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Three Reasons Kids Should Wear Bibs

Bibs.  Either you like them or you don’t.  I know some moms who never use bibs on their kids.  Yet other moms won’t allow their kids to eat a meal or a snack without a bib to protect their clothing from stains.

Three reasons why bibs are a necessary part of your child’s wardrobe:

Bibs save you time. 

Foods like peaches, apples, and chocolate can permanently stain fabrics.  The best way to prevent these and other foods from landing on your kid’s clothing is to use a bib that covers all or most of his shirt.  Granted, it can take a few seconds to tie a bib on your hungry little one.   It can, however, take much longer to treat stains before laundering clothing.  It can take hours to work long enough to buy new clothes to replace the ones that are ruined by food stains.

Bibs keep your kids comfortable. 

Soggy clothing is not comfortable!  Would you want to spend the afternoon wearing a wet, sticky shirt?  I know I wouldn’t want to!  Yet, I’ve seen plenty of kids walking around with shirts that are soaked with drool or milk or juice or food.  Yuck!

Tie a bib on your little one before she starts to eat or drink to save her the aggravation of a soggy shirt.

Bibs are cute!

Bibs come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of pictures and cute sayings on them.  Some bibs, like the ones I sell in my Etsy shop, are cute enough to be considered clothing.  These bibs offer your child full coverage to protect the entire front of his shirt.  They also tie in the back which not only looks cute, but also keeps little ones from removing the bib before meal time is over.  My bibs are made in cute cotton prints that wash and wear well.  They come in two different sizes, and the largest size can be worn for years!  I know four-year-olds who are still wearing theirs.
baby wearing reversible bib

If you’ve got young children or grandchildren, I urge you to make a habit of tying on a bib at mealtimes.  You’ll be surprised how much better your child will look and feel with clothes that are clean and dry!  You’ll feel better, too, knowing you are protecting your clothing investment from unsightly stains!

What’s your opinion on bibs and kids?

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MYO Foaming Hand Soap

When I won a bottle of Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint foaming hand soap at a Christmas party in December, I was delighted!  I’d never tried this product before, but I love peppermint!  The soap turned out to be a favorite of mine, and when we reached the bottom of the bottle in April, I wanted more.


My first inclination was to search for it online, but I wasn’t able to find it at a reasonable price since it is a seasonal item at Bath & Body Works stores.  In my search, I did find a recipe for making your own foaming hand soap.

It took me a few weeks to gather my supplies, only because I didn’t want to pay online prices for essential peppermint oil.  I wasn’t set on a high quality peppermint oil.  All I was interested in was the scent, not any of the healing properties.  It’s hand soap, for heaven’s sake!

I found a clear, almost scent-free soap at Wal-Mart for around $3.  At a local bulk store, I found a small bottle of peppermint oil for $1.  I had water on hand, and I planned to re-use the original foaming soap dispenser.

Now, it was time to get to work.  I measured out 1/4 cup of the liquid soap and carefully poured it into the soap dispenser.  I then added 3/4 cup of water.  Lastly, I poured in a small amount of peppermint oil.  I put the top back on the dispenser and shook the ingredients to mix them.

When I tried the pump, the foam was a little less soapy than the Bath & Body Works variety, so I added another quick squeeze of my Wal-Mart clear soap and shook it again.  Perfection!

My last step was to add a tiny drop of red food coloring so that my soap looked just like the original name brand soap, and I replaced the container in my bathroom with nobody the wiser.  I’m very happy that I will not have to wait until next November to have peppermint foaming hand soap in my bathroom.

In fact, I now have peppermint foaming hand soap in both bathrooms and in my kitchen.  The supplies that I bought would easily supply me with peppermint foaming hand soap for several years.

If you’ve got an empty dispenser for foaming hand soap, have a try at making your own.  If you’ve got a liquid soap that is already scented, then all you need to do is add water to the soap in a 1:4 ratio.  Easy peasy and frugal, too!



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Car Seat Ponchos Available Now

Now that you know that a car seat poncho could help to keep your child warm and safe this winter, I want to share some details about the fleece car seat ponchos hand-crafted by me, Elaine Searer.
First of all, the name “car seat poncho” doesn’t tell the whole story.  These ponchos are great for traveling, but they are also warm, comfy, and easy to wear for other cold weather activities.  The ponchos are made from two layers of anti-pill fleece, making them a soft, warm alternative to a winter coat.  They can be layered over sweatshirts or sweaters or other jackets.

