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kdanneffel

Natural/ Homemade

Natural Homemade Baby and Toddler Wipes

When my second child was born there was a huge recall on various brands of baby wipes which were causing babies to develop chemical rashes from the ingredients in the wipes. Thousands of babies were affected by the wipes which made me rethink what I was using. The convenience of disposal wipes is something that I have unfortunately not been able to give up yet even as an earthy mama. I have made my own cloth wipes and have used cloth diapers and although I used them a ton with my second child it was so nice to have things on the go when sticky hands or dirty hands needed some attention and there wasn’t a bathroom near by. I use the  medical baby wipes for changes at the house and take the round plastic container with me to parks for cleaning dirty hands, feet and faces.

Here’s how I make the wipe solution (I doubled this version in the pictures):

First I take 1 Tbsp of Coconut Oil ( I like to heat mine up for a minute in the microwave to liquefy it).

Then I add 1 tsp of Witch Hazel, 1 Tbsp of baby soap (I use Dr. Bronners but you could use any mild baby wash you would use on your baby), about 5 drops of lavender essential oil (I also use about 3 drop of orange essential oil, I just love the smell and orange oil is a natural astringent) and then I add about 1 1/2 cups of warm water and mix with a whisk until it all combined.

 

 

 

I sometimes do this directly in the container but I prefer to mix in a spouted glass cup and pour the solution on the bottom of the container and then layer the wipes a few at a time, pouring the solution on the layers to make sure the entire set of wipes are damp. I then leave just a small amount on solution in the container and make sure the wipes aren’t drenched but damp throughout. And viola your homemade wipes are complete!

You can use these wipes, which are similar to the ones we had at the hospital to use on our babies. I’m obsessed with these and actually they are so soft you could just use with water in a pinch.

Or you could buy paper towel and cut with a serrated knife like I did below and place into a large plastic container. I either by this kind from amazon on a monthly subscription or from Costco.

 

 

List of Supplies used:

Medical Cloth Wipes

Coconut Oil

Witch Hazel

Paper Towels

Lavender Oil

Containers

 

Southwest Michigan

Finding Fall Florals in Southwest Michigan

There’s something about the end of summer and the beginning of Fall that makes me want to hold onto the color and light a little more. Knowing that the dark and cold filled nights are approaching quickly in Michigan makes me savor the sweet warm days and anything the sun touches.


Over the weekend we were on the hunt for a perky  sunflower to make the last of our summer days hold on a little longer. Instead of a normal bright yellow or dark yellow sunflower I came home with dyed sunflowers. These sunflowers had coloring added to their roots and so they turned a sweet and soft yellow into a brilliant and bright burnt orange.


The color reminded me of the eclipse a few weeks ago and the change of Fall that is now in the air. It is the perfect blend of what is about to happen in our season, the greens and yellows are going to fade and the bright reds and oranges are going to take over our area and push our color right out until winter comes in and swoops us up for the long haul.

Finding such a beautiful blended flower reminded me of the floral artistry in this area and some of my favorite places for flowers.

Martins Supermarkets As odd as it seems to get a great floral from a supermarket I absolutely swear by Martins for flowers. I got married here and bought all my flowers from my arrangements from Martins and they were out of this world beautiful and at a great cost! If you need a specific flower you can ask them to order it and they are so helpful and I have never had a problem. I prefer the Saint Joseph location a tad bit more for florals, mostly because their selection seems a bit better.

Devries Family Farms  Floral Stand Cleveland Ave Floral Stand

This is an owner’s personal floral stand off of Cleveland road going south, right before you reach Glenlord Road (on the right). This stand has the most beautiful arrangements, not to mention the adorable wooden flower stand itself. The florals cost a steal of $4 a bushel right now and they last and last and last. I absolutely love this area because it’s a midwest small town mentality and so you just pay for what you take. I love that we still can trust people!

 

Saint Joseph and Benton Harbor Farmer Markets – There are tons of vendors at the Farmers markets that have some of the most beautiful and bright florals I have ever seen. I just love to walk through and check out all the flowers. The farmers markets are open from May until end of September. Check them out this weekend, as there are only a few more farmer’s markets left to enjoy!

Reviews

McClaren Double Stroller Review

McClaren Double Stroller Review Video

As a mom of four, with a fear of losing my youth card I have opted to squeeze my kiddos into a more hip SUV, and without captain seats or extra storage in back I am limited with the amount of “stuff” I can bring.  That being said, any mom of multiples, (either multiple children of a similar age or two at the same age) knows that sometimes “stuff” that keeps your toddlers occupied and out of reaching for things is worth it on every trip.

So to compromise on space and still allowing my four year old to move in and out of the back seat I have opted to use a more slender double stroller than my normal tandem double stroller.

Folded up double stroller with accessory attachment.

 

The side-by-side stroller is a gamble with two rambunctious boys who like to mess with each other and nowhere to go while strapped next to each other. However, it actually feels like they enjoy this enough and they still feel like they are in their own seats rather than a love seat type double stroller.

