Friday, May 17, 2013

No Sew Carseat Poncho

One of the most stressful things that parents have to deal with is car seat safety. You have to make sure that your seat is installed correctly, that your child is strapped in correctly, and there are reminders all over about what happens if you don't follow the recommendations and you're in an accident. We all want our kids to be safe, but are you absolutely sure that you're as safe as possible?

When we lived in Michigan, we didn't have children yet, but had planned on it. Michigan has cold winters (and cold springs and cold falls). We were eager to move south and thought we'd be safe from worrying about cold weather. 

While we lived in North Carolina, four years to be precise, we had exactly five days with snow. That's it. However, just because there isn't snow doesn't mean that it's not cold. Quite the contrary, it can be nippy in North Carolina!!

We moved to Georgia and while it's a teeny bit warmer here, we still have cold weather and even some "snow" (I don't call it real snow because it's just flurries). All that cold weather can be tough on a toddler!!

Hugh was born in December of 2012 and while in NC with him, we were able to get a cold weather cover for his car seat. It was perfect because it kept him warm, dry, and protected him from wind. He's no longer in that seat, so now we strap him in and put a blanket around him.

I don't remember when I first saw a car seat poncho, but when I saw it for the first time I thought it was genius. And I immediately wanted one. So I went on Etsy and priced them. The cheapest I found was $35 plus $7 shipping, so $42. I would need two... so that's $80 give or take, for a blanket with a hole for the head.

My SIL told me about a friend of hers who sells them... and her's were $72 EACH!!! My mom said she'd help me make one for each of the boys, and so I was looking online for a pattern.

What I found was a website that gives a step-by-step description for a no-sew poncho. PERFECT!!! I can't sew!!!

I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and picked up some fabric to make Gus and Hugh a poncho to wear while we drive around. Even in the summer, with the air on, Gus likes to snuggle and I like to keep Hugh covered so he doesn't get too cold.

I picked a cute sock monkey print for Hugh and some red minky for the back. For Gus, I found a cute robot print and got some orange minky for the back.

First off, I got 1 yard of each. While the website I followed said to cut it into a 36x36 square, I wanted it as long as possible, so I didn't cut mine.
I then folded it in half:

Then I cut a small half circle for the head (you only need a 1/2 circle because the blanket is in 1/2 and when you open it, it'll be a full circle for the head to fit through).

Then you fold the opening over and cut slits (small ones) around the outside of the hole (this is for putting ribbon or fabric around the neck)

After this step, you open up the whole blanket again. I didn't do this on the first poncho and I was thoroughly confused. LOL. Open it up and then start cutting 2 inch slits:

You'll be tying each of the pieces together (it's a LONG process).

Here's the finished product on Gus:

He LOVES it!!

Here's Hugh's car seat poncho:

I got my fabric from Hobby Lobby and it was 40% off. The minky pieces were $10 each and the fleece were $8 each. So I spent $18 per car seat poncho, which isn't bad at all!! I got to pick what I wanted and I knew that each of my boys will appreciate that I made these for them. 

Trust me, I am NOT a sewer. If I can make this, so can you!!! It's better than putting your child into a car seat while wearing a jacket/coat, and it's cute.

I'm quite pleased with myself.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gus's Third Birthday Party

Riding into the mall

When I started thinking about where to have Gus's third birthday party, I had a few different options. Last year, we went to Gymboree and had a nice party for him and about twelve friends. I didn't want to do that again, so I was thinking about other venues. I considered Catch Air (one of Gus's favorite places to go and play) or Jump Jump, but both were pricier than I had wanted. I saw a Groupon for a birthday party at Monkey Joe's, but it was still a bit more than I wanted to pay ($250). I don't know when the idea hit me, but when I decided to look into having a party at Build A Bear, I was expecting a party that'd be a lot of money.

Back in March, Gus and I went to the mall with Lesley and Logan to make a bear at Build A Bear. While there, I inquired about birthday parties and decided to go ahead and book his party for May 11th at 10:30am. I had to put down a $50 deposit, but because we also bought a bear that day, I was able to earn these gift cards. I think the deal was for $5 you get a $10 gift card. I went ahead and got them and was told I could use them on the day of his party.

We decided to invite seven of Gus's friends and we'd do the party at 10:30 and then head to the food court for lunch around noon. There's a Chick fil A, so I told the moms that we'd buy lunch for each kid, and then we'd also give each child a ride on the carousel.

The morning arrived and we took Hugh in his stroller and then brought the wagon so that Gus could ride (if he wanted) and we'd have somewhere to put gifts that his friends brought. Gus walked around the store looking at the animals that were the options and because it was his birthday, he was allowed to pick any animal that he wanted. All the other kids were told they could pick anything from $15-$10 (there were about eight choices).
Gus's friends looking at the different animals

Passing out name tags

Everyone signed this special birthday bear for Gus  :-)

Gus checking out the sound station

Everyone picked their animal and the hostess, Carla, was writing their animal's name onto a card that was used to create the birth certificate for each animal

Gus picking out a heart for his pug

The heart ceremony-- each heart was being rubbed on their heads to give their new friend some brains

Gus at the stuffing station

Yep, Tony (his pug's name) looks and feels about perfect!

Logan at the stuffing station

Aubree and her new bear

Jason came and watched Hugh for us while I photographed the party and Steve helped Gus

Sam filling his bear

Theo filling his bunny

Sam's bear

Ryan at the stuffing station

Riggs at the station

Kirsten feeding Hugh

And loving how strong he is!

Roman getting his dog stuffed

Christy and Ryan

After everyone had their friends created, they went to the washing station to give them a needed bath

Gus had a BLAST!!!

 A group photo!

When it came time to pay for the remainder of the party, I only owed $50!! I had the $30 gift cards and had already paid $50 so the total we spent on the party portion of Gus's party was $100! That's with eight kids walking away with a new stuffed animal that they created. It was so awesome.

So after the party, we headed up to the food court and had Chick fil A kids meals ready for us. 

Everyone had lunch and then each child had an ice cream cup and we put a candle in Gus's and everyone sang Happy Birthday to him. He loved it. The kids ate their ice cream and then we headed to the carousel for everyone to enjoy a ride!




Logan and Aubree


After they got off the carousel, the lady said they could all ride it a second time for free since it was Gus's birthday! SCORE!!!

We loaded up the wagon and headed to the car after saying our goodbyes to everyone.

What an awesome birthday!!!

In all, we spent about $160 total for the party, the food, and the carousel rides. Not bad at all and it was so awesome. Everything was organized and planned out, and it all just flowed. I have no complaints about anything!! I highly recommend BAB for anyone looking for a cute party for their child. You have to have a minimum of six kids and the least that you can spend is $10 per child. So you could have a party that was $60 if you did the minimum. It was really awesome and I'm so glad we decided to do it this year. 

Gus loves Tony and sleeps with him every night. It was a wonderful birthday and all his friends had a great time too!!