DIY Diaper Cakes

In preparation for my sister-in-law’s baby shower this past weekend, I’ve been working on some diaper cakes that I thought I’d show off. In case you’ve never seen one before, a diaper cake isn’t as gross as it sounds. They’re not for eating, just for looking. Clean Diapers are stacked to look like a cake and can be used as centerpieces or party decor at a baby shower or other baby-related event. Now, just like with most types of crafts, there really aren’t many wrong ways to make these. My personal opinion is that the only wrong way to do it is to use glue or other adhesives that ruin the diapers and make them unusable. While they make cute decor, they really serve as another gift for the parents-t0-be when they take the cake apart at home and have a ton of extra diapers on hand. So you’ll probably find lots of alternatives to how I make a diaper cake, but here’s my method (I apologize in advance for the poor pictures- sometimes my cell phone is the only thing handy!):

Supplies:

  • Diapers! – the quantity and size will vary depending on the size of the cake you’re making. For these small two-tiered cakes pictured here I used a total of 14 diapers, size N and 1. I also prefer name brand diapers that are good quality so they actually go to good use. I’ve seen many a gorgeous diaper cake before that, when taken apart, goes right in the trash after a night or two of major baby leakage because the diaper quality wasn’t the best.
  • Rubber bands- one for every diaper you use and a large one for each tier of the cake.
  • a cake board (like Wilton’s)
  • an assortment of ribbons
  • Glue dots or strips
  • a glue stick
  • long shrimp skewers
  • decorative embellishments of your choice; in my cakes pictured here, I used travel sized baby soaps and lotions as well as themed stickers to match the party decor and large 12×12 scrapbook paper to cover the cake board
  • scissors

Instructions:

    • Begin by rolling each diaper into a tight tube shape. I like to start with the top of the diaper so the elastic is on the inside of the roll and the ‘tush’ of the diaper is the outside; it makes for a neater roll. Wrap a rubber band around it just tight enough to keep the shape, but not so much that it damages or squeezes the diaper.
  • When you have a small pile of rolled diapers, begin to stand them upright around one another. Use a large rubber band to hold the first 5 or so together in a circular shape and then continue to add more diapers around the ring until the layer is as wide as you’d like it.
  • *MONEY SAVER: If you’re making an especially large diaper cake with several layers, having enough diapers can get pricey. A money saving trick is to “hollow out” the inside of the layers by using a place holder; something else that has a tube shape to build around. It can be as simple as a toilet paper or paper towel tube, or something more fun and creative like a bottle or sippy cup.
  • 2. Repeat the above steps for each layer of the cake you’d like to make, adding less diapers as you go up the cake to make smaller tiers. If you are using an assorted size of diapers, use larger diapers for the bigger, bottom tiers and smaller diapers toward the top. As you continue to add layers to your cake, keep them symmetrical in shape and size. Use a shrimp skewer down the center of the diaper cake, being careful not to pierce any diapers, to stabilize it.
  • When you’ve made all of the layers that you’d like (in my case, just two; I was in need of small diaper cakes), place it on your decorated cake stand (I used scrapbook paper traced and cut out to the shape of the board) and begin decorating! Use your ribbons, secured with glue dots or strips, to cover the rubber bands. Try to avoid getting any adhesive on the diapers so that they remain usable by the new parents after they take it apart.
  • You can decorate your cake with any embellishments you’d like- mini soaps and lotions are the perfect size and shape to nestle into rolled up diapers, but you could also add things like: pacifiers, teething rings, small stuffed toys, blocks, tiny baby socks and shoes, etc… There are also endless possibilities for embellishing with stickers! I added a teddy bear sticker to the front of each cake to help cover the seam where the ribbon ends met because of our teddy bear theme at the shower. Curling some gift wrapping ribbon is also super easy and adds a little extra to your cake with very little effort. You can mix and match colors and even use the ribbon to hide an imperfections you might notice in your cake ūüôā I’ve also added layers of scrunched up tissue between each layer of diapers to give it some “flare” on bigger cakes, but on these small 2 layer cakes it was a little too much.

