Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope you all have a great night tonight with friends and family at your New Year's Eve parties. Please remember to be safe and designate a driver or call a cab! We will be enjoying time with some dear friends and their family, so I hope your night is filled with love and laughter as well.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Keepsake Baby Plate


I received this beautiful Keepsake Plate from Community Service Systems/Original Baby Plate to review. I LOVE the idea of the plate having all the "essential" information in one place for you: Name, birth date, time of birth, birth weight, and location. The craftsmanship on this plate is impeccable! It is porcelain and you can  have the text/photo done in either pink or blue. Who would have guessed, right? Personally, I think the blue is much more appealing.

My only hang-up about this purchase would be that there is no option to get a different mode of display. It comes with an attractive but very cheaply-made plastic stand. This wouldn't be a problem if you didn't have a CHILD in your home! I would prefer to see something more substantial, preferably a hanger, for use as a display. In all honesty, I have a 16-month-old who thinks she is a monkey! If I had this on a stand or table anywhere NEAR her, she would climb up and grab it (then proceed to fling it to the floor, enjoying the shattering sound as it hits). I understand the company's desire to save money. However, it would be nice to at least have an OPTION available to change the type of display stand you want: Plastic (no cost), Metal (maybe $1-2 more), and Hanging ($2 or so more).

I have considered ordering one for my Fuss (and any subsequent child, to be fair), but I don't have a place out of reach enough to put the plate on display to justify the $40 price tag at this time. I think the plate is adorable!! It just isn't very practical.


**Originally posted by me 8/14/11 at Bunny Berry Blog**

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kindle Fire Giveaway at Sweep Tight

I am a sucker for books! I love to read (and re-read) my books and get lost in them for hours. It honestly drives my husband batty because I always want to buy the book. More recently I have been borrowing more books from friends and family, but I would LOVE to have a Kindle. Especially the Kindle Fire since it's Wi-Fi capable and I can download on the go. Check out Sweep Tight and see if you can win one yourself!

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas Day (Excuse the crappy picture, I used my cell and then had to run just after the pic was taken)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Two Announcements

Thanks to LaDonna at Mom Blog Society, I now have 756 Facebook fans! YAY! I really appreciate her help in that and plan to celebrate hitting 1,000 fans with a giveaway. I have one sponsor thus far and am trying to line up a few more right now.

Second, but not least by any means, I'm teaming up with Angela from Life With My Littles for her Birthday Blessings Bash next month! I will be giving away a $25 gift card to Cherished Style by Jasmine Julian. I thank Angela for all of her help and advice on blogging and life in general. Since we first met (through a giveaway on her blog, actually), she has become a wonderful friend. Go over and show Angela some love from me!

One More Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest PSSST! Add this button to your sidebar for extra entries into the Birthday Blessings Bash!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Win a Toshiba Laptop!

Enter to win a Toshiba laptop! All you have to do is fill out the RaffleCopter form below! <3 Much love!

And a big Thanks to LaDonna who put this all together!! Go show her some love on Facebook.

Christmas is Over...

Now what? Time to relax and clean up the mess! I am currently sitting in a living room full of toys and clothing Fuss, Daddy, and I received for Christmas. I have a few of the clothes already put into the laundry to be washed, Fuss's clothes are being sorted and stored by size, and Daddy still has to make sure his fit!

Fuss, of course, made out like a bandit! She got a kitchen from "Santa", a big Clifford, Backpack (yes, the Dora one), a Dora flashlight, and a couple bows and random things from Mommy and Daddy. Books, clothes, and dishes/food to go with her kitchen from Mammy (my mom) and TT (my sister). Last, but not least, she got a Leap Frog Tag reader, a doll house, and a grocery cart from Grandmommy (Daddy's mom) and Paja (Daddy's Dad). She also had a few "pre-Christmas gifts" from my trip to see my Dad in November: A few outfits, stuffed cats/animals, books, and some recorded stories. This kid is wanting for NOTHING! LOL.

About 2 weeks ago, the 4WD went out on Daddy's truck. We ended up getting it fixed for $300 instead of $600-800, but it still wasn't a great time to have that happen. Of course, we STILL have no snow on the ground. However, if we'd waited, it would have snowed like crazy and we'd have been stuck. Life gets crazy sometimes, but it's well worth it!

Military Monday


Welcome to the Military Monday Blog Hop!

We invite all of you, military or not, to join in this great blog hop. Would you like to be connected to other blogs? Would you like to increase your number of blog followers via Google Friend Connect? Then this hop is for you. No, you don't have to be affiliated with the Military, you just have to have a blog!  Please don't leave links to your Facebook, Twitter, or other blog hops. Those links will be deleted.

The guidelines are quite simple here!
Grab the Military Monday Blog Hop button and post it as a new blog post or on your blog's sidebar!  





Follow the hosts below publicly (I hope you also follow me!) And don't forget to leave a comment telling me your blog so we can give you a follow back!


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Semper Wifey

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Winter Solstice to all my readers!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Potty Training Advice Needed

Well, Fuss has apparently decided that she is ready to potty train/learn...before Christmas instead of after as I would have preferred. So I'm in search of potty-training advice from those of you who have been there, done that!

What are your best tips and tricks?

Toddlers certainly have their own idea of perfect timing! LOL

Happy Future Delicate Cleansing Gel Shower and Bath

I received several samples from Happy Future several weeks ago. One of which was the Delicate Cleansing Gel Shower and Bath. This cleanser is appropriate for both hair and body, which is always a plus in my book! It easily compares to the Johnson & Johnson Hair and Body cleanser. It produces a lot less bubbles/suds, however, it cleans as well if not better. I would compare the texture and color of the cleanser to honey. It's like a watered-down honey when you pour it out! Admittedly, I don't care for the smell right out of the bottle but it leaves behind no scent except that of a clean baby. This is probably one of the easiest rinsing cleansers I have used on Fuss as well. So far, the only downfall is that her hair tends to be a little more static-prone when I use the Happy Future as compared to any other shampoo. Not really a "flaw" per se, I just hate for her to have frizzy hair. Most products she has at least a small reaction to as either a slight rash or itching. Fuss had NO REACTION AT ALL to the HF products! I was amazed! I also tried out another of their products on myself (review to come) and I had no reaction! All-in-all, I would highly recommend this product line to anyone who has a super-sensitive baby. I think this would be great with eczema or similar skin conditions. (Fuss also has eczema, and I used the HF during an exacerbation to help calm her skin.)