Nice deep reclining seats and individual shades to block the sun.

The foldability of this stroller is pretty easy, although the one downfall is the fact that the umbrella stroller is top heavy while folded and will not stay upright. This really becomes a problem because the handle bars are taller than most umbrella strollers and therefore storage in a car becomes a bit cumbersome.

Self-locking closure on sides of stroller make storage easy.

Long curved handlebars help with taller adults

Self-locking closure helps to keep umbrella stroller closed while moving.

Easy to set up with just a few clicks

Adjustable sun visors, that can lock into place.

Extra storage space accessory (bought separate)

Stroller – Maclaren Twin Triumph

Accessories – Footmuff

Universal Buggy Organizer

Favorite snacks and cups for stroller rides – Snack Pod holder

 

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=Vk1BSY7X17E

Stroller Review
Reviews

You see us rollin’ that stroller – McClaren Double Stroller Review Pt 1

   

I have to come clean, I have never really been a stroller mama. My oldest child was carried in a sling and a Baby Bjorn before she started walking at the nice early age of 9 and half months! When we registered for baby products I literally had no clue what to register for, I was the first of my siblings to have a baby and only had one friend who had a baby and so my  understanding of what would be good came from the checklist at Babies R US. So we ended up with one of those all in one stroller/ car seat combos, which seemed like a good idea at that moment but truthfully after Addie was a few months old we never even used the stroller portion. We would have been better with one of those click n go car seat base strollers, which I don’t think even existed back then or they didn’t carry it at Babies R Us.

Skip ahead to 5 years later, as a much more seasoned mama and once again more carrier focused than I had even been earlier we decided to register for a jogging stroller as my fiancé and I were avid runners and thought this the more appropriate solution all around. As many of us know you aren’t really suppose to run with your baby until they are 6-8 months old and I would even suggest older. Even though we had the car seat insert we rarely used this stroller until Riley was over a year old, in which we have definitely put some good miles on it! So once again we decided to use a click n go stroller base like this one , a relative had given to us until we could use our jogging stroller.

Then we found out less than 18 months later that we were having twins and the world we thought we had mastered become anew. Our plans changed, the way we parent changed, the things that I thought were unnecessary to buy with other babies became essential to our survival. My checklist included cribs, double nursing pillow, multiple double strollers, large woven wraps, new hospital grade pump and the list would continue to grow.

A simple pick up at my middle daughter’s preschool became a two-handed juggling act, complete with elbow door opens, kicking doors shut and somehow unlocking doors with a pinkie. As the boys got older this spectacle was crazier and harder, I just need a simple and quick way to get in and out of the school in under 5 minutes. Someday my TwinGo was my savior, while other days I didn’t even want to strain my back or patience trying to get these two to cooperate in the dual carrier, which I still believe is my most favorite twin item and definitely saved my sanity more than a few times.

TwinGo Carrier

One day my mom  told me to swing by my sister’s house before pick up, where she had a large box with multiple accessories and told me that this might help speed up the pick up at the school. It was a double McClaren stroller, I had always wanted one and was floored that my mama had thought to get me such a nice gift. Unfortunately this one came broken, to my dismay and shock as I pulled the new tags from it in the preschool parking lot with 10 minutes before pick up. I was a cocky mama of 4, this stroller will be easy, it’s a gorgeous stroller but truly an easy pop up umbrella stroller, or so I thought. With my boys screaming to get out I put each child in the back of the SUV, trunk up to watch the magic… the magic didn’t come. Instead of popping up in one, or in the case of a double two swift moves, there it lay lifeless as I tried my hardest to push down the sides where they should “click”. That’s when I noticed the missing pin, of course at this point it was too late, my boys had figured out they were free and were hoping off the hitch like two curious high jumpers and running around the car. I tried to close the broken stroller up but to my dismay it wouldn’t close either. The mangled L shaped stroller lay out for the other mothers to see and with no hope of getting into the school in 3 manageable pieces my sweet daughter’s teacher saw my struggle outside her classroom window and brought my daughter to me in the parking lot as I was still managing to wrangle the stroller and the twins into the car.

After that I thought, never again… and honestly it took me a few months to send that baby back because… toddler twins y’all, need I saw more? Anyways when I finally got the new stroller back it was unfortunately not the same version, so that was a little disappointing but we decided to take it on a test drive and I’m giving my full review along with a quick video in part II, so come check it out!

Addie, Mom Truths

Messy Selfies

I feel like we all try to be the perfect image, the perfect mom, the perfect wife, perfect friend; as if no one has flaws. Unfortunately we all have flaws and fortunately God gave us the means to have both flaws and a way to change our flaws or forgive flaws. Living in a life of social media, the bright lights of the camera only show the best of what is happening in our lives. No one wants to say “I can’t get my s***t together today” or my life is a complete mess because then we’d have to admit that we were human, that guess what world, we suck today and we’re happy we do. Or that your sadness is so true that posting about it almost takes the true tears away by people liking or sad face emoji replying to make you feel better about it.

