DIY Passenger Seat on Your Bicycle: A solution for bigger kids

I want a Yuba Cargo bike, or an Xtracycle, or a Madsen.  I want a cargo bike.  You can find my lustful collection of cargo bike options with kids on my Cargo Bikes with Kids Pinterest Board here.  I desire more and more and more from my bicycling with family as transportation.   These higher end bikes are quite a bit above my *ahem* used bike budget.  Maybe in the future, but for now, I need a solution.  Could I make my own DIY fake cargo bike?  My two daughters were squished in the bike trailer, and I prefer to go places by bicycle instead of car when possible.  They love traveling by bike, but not when they are on top of each other in the trailer.   What is the solution to riding with little kids too big for a baby bike seat or double bike trailer? Make your own DIY fake cargo bike for less than $100. 

First I got a sturdier rear rack for my bike, compliments of my distractable Dad.  He bought it for $25 and left it lying around my garage for just long enough for me to snag it and get it installed on my bike.  The rack weight limit is posted at 55lbs but some bikers say it will easily take over 100lbs. There are racks for around $100 that hold 100 lbs, this is a better option.   Or find the Xtracycle "Free Radical" kit to add on your existing bike.  That could be the solution for when your child is too big for a bike seat. OR you could m
ake your own DIY fake cargo bike!

Portia and I rode around a bit with her on just the back rack,  her holding my waist.  We did lots of talking about keeping her feet away from the tire.  We were planning to add wheel skirts and a handle for her 'later'.  Later was too late.  We had a horrible accident.  Her precious foot.  Bike Spokes.  Thank God there were no broken bones or anything worse than an ugly scrape and bruise and her terrified tears. 

Some wonderful unknown landscaper stopped his truck and took my bike and trailer home while another friend drove us to Urgent Care.  I felt like a terrible mother and vowed to do things more carefully, but still was determined to find  a solution for riding with both kids too big for a baby bike seat.  I was grateful she wanted to get back on and ride with me but she still didn't want to share the double trailer.  I thought again about how to DIY a fake cargo bike for our family.  Safely.

I found the Bobike Junior Child Seat for $200.  It is a child's bike seat for bigger kids 5 years to 10 years and holds 77 pounds.  My awesome Dad designed and attached skirt guards on my rear wheel to protect little passenger's feet.  They were really slick & even the bike shop guys were impressed!  Next, I needed a better seat.  As I waited to have the money to buy the Bobike Junior seat, I chatted up my local bike shop.  Again.  They sell Yuba Cargo Bikes and I come often to pet them and drool and talk about bikes.  I bike a lot so I am at the bike shop a lot.  As we talked about my latest efforts, some gear shift trouble I'd been having and my desire for Portia to ride behind me on my bike, things began to happen!  After chatting with a bunch of us in the shop, Jeff my Buck's Bike Shop buddy made "a modification" to my bike.  Heaven opened right up and sang, friends. 
I had my own DIY fake cargo bike!

THEN I talked to Eric, a fellow biker at Home Depot, about my new
 DIY fake cargo bike. I described the passenger seat and handlebars aka stoker bars,  and my desire for foot pegs.  (If you give a mouse a cookie...) he suggested hose clamps and L shaped shelf brackets. ($10) BOOM.  My awesome hubby put those puppies on for us.  (See how excited the girlies are?)

My 5 year old has her own "Jump Seat" on my bicycle for the next year, and my 3year old has lots of space solo in the trailer.  This is our cheaper answer to the cargo bike. Just make your own DIY fake cargo bike  Maybe this is a solution for when your child is too big for a bike seat, or you have two kids and they do not want to share the trailer?  I can do my shopping or errands without a car and everyone wins!

Tell me about your thoughts on bicycles or cargo bikes, I'd love to talk more!  

P.s. I still want  a REAL cargo bike....accepting free offers for cargo bikes now! 

Bodacious Blog of the Week: Beyond Baby Boot Camp by Meagan Francis!

I met Meagan Francis of The Happiest Home Blog & Books when we did Listen to Your Mother Show together and I have been the better for it.  I enjoyed her "Happiest Mom" book immensely and use it during my "Life (with toddler) Rules" presentations.  I've continued to watch and admire Meagan's blog and books, but THIS BOOT CAMP: Oh you mamas, this free BEYOND BABY bootcamp is for YOU.  

Yup, for you.  

One thing I think I am pretty good at as a Mama is SELF CARE.  I've written about why moms should bother.

You aren't good at this.  I know you.  



So take 5 minutes a day and bless your sweet woman self under all that mama action and take the Beyond Baby Boot Camp deal thingie.  I do not think any crunches or burpees are involved and I ADORE the first two days of posts.  

