Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pull Apart Cupcake Tree with Owl Cake Pops

This is Gilead's birthday cake this year.  He's in love with Arnold Lobel's "Owl at Home" and therefore wanted an owl cake.  This isn't exactly an owl cake, but he likes it, anyway.  I'll have to add some pictures of him with it after we've "done cake" later today.

The tree is constructed of cupcakes.  My first "pull-apart" cake.  We nearly had a crisis when I discovered that my good leaf tip had been lost in one of our many moves.  However, a drop flower tip did a decent job.  I still plan on replacing that tip, though!

I used one batch each of Bob's Red Mill's chocolate and vanilla cake mixes for the cupcakes and a double batch of Wilton's buttercream icing.  The "fruit" in the tree is runts, the owl's are cake pops.  I did it the "old fashioned" way by mixing cake crumbs with frosting and forming balls.  I "glued" chocolate chips to those balls with melted chocolate, and once that had dried dipped the whole thing in melted chocolate.  The eyes are from candy necklaces, the noses are cut out pieces of candy corns, and the feet are star sprinkles.

There were some extra owl cake pops, so the kids got to sample them.  They heartily approved.

Happy 2nd birthday, little man!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nap Nanny Chill Review

All of my babies have been "reflux babies."  The first two were diagnosed with GERD and medicated to keep the misery at a minimum.  Therefore, when I was expecting Abel I started looking into options for placing him at a 30 degree angle to minimize the mess and increase his comfort.  I have a friend who purchased a Nap Nanny for her daughter, and loved it.  My interest was piqued.

The Nap Nanny was created by Leslie, a mom whose daughter wouldn't sleep when lying flat.  She made the same observation that I'm sure most of us have, "There were plenty of wedges on the market, but inevitably the baby rolled down to the flat part of the mattress, or it just plain didn't work." The solution?  "Something shaped like a car seat would hold the baby in place, and even better, could be used on every floor of the house."

I was thrilled when the Nap Nanny company agreed to send me a Nap Nanny Chill for review. As it turns out, Abel does, indeed have reflux.  And after my c-section and his rough start in the NICU, followed immediately by a move across state and a new job for my husband, we were ready for some much needed rest.  Shortly after we moved, our Nap Nanny Chill with a sage minky dot cover arrived.

When placed in his new Nap Nanny Abel immediately smiled.  Score!  I began using it the next nap.

The harness is securely attached to the base of the Nap Nanny.

The minky fabric is wonderfully soft--and it matches ALL of our nursery decor!

My one concern, if you will, regarding the Nap Nanny was the fact that it is designed to mimic a car seat.  None of my babies have slept in the car seat willingly.  However, for those of you who may have the same concern, let me assure you that it isn't a problem at all!  The Nap Nanny apparently takes the comfy aspects of the car seat concept and eliminates the ones my babies have found so unappealing.  Abel sleeps beautifully in his Nap Nanny, and it's rare that he does any fussing before falling asleep.

I swaddle him.  Buckle him.  He smiles.  He sleeps.

Seriously.  That's the way it works.  I'm in love.

Almost as soon as Abel began sleeping in the Nap Nanny Chill the need for washing his bedding daily disappeared.  As did the need to change his pajamas two to three times a night.  When laid flat, he would inevitably soak everything within a one foot radius.  When sleeping at the 30 degree angle the Nap Nanny provides, the problem disappears.  We couldn't be happier.

My older two also love the fact that the Nap Nanny can double as a toddler recliner.  However, since their brother is sleeping in it 3-4 times a day and at night, they don't get many opportunities to take advantage of that.  When they do, they're pretty happy campers!

Mercy, 3.5 years.

Gilead, 23 months. A non-intuitive position, but he thinks its comfy!

I'd recommend the Nap Nanny to anyone needing a sleep solution for a refluxy baby--or any baby for that matter.  It's easy to use, effective, portable, and will serve your child through the toddler years.  Head on over to the Nap Nanny site to check out all of their great colors and fabrics and read even more about the benefits of the Nap Nanny Chill.

*I was sent one Nap Nanny Chill for review purposes.  I was not compensated for this post in any way.  All opinions stated are my own.