Monday, January 30, 2012

Awesome Deal on Alpaca Blend Wool Yarn

I'm very excited to get out my crochet hooks and start crocheting again. I haven't crocheted in at least 2 years. At that time I finished an afghan for Fuss (which I still have to weave all my ends in on), but didn't have the ability after that to keep going.

Tonight, while out with my mom, I found some Alpaca blend wool yarn ON CLEARANCE!!! The original price is $8.99 for 3.5 ounces (approximately 115 yds). It was marked down to $4.99. I decided, why not? I'll go ahead and get it. It's an investment after all. What I hadn't taken into account was that the giant CLEARANCE EXTRA 50% OFF sign actually meant that! *Hello, my name is Tara and I am a ditz.* Imagine my surprise, and delight, when I get to the register and each skein is only $1.80! Apparently, they had been marked all the way down to $2.69 even before the extra 50% came off! I'm seriously considering going back to scoop up all that's left. Not necessarily for myself. I can always use it to trade with someone for a new diaper, dress, or necklace.

This yarn is very chunky, so I hope I can make a nice pair of winter longies for Fuss. The other yarns were a lot lighter and thinner, but I think those might make great dresses. I need to stop thinking of ideas and reasons why I *should* buy the rest of that yarn...before I crochet myself into a corner. LOL.

Any particular sites you like to visit for patterns? Words of warning? Words of encouragement?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Alexa Rating is Dropping!

I know to most people this isn't a big thing. Most people don't even know what an Alexa rating is. I didn't until I started this blog! It took a lot of research on my part and getting in to a few blogging groups and awesome blog hops, but I am on my way! What this means is that I'm becoming a more PR-friendly blog and will (hopefully) be able to bring more traffic in and get more giveaways going!

Here is a rundown of where I started:

1/3/2012 - 11,457,771 This is where I started. Basically, I wasn't even on the radar for search engines.
1/8/2012 - 11,468,807 Just 5 days later with the help of the "Lower your Alexa" Blog hop, I was working my way down.
1/15/2012- 11,482,703 A week later. I creeped back up the numbers, which is not good. The lower the rating, the better!
1/22/2012- 6,712,731 WHAT!? I was shocked to see that I had gone down by almost half!
1/28/2012- 5,008,677 <----That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Now, granted, I know I'll never be up in the 100 Alexa range but I'm glad to see my rating dropping and I hope it continues to go down and I gain a few more followers and friends along the way.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share on how to lower your Alexa rating? Ways to get more traffic? I'm game! Hit me up!

Sick Fuss

The last week has been crazy. Last Saturday I took Fuss to the doctor because she had a very red throat and a very scratchy voice. They said to check back on Tuesday if she wasn't better. So we went back. This time we were told to call on Friday. Friday, he called in a decongestant. Now, we have a lovely snotty child in our home and it looks like we'll be headed to the doc again on Monday. *sigh* So, sorry for the lack of posts. My Fuss is clinging and hates to see the laptop where she should be! LOL.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

FuzziBunz Elite Pocket Diaper Review

Thanks to Jill's Baby Rabies Twitter party about a month (or two? I'm really horrible at keeping track of time) ago, I was able to win a FuzziBunz Elite Pocket Diaper. I have wanted to try FB's for a long time but I was afraid to make the purchase in case they didn't work well for Fuss. The buy 6 get 2 free promotion FuzziBunz did *almost* convinced me to jump in. However, I am glad I didn't because shortly after that promo, FuzziBunz announced the changes to their diaper line. Since I won one of the new diapers from Jill, I went on the hunt for an original on the diaper swap pages. After finding one, I started my observations and comparisons. The following list is what I have come up with so far.

There are only a few key differences in the Original OS pocket diaper and the OS Elite diaper:
1) The fit. The Elite seems to be a little smaller overall even though the rise is a little higher than the Original, this makes it super trim. The downside? It may not fit a chunkier baby. Fuss has chubby thighs, but the Elite and the Original both fit her really well. **I will mention that since I bought the old-style FB second-hand, the sizing discrepancy may be due to wear. I am working on correcting that with new elastics soon and will update when I can.**
2) The inserts. The Original has a regular microfiber insert that is quite absorbent, but like most MF isn't very soft. The insert in the Elite is "minky". Minky is designed to be more absorbent with less bulk. It is SOOOOO soft! I really LOVE the feel of the smooth minky fabric of the new inserts compared to the old. Size-wise, they are the same.
3) Snaps. There is an extra snap (4 instead of 3) in the hip-snap area on the Original. This snap is intended to make the leg holes nice and tight for smaller babies. I'd say it would work really well for even a baby as small as 5-6 pounds. However, the Elite doesn't have that extra snap. In my opinion, the reason for this is the leg holes themselves. They already seem to be more snug and have a smaller diameter than the original style which may have negated the need for the 4th snap. That's just my opinion, though. I could be completely wrong!
4) Buttons. The button locations on the Original to adjust the elastics have been said to cause irritation because they sometimes come out of their "pocket" as does the elastic. The Elite, on the other hand, has no exposed buttons or elastic. They have been moved to inside the pocket of the diaper instead.