Elaine Searer ponchos are available in five sizes:  3-6 months, 12 months, 2T, 4T, and 6.  Sizes are generous, and many children can get two years of use from one poncho.  Choose a poncho with a hood or without a hood depending on you and your child’s preferences.

Baby boy car seat coat
The poncho goes over the car seat buckles so nothing interferes with the child’s safety.  Hand slits make it possible for children to hold a book, snack, or toy in the car, too.   The style is gender neutral, and the fabric choices allow you to order a poncho that you and your child will love.

The zipper front ponchos are made with a sturdy nylon coil  two-way jacket zipper and include a zipper tab cover at the top to prevent the zipper from rubbing sensitive chins.

Order you poncho today by visiting my shop now!  You will love the convenience of zipping on a poncho instead of a coat!

I invite you to join my Facebook group at  where I post lots of pictures, news about fabrics and sales, and other fun stuff.

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Car Seat Ponchos for Safety and Warmth

Here in Pennsylvania, we’re still enjoying summer weather with temperatures in the high 80s, but these warm summer days will soon be a memory.  When the temperatures start to fall, how can you keep your little ones safe and warm for fall and winter traveling?

You may need to swap out that heavy winter coat for a cozy car seat poncho for safety and warmth.  It’s so much easier to zip on a poncho than to fuss with a winter coat. 

Until a few years ago, I had no idea that buckling an infant or child into a car seat while he is wearing a winter coat is not safe.  A puffy winter coat will prevent the car seat straps from fastening tightly enough to keep a little one safe.  Here’s an article from Consumer Reports that explains exactly what can happen when a child is buckled into his car seat while wearing his winter coat.  (Consumer Reports article) 

Continue reading Car Seat Ponchos for Safety and Warmth

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Cut a Watermelon in Under 10 Minutes

Jack used to be in charge of cutting watermelon at our house.  It was a bit of an ordeal because it was a messy job, and he didn’t like to do it.  Last year, I read an article about an easier way to clean a watermelon, and I gave it a try.  The good news is that it really was is easy.   The bad news is that cutting watermelon is now my job.  But that’s okay.  It takes me less than ten minutes to turn a whole melon into melon cubes.

Just in case you missed that article, here’s how it’s done.

1.  Put a kitchen towel on the counter under your cutting board, and grab a long, sharp knife.  Have your storage container ready beside you. 

2.  Cut the watermelon into long quarters.
3.  Make cuts through the red part of the melon about an inch apart.
4.  Run the knife blade under the watermelon slices to release them from the rind.

5.  Cut the melon into cubes or chunks and drop it into a storage bowl.  (I used to store it in slices instead, but then we had to cut it up in our bowls, so this saves a step later.)
I like to use Tupperware celery keepers because the tray in the bottom keeps the watermelon from lying in its own juices.  I have two of these containers, and usually one half of a watermelon fits in each one.

6.  Clean up your mess.
Clean-up is quick and easy thanks to that towel which prevents sticky watermelon juice from running down the cabinets or dripping onto the floor.

I’ve done this so many times this summer that I can completely clean an average size seedless watermelon in about six minutes.  Every time I do it, Jack marvels at my speed.  He never passes up an opportunity to congratulate me on my technique and finesse.  Of course, he’s just making sure I don’t try to pass the knife back to him.  It works for him, too!

How do you cut a watermelon? 


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A Biker’s Lesson on Friendship

My experience with motorcycles and the people who love to ride them has been, for the most part, limited to what I’d observed by vacationing in Ocean City, Maryland, during Bike Week.  And I wasn’t there with a bike.  I was just another vacationer surrounded by the motorcycles, their riders, and the noise.  I was not especially impressed.

A couple of years ago, my nephew Chad was going through a rough patch in his life.  He found himself with time on his hands and an ache in his heart.  He made a decision to get himself a Harley and enjoy the sunshine on his shoulders and the wind in his face.  Even then, I was indifferent to the whole motorcycle culture.  All I knew was that Chad really enjoyed his time on the road and his time with his friends.

When the worst scenario imaginable played out last September–Chad’s motorcycle accident and his passing as a result of injuries sustained in that accident–I learned a whole lot more than I ever expected to know about bikers and the ties that bind them to each other.  Chad’s friends showed up during the hours following the accident and during those early days of grief to express their love to our family.

Last Saturday, July 25, 2015, they did it again! They held the First Annual Chad Miller Memorial Ride–a benefit ride organized by bikers and friends who knew and loved Chad.  The purpose of the ride was to honor Chad’s memory and to raise money for Chad’s two children.  The money raised will be a blessing, but I believe the bigger blessing was the show of support from Chad’s fellow bikers to his family.  These men and women showed our family and community that when the chips are down, it’s good to have some bikers by your side.

