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!