I really like the elastic adjustments as well. They make the diaper less bulky when cinched to the smallest setting whereas, with snap-based adjustments, there is sometimes added bulk in the front of the diaper. The buttons are also less likely to dislodge while buried in the bottom of your diaper bag or while having a nosy toddler playing with the diaper in Wal-Mart. I also love that the FB comes with an extra set of elastics for replacing worn-out elastic after a few years! To the best of my knowledge, no other diaper company does this.

All-in-all, the Fuzzibunz Elite has become a favorite of mine, especially for tossing in the diaper bag to have for being out and about. It is one of the easiest diapers to travel with thus far. Though, I still love my Original, the Elite is much softer and really does seem to absorb more than its counterpart.

I apologize for the lack of photos on this post. I have about 14 comparison shots but have been having difficulty uploading from my computer. I have been trying for 2 weeks! Hopefully, once I get the new elastics and get ready for my re-review, I will be capable of uploading more than 1 picture at a time and taking half an hour to do just that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Toddler Bed Turmoil

We did great until Wednesday night. Fuss would go to bed, cuddle a little with Mommy, and go to sleep with me right there (in the bed) with her. Wednesday, she woke up at 4 a.m. and WOULD NOT go back to sleep!! I finally climbed in bed (hers) with her and she fell asleep a little after 5. She was awake again at 6 and Daddy brought her to bed with us.

Thursday, she wouldn't go to bed until after midnight. She then proceeded to wake up every 3-4 hours crying. Luckily, I was able to give her the pacifier and she would stop.

Friday, she went to bed on time but was very restless.

Saturday, we had friends visiting so she missed her "normal" bedtime. (Let me add here that she had also nose-dived from my couch to the coffee table around 1 p.m. and had to be taken to urgent care. We were told to check her for signs of concussion every 2 hours. I am NOT waking up a sleeping kid to shine a flashlight in their eyes, for crying out loud!) Fuss finally went to bed around 10 p.m. An hour past her usual bedtime, but not bad. However, I didn't have to worry at all about waking her every 2 hours to check on her...she woke up every 45 minutes until almost 2 a.m.! I passed out at that point from sheer exhaustion after being up cleaning with a Fuss running around since 8 a.m., 2 doctor's visits, and then checking on her for hours straight. Daddy stayed up late to get ready for work, though, so he kept an eye/ear out for her for a few more hours.

That all brings us to tonight. Sunday. Daddy went back to work. Fuss decided she wasn't going to go to sleep tonight. She cried for me to cuddle in her bed. She cried to "go potty." She cried for water and for food. She threw the binky JUST so she could go get it. 9:30 this started. I decided she was going to lay down and I held my hand on her gently but firmly so she couldn't wander anymore. She cried for "Mommy" even though I was sitting beside her. At 9:45, I walked out. I couldn't handle the crying any longer. I shut the door and I left. Fuss chased me and started banging on the door, screaming at the top of her lungs. She lost her voice due to the screaming and the sore throat she's had for the last 4 days. I listened to some music on headphones to calm myself before attempting anything else. She cried for 15 minutes straight, alternately banging on the door and trying to scream. I feel like complete sh*t.

Finally, I give up. I go in and get her. She tries talking to me asking for "Binky" but her voice is so frail and raspy she can barely get it out. Yup. Mom of the year material. I end up rocking her. I got her calm and sat down with her in my lap on her bed. Next, I put her butt on the bed but keep her head close to my chest. Then I put her down on her pillow with my arm still under her head. I slide off the bed to sit on my knees on the floor. I think to myself, "Great. I hope I don't get stuck like this all night." As I slide my arm out, my sleeve gets stuck under her head and pulls her slightly as I move. Her eyes pop open and she grabs me. So, I put my hand on her hip and start patting her butt. She calms down slowly. I can finally move my hand away from her face. Pat, pat, pat, pat. I pull the blanket up over her and finally stop patting but leave my hand in place for a few more minutes. When I am sure she's out, I slowly start to move away from the bed. I have to crawl because my legs are too numb to walk. Across the room to the door I go. Turn the knob. Step out quickly (on my still-wobbly legs) and close the door quietly. SUCCESS!! It took 20 minutes but I got her to sleep!

