Friday, May 6, 2016

DIY Wubanub Repair

My 18 month-old is addicted to her pacifier. I tried to wean her over the past six months, but her behavior became very difficult (*I* had tearful episodes), and I finally decided that family harmony was more important than a toddler with a binky stuck to her face.

November 2015

We have loved the Wubanub! Amy has had three so far. Her elephant paci broke off, so we got her a frog, but we lost that in the Bass Pro Shop at Christmas (and they weren't very helpful in helping us find it...another post for another day). When we bought her the dinosaur, I said, "This is it! We're not buying her more pacifiers. They're intended for babies age 0-6 months!"

Well, this week the dinosaur binky fell off the wubanub. Zane wanted to buy another one, but they're $13, and I'm over buying her expensive pacifiers. I opened a package of pacifiers we already had from years ago, but she didn't like the shape of them.

I decided to take things into my own DIY hands.

First, I used a seam ripper to remove the chunk of pacifier that broke off and open the hole up to put in a new one.

I bought a 2-pack of 6+ month soothies for $6.50, which was still overpriced in my opinion, but at least I would be getting two wubanubs out of it, which would be $26. 

I inserted it into the hole and hand-sewed it in using a thimble to push the needle through the silicone. 

It was SEW easy!!

I actually made it harder for myself in two ways. First, I tried threading a strap through the holes and sewing that into the hole, but the strap prevented a good suck and got really snotty really fast.

Then I drilled holes into the soothie, intending to sew into the pre-drilled holes, but that wasn't good because I couldn't find the drilled holes when I finally got to the sewing part, and the needle goes through the silicone very easily. Pre-drilling probably just made the binkies more likely to break off again. 

Totally unnecessary!!

This project is easily accomplished by beginners and within an hour if you have all the materials you need. 

Recap Materials:
1. Old Wubanubs (or you could make your own wubanub from a little plush doll)
2. New soothie pacifiers
3. Seam ripper (could use knife, be careful!)
4. Needle
5. Thread
6. Thimble

Recap Instructions:
1. Rip out the seams and broken soothie piece from wubanub mouth.
2. Insert new soothie.
3. Hand-sew with a thimble.

Happy toddler. Happy sister photobombing. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

International Adoption Baby Shower

This post is long-overdue, but better late than never. My older sister just adopted a son from China. My mom, my other sister, and I threw her an adoption shower in December. I was in charge of decorations and activities.

Since the shower was around Christmas, we planned to incorporate red and green to our color scheme. I didn't want it to be overly Christmasy, so I made buntings with several bright colors to coordinate with the Christmas tree, but still made the party feel like a non-Christmas event.

We used pandas as our theme, because they're Chinese and just plain cute. I collected plush panda dolls wherever I found them (Ikea, Hobby Lobby, etc) and also made a couple to add to the batch. My two original creations were a fleece panda plush with an extra long neck and a panda face pillow cover. Both were gifted to my sister and nephew after the shower.

In my Pinterest research, I saw thumbprint guest books were a new thing. At first, I thought I'd make a large tree with a panda mommy and baby at the base, but then I saw the balloon idea. I searched for a panda version on Etsy to buy, but when I didn't find one, I just made my own!! 

I found a photo of a panda and mommy and drew them holding the balloon strings. Then we had each guest choose a color from our ink pad of assorted, bright colors, stamp their thumb or finger prints above the pandas like a balloon, and sign their names. Ours doesn't look perfect, but it looks pretty darn cute!! 

I drew another picture of a panda and mommy that didn't work so well holding a bunch of balloons, so I turned it into a decorative art piece by adding colored pencil and a sweet quote from Dumbo. 

