Director Jewels

Monday, May 25, 2015

Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

AppleCheeks cloth diapers | Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

I've been using cloth diapers for almost two years. Over a year of that has been exclusive use, meaning we have no disposable diapers in our home at all. It took me awhile to embrace the idea that cloth was even an option, much less that it was something I could maintain all the time. To be honest, though, now that I've been doing it for so long, I can't imagine any other way.

If you're on the fence about using cloth, you probably have a lot of questions. Beyond the madness of figuring out which brand or which style of diapers will suit your family (we're partial to AppleCheeks around here!), you may have concerns about the practicality of using these diapers. It was a long time before I figured out a great storage solution. For several months, I had diaper shells, inserts, and wipes tossed on just about every surface in my house. It was crazy. Ultimately, though, I was over-thinking the process. I didn't need a lot of fancy storage containers. I just needed something that was practical.

AppleCheeks cloth diapers | Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

With my AppleCheeks pocket diapers, I do my best to stuff them as soon as they are clean - so they are prepped and ready for diaper changes. I don't always succeed at this, so there are still sometimes piles of diaper pieces all over my couch, but generally speaking, this is how they end up. All diapers that are ready to go are stuffed and placed into this basket in my living room. I thought about keeping them in our Nintendo nursery, but we're not back there very often and it's easiest to just have them accessible in the main area of our home.

Any diapers that are "extra" sit in front of the basket. I don't have enough inserts to stuff all my covers with each load of laundry, but I want to rotate their use. So I leave the extras in plain sight and strive to use them first the next time I stuff diapers.

AppleCheeks cloth diapers | Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

We use cloth wipes exclusively as well, and these are stored in a small basket on the piano, also in the main room of our home. The kids can reach them, which is sometimes helpful and sometimes not, as you can imagine.

AppleCheeks cloth diapers | Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

We keep bedtime diapers (also pre-stuffed) on the dresser in the nursery, so we don't have to scramble for them when it's time to get everyone ready to bed.

AppleCheeks cloth diapers | Simple Cloth Diaper Storage Solution

Aside from this, I have one small bin for cloth diapers in the nursery. It contains a few extra pieces and accessories such as swim diapers that aren't used very often, but I don't want them put away in storage. Our dirty diaper pail is in the kitchen, right by the trash can. We just drop diapers there and wash them every 2-3 days.

And that's my entire cloth storage solution! How do you store cloth diapers in your home?

The Secret Garden & Don Quixote - New Releases from BabyLit

Disclosure: BabyLit sent me samples to review. No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

I've written before about my love of BabyLit, the adorable classic literature board book series designed for the youngest listeners. I've been reading these books to my kids since they were very small. There is now an extensive collection of titles available from BabyLit, including Pride & Prejudice, Alice in Wonderland, Romeo & Juliet (one of Addie's favorites), Jane Eyre, and many more.

The latest two titles joining the collection are The Secret Garden, based on the book by "Little Miss Burnett" and Don Quixote, based on the book by "Little Master Cervantes."


The Secret Garden is one of my favorite tales, and holds a special place in my heart since I had the honor of directing a community theatre production of this story a few years back. The board book is designed as a "Flowers Primer" and incorporates lines from the story with delightful, whimsical illustrations from Alison Oliver. Author Jennifer Adams, as usual, does an excellent job of putting together a very concise book for little ears, while maintaining the quality of the original material. 


The kids have enjoyed learning the different types of flowers mentioned in this book, and we actually happen to have columbines and roses planted in our front yard, so we can reinforce the new knowledge in person after reading!


My Adelaide Rose with a rose.

The second title, Don Quixote, is a "Spanish Primer" and introduces kids to basic vocabulary in a foreign language. As I've been intending for years now to start my kids learning Spanish, I was especially excited to read this book with them.


This title features bold, jewel-toned illustrations. There are some words you may expect – man, horse, friend, plus a few that are more surprising – armor, windmills, and goat!


Listening to Addie work on Spanish pronunciation has been one of the highlights of my week! As usual, we're thrilled by these new titles from BabyLit and can't wait to see what they come up with next!


Find out more about BabyLit on their website, or follow on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for the latest updates!

Disclosure: Thanks, BabyLit, for the samples! No other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

21/52

I've gotten so far behind on this project! But, I'm backdating the posts to catch up, once I find the photos from each week. Forgive the iPhone quality - have not had as many opportunities to shoot with my real camera, but that's okay... Phone cameras are cool too.



"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Lincoln - this little boy is such a joy. He's always up for an adventure.
Addie - Nobody messes with this girl and her veggies.

Linking up at Practising Simplicity.  

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/

Million Dollar Quartet National Tour at Kansas City Starlight Theatre {Review}

Disclosure: I received press passes to attend this event. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own.


Summer in Kansas City can only mean one thing - it's time to spend a few nights at Starlight Theatre. The outdoor venue's 65th season kicked off last night at a fast pace, bringing to the stage under the stars to life with bright colors and the upbeat music of the national touring production of Million Dollar Quartet.

The company of the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet. (Photo by Jeremy Daniel.)

This Tony Award-Winning Broadway Musical is inspired by a true story of one special night in December 1956 when four music legends were all under the same roof. There were many cheers and whistles in the mostly middle-aged crowd who welcomed the characters of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash to Kansas City.