A little more about the ingredients can be found HERE. A few notable things about Happy Future: -Made in France
-Hypoallergenic
-No Nut Oils
-Certified Organic
-Paraben-free
-USDA approved!

For the products I have used so far, I really love them! I am sure I'm not going to be disappointed with the rest of the product line!

You can also follow Happy Future on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with the latest on their product line!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Diamond Candles...Calling all bloggers!

Check out this opportunity to do a great review/giveaway sponsored by Diamond Candles! Each candle contains a REAL RING! RV can be up to $500! Just click here to sign up!

Attachment Parenting: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

This post will either help a lot of people or completely tick off a lot of people. I'm hoping it helps a lot of people. It is just something I really need to say right now.

The benefits of attachment parenting (AP) are very well publicized. Your child knows they will always have someone close by to protect them in times of need. They know they are loved and are, therefore, capable of showing love in more ways and more confidently as they mature. They are self-assured, knowing that someone is always there to come "home" to. They are more sociable since they spend so much time with their adult counterparts. This also makes them more intelligent and more engaging.

What most people who use AP won't tell you is this: It can be very isolating. While I LOVE being a SAHM, there are times when I would love a break. From day 1 it has been Fuss and me. Hubby is the one that is the "All-American Dad" and goes to work to provide for us, then comes home and works on the house and the cars, etc. I couldn't ask for a better husband! He's also a great daddy! He has awesome days off (3-4 days per week). The thing that sucks is that he works nights...12-hour nights. So, working days, he sleeps from the time he gets home in the a.m. until around 3 in the afternoon. Then, he gets up, eats, and leaves for work by 5 p.m. It SUCKS! At least when he was working 12-hour days, I had him in the evenings to take Fuss for an hour or so to allow me to de-stress and shower or whatnot. Since I do stay at home, it's hard to have many friends (other than my groups online) because, guess what? They work.

Days like I just had are especially difficult because Fuss turns into a big 25 pound ball of Velcro. She refuses to be comforted by ANYONE but Mommy. This makes it nearly impossible to do anything because she won't let me out of her sight for more than a minute. I have resorted to DVD's lately but that didn't even work the last couple of days. The worse she feels, the more clingy she is, and the more isolated I feel. Why? How many people actually have the guts to say, "I can't stand my child any longer today! Please, take her for an hour!" Yes, I say it now to the cyber world, but it's harder than you'd think to say to family. Most people don't even pay attention any way. They seem to think that *I* chose this, so it's okay for me to deal with it.

What's the "Ugly" part here? Well, Saturday, I went to a movie with a very close RL friend. Fuss stayed with Daddy and they both went to my friend's house to hang out with her husband, Charlie, and Princess. The kids play together quite often, so Fuss really enjoyed herself! The ugly part was before going, Hubby stopped at another store for about 20 minutes. Fuss screamed and kicked the whole time calling for me. After the movie, she glued herself to me and it has been that way since! So, I suppose I am paying for playing. I do keep telling myself that this is only a stage. She will grow up so fast and that I will miss these days, but I just wish I could get some down time once in a while without the horrible repercussions I have experienced this week. I seriously can't imagine HOW we're going to put her in Preschool or even Kindergarten if this continues! (I know, thinking WAAAAY too far ahead...)

I know AP is what is best for us. Fuss is and always has been a high needs baby. She needs someone to be responsive to her cues and who better than me. I am not FULLY AP, though. I use what works for us. Fuss is advanced in physical and cognitive abilities according to her pediatrician, so I know the benefit is there. I just am having a very difficult time seeing past this "rough patch" we've been stuck in the last week or so.

Any advice from mamas who've been there, done that? If you haven't and are interested in learning more about AP check out API here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Facebook Giveaway!

Congratulations Heather Irwin! You have 24 hours to claim your prize!

Would you like a pair of cow print baby legs? I'm going to give a pair away to one lucky person (chosen by random.org) when my Facebook fan page reaches 50 likes!

Crunchier by the Day Facebook <---Click here to go there now! Make sure to post you're a new follower from my blog!

Military Monday


Welcome to the Military Monday Blog Hop!

We invite all of you, military or not, to join in this great blog hop. Would you like to be connected to other blogs? Would you like to increase your number of blog followers via Google Friend Connect? Then this hop is for you. No, you don't have to be affiliated with the Military, you just have to have a blog!  Please don't leave links to your Facebook, Twitter, or other blog hops. Those links will be deleted.

The guidelines are quite simple here!
Grab the Military Monday Blog Hop button and post it as a new blog post or on your blog's sidebar!  




Follow the hosts below publicly (I hope you also follow me!) And don't forget to leave a comment telling me your blog so we can give you a follow back!

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Semper Wifey

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blogging Opportunity for Cloth Diapering Mamas!

Midnight Mommy is looking for cloth diapering and blogging moms to host some reviews and giveaways! Just go HERE to check out the requirements and fill out the form for entry into this awesome event. I can attest first hand that the mommy behind this site is great to work with. She's also a lot of fun. I hope you get to participate in this great event!

SmartiPants One Size Diaper Review


SmartiPants One-Size Diaper Review


I have been using the SmartiPants diaper in my cloth diaper rotation for about 2 weeks now. So far I really like it. It is designed to fit babies from 7 to 35 pounds, and fits my 23-pound Fuss quite well. The snaps are AWESOME! They are very, very strong and tough for little fingers to pry apart. Of course, this can also be a problem for Mommy given the short length of the tab past the snap. That is my only complaint with this diaper! I would like to have a little bit of “grip room” at the end of the tabs. There are also hip snaps to prevent "wing droop" when the little one is running around. The hip snaps even add an extra layer of protection to keep quick fingers from completely removing the diaper.
                      