The day of the ride dawned bright and clear, and just before noon, all heads bowed, and my sister–Chad’s mother–prayed.  She asked God for safety and blessings in the name of Jesus for the bikers who gathered to ride their more than 100 motorcycles on a thirty mile course in memory of Chad. 

At noon, the bikers were off!  My sister and my niece gave the sign, and they left the parking lot in a cloud of dust and an ear-blasting roar of their engines.  The last biker out of the lot was riding Chad’s Harley which the new owner had restored to its original beauty. 


It was an emotional ride for Chad’s friends who visited a few of his favorite places.  The course even included a solemn ride past the accident site.  Those of us who weren’t participating in the actual ride were waiting at a local park.  Approximately two hours after the ride began, the bikers began to roll in.

Saturday was a beautiful day for honoring and remembering Chad.  The camaraderie of the bikers, their love for Chad, and their genuine concern for his family were truly heart-warming.  Chad’s family members were overwhelmed by the generosity of those who attended.  They shared old memories and made new memories.  They laughed and cried.  It was quite a day!

One of the women who helped with the event jokingly asked me if I ever expected to be attending a bikers’ party.  No, as a matter of fact, I never did, but I was glad for the opportunity to attend this one.  This time, surrounded by bikes and bikers, dust and noise, I was very impressed!

To those who participated and to those who will never forget what a great guy Chad was, I say, “Thank you…. and ride on!”



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Coffee Talk

My husband Jack and I have a morning routine that includes spending the first part of most days having coffee together in the living room.  I make the coffee–organic Fair Trade with a splash of half & half and some French vanilla creamer–while Jack checks the morning paper online.  We convene in the living room, he in his easy chair and me in my wooden rocking chair beside him.  This is my favorite time of the day.

We both value this early morning hour before the telephone starts ringing, before the sewing room beckons, before the grass is dry enough to mow or the wood box needs filling.  These are moments to be treasured, to be cherished. Sometimes we are tempted to use this time for more “productive” pursuits, but we both look forward to this quiet start to our day and refuse to let other things interfere.

This hour that we spend together each morning has done more to bind our hearts and lives together than a hundred marriage seminars or weekend getaways.  This is a time for us to laugh, to discuss finances, to update our calendars, to make plans, and to dream dreams.  By spending time together without the distraction of TV, computers, or phones, we can simply enjoy each other’s company.  And good coffee, too, of course.

I’ve shared marriage advice here on my blog before.  Today, I’m going to pass on another bit of marital counseling, and that is to make time for your own “coffee hour” with  your spouse.

Communication is believed by many to be the most important aspect of a successful relationship, yet time alone together for a husband and wife to talk to each other is one of the things that seems to get crowded out first when life gets hectic.

Not everyone can set aside an hour each morning for quality time with a spouse.  After nearly thirty-five years of happy marriage, Jack and I are blessed to be at home together most days with fewer distractions than many couples. Work schedules, children, and a hundred other things might make early mornings hectic at your house.  But it’s not the time of day that makes meaningful communication possible.  It’s not even the coffee that is of paramount importance.  The important thing is to make spending time with your spouse a priority.  It just might end up being your favorite part of the day, too!

How do you or how would you like to begin to make time each day to nurture the relationships in your life? 


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My Greatest Blog Post of All Time

Some days I sit down at my computer to write a new blog post, and I ask myself, “What do my readers need to hear from me today?”  I wonder if it’s possible to share anything new that hasn’t been shared many times over on the internet.

Those thoughts of “what’s the use?” or “why not give it up?” bubble to the surface.  Then I remember  that one post that I shared here that has been read hundreds of times, and I realize that my blog is not in vain.  I am helping people.  I am making a difference.

That one blog post is served up to readers who land here after searching the internet for relief from pants that are too tight.  It happens.

By logging in to my blog’s dashboard, I can see which blog posts are read most often and which words and phrases people use to search for helpful information.  (Don’t worry, I can’t tell who is doing the searching.) Here’s a small sampling of some of those phrases that are typed into search engines:

“my pants are too tight”
“how to make my waistband bigger around the waist”
“breeches too tight”
“pants are too tight when sitting”

Who knew that my claim to fame would be sharing an idea for making your jeans just a little looser in the waist?

