About our blogger: sugarloafbaby

Mother to one crazy but delightful daughter, my days are full of diaper surprises, never-ending nursery rhymes and rewarding baby belly laughs. Follow me in my daily discoveries of what this motherhood thing is all about!

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Posts by sugarloafbaby:

April 3rd, 2012

Simple Homemade Nursing Cover

When Peanut was still nursing, I bought a nice nursing cover from Target and loved it. It was a bit of a splurge for me, but it made nursing discretely much easier. Fast forward to now, and I am nursing Snowflake, again using the handy cover. However, about a month ago, I somehow lost it and was having a lot of trouble nursing with just a blanket since Snowflake apparently hates being covered up. After several weeks of debating whether or not I was going to shell out money for a new, I decided to make my own!

This project is so easy and I am proud of how resourceful it is! All you need is a good sized receiving blanket (which I somehow had like a bajillion of), some scrap fabric and a piece of boning (if you have any, but not necessary).

Cut 2 strips of fabric 4 inches wide for the straps. You can make these Read the rest of this entry »


March 27th, 2012

Saving that Grocery Money

Over the past couple of years, I have got quite good at feeding my family on a low grocery budget. However, dealing with rising food costs means that low budget just got even lower. We are working hard to pay off the last chunk of our student loans so we can live like no one else.  It’s important to me to try and keep costs down in the kitchen while still providing healthy, hearty and satisfying meals for our growing family.
Angela Coffman, the Grocery Shrink, has been fundamental in helping me do this. I bought her ebook last summer and have since completely changed the way I shop and cook. She teaches a certain method to grocery shopping and planning that enables one to stay within her recommended budget guidelines. For us, that is around $250 a month for our family of 4 (nursing infant, toddler, 2 adults).

Last week, she came out with a brand new feature, Grocery Shrink Plus – a menu planning service that not only plans your dinners, but your breakfasts, lunches and snacks too – all for just $5 a month! Her plans are remarkably thorough and detailed to help make it as easy as possible for you to implement the meals. She gives step by step instructions to help plan the different meal tasks out ahead of time so that you don’t forget. She also focuses on healthy from-scratch meals rather than relying on boxed or processed food items.

This service is so helpful for me, since I have been struggling to do all the planning and prep work that is necessary to keep a low budget. I had been coming close to the guidelines, but still had plenty of room for improvement, so that’s one of the reasons I bought her service. I also needed help in planning more balanced and nutritious meals that include lots of vegetables. So far, I am completely impressed with how much it has helped! Our family loves the meals too – they are simple yet delicious!

January 11th, 2012

Another Campbell Has Arrived! The Birth Story of Baby Snowflake

‘Baby Snowflake’ is our little “drama” queen! She really knows how to play tricks on her mommy! After 2 bouts of false labor, she finally decided to come at the last minute before 2011 was over – our New Year’s Eve baby!

Here is the full story of her birth:

On Saturday, Christmas Eve – the day before my due date – I started having contractions about 7 minutes apart around 1pm. The night before, I had been having contractions on and off, which really hindered my ability to get a good night’s rest. Friday morning, I nested like crazy, cleaning the whole house thinking baby would be here soon. Daddy C was feeling sick, like he might have the flu, which made me even more anxious. Between all the cleaning, I tried to feed us all good, nutrient dense foods and supplements to ward off the sickies. By 1pm, the contractions had returned with regularity. I went on a walk, and they got stronger and closer together. I decided to call the midwives and tell them to come at 4:30pm. Daddy C took Peanut to a relative’s house just in case, and the midwives arrived around 5:30pm, by which time the contractions were now coming 5 minutes apart. They were not really painful though, and since I had back labor with Peanut, I wasn’t sure if this was just what regular labor contractions felt like. Read the rest of this entry »

January 4th, 2012

2012 Canning Totals

2012 was our most successful garden year to date. We planted 28 tomato plants and ended up canning 21 pints of tomato sauce from them. The last batch I canned today, yes, in December, thanks to freezing the tomatoes whole in gallon sized bags in our deep freezer. I will definitely do this method again next year. It wasn’t the best year for tomatoes, so I was glad I planted so many of them. We grew many different varieties as an experiment, and some didn’t do very well. Next summer we will know what does well in our area and can hopefully grow more!

Back in June, I was able to Read the rest of this entry »


January 3rd, 2012

11 Months and Walking

Dahlia started walking just after Thanksgiving – right around when she turned 11 months old. This is about a month and a half earlier than her sister! She is so cute and so small when she walks! She still sometimes crawls if she is tired or needs to get somewhere quick, but mostly she is walking now.

She also has added some new words to her vocabulary. Along with mama, dada, kitty, sissy, hi, ball and jump, she can say bird, cat, water (wa-wa) and some other word we can’t quite identify but which she associates with her lovey.

She is growing so fast Read the rest of this entry »

December 16th, 2011

New Cloth Diapers!

In the past, we have simply used prefolds with covers for cloth diapering. It’s worked out well for us, but we still found we preferred disposables, and we were reluctant to use them. With the cost of diapers quickly escalating, I knew we needed to invest in a few cloth diapers that functioned similar to disposables – but we didn’t have a fortune to spend on them either.

