Monday, April 30, 2012

"Good" Mom--What does that even mean?

What makes a good mama?

I find myself struggling with this phrase.  What does it mean?  I let D go to bed in his clothes without a bath last night and I feel like the worst mom ever!  But he's loved, fed, cared for and all that good I'm not doing too bad I guess!!

My husband (or as we call him "Daddyguy") has said since D was born "bad moms don't know they're bad!  They don"t care!" and he is constantly telling me to be easier on myself.  But people, we are parents!!  These babies depend completely on us and we are responsible for their upbringing.  I am constantly thinking about my Cub's well being.  Is he eating enough?  Sleeping enough?  Are his milestones being hit?  Does he know how much I love him?  I worry 24/7.

I know I should be more gentle with myself however the incredible overwhelming love I have for Cub can sometimes make me a little batty...

What do you think makes a "good" mama??

<3 Jen

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gender Stereotyping

Something that bothers me a lot is when society starts putting gender stereotypes on my children.  This is something that comes up constantly within our culture. I remember when my son had on a necklace and my daughter a necktie while playing and someone said, well that's backwards.  Um no you are backwards!  We have these gender stereotypes, but our children do not.  They just want to have fun, be creative and the sky is the limit.  Then we, as adults, unknowingly start to make limits.  When we say things such as boys don’t cry, or pink is for girls, we start putting up those limits.  Then the child begins to think that they like something they aren’t supposed to, and they start to conform.  But who says they should or shouldn’t like something?  Why are we putting limits on our children’s creativity and uniqueness?  It’s our job as caregivers to take care of our children, and that includes giving them the confidence to be creative and be an individual.  We have a dress up chest in our home, that holds lots of different play things.  We have outfits for a doctor, princess, fairy, race car driver, knight, cowboy/girl, etc.  They both enjoy dressing up in all the outfits! It's so much fun letting them use their imaginations and there are never any limits to what they can become.

We like to know, before the baby is even out of the womb, whether we will have a little blue or pink bundle of joy. Would it shock you to know that this is actually a new found wonder? There are no boy colors or girl colors.  Boys would wear pink, and girls blue, in the early 1900s.  It’s relatively new that we have this standard of certain colors for gender.  Now don't get my wrong, as infants I liked dressing my daughter in pink and purple, so the older ladies in the grocery store wouldn't ask how old HE was! ;) Though now that my kids are toddler and preschool age, they want to wear certain colors. Even using certain colors on their artwork/craft, and I've heard other children say, "That's a girl color." I want them to know that they can use any color. By setting the example that their are no gender colors, we open up the possibilities for our children to be creative. So let's let our children enjoy the whole rainbow of colors.

  Boys and girls should be able to just be.  Be children.  Use their imaginations and play pretend.  Girls can be anything: doctors, policeman, etc.  We want our girls growing up knowing they can be anything.  Why not hold true for boys as well?  Boys can be chefs and hair stylists, too.  They can be anything they aspire to be.  Let children try all activities, so that they can learn and develop many skills and talents.  It’s healthy for girls to play with trucks, learning about speed and motion.  When a boy plays with dolls it helps him to learn to be caring and gentle.  He’s preparing to be a nurturing father some day, and we all know what a good thing that is.

 It’s normal for children to want to play gender stereotypical roles, even without adults teaching them. I know even though I tried to steer her from them, my daughter A LOVES princess things!  And my son loves anything with a motor.  Yet when we took the kids to a Monster Truck show, thinking mostly it was for C, A had just as much fun! We didn't limit those experiences for them by their gender.  So A's appeal to princesses is typical behavior and should be accepted, but we also encourage her to try many different activities.  We encourage our son and daughter to play together and learn from each other. Why would we want to limit these wonderful qualities in our children?  So let's help our children stay stereotype free by explaining that boys and girls can do the same things, and that the sky is the limit.

~Laura B

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Budgeting - a new way of life