I'm not really sure if I'm going to survive this whole sleep transition thing if it keeps up like this. I thought the Dora sheets would help her see it's awesome having a "big girl" bed and she'd want to stay there. I was wrong, apparently. She loves being in it in the day time, but won't nap there, and the second we mention bed time, she freaks out. And I wonder why I'm getting gray hair at 29.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Toddler bed!

Happy Future Wipe Liniment Review

I received this sample from Happy Future to review as part of a sampler package. Since Fuss has been starting to PL, we have been staying away from cloth wipes in favor of toilet paper and disposable wipes. However, she recently had a few days where she didn't want to use the potty at all. No problemo!

Then, she decided apple juice was her drink of choice for the day. I knew better, but in order to keep the peace I gave her 4 (sippy) cups of apple juice. Oh, dear... LOL. The following day, Fuss pooped SOOOOOOO many times we could barely get a clean diaper on her before she filled it again! I ended up using her cloth wipes with the stickiest poop with the Liniment on them. It worked really well!

The liniment is the consistency of runny lotion. This actually makes it really great for squirting on the wipe before wiping baby's bottom. You can also squirt it directly on baby to loosen super stuck "stuff." I used both methods depending on my needs at the time. The liniment is also a great protectant! It coats the skin very lightly with the natural oils it is made from. I think it would make a great nail/cuticle conditioner! LOL. Fuss had no reaction to this liniment, nor did she mind when I put it on her directly. As opposed to sprays, she didn't seem to notice this on her. Sometimes when I spray her she will jump and giggle as the spray hits her. The liniment at least kept her in one place on the changing table.

Also, as with all Happy Future products, the liniment is certified organic!

I'm very glad I had the opportunity to review this product for BunnyBerry and Happy Future! Do you have any questions or concerns I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

Although I do realize it is several years before Fuss heads off to school, I find myself leaning more toward homeschooling. It's not necessarily for the reasons you would think. I vaccinate, so that's not an issue. I do not care that she isn't being taught "values" in school. That's what parents are for anyway. The things I am most concerned about run more along the lines of the quality of education she will receive knowing just how bad a lot of the schools are now. Our state isn't the lowest-ranked in the nation when it comes to education. Apparently, we're somewhere in the middle, around #34 (source). I'm not 100% certain that's where WV ranks since most of the sites are membership-only and won't show a comprehensive national average. However, I know that thanks to the "No Child Left Behind Act" many children who are already considered "advanced" are turned down for pre-school and Kindergarten based solely on if their birthdays fall a few days short of the deadline while those considered "delayed" or "mentally retarded" are often shoved into a school ill-equipped to handle them. Each teacher is responsible for 30 students and usually has at least 1 "special ed" kid in their classroom. Most are not allowed to have aides. The aides that are available are generally required to be with the worst students. Don't get me wrong, I believe EVERY CHILD should be educated! However, I think each child's education needs to be tailored more individually than our current system allows.

This is why I'm considering homeschooling. I want Fuss to have every opportunity to excel that I can grant to her. How can we expect 30 children to learn exactly the same way and at the same rate? It is improbable, if not impossible, to expect ANY of those children to learn ANYTHING! I still remember sitting at my desk doodling during many of my classes because I was bored with the teaching style. Plus, so much of it was repetitive. I learned the same Geography lessons from fifth grade to eighth! Hubby can read things and has a near-photographic memory for them. He got bored quickly in school. I was the people-pleaser, the "A" student, the one all the teachers wanted. I know my Fuss. She has the potential to be an "A" student. She also has the (very real) potential to be a troublemaker if bored or unfocused. How do I expect her to handle being advanced when she is forced to sit and listen to the same lecture five times due to a few students who can't keep up? Every child is different. Every situation is different. I think if our school systems could understand that, we would do a lot better.

That still leaves me with the question stated initally: To homeschool or not to homeschool? At this point, I don't know. I'm doing my research and looking for insight. Fuss can already count to 7 and says her alphabet up to J by herself. Yes, I am biased. I also know that our 90-year-old pediatrician is impressed with her each time we go in. I know she has wonderful manners and other people find her quite pleasant. I want her to have the opportunity to do dance, cheer, play soccer, anything she wants. I just don't want to be the reason she is stopped from any of those things by my choices now.