Love YOURSELF woman.  Read Meagan's posts.  She is awesome.

Day One: Create a Self Care Ritual is HERE.

Day Two: Clean out your _____  ??? is HERE!

You can find her Beyond Baby private Facebook group page here. (say hi, I'm there too!)

Please LIKE my "Heather Novak, Speaker" Facebook Page!

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Visit Heather Novak's profile on Pinterest.

Modern Moms Launches THIS MORNING in Valparaiso, Indiana!

I want to encourage women.  I struggle to balance this with my own shortcomings and need for encouragement on a daily basis.  Here on the blog I do many things, including encourage you, hopefully to your enjoyment.  But I haven't shared my biggest change this year with you.  I began leading a Moms Ministry at my church.  My friend from the moms group Connie Hazelett led the moms group for eight years and thought maybe it was time for a change.  She talked to me about it and I started leading the moms group mid year last year.  I was elated, honored and scared to death I would cuss in a meeting.  I did, actually.  (Sorry Jesus.)

While this Modern Moms deal hasn't  been a secret, I haven't said anything much here on the blog until now.  I like to be funny here, I like to share my heart here, I like to hear from you guys here.  Y'all know I love Jesus.  I hope I do that in a way that inspires instead of puts off.  I hope you as my friend and reader are able to take what you need from my words on faith and leave the chaff behind.  I hope you know I value you even if we do not have the same beliefs.   And I value your beliefs, too.  I'm a weird Christian and I like that about myself.

So today is the Fall Launch of Modern Moms and I am excited.  Valpolife shared about it online.  It was also in the NWI Times newspaper!   We have invited the community at large into our group for breakfast and free childcare.  We hope our regular attenders come back for more of what they already enjoyed and we hope some new mamas wander in looking for refreshment.  I want to inspire women so that they can be filled up with the energy to inspire others themselves.  Life is hard and wonderful and none of us are grateful enough for what is in front of us.  When we want what we have, we do not need much.

If you are a mom of any age or stage in NWI area, c'mon by this morning.  At 9:30am we will be having breakfast together.  We will be talking about Shiny Things together.  We will be inspired, together.  I cannot wait!

Find us on Facebook "Modern Moms Valpo FUMC" or by clicking here.

It's coming: Goodwill's Little Black Dress Fashion Show (& Boutique Shopping!)

Friends, I told you I would tell you when this was happening.  It is HAPPENING!  If you like to thrift shop, but never can find "The Good Stuff", mark your calendars.  Goodwill’s 2nd Annual Little Black Dress Fashion Show will be held on Thursday, October 16th at the Avalon Manor Banquet Center in Merrillville, Indiana.  

You remember when I walked the catwalk for Goodwill's Little Black Dress Fashion Show last year at Strong Bow Inn.  You may have seen my AWESOME bright blue trench coat  I wore & bought for $4.00  It is MAGIC on me. Kathy Friend  picked it out for me and I do not understand why, but that coat makes me look GREAT.  

If you have seen me dressed up in the last year, it was in one of the two vintage LBD I bought from Goodwill's Little Black Dress Fashion Show for $10.  Both are totally my style, fit me perfectly and were CHEAP.  I could throw them away I have already gotten so much utility from them in one year...but they are magically timeless and will be favorites for many years.

I just spent two hours shopping Target, Marshall's and JC Penny's looking for a cross body purse, and came home empty handed.  I dug out my Black Leather Tignanello purse from Goodwill's Little Black Dress Fashion Show that had WAY more character than the pleather $30 and $40 purses I almost bought. I bought it at Goodwill's Boutique during the fashion show for $7.00.  They go for about $100 online. It is leather.  Thank you very much.

I confess:  The lunch & fashion show was expensive to my stay at home mama budget at $40.  But let me tell you something, folks, PAY IT.  IT IS WORTH IT.  The price includes lunch, fashion show and access to the boutique.  I do not know brand names, and certainly not higher end stuff.  Imagine someone who did handpicking all the best stock from ALL THE GOODWILL STORES IN NORTHERN INDIANA.  Yeah.  That is what is in the boutique.  And you are shopping all of it half off just for attending the luncheon and fashion show.  And it isn't crowded either. I didn't get into a single fisticuff with anyone. I'm totally going even though I will have to buy my own lunch this year.  It is worth in in deals and quality merchandise.  Especially if you are some kind of budget fashinonista.

OH, and the money goes to a good cause.  Goodwill Industries of Michiana is partnering with Comcast, Adams Radio Group and WIMS-AM to raise funds to support their mission to provide jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment.