A budget – you telling your money where to go instead of someone else (creditors).
When my husband and I decided that I was going to quit my job the first thing we had to do was to see if it was even financially smart to do so.  We started living off of his income (by creating a budget) and putting my paychecks towards our mortgage. We figured as long as we had the house paid off then even if he would lose his job at some point we would still have a place to live (even if we were eating beans and rice!).
When we first started created a budget we still used our credit cards for everything and paid them off at the end of the month.  We tracked what we spent in our minds…. One problem – our minds weren’t connected to know how much was already spent in each category so we were consistently still going over budget.  Then I found the cash-only system over at MoneySavingMom…. EURKEA!
This made a huge difference for us… basically you create a budget and for everything you can spend cash on you do. Once it’s gone. It’s gone.  There is something driving about wanting to see how much cash is left at the end of each month and adding those numbers up.  I then track and save those leftovers and save them for a rainy day.  For example – my dear dog… I budget $15 a month for him… that’s for grooming and vet bills. We get his nails clipped every other month so that amount adds up quickly… but in November when he has his yearly vet appointment I am able to pay the bill with cash and it’s suddenly not eating up my grocery budget.  I won’t say it’s easy, you have to be very disciplined and strict with yourself but boy is it worth it.
So the basics….you start out with how much income is brought in each month – fixed expenses (things that have to be paid no matter what) = what you have left to spend on variable expenses.  I will be listing my categories below – this is easily something you can tweak for each family. You have to decide what's a priority for your family. You must have goals in mind - something you are working towards.  Either saving towards a new car, a vacation, or paying off debt (this should be top of your list).
Fixed: House, Phone/Internet, Garbage, Gas, Electric, St Loans, Insurance (life, house, auto), Cell Phone, Charity, Taxes, Car
That gives me my net loss/savings (now if you are already at a loss here you need to do some major re-evaluating of what is a necessity in your life).
My variable expenses – items I have a cash only budget with: Medical (co-pays, chiropractor), Groceries, Clothes, Entertainment, Household, Restaurants, Rufus (dog), Transportation, Miscellaneous, Kids
A very excellent book that I would recommend to ANYONE would be the The Money Saving Mom's Budget: Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year .  She writes in such clear and easy to understand ways.  I have read this book twice and give it away at the budgeting/couponing classes I teach. It covers almost any scenario you could think of in the ways to make and save money while barely making ends meet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The First Years Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub Review and Giveaway

When having a new baby, all parents are overwhelmed with the LENGTHY list of items that you need for a new baby.  In reality, we all over buy clothes, gear, and other baby items.  But the one thing that you just cannot do without, is a good infant bath tub.  For the first few weeks, you will sponge bath your newborn.  Then once the baby's cord falls off and heals completely, you can start to bathe baby in the infant bath tub.  These tubs are designed to be safer for baby and easier for mom and dad during these itty bitty stages, well before most parents feel comfortable plopping their kid in the big bath tub!

I was contacted by The First Years to review their Sure Comfort Newborn to Toddler Tub.  I was thrilled to get this opportunity, not only because I love reviewing items and sharing my knowledge, but because I actually OWN this tub and it is the tub that we used with Miss A.  So I actually have a TON of experience with this tub and can speak as to how it performed from the itty bitty stages to the nearly toddler stage when we stopped using it!

When I was pregnant with Miss A, I spent a lot of time on Consumer Reports and reading reviews trying to pick the best and safest baby items for my baby.  The bath tub choice was a no-brainer. No other tub got higher reviews or recommendations.  Click!  This tub was instantly on my registry!  Also, infant bath tubs can range in price from $12 to $50 or more!  This tub retails around $18 and is available at readily available stores such as Walmart, Target, and Babies R Us.  Who can argue with that price and availability!!??  Many people think that the higher the price tag, the better the product, this is one case where that is absolutely not true!!

So on to the tub!  This tub comes in Pink or Blue color (love choices!) and comes with a removable padded mesh infant sling.  The bottom of the tub is molded so that you can sit the tub in a single or double sink or have it on a table or counter.  There is a drain plug in the bottom of the tub which is perfect to easily let the water out of the tub without having to lift/flip the tub to drain and it is made of a special material that changes color to let you know if the water temperature is too hot.  On the one end of the tub is a holder for your soap, shampoo, rinse cup, etc.

Using this tub with a brand new baby, with cord stump still on that cannot be submerged.

You can still use this tub for those first baths before baby can actually be in the tub.  Many parents, including myself at the time, do not realize this!  I laid Miss A on a bath towel on the counter to sponge bath her during those first baths.  You can do this, or you can sit baby in the sling in the tub.  This way baby is more secure than laying on the counter, and all of your rinse water is just going into the tub.  Much less messy!

Using this tub with an infant who's cord has fallen off and can now be in the water.

Since tiny infants lack the head, neck, and back strength to sit up and hold their head up, the infant sling works perfectly to support them and keep them safe in the water.  The sling is very stretchy, so when you are filling the tub, be sure to account for the baby sinking into the sling and into the water, do not fill the tub too high.  You will slowly learn how much water to put in, but it is always easier to add water than it is to quickly dump some out!  The straps are adjustable on the sling so you can raise/lower the baby as they grow and adjust to bath time.  The sling also has a padded headrest to keep baby's head comfy and in an ergonomic position.  Think hammock, only stretchier and comfier!  Our only issue with the sling was a poop issue.  We had a couple times when Miss A decided to poop in the tub...oh what a mess!  The sling makes for an additional thing to clean before you can get baby back in the bath after an "incident" but it cleans and rinses quite easily and is no trouble to get back into use!