Any advice from my loyal followers? Links to great homeschool sites or groups? Please post below!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today was the Day

I took Fuss out to Wal-Mart (or Hell-Mart, however you choose to see it) this evening to pick out her new bedding. She is in her toddler bed now, so she gets to make the "big girl" decision of how she wants her room decorated! I put her in the buggy (shopping cart for those non-hillbillies) and wheel her over to the shelf of sheets.

She immediately points to Dora and yells loud enough for the rest of the store to hear, "DORA!!!!"

Then I tell her, "You can pick out your sheets for your bed, for 'Fuss's' bed. Which ones do you want? You can pick one: Fairies, Princess, Dora, or Minnie." I pointed at each one in turn. This is met with a very intense look and a "Hmmm." She studies them carefully. I see her look at Minnie, but her attention doesn't stay there long. She looks at the Disney Fairies. Same story. It's all down to the Disney Princesses or Dora.

She looks at me, pointing, and asks, "Princess?"

My reply? "If you want Princess on your bed, you can get it. It's going on YOUR BED. So, are you sure you want Princess? You pick."

She stands there another few minutes. I can see her thinking this over and looking from one to the other, back and forth. "Dora?" she says.

"If that's what you want, you can have it. You pick one: Dora or Princess."

"DORA!" she yells, not quite so loud this time, as she points to the Dora sheets.

"Are you sure?" I ask her. She responds with a smile and a nod and repeats Dora. "Okay, we'll get Dora!"

Yes, I actually had the above conversation with my not-yet-2-year-old. She had actually picked the Dora set out online before we went to Wal-Mart and HUGGED my laptop going "Awwww, Dora!" the second she saw it. Do I believe she understood everything I said to her? Not quite everything, but it was enough that she knew she could choose for herself. I admit, it was really interesting watching her make the decision when she could see the prints right there in front of her. Online, she could have cared less about the princesses. In real life, it was a completely different matter! Not to mention, as we walked through the rest of the store, she would point to Disney Princesses and go "Princess!" just as often as she would point to Dora. Apparently, this was a really difficult decision! In another couple years we will probably be changing her room to princess stuff from Dora, but for now she's happy (and hugged her sheets on the way out of the store) and that's all that really matters.

**And, in case you were wondering, last night Fuss slept in her toddler bed all night! She didn't wake up at all until almost 9:30 this morning. Of course, the second she woke up today, I heard "Mommy" and the patter of little feet running to the door. Her door was not latched, so she opened it and ran to her kitchen to play. Nap time wasn't quite so easy, though. She got up twice before I finally rocked her to sleep and placed her in the bed.

1500+ Fan-stravaganza!

Head on over to my Facebook page and enter to win some really great prizes ALL from WAHM's! The giveaway is open from today through Saturday (1/21). I hope you will all head over and share some love the the sponsors as well!

My munchi by Leslie Tolhurst-Greyson
Lads and Lace Creations by Shannon Oberlin
Hip Girl Bowtique by Nikki Powell
Kalypso Twist by Amber Hill
Scrunch Nose Sews by Ashleigh Harvey
Mother Natural by Desiray Walker
Llama's Bowtique by Niki Ledford Woofter

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Goodbye, Baby...Hello, Toddler!

Okay, I know officially that Fuss is already a toddler. She's past 1 and walking. However, she was still in her crib. I figured as long as she wasn't climbing out, I wasn't going to transition her to the toddler bed setting (we have a convertible crib that goes all the way to a full size bed). She was great until recently. A couple weeks ago she started pulling herself up on the railing. Then, she would try to get her foot up over the railing. No big deal. She couldn't even potentially reach.

But in the last 2 weeks, she has gained another tooth AND at least 1" in height. I didn't think anything of it. Until today. This morning Fuss pulled up and put her foot over the railing on her crib! Had I not been standing right there, she would have fallen on her head. Joy. Now it's time to get the side rail out and set up her toddler-stage bed.

Personally, I am NOT ready for this. I am not ready for Fuss to get out of bed on her own in the middle of the night and come get mommy and daddy. I am not ready for her to be up at God-knows-what-hour in the morning running through the house. *I* am not ready. But she is. So, as usual, we follow her lead.

