Weekend links from around the web

I keep finding interesting information from around the web, so I thought it would be nice to do a weekly post with weekend links. Here goes the first; feel free to add any interesting links you’ve come across in the comments!

Oh, and don’t forget –only 2 more days on the baby signing giveaway! If you haven’t done so yet, enter now!

Snow Art

We’ve been enjoying playing with snow. Here’s some of Sprout1’s Snow Art.

Belgium- “Researchers at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) have found that the concentration of hormone-disrupting substances is 20 times higher in pre-schools with plastic furniture and toys than in classrooms with only natural materials, such as wood. Researchers examined the air quality in classrooms at 12 Flemish pre-schools. The substances don’t pose an immediate toxic danger but do increase the risk of diabetes, infertility and prostate and breast cancer in the long term. The quality of the plastic is also an important factor.” (source: http://www.flanderstoday.eu – unfortunately couldn’t find link to the actual research paper)

If you have boys, you MUST listen to the Raising Playful Tots Podcast this week – Calmer Easier Happier Parenting of Boys, with Noël Janis-Norton, author,teacher, trainer speaker learning and behavioural specialist.

Snow day activities- With the wonderful snow we’ve been getting here in Brussels, it’s time to get outside and enjoy it!

Juliet from I’m a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here has a few ideas for outdoor activities in her post Snow Fun

Amanda of Not Just Cute has a Thematic Unit on Wintertime for indoor and outdoor learning activities for winter

Nicole from Life of Bear and Dragon has been out watching people sledding at Parc Woluwe and has some beautiful pictures to show for it!

sledding in Brussels

We’ve been out sledding at the less spectacular but less crowded slopes nearby 😉

Indoor winter activities with kids- If going out in negative temperatures isn’t your cup of tea, have a look at The Artful Parent‘s latest e-book with wintry crafts – The Artful Winter

For more wintry inspiration, why not have a look at my Winter Play and Art Pinterest board?

Enjoy the winter wonderland!

Cloth diapers and eco disposables

S1033821

I’ve finally tried out all of my cloth diapers (or nappies for Brits)!!! And I washed them all! Yay!!!

I must say I was a bit worried about stains and odour, but no problem whatsoever. No spills or leaks, good fit, generally easy to use, store and wash. They’re all on the line now. My favourites are the bumgenious V3 one size pocket nappies. They are just like disposables and they adjust to fit a growing baby, so they can be used much longer. Unfortunately, they are also more expensive… However, I think it’s well worth the investment.Rodrigo only liked these.  I was sad to see the swaddle bee just barely fits his bum anymore! my little boy is growing so fast.

I also discovered I don’t like poppers much. Alex is very wriggly when changing, so speed and ease is of the essence two-parts and poppers take longer and he can squiggle out easily, making it harder for me to change.

We’ve been using disposables until now, just because it was easier, with getting used to having sprout home and having stay-in visitors (mom and mother in law). Besides, our washing machine is downstairs, so not very practical. It will be much easier in our new house :). I tried Swillet, Bumbo Nature and moltex. They are all good at containing the mess, but I found Swillet (unfortunately the most Eco of the bunch) to feel too plasticy (the plastic material is made of corn). Bambo Nature are good, but a bit bulkier than others. My favourite s are Moltex – closer to other commercial brands. I definitely recommend. I’ve been buying from an online store – SeBio – that delivers free in Brussels for purchases over €40. They’re great and they also have cloth!

Now I’m going to try to gradually change to cloth for most of the time and keep the eco-disposables for going out and night. Hopefully I’ll be able to make the full transition at some point.

Here’s Alex  in his Bumgenious. Adorable!!!

S1033803

Our new Ferrari and other updates

I’ve been having a busy month at the office, trying to finish things up and preparing the ground for my replacement, so I really haven’t felt like turning on the computer (or doing anything else, for that matter) once I get home. And so it’s March 18th and this is my first post this month!