I also found several sweet quotes that worked for a single mom adoption. After doing some research on Etsy, I decided (again) to just make my own word art. This quote made me teary. I ended up matting it in green for the shower, but this is just a screen shot of my word document:

We had several other panda accents including these adorable cupcake that my mom commissioned from Publix:

We had a great time celebrating my sister and new nephew, including a couple of low-key shower games, praying over them with baby shower verses, and of course showering her with gifts for her new life. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Showcase of Citrus Monster Truck Safari

A few months ago we got a Travelzoo deal to take a monster truck safari at the Showcase of Citrus in Clermont.  We finally found a good day to go in January when the weather was cool, but the sun was shining. It was perfect weather! 

Showcase of Citrus is a giant citrus grove where you can pick your own citrus. It's also a tourist "trap" type place with lots of somewhat-tacky, but also really fun things like stuffed alligators. 

And fake sharks to take photos with. Daisy wouldn't get near the big shark, but Amy's too little to be afraid of it. 

There were also animals to see like chickens, pigs, and I think there was an ostrich. Lots of cattle too. 

But the big attraction was the monster truck safari. 

It's best to make reservations for the truck ride beforehand, because there was a big group on ours, but they don't over-pack it, so we were still able to spread out pretty well. 

The "safari" is basically driving around a typical Florida property, great for out-of-towners that think Florida is all palm trees and beaches. We drove past the orange groves, and the driver told us about oranges. Then we drove into a wooded area, and the driver told us about spanish moss. Then we drove into a cattle field, through a swamp, and into another cattle field where we got to feed oranges to "exotic animals" (exotic cattle from around the world). 

Amy fell asleep during the safari, because we ended up going right in the middle of her afternoon nap, and the diesel engine was very soothing. 

It was a fun day, but I doubt we'll ever return. I wouldn't have done it without the bogo deal. It was $24 for Zane and me, and the kids were free (3&under). I also don't know if it would have been as fun on a hot, summer day. All things considered - January for half-price was great! 

TECO Manatee Viewing Center

A couple months ago we visited the Tampa Electric Company Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, which is pretty close to us. It's completely free and only open during the winter months. 

It was kind of cool to see the electric plant. I had never been so close to one before. It's massive and mesmerizing. 

The canal next to the plant is winter home to manatees. We saw a bunch, estimating over forty, including moms and babies. 

It was a cold day, which was perfect, because the manatees swam into the canal to escape the cold ocean. The canal is brackish and pretty murky, so we could only see the manatees when they surfaced to breathe, which made it hard to count them.

It was fun to walk around the boardwalk.

The boardwalk stretches out toward the bay through a beautiful mangrove forest. 

The mangrove tunnel was my favorite part of the whole experience.

Look how magical! 

It was a fun, little morning activity. There's not a whole bunch of things to do there, but we learned some interesting things about manatees, like their ancestor the Stellar Sea Cow was hunted to extinction in 1768, only 27 years after being discovered. There were lots of educational exhibits. 

I recommend this as a free, fun, family activity!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cruise to Bahamas

In September, to celebrate Zane's graduation from nursing school, Zane and I went on our first no-kids vacation since having kids. We took a 4-night cruise from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. 

I had lofty goals of editing a fun video of our trip, including all our video footage from our waterproof sports camera that we bought specifically for this trip. 

So instead, this blog post is made up of photos from Zane's phone. 

But life is busy, and our Fall was busy, and I'm posting about our September cruise on the last day of Janaury. 

Our biggest excursion was parasailing in Coco Cay. 

I was basically freaked out the whole time! Even though we were thoroughly strapped in. 

But the rest of Coco Cay was perfect! Such a beautiful island. I recovered with some kind of alcoholic beverage here. 

We really loved our dinner friends. We would probably hang out with them if we lived in the same state, but we're now following each other on Instagram so that's kind of the same thing. 

Mostly, we enjoyed doing whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, and eating lots of food. 

Nassau was lame, but we got a photo out front of Atlantis, because it's freakin' expensive just to walk inside.

So we over-paid for a sketchy carriage ride instead. Haha. 

I may never touch the video footage or other photos from this trip, but its purpose was successful: a relaxing getaway after a long, stressful three years of school. 

The views and the company couldn't be beat!