Now, to convince Daddy it needs done today....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cherished Style Carrier Review

Post-Christmas shopping tired her out. She curled right in and stopped crying the second I put her here.

I have had the pleasure, through starting this blog, to meet Jasmine Julian who is a mommy of 4 and a the mind behind Cherished Style. While on my trip to NY at Thanksgiving, I was able to meet up with her and chat. She was generous enough to give me one of her Mai Tai style carriers to test out and review. I had only used my home-made Moby wrap up to this point when I needed to carry Fuss around with me, but she had outgrown its use. Everything in her shop is made-to-order, and my Mai Tai was no exception. All I asked was that it be gender neutral and match my diaper bag which was brown with lime green piping. This is what she came up with! The green matched the piping/interior of my diaper bag EXACTLY, sight unseen!

She has two styles of this carrier. Mine is her "old style" which works great for older children. This one gives Fuss a great safe-feeling seat compared to some others we have seen.
The second style is much more trim (as you can see in the photo on the left) compared to the "old" style. This one is ideal for newborns and younger children. I think you would also be able to wear a larger baby in this one as well since the construction on these carriers is excellent. Honestly, you would be hard-pressed to find a comparably made carrier below $100 retail.


Rain hood clipped to D-Rings

One of my favorite features of this carrier is the little pocket on the front. This is a great place to put your keys, tissues, or any other small items you may need access to quickly. It has a snap to keep things from falling out and getting lost in the shuffle. The rain hood fits really well inside this pocket when not in use as well. Second favorite? The rain hood! It just snaps on to the carrier and you fold it up and over baby, loop through the D-Rings at the shoulders, and snap. The D-Rings are also very handy for toys or clipping other small items to. They are very strong and work great with "links" or carabiners. If you aren't using the rain hood, it snaps off and you can use the hood snaps to fold the upper part of the carrier down for a better view for your little one.

Finally, unlike many carriers, the straps are well-padded but not too thick. Before I knew how bad they were for babies, I used a Bjorn to get some relief from Fuss's crying by wearing her around the house. I could only manage this for about 20 minutes before my shoulders were being cut into and my back was aching so badly I could barely move. And that was with a 5 pound baby!! With this carrier, I don't have either problem! I can easily wear Fuss for 2+ hours while out shopping and not have any side effects. The straps are wide enough that they spread the weight across the whole shoulder, and the criss-cross used in the back gives support as well as weight distribution throughout your whole body.

Jasmine makes an addition to her carrier that will work for TWINS! Here is a photo of Jasmine wearing her 2 youngest to show how it would work:

Here, she has the carrier strapped on with a front carry, then the twin addition is simply clipped onto the hiking-grade buckles with extra webbing across Mom's shoulders and tied on the bottom! Neat, huh?

Jasmine doesn't just make carriers, though, she also makes diaper bags (great for cloth mamas because they have like 10 interior and exterior pockets and can even be made with customizable pocket inserts!), nursing covers, and children's doll carriers. She's also been working hard on a new soft structured carrier.

Head over to Life With My Littles and be sure to enter her #BirthdayBlessingsBash for a chance to win a $25 gift card for Cherished Style from Jasmine and me! Don't forget to stop by Cherished Style LLC on Facebook and thank Jasmine for her generous gift!

In parting, I will leave you with a few photos of both the front and back carry with Fuss and me. By the way, ignore Fuss in a couple of those, she *HATES* the back carry! LOL. I also apologize for the "MySpace" style shots. I only had my MIL take one because that's all the time we had. These are the best I could do.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

After fighting for more than 2 hours past her usual bedtime, Fuss finally passed out in my arms in our bed.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Take Over Tuesday Link Up Google +

For those of you who are preparing for the switch to Google+ make sure you hit up this great linky by Closer to Lucy! It will help boost your G+ followers. I signed up and I hope to see you all there too! :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rafflecopter Win an iPad2!

Interested? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and submit. This contest is from Rafflecopter themselves. Why? They want to give back to all the people who love their forms! Also, add in an entry for naming the little rafflecopter mascot (the adorable flying helicopter smiley face!) and if your entry is the winner, you get an iPad2! Make sure you mention that I am the referring blog in the first entry because if you win, I get a Kindle Fire as well! :)

Good luck!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Not Your Grandma's Cloth Diapers: Cheap and Convenient