Colte Julian as Jerry Lee Lewis, Gabe Bowling as Carl Perkins, Jacob Rowley as Elvis Presley,
and Scott Moreau as Johnny Cash in the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet.
(Photo by Jeremy Daniel.)

While I have to admit up front that there's a bit of a generational gap for me with this show, I was still able to follow the story and pick out most of the famous tunes (thank you, show choir) as the night skipped by. Did a few inside jokes go over my head? Yes, for sure. But it was completely adorable to watch the crowd jump, dance, and jive right along with songs like Blue Suede Shoes (which was apparently actually written by Carl Perkins - not Elvis), Down by the Riverside, and See You Later Alligator.

It was evident that there was a great deal of effort put forth from each of the actors, who not only had to learn quirks of the individual they portrayed, but also played their own instruments throughout the show. A singer who can also play is sometimes a hard-sought commodity, and this show offers such delightful roles for those who are up to the challenge. I can scarcely even call what Colte Julian (Jerry Lee Lewis) did to the stage piano "playing" - watching his hands made me think of an intricate dance. I have ten years of piano under my belt, and my hat's off to him. Fantastic performance.

Scott Moreau as Johnny Cash in the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet.
(Photo by Jeremy Daniel.)

Running at about 90 minutes with no intermission, the script based on the events of December 4, 1956 at Sun Records seems a little contrived at times, but the cast moves amiably through the piece and the musical numbers follow each other in quick enough succession to avoid any serious qualms.

The cast is strong and offers good stage chemistry (the constant bickering of Colte Julian (Jerry Lee Lewis) and Gabe Bowling (Carl Perkins) had the audience in stitches most of the night), while still giving believable portrayals of the music icons they represent. I am most familiar with the music of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, and have to say that I was fully sold on Jacob Rowley (Elvis) and Scott Moreau (Johnny) by the end of the night. The small supporting cast lent itself well to the stars - shout out to Chuck Zayas (Jay Perkins, Bass Drummer) and Patrick Morrow (Fluke - Drummer), who both played music in the background nearly the entire show. Bryan Langlitz was a great character as Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. I wasn't convinced by Laura Obenauf as Dyanne - until she started singing I Hear You Knocking in the second half of the show. I was glad the piece contained a song that perfectly showcased her powerhouse voice capability!

I wouldn't particularly recommend the show for very young audiences as there was a fair amount of smoking and mild language scattered throughout, but for an older crowd or mature teen, this show presents a very interesting glance back in time at the start of Rock 'n Roll.

Jacob Rowley as Elvis Presley in the National Tour of Million Dollar Quartet.
(Photo by Jeremy Daniel.)

Tickets for Million Dollar Quartet at Starlight Theatre are on sale now for $12 to $92. Tickets
are available online at Starlight Theatre, by calling 816.363.STAR (7827) or at the Starlight
box office at 4600 Starlight Road, Kansas City, MO 64132. All performances begin at 8 p.m.

Thanks to Starlight Theatre for providing my tickets to the show. I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Octonauts Party Favor Ideas

Looking for more Octonauts party ideas? Make sure you check out our Octonauts Birthday Party Food Ideas, Octonauts Birthday Party Decoration IdeasSea Anemone Pipe Cleaner Craft and Paper Plate Fish Aquarium Craft! This post contains affiliate links. Some products were received to review from Oriental Trading Company.

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

When planning an Octonauts birthday party, one of the cutest things you'll find on Pinterest is the Peso's Medic Bag Favor idea. But - what do you put in that favor bag? To live up to the cute outside, I spent some time putting together a fun assortment of treasures inside the bag for each guest to take home. 

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

I didn't really have a plan when I started, but ended up choosing little trinkets that represented each character individually. I don't know if any of the kids picked up on this or not, but I was pleased anyway. I did not use any food items because we have food allergies in our family and it's just easiest to skip it.

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

Captain Barnacles - A compass (found in the pirate party section at Hobby Lobby) was perfect to represent this favorite captain!

Peso - The Medic Bag, of course!

Kwazii - A pirate eye patch was just the thing! The only ones I could find were Jake & the Neverland Pirates themed and came from a party store, but they worked just fine.

Dashi - Miniature cameras that have pictures of animals inside. Would they be better with sea creature photos? Sure, but that's probably too much to hope. I found these at my local party store, but you could also go with a Squirt Camera version.

Shellington - A magnifying glass. He works in a sea lab, after all! These are similar to the ones I found locally (I think at Hobby Lobby).

Professor Inkling - I used a plush octopus that came out of this Tropical Beanbag Assortment.

Tweak - Our party was in February, so I found perfect carrot Easter eggs at the dollar store! You could do baby carrots or some other carrot toy or food and it would be just as cute.

Tunip - Okay, so Tunip actually got the short end of the stick in this instance. If I had been doing food, I could have done "fish biscuits" since that's the trademark Vegemal item, but I didn't have that option. We can choose to believe that the Bubbles, sea creature stamps, ocean life stickers, mini sea creatures, and swirly bracelets were all somehow representative of this unique little dude.

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

Octonauts Birthday Party Favor Ideas | Peso Medic Bag | directorjewels.com

With the supplies in this medic bag, you can be sure there will be abundant Creature Reports in your home long after an Octonauts party has concluded!
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