Next: The interior. This is an extremely soft stay-dry lining with an unusual pocket style for this type of diaper. The pocket opening is open on both ends! Why is that? It is to allow the insert to remain inside when soiled and then agitate out in the wash. I was skeptical about how well that would actually work, and was pleasantly surprised when it lived up to its claim! The other bonus to having an opening at both ends is that my husband, who wears a size 13 wedding band, was able to stuff the pocket by pushing it halfway through and finishing by pulling it through the other side. His hands are too wide to stuff most pocket diapers. Despite the fact that there is an opening at both ends, the pocket “center” actually covers the entire insert. This means none of the insert touching a sensitive bottom and causing irritation. It also doesn’t shift or bunch with physical activity.
The insert is microfiber (polyester-nylon blend according to SmartiPants.com). It is soft and fluffy and VERY absorbent. I have no problem going 3-4 hours without a change while out and about and still have no leakage with this diaper insert. Overnight, I used 2 inserts and had NO leaks! The inserts seemed completely saturated, but when I took them out (I wanted to rinse them because of nighttime use) and rinsed them with my sprayer, they still HELD MORE! I am impressed! Fuss even woke up with a nice dry bum thanks to the layer of stay-dry material that the pocket is made out of.

Overall, the SmartiPants Pocket diaper is a very well-made and well thought out diaper. I would happily recommend this diaper to anyone looking to try an easy pocket diaper. Honestly, the most complicated part of this entire diaper would be the rise snaps which, as long as you pay attention to the row you're working on, aren't hard to master either!

Questions? Comments? Feel free to leave me your feedback! Here are a few "action shots" of my Fuss wearing her SmartiPants diaper!

 **Originally posted August 9, 2011 over on Bunny Berry Blog. Thanks to BunnyBuryBaby for providing me with this diaper to review!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Presents Wrapped!

I finally wrapped Fuss's Christmas presents in her Dora paper. Now I understand why our parents never wanted to get up at 6 a.m.! They were up all night!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stripping...Your Diapers!

This question gets asked a lot on cloth diaper advice boards: "How do I strip my diapers?" As a favor to one of my new followers, I am posting this short tutorial on stripping. I hope it helps!

What is stripping?

- Stripping (diapers, not the kind involving a pole and dollar bills) is simply the process of getting all the "gunk" out of the fibers. Sometimes the gunk is merely detergent residue from using too much detergent. *Guilty* Other times, the gunk is from the diapers not getting clean in the wash cycle. Either you're not using enough soap or the soap you are using isn't working with your type of water. *Also guilty* Either one of these situations is not good.

How do I know I need to strip?

- You will know it's time to strip when 1 of 2 things happens:
    1. Your baby gets a rash. The rash will be pretty solid and be in the shape of your diaper. If your baby wears a fitted, baby will have a rash everywhere the diaper touches from back to front. If you use a diaper with inserts like a Flip your baby will have a nice square rash in the diaper area. *I found that out personally*
    2. The instant your baby's diaper is soiled you know it because it smells like stinky gym shoes/swampy. Sometimes you  can tell BEFORE you put the diaper on your baby because it smells like this as it comes out of the washer and/or dryer. *The time this happened to me, I was using a new wash routine with a different soap and the diapers smelled gross the second I took them out of the washer.*

- If neither of these is the case, but your baby is getting a rash that is splotchy OR you are switching from one brand of soap to another, it's a good idea to strip just in case. Oftentimes switching brands will cause issues due to the different compositions of the soaps conflicting with one another.

How do I strip?

- First, you get a pole...Oh, wait! Wrong strip! ;-)

- Go out and buy some plain blue Dawn dish liquid. "Original" formula. Anything with lotions, moisturizers, scents, etc. is a no-go.
- Wash your diapers with your regular wash routine. Seem crazy? If you start with "clean" diapers, the Dawn has less work to do overall.
- Fill your washer with hot water. The hotter the better! I have heard a lot of people actually turn the heat level up on their water heater specifically for this purpose then turn it back down as soon as they're finished.
- Add your Dawn. This amount will vary from person to person and article to article, anywhere from 1 Tbsp to 1/4C. I, personally, take the bottle and squeeze for a count of 3-5 seconds...probably somewhere close to a Tbsp. Just remember: The more soap you add now, the more you have to WASH OUT later!
- Run your diapers through the wash cycle.
- Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. Rinse. *Note: This may or may not be the amount of rinses you will need. I put it that way to illustrate the point.* Keep tabs on your diapers and check to see if there are still suds in the water. If you can't tell, pull a diaper/insert out and rub it together. If it sounds "soapy", rinse some more.
- Once you are certain you have run your water bill up a sufficient amount and wasted enough time staring at the washing machine AND your diapers have no more suds, you can finally dry them in your preferred manner.

- If you only have a couple of inserts or other non-PUL-lined diapers that may need stripped (say you bought them off a swap), you can do the alternative method: Boil them. Take your inserts and put them in a large pot of boiling water. DO NOT LEAVE THE POT. EVER. Any residue will make bubbles and could cause the pot to boil over. Each "batch" should be boiled approximately 10-15 minutes. Then rinse under cold water. If the water is clear, you're good to go. If it's cloudy, dump the "diaper soup" and boil again for another 10-15 minutes. This method is not safe for PUL.

As a side note, be sure that if you have a new washer you check your manual. Some manufacturers will not honor your warranty if you use something other than laundry detergent in their machine. In this case, you will want to use something like RLR and follow their specific instructions for stripping. The hoses on front loading machines have also been known to melt with extreme heat, so be careful there too. *Makes me glad I have an old top loading washer!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Nursing in Public Equivalent to Urinating in Public?!