Using the tub for an infant who is too big for the sling but isn't sitting up on his/her own.

One end of the tub is slanted with rubber padding on the back.  This is the next step in the tub for infants who are too big for the sling but need to recline.  The rubber padding makes the tub comfy and non-slip so that baby doesn't slide down into the water.  Miss A loved it when she made it to this step and she could really be in the water and splash!  I love the rubber padding and I love that baby can finally stretch out and finally enjoy the water once they get to this phase!

Using the tub for a baby/toddler that can sit up on their own.

This is the last step before graduating out of the infant tub.  On the other end of the tub is a seat that sits straight upright with that same non-slip rubber where the tush goes.  This is when the fun begins!  Miss A loved sitting in her tub, looking around the kitchen, splashing, and having a good time!  The rubber padding made it comfy for her to sit in and kept her tush from sliding around!  Also, you can place the infant tub into your larger bath tub so that you can fill it higher and still keep them a little safer/comfier than putting them into the big tub.  We did this for a long while until she was ready for the big tub.

All in all, this is a great tub!  I have recommended it time and time again and I have bought it for numerous baby showers!  I only have two complaints, and they will stand true for most any infant bath tub and cannot be counted as specific to this tub.  One, the drain plug is a little small and it can take a little bit for the water to drain.  Also, not all of the water will drain, and you may have to flip the tub to finish emptying it.  And two, the tub is rather large for storage between kids.  But again, both of these would be true of most tubs.

I do love the option of using this tub as early as birth.  I love the sling that comes with this tub.  I love that the tub has so many different options for different ages.  And I just love the versatility!  This tub sits perfectly in our kitchen sink, it was comfy for Miss A, and easy for both my husband and I to use!

I just got this tub out today (been in storage since we used it with Miss A) and cleaned it looks brand new!  No signs of wear or tear.  The sling needs washed before Baby J arrives, but it is still in perfect condition!  Cannot complain about the life of the tub one bit!!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

Miss A enjoying all stages of her tub...back in the day...  *tear*

All photo rights belong to me.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Works Like A Charm Nursing Necklace Review ... And Giveaway =)

   Good Morning TMG followers! It is time for my first official post and I thought I'd start off with a review and giveaway that is near and dear to my heart ... literately! We're talking about breastfeeding! I am currently breastfeeding my 4mo Velociraptor and she is going strong! My plan is to breastfeed her as long as she wants to (as long as she keeps her teeth to herself!) Yes teeth, my 4mo has recently popped her 2 bottom front teeth in and she keeps using her teeth =( Luckily I was given this beautiful and functional nursing necklace as a baby gift from Works Like A Charm!

                 Here is Velociraptor at 2 weeks already knowing how to use it... My boobies thank her!

    I am so glad to have recieved this, until you have used one you have no idea how nice it is to feed your baby without the worry of having your hair pulled or your "boo boos" scratched and pinched! I remember with Jubbs and Cpt. Caveman all the fistfulls of my hair and all the painful bruises and scratches... it's NO fun! But with this very simple yet very pretty necklace I no longer have to worry about that! She has recently has been also using it for its other use which is a wooden teether and she loves it!

  The first nursing/teething necklace I recieved is made up of a 2" natural, hand-sanded wooden Birch ring and finished with organic olive oil. It has a beautiful 30mm Fancy Jasper donut and wooden accent bead. Keeps little ones hands busy while eating. The wooden ring can be used as a teether, but the stone donut should not! It is on a black satin adjustable cord. One continual cord for safety. No clasps that could break, no worries of loose beads. The Jasper is perfectly neutrally colored so it goes with anything!

    The second  nursing/teething necklace I recieved is made up of a 2 1/2" natural, hand-sanded wooden Birch ring and finished with organic olive oil. It has a beautiful 40mm Pink&Blue Howlite Turquoise stone donut. The pink and blue coloring on this stone really makes this necklace POP!

   As you can see the Howlite Turquoise and the Fancy Jasper necklaces are different in size, though that does NOT affect their functions of this necklace in the least. The sizes and colors of all her different choices is merely for style preferences! (In this picture you can also see the opposite side of the Howlite Turquoise.)

    These beautiful creations of Work Like A Charm are not the only products she makes! She also used these hand-sanded wooden rings along with natural bamboo velour that is knotted and has came up with one of the nicest, functioning teethers my LOs have ever fought over (LOL)! Cpt. Caveman is constantly stealing the wooden ring and wearing it as a bracelet while the Velocirapor is left crying!

