Things I love:
- simple DIY
- staying warm
- getting outside
If what I just listed is your jam, too, I've got the perfect little upcycle/diy/keep you warm while you get outside project for you today! Woohoo!
Let's start with a problem - my holey, well-loved wool socks.
The moment the temperature starts to drop, I pull out wool socks for hiking, lounging, doula overnighting, and everyday-ing. The end result? A big 'ole hole right under the ball of my feet. While I could darn this sock, stitches under the ball of my feet just won't work for me.
My solution? Upcycle these beloved wool socks into wrist and ankle warmers that help keep the whole family cozy when we adventure outdoors.
My directions are super simple - using scissors, cut the sock at the bottom of the cuff. If you are feeling fancy, you can finish it off with some stitching (a blanket stitch by hand or some machine stitching both work equally well). Because I'm often not fancy, I have a lot of holey socks, and I stash these in all kinds of places (car/diaper bag/hiking bag/mitten and hat bin/coat pockets), I leave them unfinished and, for us, they hold up just fine.
How we uses our upcycled wool goodness:
- hand warmer
- filling the gap between glove and coat
- ankle warmer (cover that gap between sock and pant that happens when baby is on your hip or in the carrier!)
- boot topper
- knee covers for crawling babes
- in a pinch, these have doubled for socks (albeit, toeless ones) when my kiddo's socks got soaked on a hike and dry socks were in the car
For us, troubleshooting cold hands and feet can mean the difference between enjoying our time outdoors or not. Having these little warmers in my pack can make certain we get our much-need time in the fresh air, even when chilly winds blow.
Do you upcycle your wool? Share in the comments below how and what you do!
Car trips with little ones can pose challenges, especially when it comes to keeping spirits up as you make your way from point a to point b. From the time our kiddos were around 6 weeks old, we've taken them here, there, and everywhere by car. Finding music that we all enjoy together has made such a difference.
Here are some of our favorite albums to make car trips fun.
Why we love it:
Charlie Hope includes original songs as well as familiar ones (like Mr. Sun) with pleasing harmonies. I like her laid back sound. The kids love her playful lyrics and rhymes.
Why we love it:
We grabbed this CD on a whim at the library, and it became an instant favorite - playing non-stop for our 10-hour drive! The songs are from the TV show (which is based on the books in the Charlie and Lola series) - none of which we knew when we grabbed the CD. The songs are quirky and get my kids laughing and singing. I often think of this one as our "worst-case scenario" option to bring a little levity when the trip feels too long.
Why we love it:
We find it hard to be grumpy in the car when we turn on the catchy beat and lyrics of SteveSongs. As my kids have grown, they enjoy the information behind the lyrics - such as the scientific explanation at work in "Water Cycle" or the humor behind "Fast Monkey."
Why we love it:
The jazzy rhythm of this CD gets lots of mileage in our car. Songs like "Happy!" and "I'm a Bubble" have turned some frowns upside down on long car rides. The pleasing quality of Jennifer Gasoi's voice and instrumentation make this one I reach for often.
When taking road trips to visit family and friends, we are often traveling during and after bedtime. The jazzy music that kept everyone engaged and happy earlier in the trip often proves too much stimulation for later in the evening. We often reach for this CD (as well as Lullaby Renditions of Journey and Lullaby Renditions of Queen). If classic rock standards aren't your vibe, Rockabye Baby! makes a whole host of other popular options sure to meet your lullaby needs.
Do you listen to music in the with your little ones car? What is your favorite kid-friendly CD? Leave it in the comments below!
Wondering what in the world is a postpartum doula? Happy to share the answer to this question and more over on the Doulas of Iowa City Blog today!
Fall is in the air, but outdoor fun with baby or toddler doesn't have to stop just because the temperature drops. In fact, without the bugs and sun of summer, you may find you get more mileage out of your adventures in the colder weather. Here are some of our favorite resources for planning cold temperature adventures and gear recommendations.
A good base layer will fit easily under other layers and keep moisture away from little one's skin. Wool is an awesome choice, but there are other less expensive materials that work well. My favorite base layers double as jammies, keeping kiddos snug in bed and making it easy to layer up and head out in the morning. A footed option, like wool tights, is particularly nice for babies.
Warm toes can make the difference between happiness and sadness on the trail, and wool socks are definitely worth the investment for both you and your kiddo. Costco reliably cares adult wool socks that I wear 24/7 in the winter months. (For baby and toddlers, I've had the best luck hunting for deals online.) And, I keep extra adult socks in the car - they are great over baby hands or mittens or as an extra layer on little one's feet in the carrier or stroller.
Because my littles can't pass a puddle by without stomping, boots are essential for us year round. While standard rain boots work in warmer temps, I find the heels wear out much faster than other options and aren't likely to make it past one season's wear with how much we adventure outside. Because shopping for footwear can be tricky, here are some of our favorites that have held up well over time.
MyMayu - These are my pick for babies and little walkers. Lightweight and cinching high on the leg, I love these from the moment my little explorers start crawling and scooching around (paired with a coverall). The option to add a liner gives them much more mileage than your standard rainboot.
Stonz - I love that these can go on over socks or baby's shoes. Like MyMayu, adding a liner allows you to uses these across several seasons.
Bogs - Baby bogs are easily for little ones to get on and off all on their own, which is hugely important as my kiddos enter the "do it myself" phase. My youngest loved hers so much that she wore them for any occasion and with any outfit.
Keen - Once my toddlers start racking up the miles on their own, the Keen Encanto Waterproof Boot is my pick again and again. I love buying a piece of gear and feeling confident that multiple kids can use it because of how well it wears. The light lining keeps toes warm in fall temps. Judging by the way my kids continually choose these boots over all other footwear options when we head out on the trail, they are comfortable, too.
All of my babies and young toddlers have despised mittens. A pair of my own wool socks pulled up high on the arm before dressing them in a bunting or jacket was the most effective. As they began to explore more, L-Bow or similar mittens that fasten high up on the arm worked best for us. Investing a pair of waterproof rain mittens may also help your little one enjoy muddy play.
Hats and More
As far as head coverings, I've found how many is more important than what kind, as hats in our house seem to grow legs and walk away. Scarves tend to drag in the snow or get caught on tree branches, so a gaiter that can be pulled up over the face for more coverage is our pick.
Baby or Toddler in the Stroller
Get Out with Friends
My toddlers and big kids always do better on the trail with other kids present. Something about being all together gives them the momentum and interest to make their way down the trail. To find friends for outdoor play and hiking, visit Hike it Baby and find your local branch. If you are local to us, check out Hike it Baby Iowa City and Hike it Baby Cedar Rapids.
How to Layer:
Video on baby layering from Wrap you in Love
Winter Layering Tips from Hike it Baby
Infographic from Ella's Wool on How to Layer Baby
Now that you are all dressed and ready to go, check out the Nested Mama series on Local Family Fun.
Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.