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! 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'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,