  • If your skewer sticks out at the top of your cake like mine does, you have several choices: snip it off, paint it, or find a way to incorporate it. I added a small teddy bear stuffed animal from Babies R Us to the top and glued his paws to the skewer to look like he was holding on. I also added a small pacifier charm to his hand as an extra accent.

Sometimes I finish my diaper cakes off by wrapping them in clear cellophane or easter basket bags, especially if I’m giving it as a gift. I haven’t yet decided if I will wrap these or not, since there will be 6 of them used as table centerpieces at the baby shower. Each one was made using the same method, although slightly different embellishments were used (I mixed and matched different shades of blue and green ribbons and used different trios of mini lotions and soaps around the tiers).

SO there you have it! My diaper cake “recipe”. As I said at the top of the post, there are SO MANY ways to do a diaper cake. I’m by no means a pro- I’ve seen some really gorgeous cakes that put mine to shame- but I think this method will get even the beginner a cute looking cake that you’ll be proud to show off or give as a gift. It’s also a great “starting place” to begin and then let your creativity take over. If you have any diaper cake tips please post them in the comments and let me know your favorite way to make one! Happy crafting ūüôā

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WFD-SE(What’s For Dinner-Sides Edition)?

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to have very many recipes for you? Well that’s still the case, as I rely on the same few staples in my house on most nights (a rotation of chicken cutlets that I pretend are other things if I don’t bread them the same way twice in the same week, hamburgers, skirt steak and pasta in that order). ¬†I do have a few great side dishes though. ¬†Aren’t they much easier? ¬†SO much less pressure to have a couple of good sides than the whole meal. ¬†And really, if the sides are good it can really mask some major blandness in an otherwise boring main course. ¬†So here’s one we stumbled upon a few weeks ago when my husband got his monthly copy of Men’s Health magazine. ¬†We basically live off of the grill during the summer… and sometimes beyond. ¬†So anything we can try to grill is always fun. ¬† This isn’t necessarily a new idea, just a different way to spice it up- literally. ¬†It’s our take on their grilled corn recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Several ears of corn, husks on
  • about 1 tablespoon of butter per ear of corn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  • Pull the husks about halfway down the ears of corn and soak them in a large pot of cold water for about 15 minutes.
  • While they are soaking, melt the butter in the microwave. ¬†Mix together everything else except the cheese. ¬†Save a small amount of parsley for topping.
  • Combine the butter and dried mixture.
  • When the corn is done soaking,¬†pull the husks the rest of the way down, leaving them just on the very bottom of the ear as a “holder”. ¬†Pull off the silk threads and give each ear a good rinse. ¬†Pat dry and coat with the melted butter and seasoning. ¬†Reserve enough of the mixture to brush on a second coating after grilling.
  • Place them on the upper rack of your grill, just until they begin to blacken slightly. ¬†Rotate them around to get all of the sides well grilled. ¬†They shouldn’t be completely BLACK, but a light char is good.
  • When they’re done, remove the remaining husks. Brush on an extra light coating of the remaining mixture for more flavor and sprinkle on the last of the fresh parsley. ¬†Shake some shredded parmesan on and you’re done!

Grilled corn with fresh parsley and cheese

I usually substitute fresh herbs for the dried kind because it’s just plain easier. ¬†I rarely read a recipe ahead with enough time to go buy them fresh, and dried is always right there on my spice rack. ¬†However, I’ve tried this both ways and the fresh parsley really does make a huge difference in this case. ¬†In fact, I picked ours fresh from the backyard, since parsley is the only herb I grew successfully this year. ¬†Woo hoo! ¬†If you have to use dried herbs, though, take a tip I picked up from Rachael Ray: ¬†pour them into your hand first and use your thumb to grind them up in your palm a bit before sprinkling into your dish; it ‘wakes up’ the oils in the herb and brings out the flavor and fragrance from a dried herb that has been in a jar for a long time.

