed for Little Miss on top of what fit in her diaper bag. I was able to get it for about half price because I got it in a sale color.

This bag was WONDERFUL! It held everything I needed on the plane for Little Miss, plus my iPad and a few things for me. I will use this bag for future trips (car or plane) and whenever it wears out, I will purchase another one. I loved it!! (This picture only shows some of what I had packed in the bag, but it actually held more than just this.)

This bag held snacks, drinks, food, toys, books, and much more to keep little one occupied. I took the snacks, drinks, and food in her Tommee Tippee cupsfood gear, and bib as this is our favorite. We also love the teethers from Tommee Tippee and took them with us. (This was great as she got another tooth on the trip home.)
I LOVE my Tommee Tippee products. They were amazing for this trip as well.

I took tethers for toys so they did not fall on the ground. These are wonderful! I also use a strap for her cups when in the stroller or in a highchair at a restaurant.

Yep, still love these tethers for the toys and drink cups. They were amazing at keeping things off the ground when Little Miss would get tired and drop something as she nodded off, or when she would get excited and drop something while reaching out for something else.

I found this brilliant idea on Pinterest and made a bracelet like it for my daughter for the trip. I made one with her name on it and another with my phone number. She wore both while we were traveling, just in case (though I don't even let her out of my sight at home -and hate even leaving her with family members for just an hour on rare occasions-, so I won't while traveling, but unplanned events do happen).
These were great on the way there as well as while we were in Hershey Park. The only problem I had was Little Miss is in the stage of taking things off her wrists and head when she gets hot, and the humidity made her miserable. She ended up taking the bracelets off and dropped them, but I didn't realize it till later that day and they are lost now. I guess I will be making new ones before our next trip.

I took a couple wet bags for wet clothing, a small ones for spoons, etc. I made a few large and one small, as well as an open wide bag which sits well to use for medications for little Miss.

These were great, as expected. The bag I used for medications worked perfectly at containing the small mess that occurred when the small bottle with baby wash in it leaked on the plane on the way there. I had placed plastic under the cap on all the bottles except that one, and that one is the only one that leaked. It stayed in the bag and did not get all over everything, so I would say the bag worked perfectly.

I made a small travel changing pad and a small wet bag to put it in with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and hand sanitizer. This is now a part of my regular diaper bag and went with us on the trip.
I have seen the diaper changer stations that are all in one type changing pads. They look great, but didn't fit the diaper cream well for me. This bag holds the cream, wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer, changing pad, etc and does great for me. I am so glad I made this. It actually stays in the diaper bag full time, and I can just pull this small bag out and take it to the restroom for a change rather than taking the whole diaper bag. LOVE it!!

Pinterest also had great travel game ideas. Some of the ones I pinned are for older children and will be used on future trips, but some can be made for my daughter's age and I had these in the carry-on bag as well. Here is one I made adjustments to for her age by using pictures and such rather than letters.

I wanted a stroller, but didn't want to take our good stroller as I didn't want to risk it getting mangled in transport. Nothing against airlines, but they are moving so much stuff and are in such a hurry, sometimes things get mishandled in the rush and I didn't want our good one ruined. So we purchased this one. I like how the back can either be padded (and warmer) or have the mesh showing (thus keeping the baby cooler).

This stroller was wonderful. I liked having the mesh back for the hot, humid weather as it allowed more breathability for Little Miss. This helped her, since she was miserable in the humidity. We stepped outside and her head was covered in sweat in 1 minute. Poor girl! The only issue I had was it didn't lean back so when she fell asleep in this stroller her head fell forward. I had to tip the stroller onto only the back two wheels. But, that is why this is just the travel stroller, not our regular, every day use stroller.

I saw this stroller organizer for umbrella strollers since they do not have the fancy storage our regular stroller has. I made my own version of this for much cheaper and am pleased with how it turned out.

Here is my stroller organizer (made with special material I found at Hobby Lobby).
This stroller organizer helped us our and made it convenient for water cups, phone, etc. This worked exactly as I wanted it to. LOVED it!!

Front Carrier/Wrap:
I love my Boba wrap and so does my daughter. This has been one of our best purchases and can hold a child up to 35 pounds. We also found the Boba Air and ordered it so we could take that with us. We decided just to take the Boba Air on the trip. We absolutely love the wrap but the air folds smaller and is lighter for travel.

We ended up taking the Boba Air because it was lighter and took up less space than the wrap. I still much prefer the wrap, but for travel, the air worked like we wanted it to. Little Miss seems to prefer the wrap as well, so we probably won't use the air very often, but it was nice to have in case.

High Chair:
My brother and his wife do not have children, so they do not have a high chair at their house. I made two different types, and planned to take at least one of them with us. I have a simple one I use at my parents' house in the high chair they have in which my little one slides out without this. The other one fits on pretty much any chair. I somewhat followed a pattern for the pink version, but the blue version is one I created myself after seeing something like it on the internet. I didn't want to pay the full price, so I made my own pattern and created the blue version for myself.

I took the blue travel high chair for this trip. It was nice to have at my brother's house so we had a high chair there. It worked perfectly and I am so excited I figured out how to make it. It folds small and was exactly what we needed.

Travel bed:
Lets be honest. Taking a Pack & Play on a trip where we fly is not cost effective. Problem- Little Miss was 14 months old on this trip and needed a place to sleep on the trip. Solution- this portable sleep tent. There are several different versions, but this is the one we purchased.

Infant Portable Net Cradle bed

This sleep tent made me a little nervous at first. We used it for a couple weeks prior to the trip (placing it inside the actual crib) to get Little Miss used to it. She would take 2 hours to actually fall asleep, so I was worried how it would do on the trip. She ended up getting used to it, and it worked out well. The only issue I had is it does not seem like it will last very long. I wish I could have gotten the PeaPod version instead. I will keep watching for it and when it becomes available again, I will get one for future trips and future children.

I made cord keepers for phone, kindle, etc. to keep the chargers from getting tangled. (I made some for my husband as well - in blue - but he didn't actually use them until the way back.)


I used mesh bags to pack outfits for Little Miss:

The mesh bags I used (lingerie bags from Walmart) to separate Little Miss' clothes worked great! I loved having outfits already together and having a bag for laundry when it was dirty. This will be used again.

The dehydrated food from NurturMe did not go over so well. Little Miss did not like the texture or something about it and had a hard time eating when she had that food. I had to really coax her to eat it and even bribe her with every other bite as something else (bread, yogurt, something). I ended up making some baby food at my brother's house just so she would eat something. Maybe this is due to her just being used to the food I make rather than the NurturMe food, but she didn't really like it. It was a great idea, and may have been fine if she was used to it.