I’ve spent the better part of the last year in tears or angry, sure there were lots of laughing and smiling that happened but you don’t usually see photos of the sadness, your expression when the fear of leaving, the heart wrenching agony that overcomes you and forces tears. Who wants to capture splotchy faced, tear-stained checks and puffy eyes? Who wants to admit defeat and tell the world about it. No one. Here’s the truth, life is tough, we are all going through things, some small in the big scheme of life and yet so earth shattering, others so big and unbelievable but true to the core. Why don’t we just embrace it all, wrap our arms around it and say… world, this is me…all messy and human. Today I’m sharing my messy human self, as tough as it is to put it out there. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes and my life is a mess some days.

I wanted to capture those moments so I can remember the hardship that this year put on me and my family. When I look back and say, wow what a year, how did you feel, I’ll see it right there… the sadness of goodbyes, last hugs, school drop offs that aren’t taken for granted, shifts in love and imperfection at its core and memories that made us who we are. They are not glamorous, but it’s the truth and it’s my story to tell; smushed between each happy moment is a sad mama waiting for the next happy moment.

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Uncategorized

Normal is in the Eye of the Beholder

  Peeking in on a moment in time doesn’t tell the whole story, at least not for our mixed family. A Saturday afternoon turned into evening with my ex, his parents, our daughter and my other daughter from my new marriage and what the hell, let’s throw in a group of 7/8 year olds might look normal, unless of course you knew our backstory.

Where to begin this torrid story, well in the middle of course, that now is our norm (English major side note, I love how the shorten word for normal is now an acceptable term aka ‘the norm’). My ex and I were never married, yes I’ve already heard some hateful comments about premarital sex and babies out of wedlock, I’m down to my bones so happy that we never were married though (a tale for another day of course). We were not marriage material, we in turn broke up, knowing we were not compatible only to find we were pregnant with our sweet baby girl. Long story short, we tried to make it work for over 3 years but it was miserable and no way for a child to grow up seeing. Fast forward 5 years later and I’m married to the best man I could have dreamt up, mother to another girl and twin boys and now 600 miles away from my first born child ( post about this to come). 

  
Now standing in the home of my ex, a man I should loathe and his parents who I also should resent and I feel a creepy dejavu feeling come over me as I slave over a birthday cake that will be devoured without a thank you, a group of individuals who feel entitled to the things they are given, including my innocent child. I don’t feel hate but sadness, sadness for the life that thinks this is normal, the non-living that is happening before my lives and that’s when I feel the relief. A wave of relief crashes onto these thoughts as I realize that I escaped this “norm” a life of blah and that this moment in time is a reminder that I survived and escaped this life and there’s hope for my daughter that she too can escape this life if only I can show her there is more. After all, that is my job isn’t it? 

  My two year old busts into the kitchen at this moment, hollaring and laughing hysterically and I smile knowing she will never think this is normal, she will be the fire in the darkness and will guide her sister out of the dark and into the light. Sometimes the one you look up to learns something from you, I sure hope she does.

  

Uncategorized

Mean it Mommy

  
When I was younger long before I had kids of my own I thought I knew it all and already had solutions to all types of situations and child-rearing techniques. Being an experienced babysitter for many years surely taught me all I needed to know about parenting and all the do’s and dont’s. I imagined myself as a young, hip and adored mother who just had to give “the look” for everyone to shape up and silently behave. I can cringe thinking of myself as this know-it-all who thought my children will be nothing like the rude child I once was.

I remember as I held my oldest child how I swore that we’d be the best of friends, she would confined in me, tell me all her secrets, be concerned about my disappointment and want to strive to be better. After you become a mom your life shifts and you realize the weight of motherhood, the real truth is it’s hard, painful at times but every moment counts and every conversation can matter. The reality about being a fun mom is that your child doesn’t necessarily learn all the lessons you need them to unless you draw the line of what is right and wrong and how to behave as a human being.

I often find myself feeling guilty that my parenting is strict and less friendship-braclet bound as I thought it would be, then I remind myself that my job as a mother and parent is to be a teacher, instructor and guide in life and hopefully the wisdom and morals passed down from my parents will live through me to my own children. God willing that they become the people I’d want to be surrounded by in this world.

Uncategorized

So we meet again

Well after 2 years of debating about it and blogging daily in my mind, (crazy I know but that’s my internal writer being honest) I finally decided to begin my third blog. My first two mostly to capture my pregnancies of my first two children and give out of town family a way to interact and follow our daily life. This one too will capture pregnancy (teeing) life with babies, toddlers and children as well as our blended family and all the chaos that goes with a big family.

Uncategorized

Welcome

Hey Everyone! I’m really excited about this blog and hope you will follow me through all the twists and turns of life as a mama, life with twin boys, our natural and organic lifestyle, fashion and everything inbetween. I had started a few personal blogs while pregnant with my kiddos to capture those moments but now want to focus on all my passions while being a stay at home mom to my four kids, including the new journey of being a twin mama. Can’t wait!