  I feel so lucky to have been able to try these products and more so that my kids have been able to benefit from them and will continue to due so through their breastfeeding/teething journey. And even better yet, Mommy will always have these beautiful necklaces to wear whether I have a nursing/teething baby or not!

Because I am an avid supporter and admirer of WAHMs and LOVE knowing what inspired them to start their own business from home .... made up of their own creations from the heart, I thought you enjoy learning a little about what inspired them too =) So here is what Celeste, the creator behind Work Like A Charm nursing and teething accessories, has to say ...

"Hello, My name is Celeste. I am the wahm behind “Works Like A Charm” Nursing necklaces.
I have been married to my wonderful husband since 2007 and we have two children.

When my son was born in 2009 I was determined to breastfeed. As he got a little bigger and more curious, I realized I was getting a lot of hair pulled, chest scratches, and delicate jewelry broken! That is when I started making my own nursing necklaces made of safe non-toxic materials and strong cord to withstand all of the tugs and pulls it would take! And to my delight they “Worked like a charm”!

My Daughter was born only one year later in 2010, and this time around I had worn my nursing necklaces from the very beginning and as long as I had it on I never lost even one strand of hair! It got me thinking that I probably wasn’t the only breastfeeding mother that had this problem and that other mother’s would benefit from these nursing necklaces as well. So in early 2011 Works Like A Charm was born and has been a very helpful accessory to breastfeeding mothers ever since."

    Well said Celeste! And I must say myself ... they really do work like a charm!  Not only has Celeste so graciously offered these beautiful (and extremely helpful) necklaces up for me to review, she has also sent me one for a giveaway so one of you lucky ladies can try one too! This is the 2" hand-sanded (by Celeste) natural Birch wood ring with a 3mm Unikite stone donut and a wooden bead accent ~ Beautiful, isn't it?

Check out Works Like A Charm ...

     I have also heard that Miss Celeste has now started another WAHM business .... I ALSO heard that its quite fluffy .... =)

*Random breastfeeding tip... I have found that if you unclench at least one of their little fists while their eating and leave it lay flat in your hand or on your cheek and the rapid suckling will calm to a more gentle and relaxing feeding for both Mama and Baby!
("Tips" are just MY experieces that I am passing on)
Thank you all for reading and GOOD LUCK! ~Robin

Monday, April 23, 2012

Terrific Twos!

I was all ready to write a little "this is my journey to mamahood" piece when I looked at D and had a total brainstorm: nature versus nurture.  

So, D will be two in August.  One weekend, I looked at him throwing a "Display of Greatness" (temper tantrum) because I wouldn't let him go outside again to draw with chalk and realized "Oh, my...I have a two year old!"

I have been preparing myself for this phase.  I was just talking to Daddyguy in the car about how I was so very careful not to use "no" or "mine" as a part of our daily vocabulary to prevent a crazy unleashed animal screaming "NO NO NO MINE MINE MINE!"  I've tried to instill how to share and be a friend in everything we do together--how to give cuddles and use gentle hands when he tries to smack my Bulldog Riley (who, by the way, is more patient than any dog I've ever seen, thank GOD!) D is awesome 98% of the time.  I really couldn't ask for anything more.

I believe we have tried to set up good habits for behavior the past 21 months and now we are reaping the rewards...but how much is nurture and how much is nature??  A friend complimented me on D and I couldn't help but say he was just born this way.  I hesitate to take too much credit.  In the same vein--when someone has a challenging child, I believe part of the issue is that the child is just wired a certain way.  Teaching has also reinforced this opinion...

Thoughts?  How much of our child is our nurturing and how much is just hard wired through nature??

<3 Jen

Friday, April 20, 2012

More on Me, Laura B.

Hi everyone! My name is Laura B and am lucky to call Laura D a best friend!! I have shared on her blog a couple times in the past and look forward to sharing lots more. I am a SAHM to my two beautiful children C and A. C is 4 ½ and is the sweetest boy. A is 2 ½ and such a spunky fun loving girl. I am so grateful to be able to be at home with them. We live out in the country and are very fortunate to have a simple life. We like the country and all that it offers us. I met my husband in high school and we have been together since I was a junior and he was a senior. We got married in 2004, 5 years after we started seeing each other.

My family enjoys camping and fishing. We take many camping trips through out the spring, summer and fall. It’s so hard to find the time, yet we make the effort to get out and camp as much as we can. We love nature and being outdoors, so state parks are one of our favorite places to camp. We love hiking and just enjoying the beauty of nature.