So maybe this most-viewed-blog-post-of-all-time here at Elaine Searer’s blog doesn’t outline steps for world peace or a balanced national budget, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important.  Tight pants are a problem, (ask me how I know this) and I’m proud to be able to ease the pain of some who have been suffering with this malady.

If you somehow missed this post, A Trick for Too Tight Pants, you can read it now.   You’re going to want to sign up for email updates from this website.  I have a feeling my next great idea is almost ready to break loose.


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The Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter

Teresa our dog sitter with MochaBeing a pet owner can be such a rewarding experience!  We love our little dog Mocha, but the question of what to do with her when we go away used to cause us a fair amount of stress.  We tried having friends or relatives watch Mocha in their homes, and while they treated her with love and kindness, we knew that having Mocha in their homes with their own dogs was disruptive.

Our answer to the problem was to hire a dog sitter who comes to our home and cares for Mocha here.  We’ve had good experiences with all of the dog sitters we’ve hired, and as far as we are concerned, there are definite benefits to hiring a pet sitter as opposed to taking our pet somewhere else when we are away.  Our current pet sitter, Teresa of TLC Sitting and Cleaning Services, has been a great fit for our family.  She has a flexible schedule, reasonable rates, and she loves Mocha as much as we do!

Here are four reasons why we prefer to hire Teresa to pet sit for us when we are away from home:

1.  A pet sitter keeps your pets in their familiar environment. 

Sending Mocha to someone else’s house when we went away was quite stressful for her.  Mocha barely ate while we were gone, and she was not comfortable having sleepovers with other dogs.

When Teresa comes to our house to care for Mocha in our absence, Mocha barely notices that we are gone!  Her surroundings and routines don’t change, and she enjoys having Teresa’s undivided attention.

2. A pet sitter can keep an eye on things around your house. 

Not only does Teresa take care of Mocha when she’s here at our house, but she also takes care of basic household maintenance.  She brings in our mail and newspaper, takes phone messages, and provides a presence in our home in our absence.   She even knows how to tend our wood stove and can keep the fire going when we are away.

Once when we were away last November, Teresa held down the fort at our house during a snow storm and power outage.  It was a comfort to us to know that someone was at our house monitoring things while that was going on.

3.  No additional immunizations are required for your dog. 

When your dog bunks in with someone else or has a stay at the kennel, he may be required to have certain immunizations to protect him and the other animals there from contagious diseases.  While it’s a great idea to keep current with the necessary immunizations, having a pet sitter come to your house eliminates the need to take your dog to the vet for shots before you can leave for vacation.

4.  Peace of mind.

Peace of mind is the biggest advantage to hiring a pet sitter.  When we go away now, we don’t have to worry about Mocha.  We don’t feel as if we are inconveniencing a friend or neighbor to dog sit for us.  We don’t worry about something malfunctioning at our home in our absence.

These are just four benefits to having a competent pet sitter come to your home.  When we leave Mocha and our home in Teresa’s care we can relax and enjoy our time away without concern for our dog or our house.  For us, it’s the sensible thing to do.

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Memory Pillows From Clothing

A few months ago, a friend of mine shared a picture of a memory pillow from clothing that she’d found on Facebook.  I immediately thought the idea was perfect for some of my family members after the recent passing of my nephew in September.

My niece Jen collected the shirts and had the embroidery done by a local shop, and I went to work making the pillow covers:  one each for my great-niece and nephew and one for my sister and brother-in-law.

We used a plaid shirt in Harley colors for my great-nephew.  His pillow is a 16″ x 16″ size.

memory pillow

My great niece’s pillow was made from a shirt that her daddy had recently worn to a family wedding.  The hot pink embroidery really stands out on this 18″ x 18″ one!
memory pillowThe last pillow cover was for my sister and brother-in-law, and as soon as they opened the package on Christmas Eve, my sister recognized this blue striped shirt that her son wore to his job interviews.
memory shirt pillow cover

memory pillow

We shed a few tears when these were opened and passed around on Christmas Eve, but I think they all appreciated having something of their father and son to hold onto.

pillow back

pillow back zipper

The actual sewing of these pillow covers was not difficult, but these were without a doubt the most difficult sewing projects I’ve ever done.  It was sad work cutting up Chad’s clothes and sewing them back together to make keepsakes for his family members.  In spite of that, I’m thankful for the opportunity to make something meaningful for the ones he left behind.

If anyone is interested in having a pillow made from a loved one’s clothing, feel free to contact me for prices and options.   You can contact me via email at mygrandmasews(at)gmail(dot)com or on my Facebook page at .