I also went heavier on the garlic than most would like, because I could eat spoonfuls of garlic raw. ¬†If you need to tone it down, by all means do so. ¬†You can also make it more or less spicy with the paprika. ¬†The original recipe called for red pepper flakes, which were just a little too much for me. ¬†As for the butter, we’re big fans of the Smart Balance Butter spread it’s the healthiest and most butter-like of all of the things we’ve tried. ¬†If you don’t have fresh parmesan on hand, one of those Kraft parmesan shakers of grated cheese did the trick just fine. ¬†In fact, the one I had on hand was a mix of parmesan and romano and I thought it gave it an extra nice flavor. ¬†We wound up adding in a sprinkling of shredded romano the next time we made it as a result. ¬†We also cut the corn off of the cob afterward and sprinkled the remaining parsley and cheese on after it was plated. ¬†It just made for an easier side when one of us is always running to grab the baby or eating with one hand to feed him with the other.

If you try this recipe, let me know if you change it up at all, too. ¬†The easiest way to have something “new” for dinner is a small tweak to something you’re already doing! ¬†Enjoy.

Win Something Wednesday!

Everybody loves a chance to win something for free, right?  Callie and I have been running a weekly Wednesday giveaway on a private parenting board for awhile now, and we recently decided to move it over here to the blog so that more of you lucky ducks have a chance to win.

This week, since we’re both in mega-crafting mode, we’re featuring an ADORABLE crayon craft pouch from My Sunshine Designs:

Trio of mini crayon roll ups

8-crayon roll up pouch

The winner will get to choose from either an 8-crayon roll up pouch or a trio of mini roll ups. ¬†What a great way to keep crayons need and organized, especially when you’re on the go. ¬†These are perfect for the bottom of your diaper bag or purse for quick access when you’re out at a restaurant and need a little kiddo distraction! ¬†If you’d like a chance to win, here’s how:

  1. First, go to My Sunshine Designs on Facebook and ‘like’ the page. ¬†Make sure to comment that you’re stopping by from Kristin and Callie’s blog We Don’t Need Sleep.
  2. Next, make sure you follow our blog! Click the link to the right of this post to sign up.
  3. Last, leave us a comment here on this post and tell us your favorite crayon craft for your or the kids.  We will pick a winner at random in 24 hours, so get to it!

Happy crafting!

Kristin and Callie

Has Craft Clutter Taken Control?

I’m an artist at heart, so I LOVE that Ella Grace enjoys craft time. What I could do without, are all the random pieces of scribble paper that she refuses to let me throw away. I’m sure any parent reading this can relate. There are only so many pieces of copy paper with nonsense scribble that even a parent can keep and cherish.

Last week I happened to see the new-ish Crayola Dry Erase crayons and the mind wheels started spinning.

Even better than an extra long nap, because that usually results in a late bed time or not so restful night of sleep, is finding something calm and quiet that Ella will enjoy for an extended period of time while her baby sister is napping. I wasn’t sure my idea would work, but for less than $5 it was worth a try. I dropped the crayons into my Walgreens basket and finished up the rest of my shopping. A few days later when Ella was being particularly needy and cantankerous, I remember that I had the crayons. I plopped her in the high chair, told her she could color ON the tray (THIS was a hit of an idea!) , and then every so often when she was done I would snap a quick pic of her masterpiece and then wipe the tray clean for her to start again.

I’ve started a file on my computer and I’m planning to pic some of my faves out and make a book each year, if I leave a few blank pages I can even glue in some of her paintings and other art work. Personally, I’m feeling impressed with my¬†brilliance¬†right now.

Blog Hop Time!

We are sharing our thoughts over at The Mommy Club blog hop again this week! Take a few minutes to go check out some of the other awesome blogs that are participating!

Raves and Reviews: BondiBand Headbands

Okay, the jig is up: ¬†I have to admit that my gym membership has been going to waste for… well, that’s not important how long it’s been going to waste. ¬†The point is, I haven’t been nearly as active as I should be lately. ¬†I justify it by saying that Owen keeps me moving 24/7, but the excuses stopped here last week. ¬†I got my butt moving again- ever so slightly- with a jog, and then an exercise DVD with Chris.