I was trying to decide what to write my blog post on today, when I came across THIS post by The Gnome's Mom. I was mortified by the comparison of nursing in public - even when nursing an INFANT - is considered by Savannah Guthrie and Star Jones to be equivalent to urinating in public! What!? In case you missed it, you can see the video HERE as well as in the video embedded in TGM's post. Her post includes a transcript as well.

First, I nursed in public when it was necessary. If I could find a private place to nurse, for my own comfort, I did it. However, that isn't always possible. Second, for someone to say that you should just "nurse in the bathroom" is ridiculous! A lot of public restrooms don't even have a changing table, let alone a place to sit down so you can nurse! This mother was on a bus. She didn't have a choice of where/when to nurse. Her baby was hungry, so she fed him. (You can read the original article HERE) Third, it's a sad thing to say about our society when the breast has become so oversexualized that it is impossible for people to see them as anything other than sexual playthings. For those who don't know: Humans are mammals. Mammals feed their babies milk from mammary glads. In humans the mammary glands are our breasts. Simple enough, right?

The state of Rhode Island has recently placed a ban on hospitals giving out formula sample packs immediately after birth. Why? The state has the lowest rate of breastfeeding attempts in the U.S. and they want that to change. The state medical board realizes the benefits of breastfeeding are worth the extra effort to educate new mothers about how to nurse and give them the support they need to succeed. If more states were like RI, Ms. Moon wouldn't have had the problem of an ignorant bus driver. The bus driver would have known that she was giving her baby the perfect food for him, tailored to his needs, and left her alone!

I understand that not everyone can breastfeed. In fact, I have a very dear friend who had tried desperately to breastfeed her son and couldn't. She ended up getting donor milk so he could continue to get breast milk instead of formula. Sadly, I know too many who choose to not even attempt it. Each ounce of breast milk is packed with antibodies and stem cells that are beneficial to baby. So, even attempting for a day is better than none at all! That is where the state of RI is coming from. If mom can't continue with breastfeeding, has supply or latch issues, the hospital WILL give them formula. And, really, breastfeeding isn't hard to *try*. Plus, it's FREE! But with attitudes like those of Star Jones and Savannah Guthrie, it's no wonder women don't even want to try. 

What is your opinion? Is it wrong to nurse in public?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Baby Rabies' Elf on a Shelf

I was perusing my Facebook yesterday and came across a post by Jill over at Baby Rabies about the "Elf on a Shelf" phenomenon. I haven't yet subscribed to the elf fever, but I thought this post was hilarious! Check out Jill's post on the crazy things she decided her elf decided to do...

5 Highly Inappropriate Traumatizing Elf on a Shelf Ideas

And while you're there, make sure to enter the "Inappropriate Elf" contest she's setting up! Get your thinking caps on!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Little Twig Leave-In Conditioning Detangler

I received a sample of the Little Twig leave-in conditioning detangler a while back from Little Twig and Bunny Bury Baby. I have been pleased with their other products, so I was eager to try this one. Since I have very tangle-prone hair, I decided to test it myself instead of on Fuss. After all, her hair is barely long enough to put up in the first place! LOL.


 To test I used regular Suave shampoo without my normal conditioner. Since hair absorbs more when wet, I put a quarter sized drop of the LT on my hair, spreading evenly from tips to roots, immediately following my shower. I let it sit for approximately 5 minutes, then brushed my still-wet hair. With a little natural curl to my hair, it's hard to get a brush or detangling comb through my hair when it is wet. I had NO problems at all! My brush slid through my hair easily. I then proceeded to blow dry my hair and brush again. No tangles. I really LOVE this stuff! My hair was so soft and manageable after using this conditioner, even after sleeping!

Little Twig is organic and made with very light scents, so it's perfect for the sensitive one in your family. Click HERE to find out more about their list of ingredients. Oh, and for those who are curious, LT is certified cruelty free by PETA. Great for you and great for your furry friends!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bipolar "Blues"

Okay, I promised a blog post when I got home. Unfortunately, it didn't happen as I had planned. Since coming home, I have been so exhausted that even looking at my computer has made me annoyed. I just managed to work in an hour of school work before getting so distracted (by nothing) that I couldn't stand it anymore. My escape was Facebook for about 10 minutes, but then I couldn't stand it any longer either. Now, I'm going to try to clean...well, if I can get motivated to get up off the couch.

These are the days I get really annoyed at myself. I KNOW it's the Bipolar (Type 2, in case you were wondering), but I can't help but feel like there's something I should be able to do about it. *sigh* Tomorrow is another day. Maybe it will be less distracting. Here's hoping, anyway!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick post during my trip to say "Happy Thanksgiving" to all my friends and followers! I hope you have good food and lots of good times with your family.

When I return, I will be posting a few extra reviews since I forgot the cord to my laptop where all my photos are stored. (Yes, I am a genius.) I plan on also doing a giveaway in the very near future!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

What Makes a Parent?

I was thinking this over yesterday while cleaning and getting everything ready for Thanksgiving with my Dad. Here is what I came up with:

1. A parent gives everything they have for the betterment of their child.
2. A parent does NOT need to be related by blood. They can be stepparents, adoptive, grandparents, and even in-laws.
3. A parent chooses to go without the things they want (and sometimes things they need) to give their child their needs and wants.
4. A parent works hard, whether in or out of the home, to provide a safe place for their child to learn and grow. A "home."

We don't always appreciate the parents we have in our lives. Honestly, I wish I knew more good parents. I am lucky to have many friends who are GREAT parents! I have to say "thanks" to the great parents who have shaped me and my life (you know who you are). And I will continue to strive daily to be a great parent. Even though, I will fall short some days, I know as long as I try, I will grow. Growing is all that matters.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kidorable Umbrella Review



I received the Kidorable Ladybug Umbrella the day before Halloween. We haven't had much rainy weather since I received it, though. Instead, it has become a fun toy for Fuss. She has used it as a walking stick, pulled the Velco closure apart, attempted to pull the umbrella open via the tips, and stood on top of it! After all that abuse, it still looks great and functions wonderfully!

