Make your own rainbow crayons!

Making rainbow crayons.jpg

Making rainbow crayons

Have you ever seen those PinInterest posts where they talk about how easy it is to make your own crayons? They tell the truth! These are a great idea for a special & personalized gift, or as favours in homemade christmas crackers (bonbons), or just because it’s a rainy day!

Ingredients

  • Silicon mould tray
    • Be careful to choose one that can go in the oven.
  • Crayons
    • This can be a great way to use up spare crayons or crayon ends.
  • Optional: glitter & sparkles!

Directions

  1. Break your crayons into small pieces (i.e. adult thumb nail); you may need to use a knife.
  2. Pop them into the silicon mould. Have a think about what kind of colours you want (i.e. rainbow? ocean theme with various shades of blue & green?)
  3. Add sparkles & glitter shapes if you want.
  4. Bake in the oven at 200’C. Keep a close eye on them as you only need it in there until the crayon has melted into a thick liquid (i.e. you’re not trying to get it to bubble & boil).
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Pop out of the moulds and have fun!
Rainbow heart crayons.jpg

Rainbow heart crayons

Hint: Wondering what to use the silicon mould tray for afterwards? It’ll probably need to get relegated to your arts & crafts box (rather than cooking in the kitchen). The good news is that it’s great for paint!

Silicon moulds as artists easel.jpg

Silicon moulds as artists easel

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Great gift ideas for Baby Showers and expectant mothers

I promised a friend of mine (weeks ago – sorry!) that I would send her the links to some things I’d purchased off AliExpress and musing on that led to this expanded list. They’re numbered for sake of ease but not in order of importance 🙂

  1. Washable bamboo wipes
  2. Washable maternity pads
  3. Washable breast pads
  4. Wet/dry bags
  5. Bibs
  6. Soft toy
  7. Muslin Cloths
  8. Soft blanket
  9. Diapers
  10. Clothes

Note: A number of items on this list are available on AliExpress. I’ve written previously about how AliExpress is awesome. You can find some great bargains for a fraction of retail price, and free international shipping!, if you take the time to search. Keep in mind that delivery can take 2-6 weeks so if you’re ordering them as a gift (or to have before baby arrives) then order in advance.

Scroll down for details and links 🙂

Washable bamboo wipes

bamboo-wipes

I adore my double layer bamboo wipes. They are soft, durable, and have lasted over two years! These are much better quality than the really thin cotton cloths that often sold in shops (and fray easily).

These can be used from baby right up to toddler and beyond. They’re great for wiping up baby spit, baby food, snotty noses, grubby hands, and toddler faces. All you need is a little water to damp them and throw them into the soak bucket afterwards.

These could also be used as washable bottom wipes – just make sure that you choose an area of the body and stick with it!

These sell for around US$1.30 / item (with free shipping). Click here to see one supplier but there are plenty more to choose from.

Washable Maternity Pads

bamboo-maternity-pad

One of the less glamorous aspects of childbirth is six weeks or so of post-partum bleeding after a vaginal birth. There are disposable pads that you can buy from the store but the costs mounts up as you run through them and bamboo pads are so much softer on one’s bruised and battered nether regions (especially if stitches have been required!). If you want to use these exclusively then you probably want six to nine (the reality is that you’ll probably be doing daily washing anyway once the baby is born) with some disposables as back up.

The other nice thing about these is being able to choose pretty patterns! They sell for around US$6.29 / item (with free shipping). Click here to see one supplier but there are plenty more to choose from.

Washable Breast Pads

bamboo-breast-pads

Not everyone leaks but an unexpected let-down of milk can definitely soak through a shirt. A nice and colourful gift can be washable breast pads. The other advantage of natural fibres is that they can be cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Bamboo, again, makes for a soft and durable option. There are lots of options for colours/pattern and they sell for around US$0.67 / item (with free shipping); just keep an eye when looking on minimum numbers for the order. For example, you might pay a little more to get just one pair sent to you, or click here to see an example of a 24 piece lot (so 12 pairs).

Wet/Dry Bags

wet-dry-bags

These are often sold as double zippered (two compartment) bags with a decorated outer and a water-resistant inner coating. The default size is around 30 x 40cm but smaller ones are available as well (at point I was able to find the perfect size small ones for a single formula bottle).

These have so many uses! They are ideal for nappies. For instance, use the front compartment for a plastic case of wet wipes, a tube of nappy cream, and a couple of disposable diapers (or 1 cloth nappy); a used wet nappy can then be rolled up and put in the back pocket till you can dispose of it at home. They’re also great for baby/toddler clothes that have become wet/dirty while out, or for snacks, or for the (mostly) empty formula bottle. They also make really handy bags for jigsaw puzzles!

These simply get thrown in the washing machine and hung out to dry. They’re good for about a year or two before zips start to break or they aren’t as water resistant anymore.

(Note: these are water resistant, not water proof. They’re great for damp clothing or a formula bottle that might leak a little bit but aren’t designed for an upside-down open water bottle!).

There are lots of options for colours/pattern and they sell for around US$3.95 / item (with free shipping); just keep an eye when looking on minimum numbers for the order. For example, you might pay a little more to get just one pair sent to you, or click here to see an example of a 3 piece lot.