It’s been uncomfortably hot and muggy in New York these last few weeks, so I picked a great time to start sweating more, huh? ¬†What made it a little easier was the right gear. ¬†I really like my Under Armour workout clothes but my newly layered hair has been tricky to keep up without a lot of clips and bobby pins. ¬†All of that isn’t really conducive to workouts when you are moving around and they’re falling out on your workout mat, so I was pretty psyched the day my BondiBand headband arrived in the mail. ¬†One of the girls on our parenting forum suggested it, actually- she owns six! The material is made of lycra and is a snug but comfortable fit. ¬†The headband is meant to wick away sweat, and I’m proof that it did! I know you’re dying to see a picture of me covered in sweat as the proof, right? ¬†Not a chance. ¬†Here’s one from their website, Bondiband.com:

bondiband.com

The company was gracious enough to send me a headband to sample after I reached out to them requesting one as a prize for a contest on our parenting board. ¬†I got the black headband with green shamrocks (Irish pride!). ¬†Here’s what they have to say on their website about how effective their material is:

“Wicking fabrics draw moisture away from the body, pushing to the outside of the fabric, where it evaporates away… leaving you dry. Our wicking fabric is comprised of high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water. (Cotton will absorb roughly 7% of its weight in water, our polyester blend only 0.4%)”

Ultimately I think it did the trick. ¬†I’m one of those people who wears their ponytail¬†too tight and gets a headache from it, so I loved that the BondiBand was snug but comfortable. ¬†The material stretched nicely and stayed in place during the whole workout. ¬†They have a huge selection of prints to choose from, too, that are all very affordable.

I have to say, though, that there are two things I love the most about this company: first, the headbands are made in the USA. ¬†Second, they donate a portion of their profits every year to a charity, just because they can. ¬†Who doesn’t love a company that is committed to keeping jobs in America and helping out the less fortunate? That alone has made a loyal customer out of me!

So, thank you Bondiband for the awesome headband… I can’t promise it’s going to motivate me to work out a lot, but when I do I’ll wear my new headband ūüôā

 

WFD (What’s For Dinner)?

I don’t consider myself a creative cook. ¬†I like to cook, and I’m not bad at it, but I like to follow recipes. ¬†Unlike my very creative husband, I have a hard time opening the pantry and coming up with something on the spot using a handful of random ingredients. ¬†I do often put my own twists on recipes that others have already established, though. ¬†So here’s one from last night’s dinner, which was my take on something we found on allrecipes.com.

Sweet Chicken Sausage Pasta

Ingredients

1lb. sweet chicken sausage
1 tbsp. olive oil
half a red onion or sweet white onion
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (or two heaping tablespoons if it’s already from the jar)
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
about 14oz chicken broth
a handful of basil, chopped
about 2 cups of chopped tomatoes (fresh or from a can; I used a can of crushed tomatoes because I was out of fresh)
a pinch of salt
any pasta of your choice
grated parmesan cheese for topping

Directions

Boil water and cook pasta according to package instructions. ¬†Drain and set aside. ¬†Pour olive oil in a skillet and cook chicken sausage until it is browned and you can’t see any pink (about 10 minutes on low). ¬†If sausage is still encased, remove it from the skillet just before it is finished and slice into discs on a cutting board, then return it to the skillet to finish cooking. ¬†For the last 4-5 minutes that sausage is cooking, add in diced onions and garlic. ¬†Lower the heat if necessary so the garlic and onions don’t burn.

When garlic and onions appear soft and sausage is cooked through, add chicken broth and tomatoes.  Let simmer for a few minutes.  Add basil and stir, throwing in broccoli last.  If the broccoli is already cooked, cover the skillet for a few minutes and turn off the jet, letting the skillet sit on the heat for a few minutes.  If the broccoli is raw, cover and leave the jet on for about 5 more minutes until it is soft.  Toss in cooked pasta of your choice to combine,  cover with grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Sweet Chicken Sausage Pasta

 

What I liked about this recipe was that I had everything I needed already. ¬†There was nothing special about the ingredient list that required a trip to the grocery store, and it was easy. ¬†I also like that I can alter it to our tastes; the original recipe called for an entire onion and less garlic. ¬†My husband isn’t a big fan of onions, and I could eat garlic raw for the rest of my life and be a happy girl, so I adjusted the quantities to suit our tastes without ruining the meal. ¬†It’s also a great base that can handle additional mix-ins depending on your preferences. ¬†You could easily substitute the chicken sausage for other meats, too, but the sweetness of it really changed up a typical pasta recipe and give it a nice flavor. ¬†Give it a try and tell me how it worked for your family!

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