Enter the pocket diaper! I was able to get 18 different one-size pocket diapers with inserts off e-bay for just under $60 total. I bought them all individually to save the most money. We got the Babyland diapers sold from China. True, they probably won’t be as nice as a Bum Genius diaper, but they were so budget friendly I figured it didn’t matter! I did some research before purchasing them, and most of the reviews of these diapers were satisfactory enough.
Now that we have had them for several weeks, I am kicking myself for not buying them sooner! They are so easy to use! I stuff all the diapers after washing and keep the snaps on the desired setting, so it’s as close as they come to using disposables! They are not the most absorbent at times, but we’re dealing with cloth here, not chemical laden paper. Stuffing an extra insert in seems to help with that issue, but since cloth is typically changed more frequently than disposables, it’s not that big of a deal.
We are also using flush-able liners in the diapers to help with poo clean up. I find it much easier to just shake it off into the toilet than wadding up a nasty disposable! These liners, if just used for a wet diaper and not a poopy one, can also be washed and reused a few times, which helps save even more money! This has been the biggest change in the way we cloth diaper. Since our daughter is prone to extremely messy diapers, the liners were like a miracle!
As soon as the new baby comes and is big enough, we will be using cloth on him/her as well! At that point, I will probably buy more or just use the prefolds to tide us over.
If you are considering cloth diapering but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a stash of the “nicer” diapers, I encourage you to look into these Babyland e-bay diapers! They get the job done nicely with the ease a pocket diaper provides.

December 9th, 2011

Money-Saving Recipes

There are plenty of recipes for items that are more expensive to make than to buy pre-made. The trick is finding the ones that are cheaper to make at home. Pancake syrup is one of them. Pizza sauce and dough is another. Here are a few money-saving recipes our family enjoys:

Maple Syrup
Combine in saucepan:

  • 1 ¾ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

Bring to boil, cover, and cook 1 minute. Cool slightly. Add:

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon maple flavoring

Cover saucepan for a few minutes as syrup cooks to melt down crystals

Store in the refrigerator.

I made this today and was surprised how easy and better tasting it was compared to the cheap store-brand syrup. I was able to whip it up while my pancakes were cooking and have it ready in a jiffy! (note: if you don’t normally keep maple flavoring on hand in your pantry, I highly suggest you start. It is a relatively inexpensive ingredient that can add lots of flavor and zing to many recipes like this one.)

Pizza Dough- No Rise, No Yeast

  • 2 C Flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1/4 C + 2 TBSP olive Oil
  • Optional- Garlic Powder, Italian Seasoning, etc to taste

Pre heat to 425

Read the rest of this entry »


November 14th, 2011

Canning Apple Butter

A little while ago, I blogged about canning grape jelly for the first time. Well, 2 days after successfully canning 12 half pints of jelly, I was ready to tackle homemade apple butter! I followed the recipe on Simply Canning, and it was just as easy as the jelly, if not easier!
I used about…
15 apples
1.5 cups of sugar
1 ts. cinnamon
1/4 ts. ground cloves
1/4 ts. salt
Step 1: Peel core and slice apples. I used my handy-dandy apple corer/peeler/slicer. It made this step super easy! I got mine at Meijer on sale for just $10!

Step 2: Fill crock-pot with apples. Top with sugar and spice mixture. Mine is 4 quarts, so you would need more apples and sugar if you have a larger crock. Read the rest of this entry »

November 3rd, 2011

Structured Learning Activities with a Young Toddler

Recently, I’ve begun implementing structured learning activities into our day for Peanut. Although she is just over 16 months old, I can already see the benefit these early learning sessions will have! We plan on homeschooling, so getting into a routine of daily learning will also be really helpful when she starts more formal preschool studies.
When I first started researching homeschooling, I thought for sure that I would not have to worry about it until she was at least 3. But the more I learned about early learning, and the more I watched her develop and grow, I decided to start doing structured activities with her, even if just for 15 or 30 minutes a day. The great thing is that she has fun and is learning without even realizing it!

I’ve been able to find quite a few free young toddler curriculum online, and so far we have been following Pam’s House Young Toddler Curriculum. I love how flexible it is and how you can just pick and choose what you want to do. I also love the Christian teachings included. Since Peanut is still fairly young and not really talking, I can just repeat lessons a few times if I need to. This is going to come in handy when I am busy taking care of a newborn at the same time. These lessons are structured so that you can quickly start and stop different activities if needed. I borrow books for the week from the library and am working on getting our “school” supplies stocked so I can more easily do projects that involve things like construction paper, glue sticks, basic craft supplies, or crayons.

If you’re interested in teaching babies and toddlers, here are a few more links I found that were helpful:
Infant and Toddler Lesson Planning Ideas
Toddler Curriculum
Children’s Songs with Lyrics
Sample of Bible Study Concepts for Toddlers
I Can Teach my Child: 1-2 Years

October 20th, 2011

Canning Grape Jelly

This week, I completed my first canning project: grape jelly! It was so much fun, I did it again the next day! I’m pretty excited about this since not only will canning my own fruits, spreads, and butters be so much more affordable than buying them at the store, they also taste better, and I know what’s going into them.
I got my super simple recipe from Hillbilly Housewife. All you need is a box of pectin, 3 cups of grape juice, and 4 cups of sugar! So simple!
Here is my workstation ready to go: The grape juice and pectin are on the back left burner, the lids are on the front left, and my canner is getting ready on the right.

This is what happens after you bring the juice and sugar to a boil! I thought it was going to boil over! Thankfully, it did not.
After the jelly was ready, I ladled them into hot, sterilized jars. Read the rest of this entry »