Fuss loves that it is colorful and interesting. She doesn't really "get" that it has an actual purpose yet. I'm sure that when she realizes what it's used for, she will love it even more and love playing in the puddles with it held high over her head (just like Mommy used to)!
Interior with the Push-button release

My favorite features of this umbrella are: 1. Durability. As I stated above, Fuss has already put this thing through the wringer! She has proven the toughness of the Kidorable brand in my eyes.
2. Stitching. The tips of the fabric are sewn into the centers of the end-caps, making the thread invisible. This also makes it more durable in the long run since the threads won't fray or wear from normal use.
3. Color. The colors are very bright. There are dozens of designs to choose from, as well as matching raincoats, hats, and boots! Can't get much better than that!
4. The mechanism is push-button, but concealed. You have to open the umbrella partway to see the opening mechanism. This is a little push-button that you use to release and slide. The fact that it is hidden (sort of) keeps accidental openings down. 

Overall, I'd give this umbrella a solid 9. It might make a 10 when Fuss figures out how to really "use" it, but until then we'll stick with a rating of 9.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Annoyance of Online School

You would think that being a SAHM would make it really easy to do online classes. The sad fact is that unless you are willing to plop your child in front of the TV all day whilst doing school work, it's NOT easy! For some reason, no one seems to understand that fact. I have been able to complete a lot of my course work due solely to the fact of having family to help me by babysitting Fuss for a few hours here and there. The rest of the work I complete after she goes to bed. Why is it that she can be playing with her doll or her stuffed Clifford happily for hours while I sit and stare blankly into space, but as soon as I choose to do homework Fuss DEMANDS my attention and refuses to leave me alone? If only my mind worked like a toddler's I would understand.

Then, add to this the fact that every time I really get on a roll and get a good rhythm going the stupid course refuses to let me go forward! WTF!? I mean, I am literally working my butt off to get this course finished before the deadline but then they stop me!? I don't get it. One day I will be finished with these stupid classes and I will be certified as a medical transcriptionist! It may be another 6 months from now, but as long as I get it done and can still work from home and raise my daughter in the way I see fit, then it will all be worth it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting Ready for a Trip!

We will all be visiting my dad in the next week...well, a little more since it will be Thanksgiving. We're all very excited. Fuss even picked out her own luggage (a Dora the Explorer suitcase) at Sears. She dragged that thing all through the mall afterward!

So, I will be traveling with my cloth diapers on an extended trip. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. I'm trying to avoid washing them while at my dad's, so I have figured out that if I use sposies on the trip up and back, I have enough diapers to last the whole trip without washing. My only issue is finding a good wet bag to use while there. It has to prevent stink and hold ALL of my diapers!

Any suggestions?

The only suggestion I have so far is the WeeHuggers Laundry Bag.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Winner of My Memories Suite Software

Rachel Nyman!

Congratulations! The winner has been emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me to verify before a new winner is chosen.

Thanks to all who entered! I hope to have another giveaway soon!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Daylight Savings Sucks

You heard me right. I think DST sucks! It was originally designed with farmers in mind so they had an extra hour to work their crops. Sadly, in our tech-heavy world, we don't really have much need for the extra time to work the land like before. It really has lost much of its intended purpose. Now, it has been "modified" so we have a better grasp on saving energy. Really? How does this really help in the long-run? Especially since we are now turning to Hybrid and Fully Electric cars. Um...does anyone else see the irony? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for using less power and reducing greenhouse gases, I just don't think THIS is the way to do it!

I really wish the person who decides when DST begins and ends could have a newborn and/or a toddler. In all honesty, I wish good ol' Ben Franklin (who first came up with the idea of DST) could have had the responsibility of running a household and caring for children disturbed by the time switch. Yep, I AM that vindictive. To most, I'm sure it seems petty. A no-brainer. However, when throwing a toddler into the mix NOTHING is as easy as it used to be.

CASE IN POINT: Fuss woke up around 2 a.m. coughing. I ended up with her cuddling in my bed for about an hour before putting her back in her crib to ramble around for another 30-45 minutes before finally falling asleep again. Mommy normally is up until around midnight, so this means I got only 2 hours of sleep before she woke up. Awake another 2 hours, then slept when I realized she had passed out. She proceeds to wake up at 8 a.m. for the day. Logic tells us she should have slept until at least 10 a.m. since her normal waking time is 9(ish). That. Did. Not. Happen. Daddy comes home at 7 a.m. after working a full 13 hours (due to the time change) and needs to sleep for the following night's work. Joy. Mommy, exhausted, puts in a DVD for Fuss for quiet time so Daddy could sleep. We go to a birthday party (just me and Fuss) for my cousin and we're there for a couple hours. Craft show. Home. Fuss is very clumsy all day due to lack of sleep (and her refusal to nap), gets a bump on her head...again. We finally chill in the evening watching Disney movies prior to bed. Fuss starts her "I'm not tired! I'm gonna run and jump and play and go crazy!" routine an hour and a half before bedtime. Forty-five minutes before bedtime, she's rubbing her eyes. I ask who she wants to take to bed and she says "puppy" then asks for her binky. She was completely out in less than 5 minutes. And we still had 15 minutes before bedtime. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. I just hope she sleeps all night tonight!

So, again, WHY do I hate DST? 1) It really messes with our schedules here in regard to Fuss. When her schedules are messed with, we have a Super Fuss for about a week. 2) It makes it that much harder for my dear hubby to work nights. The poor man was a zombie this morning. 3) It's just a freaking pain in the butt! I hate having to go around my house and change every stinking clock! 4) Parents don't actually get an extra hour of sleep. Babies wake up at the SAME TIME even when the clock says otherwise. *Put that on a sticky note in your reasons NOT to have children yet column.* ;-)

What are your views on DST?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Been a Busy Week

It was the week of my 29th (Eek!) birthday, so I've been spending a lot of time off the computer with my family. I hope you all will stay tuned as I will be back to writing more this coming week. Don't forget to enter the giveaway HERE that ends tomorrow! So far there are very few entries!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Memories Suite Scrapbooking Software Review and Giveaway



I was contacted by Liz from My Memories and asked to do a review of their scrapbooking software. My external storage is down right now, so the only photos I have to work with are the 200-some I have on my phone. (I know, ONLY 200! LOL) They aren't all the best quality, but I decided to play with the software anyway. I have had SO much FUN making scrap book pages as well as a couple of calendar pages. I used the preloaded templates to start with. I chose the "Princess Diva" designer template and began adding my photos. The templates are very easy to use since they are point-and-click. All you need to do is double click, choose your picture, choose the area to be displayed, and click "Okay"! The templates are changeable as well. If you only want one photo on a page, select the second picture and click "delete."