Models will walk the runway in clothing from Goodwill showcasing the latest fashion trends while guests enjoy a gourmet lunch.  Kathy Friend, nationally known as a stylist and image consultant and President of the Style and Image Institute, will produce and host the program.  She will be joined by Emcee Laura Waluszko, Adams Radio Group News Director.  WIMS-AM Partner and General Manager, Ric Federighi will join the event as Goodwill’s Celebrity Model. 

Guests will enjoy shopping in the Goodwill Boutique complete with dressing rooms to find that perfect outfit.  Doors open at 10:00 am for shopping 50% Off in the Goodwill Boutique and the Luncheon / Fashion Show will begin at 11:30 am.  Again, the price for the lunch, fashion show and boutique access is only $40....and if you buy tickets after October 1st, the price goes to $45, so buy em NOW people!  It is worth it.

Event               The Little Black Dress Fashion Show

Date / Time       Thursday, October 16                10:00 am – 3:00 pm
   Goodwill Boutique                     10:00 am – 11:30 am & 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
   Luncheon & Fashion Show         11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Location           Avalon Manor Banquet Center
3550 East US Route 30 / MerrillvilleIN  46410

Contacts           Katie Paceley / Public Relations Specialist
Phone – (574) 472-7379
Email –

For even more information, people can check out the website: or email: or call:  (574) 472-7300 and ask for Sharron Steward.

Raising Daddy: Help Dad Bond with Your Baby

This post originally ran on Mumbling Mommy Blog In July 2013

Raising Daddy: Help Dad Bond with Your Baby

A good Mom will never let the baby’s Dad near her baby.  Unless it is for family pictures.   Forget about letting Dad bond with baby.  All the magazine articles with baby and dad bonding are for the mamas who drink and swear and are not good mothers.  You...YOU are the best mama a baby could get, and you know how to do everything perfectly.  

Even if you are still only pregnant and have never had a baby before.  You are already a good mom. 


So do not let your man anywhere near your baby and you can change every diaper for the next three years perfectly.  All. by. Yourself.

If you do not like the sound of this, the best advice to help dad and baby bonding happen is to simply get out of the way.  If you see a mom who “has to do everything” for her children it is either because she has a man who isn’t interested in helping take care of the baby or she never encouraged him too.

When you are expecting your first baby you may be a bit nervous about this parenting gig.  Heck, you should be nervous about it even when you are expecting your fifth baby!  Whether you are giving birth, adopting, or picking up your newborn baby at the Stork’s Cabbage Patch Sale, you want to do everything right.  Let me tell you now, you won’t .  You will fail as a mama.  Then you will be perfect.  And again...horrible crash and burn parenthood style. If you want to be the Mom who does everything right, you had better be a single parent.  

What?  You are married or shacking up with your Baby Daddy?  Well then, you may want to be certain Dad and Baby bonding happens from the beginning.

Change every diaper yourself for the next three years Or try these three tips: 

1)  Let Dad know you do not know what you are doing either.

Bonding with baby happens through shared experiences.  My husband and I were both new parents.  Sure, I may have read more pregnancy and parenting books, but neither one of us had experienced parenthood before.  When my husband would look to me as the default expert, I would say “Gee, I am new at this too, what do you think we should do?”  Even if I had an idea of what I wanted to do, I was interested in his take on things as the Dad.  He often surprised me with his patience and creative ideas for distracting, engaging and bonding with our baby.  If I had always taken charge, my husband would have always expected it in the future.  Now he helps with our girls and is completely capable of doing it all by himself.

2) Teach Dad how to bond with the baby...or not.

Men tend to be more physical with their babies while women tend to be more nurturing.  If your husband is bonding with the baby by "roughhousing", check yourself before speaking up, or worse, complaining.  As long as the baby is not in any danger, understand that Dads need to play and bond their own way.  If you swoop in or correct how he is playing with your child, he will be less confident to  try in the future.  

Of course, distraction works well with children, and with Dads too!  If you really feel anxious about the level of play, offer a task for Dad to complete with baby such as feeding, working on a special toy or handing him the needed items for the dreaded diaper change.  Making new experiences, and new mistakes helps dad and baby bond more than following your directions!

3) Your way is not the right way.  

Your way is just “a” way. If you do not remember this, you can easily become the overbearing mama we all dread.  Fathers need time and freedom to navigate parenthood.  Bonding with their baby is new to them too, and they are likely to feel anxious and unsure of themselves at first. Your friends and family assume you know how to mother your baby, and that Dad will run away at the first sight of diapers. Help your man bond with baby by allowing him to build his own relationship his way.

Bonding with baby is so important for Dads to figure out on their own.  They need to know you trust them with baby.  They need to see you leaving them alone to do it their way.  A good mother knows encouraging their baby’s Dad to bond with their baby will raise up a great Dad.  And then someone else can help with all those dirty diapers.