People ask me all the time "WHY" I started cloth diapering. The answer is simple: Money. I had severe complications at the end of my pregnancy and, while my recovery went rather smoothly for a C-Section, I found I had a baby with "issues". From day 1 she was quite fussy. At first, I thought it was that she wasn't getting enough to eat because she wasn't latching correctly. After that issue was solved  (2 months down the road), we still weren't getting relief. Realizing that her "spitting up" wasn't normal by any definition of the word, I kept after my pediatrician. At 2 months old, Fuss (as she had become lovingly known) was diagnosed with acid reflux. Now, we add medication. She does better for a few weeks and hits a growth spurt. You guessed it, she outgrows her dosage and starts projectile vomiting across my house once again. Week after week this kept up. Doctor, meds, spit up, doctor, meds, spit up, over and over. I started taking her on "shopping trips" to relieve my stress and hers. The outings kept her upright (in a carrier or stroller) and lessened her chances of having a reflux episode. I was beginning to look for work outside the home. Up to the point I was put on bed rest, I worked from home as a telephone operator. I knew this wouldn't work with a screaming child in the background, so I was going to venture outside the home to work. I went back to a previous employer and spoke with them about starting back there while still pumping. No problem. Well, there was a problem. Fuss. By 5 months old, she refused to take ANY bottles. Hubby didn't know what to do and neither did I. Add in the fact that we were still having some severe issues with reflux, knowing she was "high needs", hubby and I decided that I should stay home instead of trying to put Fuss in a daycare environment. Hooray! Now what? We have to make due on his income.

I go back to doing my normal daily routines: Dishes, laundry, walks, etc. I work hard to find ways to save money wherever I can. We are still getting behind. This is where the serious talks of cloth diapering come into play. I knew Fuss used between 8-10 diapers a day. Huggies Snug 'N' Dry (or Little Movers/Snugglers) were the only diapers Fuss could wear on a regular basis without having a severe rash. I ended up buying boxes of 264 diapers at Sam's Club for $39.98 in size 1-2. I'm going to be using Wal-Mart's prices for comparisons here though. So, a box of SnD at Wal-Mart is around $40 for 264. That comes to $0.15/diaper. Each size gets increasingly expensive (even though baby does wear fewer diapers per day as they grow), and the size 6 is a whopping $0.32 per diaper! [Comparison note: Even Parent's choice diapers start out at $0.15 cents each and go up to $0.23 each.] Okay, so further math: average 9 diapers a day at an average cost of $0.24 and you'll get $2.16/day x 7 days = $15.12/week. Four weeks in a month = $60.48. Twelve months in a year = $725.76/year! We couldn't afford to buy a lot of diapers all at once, so we split up our initial investment. I purchased a Flip Day Pack: Stay Dry One-Size system with 2 covers and 6 inserts for $49.95. Cotton Babies is wonderful to start out with as they have excellent customer service as well as they are very knowledgeable about all of their products and can match you to the perfect diaper for you! So, I start out with the Day pack. I then bought a dozen prefolds at a cost of $31.99 and one more Flip Day Pack for $49.95. Total cost up front was $131.89. I started out doing cloth part time as I just wanted to get the feel for it.

A couple months roll by and I buy some pre-owned diapers from a good friend for $20 for 2 covers and 6 inserts and I won another diaper from a giveaway. At this point I am buying 1 small pack of disposables for use when out of the house or when someone else watches Fuss. I exclusively used cloth at home. When my mother and mother-in-law saw the new diapers, they were really impressed! They used cloth with me and my husband and couldn't believe it was as easy as putting the cloth in the cover and snapping it when they used pins. I had already proven to them how great the new CDs were, now it was on to my friends and other family members. After acquiring 3 more diapers (2 free and one for $10 off a swap) I went to cloth full-time! I have been able to show off Fuss's fluff to many people while out running around and she'd need a change. The last diaper I purchased makes my grand total $211.84. I have also SOLD diapers that I didn't like to gain some of my investment back! And since switching to cloth, I have saved $997.76 to put toward our other bills. If you add in the cost of the diaper sprayer I use to wash the poo off, I will still have saved $957.81. That is how much of my husband's hard-earned money DOES NOT go in our trash! And after I get done with this batch of diapers, I will put them away for our second, saving us $1451.52 with no out of pocket cost! I am also thankful that we switched due to the fact that Fuss developed a very bad blistering rash after Huggies changed their formulation and that left us with only "organic" disposables to use, which are TWICE as expensive as regular ones! Cloth is pretty much hypoallergenic!