My second attempt was a calendar page. I decided to try the "Create your own Template" option. I chose a layout that had 2 photo slots with a blank space in the center. I chose to add word art (January) and added a background paper and a text box. The hardest part was then getting the text aligned correctly so it actually LOOKED like a calendar page! I swear, I worked on it for over an hour adding spaces, changing text size, etc. However, I really think it was well worth the extra effort! 

Lastly, I went to My Memories Suite Downloads  and downloaded their free 2011 calendar template. I chose one of my favorite pictures of Fuss from this summer to put on it and this is the result:


I have really enjoyed working with My Memories Suite and I can't wait to try out some more ideas I have! With this software you have the ability to create photo books as well as the scrapbook pages and calendars. A really cool feature is that you can make a video collage with music! (Since my desktop and external storage are down, I didn't have my music files either so I didn't do this one...YET.) The software comes with tons of background papers, fun little embellishments, and really neat word art and text effects. I even used a color match tool to match the colors in my calendar template to the colors in the photos! How cool is that!? Then, in addition to the preloaded templates, there are many more templates and add-ons you can download from www.mymemories.com! The calendar template was one of several that was free to download!

If you're interested in purchasing the My Memories Suite software, simply click HERE. As a special gift to my readers, Liz is giving anyone who purchases with the code STMMMS39352 $10 off the purchase price of $39.97 along with a $10 credit to the My Memories Suite store where you can purchase extra templates and embellishments! :)

Now, here comes the fun part: The giveaway! Just use the super easy Rafflecopter form below.

*Note: The purchase link above is my affiliate link and I will be compensated for each person who purchases using my affiliate code. Thank you! The software itself was provided by Liz from My Memories for review purposes. No monetary compensation was given in exchange for this review. The views and opinions expressed are my own.*

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In honor of my upcoming birthday...

I will be hosting a review and giveaway starting on Halloween and ending on November 7th. It is for My Memories Suite Software and I really hope you enjoy it! I can't wait to share it with you on Monday!

Much love!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Levels of Hippie

This is just for fun, so I hope no one gets offended! My husband made the comment to me the other day during a conversation that I was a "little hippie", but that it was okay. I'd hope so...otherwise he and I are in trouble! He's actually a "little hippie" too, honestly. So I thought I would share a list of the different levels of hippie. Thanks to my dear friend Jillian Courage for helping me name and describe all the levels! *Jillian is probably the "crunchiest" person I know.* This was too much fun!

Level 1: Buttered Toast
-You do a few things to be green such as recycling, but you still prefer the conventional way of doing things.

Level 2:  Wheatgrass
-You really try to be environmentally friendly. You breastfeed, buy local/organic, and use the more natural cleaning products. You may have also begun cloth diapering.

Level 3: Hemp
-You baby wear instead of using a stroller. You may be choosing to use unpaper towels and reusable shopping bags in order to reduce the waste you put into a landfill. You avoid using harsh cleansers and believe that a little dirt never hurt anyone.

 Level 4: Trail Mix
-You are well on your way to being "green" and some may already consider you a "hippie." You are choosing to use homeopathic medicines instead of Western medication. You also may be using home made soaps and composting. You have begun to make your own baby food in lieu of buying commercial. Perhaps you have begun to use mama cloth or menstrual cups as well.

Level 5: Granola
 -There are different levels of Granola. This includes at a minimum everything listed in the previous levels. In addition, but certainly not limited to: the "no poo" method, Elimination Communication, the oil cleansing method, family cloth, delayed/selective/no vaccinations, extended breastfeeding, extended rear facing, and using homeopathy instead of traditional medicine.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Naps, Be Gone!

That is what my Fuss has said the last 3 weeks. She has apparently decided that she's "too big" to have naps now that she's passed the 18 month mark. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I no longer have to work my daily schedule around when she's going to be ready for a nap. However, I have had to deal with a VERY cranky Fuss lately. She gets to the point at around 1-2 p.m. (her normal nap time) where she is so tired she's completely out of control. Jumping, screaming defiance ensues and Mommy is ready to pull her hair out by the handfuls.

The worst part of this isn't the defiance or the crankiness...it's the fact that Daddy is on night shift. That means he needs to sleep during the day. This is not an easy feat when you have a screaming Fuss in your home. *If you don't believe me about the screaming Fuss, just ask my mom.* Fuss has one scream we like to call "the Banshee". It is a high-pitched shriek that could nearly shatter glass and it is done as loud as humanly possible. Seriously, if she does it right by your ear you may have permanent hearing damage. At least you usually have a warning before hitting "Banshee" and complete meltdown.

This week has been better because during the mid-afternoon, we have been visiting my friends' house to babysit their little ones: a spunky 4-year-old girl (Princess) and a laid-back 16-month-old boy (Charlie Brown). One might think having 2 kids nearly the same age and a third, older child would be more complicated. In some ways it is. Overall, though, it is easier since they entertain each other. The entertainment alone is enough to satisfy my Fuss and keep her from being, well, fussy! It also gets us out of the house for a while allowing Daddy some much needed time for sleep.