Bibs

bibs

Babies go through so many of these! Even before they’re eating, there’s drool. There are lots of options for bibs in stores. My preference ended up being for ones that have a cotton front/back but a waterproof layer in the middle – that way the drool isn’t soaking into the clothes underneath.

The fun thing with bibs is that you can choose some super cute designs. If you decide to go with AliExpress then you’re looking at around US$1.49 / bib  (with free shipping). Click here to see an example with lots of patterns to choose from.

Soft Toy

soft-toy-bunny

As they get older, their soft toy collection will grow and these may no longer be a welcome gift; as babies you can get in right at the start! Aim for something in the 20-30cm range (rather than a 1m tall giant bear) as bubs isn’t going to be too big to start with! Soft and cuddly is also important.

As a parent, when the later winnowing of soft toys may need to occur it’s the ones they’ve had since they were a baby that you often find yourself wanting to nostalgically hold onto.

Muslin Cloth

muslin-cloth

Although these are often still referred to as muslin cloths, you’re more likely to find ones made out of cotton now rather than actual muslin.

These are great for babies. They can be used for swaddling, to lie on, as a shade cloth over the pram, and even as an emergency diaper if you get desperate.

Soft Blanket

soft-fluffy-blanket

A soft fluffy blanket can be a great gift – especially since it’s often to find them in gender neutral colours and patterns. They can last much longer than you’d think. I still have a fluffy baby blanket that was a baby shower gift. My toddler is far too big to sleep under it but she still loves to cuddle it and it makes a great car blanket for her.

Diapers

diapers

Look for disposable diapers (or nappies) that are Newborn size. Aim to buy the smallest (quantity) pack available of a couple of different brands rather than a jumbo box. It’s not just that diapers differ across brands in terms of cost and absorbency, it’s also that they’re all slightly different in terms of cut and size. Some diapers are ideal for chubby thighs, some are ideal for super skinny legs. Every baby is different and it’s a nightmare to come from the hospital only to find out that you’ve stocked up exclusively on a single brand and your baby leaks out the side every single time! I went through several brands with my daughter before working out which brand fitted her best.

Clothing (or clothing vouchers)

baby-clothes

Baby clothes are super cute and so much fun to shop for! Sizing can be tricky though; (here’s a handy sizing chart). The default size for a newborn is: NB / Newborn / 0000. Some babies, like my daughter, will be smaller babies and start off wearing Prem (premature) sizes and others will be bigger babies and start off wearing 0-3 months.

Babies can vary a lot as to how quickly they move sizes (and they do go through a lot of different sized clothes in the first year!) and brands will also vary with their sizing. Sometimes a Size 1 will mean that it will only fit until the child is (approx.) 1 year old and for other brands a Size 1 means that they will only fit after they turn 1 year. Because babies often change a clothing size every 2-3 months it means that their clothes are also very season specific .

If you want to buy clothes then you may want to wait until the baby is born (so you know gender and weight) or buy something that they’ll grow into (just keep seasons in mind). For instance, you might want to buy something super cute that’s size 1 (i.e. like pyjamas) because they’ll be able to wear them approaching their first birthday.

Gift cards for baby clothing stores are also a great idea because that way the parents can pick out something they really need in a suitable size.

Keep in mind that babies will go through a lot of clothes,very quickly, and don’t recognise designer brands. For example, you might get a single item of clothing for $20 at one store and four items of clothing for $20 at another store. If you’re in New Zealand, Baby Factory and T&T have lovely clothes for much cheaper than places like Farmers, Pumpkin Patch, and Cotton On.

 

How to make your own Christmas Crackers 

Making your own Christmas Crackers (or Bonbons) can be a lot of fun, cost effective,  and a nice way to really personalise them. It can also be a relief as a parent with a young toddler because you can tailor them to be age appropriate (i.e. avoiding choking hazards).

Ingredients 

  • Cracker snaps
  • Cardboard tubes (inner tubes from paper towels are perfect,  just cut in half).
  • Your choice of cracker filling.
  • Wrapping paper
  • Ribbon
  • Sellotape
  • Scissors

Note: Davids Emporium  sells cracker snaps for 30 cents each just ask at the sales counter.

You can have a lot of fun choosing what you want to put inside your crackers depending on your budget, ages, and family interests. You might love silly kids jokes (like: What does a duck eat at Christmas? Quackers!), or love Minties, or want to do a toy car each. Party / variety shops can be useful, so can buying stuff from the supermarket when it’s on sale.

I decided to include in each cracker a little note, balloon, a wooden animal (from the button section of the craft store) and a chocolate. My toddler loves balloons and the chocolates are my mum’s favourite flavour. I also decided to add little wooden beads as decorations that I knew my toddler would enjoy playing with afterwards.

Directions

  1. Take a cracker snap and place it inside in your tube (it should stick out each end with a comfortable amount to pull on). Lightly sellotape it at each end to hold in place.
  2. Assemble your cracker filling and slide it into the tube. I wrapped mine in the note & then used an elastic band to hold it together.
  3. Roll the tube in paper and tie at each end;  make sure that you have enough paper at each end to cover the cracker snap that is sticking out & to comfortably pull it.  I found Christmas paper & ribbon to be ideal. You could also try something like crepe paper, twine, and hot glue on sea shells. You can be as creative as you like!