We are currently working on potty training Fuss which, generally, happens earlier when a baby is in cloth diapers (thus potentially saving even more money). She knows as soon as she's dirty and tells me "butt". I certainly get some strange looks from people when she does that, since she is tiny and looks to be about 1 but acts like she's 3! She also tries to tell me "potty" but usually doesn't get there in time. She will get it in time, but I'm not rushing her. I don't "need" to rush her! Admittedly, I still buy disposables now and then, but it's more like once every 3 months I buy a small pack for $6. I do prefer the use of snaps on my diapers, however, there are ones with Velcro-like closures on them that are JUST LIKE disposables to put on and take off! Many of the diapers now are all-in-ones that are a "cloth disposable." You put it on, you take it off. End of story. The only difference is that instead of dropping it into a trash can, you can wash and reuse the cloth diaper! My 15-year-old cousin watched me change Fuss's diaper at a family party one day and said, "That is so cool that you're doing cloth diapers. It keeps it all out of the landfill and you can reuse it! I think I'll use them too one day." Thanks to my pocket diapers, even my 15-year-old cousin sees cloth diapers as easy and cute!

These are so far from your "Grandma's Cloth Diapers" that Grandma wouldn't realize they really were cloth until she touched them! Let me tell you, some of these diapers are SOOOOO soft that you can imagine how great they feel on your baby! Plus, now, they come in great colors and prints that you can match to any outfit your little one owns. There are even people who make custom diapers specifically to match a particular outfit! From bright colors to florals and animal prints, they really have it all now. Cloth diapering has come a very long way from prefolds (which are very handy to have around still) and "rubber pants" and they're becoming more inventive and versatile as each day goes by. Cotton Babies has even come out with a really awesome training pants system that is designed to fit from 20 to 50 pounds! That's sizes 3-6+ in a regular Huggies. (I say 6+ because the Huggies box states that the size 6 fits 30+ pounds, but my nephew outgrew them at around 40 pounds.)

How would you like to try out some diapers from BumGenius  by Cotton Babies? Just leave me a comment telling me WHY you would like to cloth diaper, or why you do already, and what you are interested in about the BG's. This post is being entered into a contest to win 12 BumGenius diapers for you as well as for myself! *I have received no compensation for any statements in this post from Cotton Babies or its subsidiaries. All opinions expressed are my own and should be taken as such.*

Saturday, January 7, 2012

We Have a Tooth!

Fuss has been screaming all day about even the tiniest things, but we FINALLY have the tip of tooth #15 through! Of course, she's still telling me  her teeth hurt and cuddling because she doesn't feel well but at least we're getting there. Only 5 more to go now! Four of those are molars, so I'm not sure if the worst is over or not! Right now she is sleeping peacefully and I plan on attempting to relax a bit. (On top of Fuss being cranky and clingy, Mother Nature decided to throw her hat in the ring too. Blech.)

Good evening everyone and have a quiet night.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Date Night with Rodney Carrington

Okay, not really. It's date night with hubby and we're going to see Rodney Carrington tonight! I'm so excited! Hubby and I have been planning this for 2 months now and we really need a night out, just the two of us. My mom is watching Fuss for us and we get to be out late. We will be picking Fuss up tonight, but it will be around midnight and she will probably already have passed out. I hope she doesn't drive my mom nuts!

In case you aren't familiar with Rodney Carrington, here is a sample.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Teething Monster Returns

Ugh! I'm ready to pull all my hair out! I hate resorting to keeping Fuss on medications like Tylenol all day long, but at this point, that's all that's helping! Granted, I think we were a little worse than normal recently because I took her amber necklace off for a bath and forgot to put it back on her for a couple days. That definitely makes the teething worse (at least in my opinion). Poor thing has been waking up at night 3-4 times, sometimes crying, sometimes screaming, and often NOT going back to sleep on her own with or without her pacifier. She then wakes up between 8 and 10 a.m. and is up until 9 p.m. WITHOUT a nap. After 2 days of little sleep during the night and a non-napping toddler, I'm exhausted!

I have used every trick I know of to help her pain. She's eaten Popsicles, soft foods, and cold foods. She's chewed on everything from her hands to a vibrating teether. We have used Hyland's Teething Tablets and Gel - These seem to give a little relief because she'll go play after getting one or the other. And we've used Orajel. My last resort (aside from the amber necklace) is the medication. I hate feeling like I'm one of those moms who continues to wish away their kid's childhood, but I really do wish teething was over! I only want the next 4-5 months to be done so we get more than a week's break from the agony I know Fuss is experiencing. It is very heart-wrenching when your not-quite-2-year-old comes to you and says, "Hurt, Mommy." You ask, "Where?" She points to her mouth and says, "Teeth." The worst part is there's nothing more you can do to help her. :-(

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I'm hoping to lower my Alexa rating, so I'm participating in this awesome blog hop hosted by Frugal Plus Stop by and tell her hi!