The biggest thing that has helped with Fuss, by far, is an earlier bed time. With a 1- to 2-hour nap in the afternoon, she often stayed up until 9 or 9:30 p.m. Since we are now negating naps, Fuss goes to bed closer to 8-8:30 p.m. That gives me more time for school work and just time to relax. The only drawback is that she likes to try to sneak in cat naps in the car. If that happens, we can expect an extra hour of fighting before bed. Fuss will scream like no other! She cries like we have beaten the living daylights out of her and then begs to get back up. Some nights Mommy gives in. I do know that her teeth are also part of the issue. The few nights she didn't sleep well, she actually took a couple of good naps for me! LOL. I am not sure which I would rather have. The nap or a full night of uninterrupted sleep...scratch that! I want the uninterrupted sleep!!

What was the hardest part of nap transitions for you? Any advice to try to make this one easier on all parties (especially poor Daddy)?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Battling the Yeast Beast

Well, here we are yet again, battling yeast. My Fuss has such sensitive skin that even teething (and the subsequent frequent bowel movements) will upset her skin's natural balance. I am so frustrated! Right now, she is in 'sposies until we're done with the Nystatin cream - in about 5 total days. I am going to start using probiotics in some of her foods to see if that will help keep her more in "balance." I currently have all of her cloth diapers ready to be washed. Half have already been bleached and are awaiting the day we can finally use them again. The other half are clean, but I want to be sure they weren't infected with yeast before I noticed the rash. So, they are waiting to be bleached.

Sunning is a wonderful option to help sanitize diapers that are infected with yeast. However, this week we have had rain on all the days I would have been able to keep an eye on them. (I live in the city and use a portable drying rack that I MUST pay attention to in order to be sure my neighbors' dogs don't eat them or knock the rack over.) I normally use tea tree oil (aka TTO) in my wash to help prevent yeast and other infectious agents, but every now and then bleach is essential. I recently found out during a Twitter party with Charlie's Soap that TTO isn't recommended for baby boys. Who knew!?

The other thing you have to watch for with yeast is to NOT use disposable wipes. The ingredients in most of them will feed the yeast and make the infection last longer. A good wipe solution with grapefruit seed extract will help to kill the yeast quickly. GSE is a very wonderful thing! As is coconut oil. Coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties and is a great cloth diaper safe rash cream.

If you've had experience with yeast and yeast rashes, feel free to comment below with any advice I may have missed!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Punkin Butt Prefolds and Diaper Pins

Audrey over at Punkin-Butt sent me a Newborn size prefold and a set of 2 diaper pins. Since my Fuss is no longer a newborn, I couldn't use the prefold as a full diaper on her. However, I was able to use it as a doubler in my Flips and as an insert in my pocket diapers and Fuss's new trainers. One thing I noticed right away about the prefold I was sent was the color. It was white. Not that there is anything wrong with white prefolds...they work exactly the same as the natural/unbleached ones. It's just that, well, generally unbleached is better for the environment. Then, I did some research and found this on Audrey's site: "Concerned about chlorine bleach?  Our white prefolds are whitened with Hydrogen Peroxide instead of Chlorine Bleach making them a healthy alternative to traditionally bleached prefolds for the earth, the manufacturers and your baby!" Pretty cool, huh?! It is quite absorbent and has worked really well as an insert in Fuss's Happy Heiny trainer. The prices are really great on these as well at under $2 a piece, making them excellent for someone on a budget. Here is a comparison pic of my toddler prefold (unbleached) and the newborn prefold from Punkin Butt.




I used the diaper pins on my toddler sized prefolds with the Bikini Twist. The pins have a slide-down brass cap that is attached to the pin and keeps it closed so baby doesn't get hurt. Once it is on, it's NOT coming off! Being that I'm not used to using pins, I found them a little harder to use than other methods. BUT they held great and I think that, given practice, I could get them on much tighter than I did on my first few tries. The brass cover was really easy to pop up so the pin could be opened, adding no extra time to the diaper change in that respect. Fuss was being cooperative while I tried these (thankfully), so I didn't stick her or myself in the process! LOL. These are a great option, though, and I am glad that I have them in my cloth diapering arsenal in a pinch! 

Are there any other questions you might have about the diapers or pins that I haven't answered? Leave me a comment!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happy Heiny's Heiny Spray Review

You read that right: Heiny Spray! So, what exactly is it? Complicated answer: "A unique, all natural and organic spray which will gently cleanse and refresh the entire diaper area with no harsh chemicals." ~Happy Heinys Heiny Spray bottle. *Side note, you can also find the ingredient list at the link!* Simple answer: Something to spray on your baby's butt as an alternative to mainstream wipes and is often used with cloth wipes or wash cloths.

I have used this spray with both "normal" wipes (name-brand disposables) and with my infant wash cloths that double as cloth wipes. First thing I noticed, or maybe I should say didn't notice, was that there is NO FRAGRANCE. For a Mommy with asthma and a baby with sensitive skin, this is a true blessing. The second thing I noticed was the width of the spray. There was a full and wide spray from the fingertip sprayer, allowing me a better coverage area than other fingertip sprayers I have used. Why is that such a good thing? Peanut butter poop. For those unfamiliar with the many consistencies of baby poop, peanut butter poop is exactly what it sounds like. It's poop that is the same thickness and consistency of peanut butter. Gross? Yes. Normal? Most definitely. Really annoying to deal with? Absolutely! Disposable wipes have a very difficult time removing said poop from baby's bottom without serious elbow grease and possible irritation of your little one's sensitive skin. Adding the Heiny Spray helped 1,000 times! Instead of an average of about 8 wipes, I was able to cut back to around 4, and remove all the poop without making my daughter's skin raw. While using the cloth wipes, I could choose to spray the cloth or my daughter. Honestly, the spray works best when applied directly to baby's bottom.

It worked very well for us and I was pleased with the lack of reaction from my daughter's sensitive skin. The bottle is large, and I have barely made a dent in it even after using it for more than 2 weeks with my daughter teething. It helps keep her irritation free and I can only assume feels very refreshing when applied based on my daughter's reaction with each use!

Oh! I almost forgot...I also used the spray to sanitize my daughter's thermometer since the Heiny Spray is also anti-bacterial. :) Further questions? Comments? Drop me a line!