Everything has been great on the pregnancy side of things: still doing my yoga, we have our last prenatal BCT class tomorrow and I’ve also been going to prenatal kines-therapy (similar to physiotherapy) sessions on Saturday mornings.

s10336051

We’ve started to prepare things for sprouts arrival. All newborn clothes has been washed, ironed and put away in my drawers. Unfortunately he still doesn’t have his own room because we are in the process of buying an apartment and the closing will only be in June, so we’ll have to cram up a bit in our room until then. Not that I expect to have him sleeping in his room yet, but it would be nice to have his dresser, etc to put his things in instead of having them in random places throughout the house like we do at the moment!

We also finally brought home the Ferrari my sis kindly gave us for the little sprout (R has been calling it a Ferrari because its red 😉 )!

s1033607

We love our red Loola Up! It was very easy to put everything together (minor assembly required), and it’s lightweight, practical to open and close, doesn’t take up much space (when closed), easy to manoeuvre… just great. In the pic you can see the full stroller with raincover on, the carrycot (which will be doubling as a moses basket until we move) and the car seat and car seat base. Everything is set up so that it can air out. It really smells plasticy in that little room now! On the sofa bed behind, you can see some bits and pieces that still need sorting and washing.

I’ve also been collecting some cloth diapers to try out once sprout is here:

s1033608

Our stash now includes (clockwise from left) 2 XS Motherease Airflow wraps, 3 S Tots Bots Bamboozles; 2 Onesize Bumgenious V3; 1 S Fuzzibunz Pocket; 1 S Tots Bots Flexitots Organic; and 1 Organic velour Swaddlebees in Newborn. I think they’re adorable. My favourite is the Swaddlebees. It’s a 2 part diaper, which means it need a waterproof wrap (will be using Motherease). It’s so soft and compact and has a little fold down part in the front to give room for a newborn’s cord. I also have some disposable paper liners, sanitizer, a mesh bag for dry pailing and washing and various boosters. I can’t wait to try them, even though I’m a bit worried about them getting stained early on with the meconium… I really hope I’ll be able to use these!

And, just as an update, here is my belly at around 32 weeks:

s1033582

Needless to say, I’m much bigger at 35 weeks now!

Happy New Year

The New Year has started off really cold here in Brussels. It’s -10°C as I write and yesterday I woke up to this:

s1033540

It was still dark outside at 8am. Everything is still white today… well, sort of white! Snow in the city gets sloppy very fast.

2008 was a great year and seems to have gone by really fast… I can’t believe 2009 is here already and we’ll soon have a new addition to the family! In (probably) less than four more months our little sprout will be here. I’m really excited and have finally made a list of what I think we’ll need.

We’ll have to hit the stores soon to figure out where we’re going to by things and if we’re going to have a baby list or not at any store. As with everything else, I’m really keen on buying environmentally friendly and healthy products for little sprout, but choice still seems to be limited. I’m thinking of getting some things on-line, such as cloth nappies. I know most people say they’re a hassle, etc but I really want to give them a try. Now I just have to figure out what kind, brand, size and how many!!!

Here are some I’ve been considering:

They are the Imse Vimse all-in-one, Bambino Mio,  Tots Bots and Bumgenious all-in-one. They have to be really simple to use and (practically) leak-free so that I can convince my dear husband and daycare to use them as well. If anyone has any opinion on these (or others), all advice is welcome! I’ll let you know which I chose and where I got them once I make up my mind. i may actually get one of each and see what works best once sprout is here and use Eco-friendly disposables such as these for the first few days.

In other news, I’ve been making more maternity clothes to help fill out my wardrobe. Here another skirt and my bump at 24 weeks:

s1033532

And a pair of pants at 25 weeks:

s1033550

I always look so unnatural in pictures! And what’s with my hair? I swear it doesn’t look like this live 🙂 New Year’s resolution: learn how to take and pose for pictures!