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

I'm FINALLY seeing it! It's been 2 years of hard work (as well as those times I get to frustrated to continue for a week) but I'm almost finished with my medical transcription course! Well, I say "almost finished." I still have a ways to go. I'm currently sitting at 61.1% completion. That leaves 38.9% still to do, but I'm confident I can get this done by May 24th. Maybe sooner!

The hardest thing about working on transcription while Fuss is awake is that I have a foot pedal to control the speed/stop/start of my audio files. Right now, my main computer is dismantled due to remodeling. I'm on my laptop. This leaves my foot pedal exposed. Fuss LOVES to come and step on it, on my foot, or just stand on the pedal in general. Quite irritating whilst trying to listen to an audio file. Seriously, had I known online schooling was going to be this difficult, I would have gone for the brick-and-mortar school. I'm not unhappy with my decision overall, though. My only disappointment is that I don't feel like many people have taken me seriously with it.

Now, we have 2 goals: 1. Finish most of our remodel and put the office area and desk back together so I can have my desktop back and be able to place the foot pedal out of harm's way.
2. Finish this schooling once and for all! As soon as I get done, I'm going to get a job. I really hope it's one that will allow me to work from home. Hubby and I just don't want to put Fuss in daycare if we don't have to.

It's nice to finally be able to say I'm on the downward part of this journey though! And I sincerely hope you all will stay with me through the rest of this crazy journey.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way

So, I have been trying to cook at home more over the last year and that meant trying to have everything on hand that I would need and easily accessible. (I'm the first to admit that I tend to be lazy...I like it all to be convenient and quick.) This led us to freezing items. The most common things we use that can be frozen for later use are chicken and ground beef. In order to make this as cost effective as possible, we buy in bulk. Each packet of chicken we buy has around 10 boneless, skinless breasts and the ground beef is bought in a 10-pound tube. Unfortunately, a 10-pound tube of beef just doesn't fit anywhere conveniently. It also isn't very convenient to measure out 1 or 2 pounds of meat each time you want to make something.

My solution is to vacuum seal it! Of course, thanks to my dear hubby, I do it a little differently than some might. I first make a few "Food Saver" bags that are the correct size. This took some figuring out when we first started sealing things. Then, I take the tube of beef and portion out 1-pound portions using my food scale. I then take a permanent marker and put the date of freezing and the weight on each package (post-vacuuming, of course).

 Here is what the meat looks like immediately after vacuum sealing. This doesn't freeze quickly. It also doesn't thaw quickly or evenly. Not good.

 Hubby's idea was to mash them flat and make little "meat wafers" to place in the freezer. Here I am making the ground beef flat using a rolling pin. Hubby likes to just use his hands.
 I make sure to get the corners and edges nice and even. Then, I toss them in the freezer.
In this final photo, I have the stack of ground beef packets in my refrigerator freezer. After they are frozen, you can stand them on edge side-by-side! When I need a pound of ground beef for Manwiches or burgers, I just pull out a packet and defrost it! Easy as 1-2-3!

I do usually have a little left over at the end because it's not usually exactly 10 pounds in each tube, so I just save the last packet and put whatever amount is left in that one. So, I'll have 9 packets of 1 pound each and 1 of 1 pound and "x" ounces. Sometimes it ends up being only 14 ounces in the last one. It just depends on each tube of ground beef.

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!

Semper Wifey

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Whatever You Do on New Year's Day

You continue to do the rest of the year. At least that's what I've always heard. Today, I have succeeded in cleaning up messes from Fuss, cooking, cleaning the house, and doing school work. Aside from the school work, that sounds pretty accurate! Fuss is continuing to work on potty training and even pooped on the potty without me reminding her yesterday after her bath and today while playing! I am honestly more impressed with her stopping her game to go potty than with being naked post-bath and going, but that doesn't make it any less exciting for her!

My "resolutions" for the year are pretty simple. I intend on finishing my transcription course by June and getting a job that I can work from home. Second, I want to blog more frequently and gain more fans. Third, I hope to eat healthier and be more adventurous in my cooking...this last one is easier said than done for sure!

Do you have any resolutions? What are they? And according to the old wives' tale, what will you be doing the rest of the year based on today's activities?