**Original post by me can be found HERE**

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Toddlers and Tantrums

Yesterday was an interesting day. As was today. Why? Because Fuss took full advantage of the fact that she is (nearly) 18-months-old and decided it would be fun to throw tantrums at every possible moment. Not only that but, apparently, she has undergone a growth spurt recently and is SUPER clumsy! I am not joking when I say that I'm amazed she doesn't have a concussion after the last 2 days. She has slid and fallen into a chair, walked into a door, thrown a tantrum and hit her head on the ground while falling down limp, and tripped on her own feet and fallen into the coffee table! The worst part is that this isn't even remotely a complete list of all the things she's done the last 2 days alone. My mother-in-law always says, "God made them with short legs for a reason." Looks like she was right! LOL.

For the tantrums, we have had battles over hand-holding (which led to her going limp, slipping from my grasp, and banging her head on the floor in the mall), leaving a store, going IN a store, going the "wrong" way according to Fuss, and food. It amazes me how many things can seriously set her off. You would think that when I give her the food she requested she would be happy, right? Not in Toddler Town. By the time you have it prepared, she no longer wants "pasta." Now she wants "cicles." *sigh*

We also had a battle today over whether she was actually going to come with me to go home. Yup, right in the middle of JoAnn Fabrics I walked away from my 18-month-old daughter because she refused to hold my hand and walk with me. Before you go all psycho, though, I was only about 10 feet from her and within eyesight...including within eyesight of this very angry-looking old woman who must have thought I was THE worst mom in the world at that particular moment. What happened? Fuss got called by her first and middle name in a firm voice and I told her, "Let's go!" She came running to me. No muss, no fuss. We even left the store with her tagging along peacefully. (Contrary to your belief, Old Woman, I am her mother and I DO know what I am doing!)

Tonight, we endured yet another joy of toddlerhood: pushing bedtime. Fuss actually took a nap today for an hour and a half, so I didn't mind too much. However, it is exceedingly irritating when you are putting your little one to bed and she goes through a list of things to stay awake (already): Daddy? He's at work. Potty? You don't need to go now, you just went. Eat? You just ate. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, DOOOONNE! I am learning that some nights I just have to hold her still in my lap until she gives up and passes out.

So, what are some of the lessons you have learned since becoming a parent? This is by no means an all-inclusive list! LOL. I will be posting soon about the loss of naps and how that has affected our household. What a crazy journey parenthood is!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Little Twig Shampoo


I have been using the Little Twig Shampoo on Fuss’s hair now for about 2 weeks. It works really well. As a matter of fact, I would say it is probably working better than the J&J Head to Toe I was using before! This sample was unscented, so perfect for Fuss, but their scents are delightful! I really like how easily the Little Twig shampoo rinses and that it leaves Fuss’s hair nice and soft.

In due diligence, I decided to try it on my hair as well. I have very thick, fine hair that has a tendency to become oily. Now, since I only had a sample size and my hair is halfway down my back, I used the LT shampoo on the very top of my hair where I get the most oil. It worked wonderfully! I used my normal shampoo on the bottom (long) part of my hair combined with a little bit of the LT. I did not use any conditioner in order to see if I could tell a difference. I could! My hair was very soft and manageable right out of the shower! I have been thinking about ordering some of it with tea tree oil to help out with the oiliness.

I will be reviewing the leave-in conditioner soon as well.

Yours in Fluff. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why Cloth Diapers?

I get asked “Why do you do it?” when people find out I am cloth diapering. Sometimes it’s condescendingly other times it’s simple curiosity. Our original reason for choosing cloth was simple: cost. Why pay $30 per large box of Huggies diapers which were the only brand our Fuss didn’t have a reaction to per week and sometimes twice a week, when I could pay $40 for 2 covers and 6 inserts I can use “forever”?  Yes, we would have to do a couple extra loads of laundry per week but that didn’t even increase our water usage enough to increase our bill!

Secondly, we like the idea that we’re not throwing away our money and creating a ton of waste. As a newborn, our girl went through about 80 diapers a week. Yes, that decreased over time but at 15 months we still go through around 40-50 diapers a week. Even though I still use disposables occasionally for family and friends or when I have to use prescription creams on my overly-sensitive-skinned child, I have cut back to less than one 36 pack a week (sometimes 2 weeks!). I will also admit that I don’t always dump the poop from my disposables into the toilet like you’re supposed to. Think you’re not? I currently have a bag of disposables sitting beside me and it clearly states: “IMPORTANT: Shake soil into toilet. Wrap diaper inside its back sheet before discarding.” And just in case you didn’t know, it’s actually illegal to throw ANY untreated human waste into the garbage. It’s not really something we think about, in general. After all, how many times have you seen someone dump poop from a ‘sposie into the toilet before rolling it up? I don’t think I EVER have! It does, however, keep the nursery from smelling badly when you do it!

In all honesty, I don’t consider myself a “hippy” by any stretch of the imagination. I have become quite passionate about my fluff! I really enjoy cloth diapering. There have been a few hiccups along the way that made me wonder if I had made the right decision. One example: Ammonia. Overnight diapers would smell terribly of ammonia when I took them off in the morning. It took some research and pooling all my resources (mostly internet friends) to figure out that I have hard water, needed to rinse the nighttime diapers before putting them in my pail, and make sure to use enough water when washing. I also added a few drops of tea tree oil to my wash routine. I really don’t mind the plopping and rinsing. And the benefits far outweigh any inconveniences. A major development recently that I can attribute to my use of cloth diapers is that Fuss is starting to potty “train”.  She knows already understands the difference between clean and dirty, can tell us when she needs changed, and likes to try to use the potty. We aren’t pushing her to potty learn/train, but we figure as long as she’s showing an interest it’s not our place as parents to hinder her progress.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Due to Technical Difficulties...

I am moving the blog from it's previous location Bunny Berry Blog to the current title. I hope this doesn't cause too much confusion! :) I am still going to have the same great products and be the same quirky blogger you have come to know and (hopefully) love.

Yours in Fluff,

~~Tara~~