My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so we were green before green was cool! ;) We gardened, composted, reused, etc. I was raised that way, and have continued these things on with my family. My DH and I have a decent sized garden in our back yard. We grow and eat out of the garden all summer, and also can and freeze a bunch of things. Last year we made homemade spaghetti sauce, salsa, applesauce, sauerkraut, sweet and dill pickles, and grape jelly that we canned. We also froze beans, peas, etc. We hope to make even more stuff this year. There is nothing like the taste of fresh food from your own harvest preserved to enjoy through the winter season.

After becoming a mother and worrying about what is in bought products, I’ve made a lot of things from scratch. Not only are you getting things with no worries about chemicals, it’s also saving you a ton of money. We’ve made homemade play dough, bubbles, glue, and slimy goo. They are some of the things I hope to post about also! I enjoy being frugal. It’s my way of contributing to our family when I don’t bring in an income. I've made my own foam hand pump soap, cleaners, etc.

Both of my children were breastfed from birth til they self weaned. C was around 15 months, right when I conceived A. Then A nursed a bit longer around 18-19 months. It was so gradual that I never even knew when the last time was. Which was nice because it was such a slow process that she led herself. I am a huge breastfeeding supporter!

I cloth diapered C from about 9 months. That is when I became brave enough to try cloth! I started out with prefolds and covers. I then bought 12 bG diapers. I then bought newborn diapers for A and started her out with cloth right after her cord fell off. We are just now out of cloth diapers entirely. She’s been wearing cloth trainers, just cheap ones made by Gerber. They worked really well for her. We did use the pull ups when we were out and about in case of accidents, and also at night. Right now she is *knock on wood* day and night PL!

I love being crafty and have not had the time to do a lot since having kids. The only thing I seem to make time for is sewing, and that is few and far between. I’ve also made A some cute hair bows. I love to sew and create things for my children.

Well that’s me, Laura B. Hope you know a bit more about me now and I look forward to sharing with you on Fridays!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An expanded about me.....


I'm so excited to be contributing to TMG. I really am hoping things make me more accountable to blogging. I started a blog ( probably a year ago and was wonderful with posting often... really often.  And then I quit my job - and became a so yeah you know where this is going... suddenly I had NO time to blog :)  But now that my youngest Miss N is almost 6 months old and sleeping 10-12 hours a night I feel human again.

A little more about me - I am a SAHM who up until a year ago worked at a local university. I have three children - Miss L who is 4 1/2, Mr J or is 2 1/2 and Miss N who is 6 months.  Life is busy to say the least. We also have a rescue dog named Rufus who is lucky he makes it to the next day sometimes.... he's the biggest trouble of all four! I am married to my first and only boyfriend - my other half who completes me.  I am so blessed to have him in my life. I am very involved in our local church and have a wonderful church family.  This fall I will begin homeschooling Miss L and hopefully teaching Mr J some things along the way too. I am very excited but yet nervous at the same time. 

I do not CD although I wish I could/would. I had every intention of doing that with my third child but then she came and something had to give and that was my vision of CDing. It just wasn't going to happen - life was too busy and sometimes you just have to say 'No' even though you really don't want to. I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding though and absolutely love doing it. I nursed my first two children till between 14-16 months and Miss N is still going strong. Those quiet nursing session in the middle of the night are my favorite.... just you and the baby snuggling deep into bed... sigh.... heaven on earth!

My contribution to this blog is going to be sharing some of my money saving (and money making) tips that has helped us become a family with a SAHM. :) I won't say it's easy and we give up a lot of stuff but the benefits way out weigh those material things we are giving up. I hope to be honest and upfront with you.  I will also say that anything sites that I share with you I have tried these programs and am an active member in them. I will not (knowingly) share sites that will spam or trick you. I will cover everything from surveys, home tips, recipes, product testing groups, to things we've done to cut corners. I will also share any local classes that I will be teaching - see my first one listed below!  I have presented at large conferences, small groups, and at retreats. I am open to traveling ;)

I hope you enjoy the ride!
And just to show you how wonderful some of my posts will be – here’s a new program I just found out about and have already had success with - I signed up and within minutes completed my profile and checked out my ‘Offers for you’.  I was selected for Knorr Homestyle Stock Mission – I’m going to receive 1 Full-size pack of Knorr Homestyle Stock, 3 coupons to share, 1 cooking ladle, and 1 recipe booklet.  Sign up today and let me know what you’re selected to try!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For those of you who don't know me...

Hi Guys!

You all know me, but a new bio and updated story never hurts!  I want us all to seem like old friends to you and not just like writers for a parenting blog!  So grab a cup of coffee (decaf for you pregnant ladies) and here is a little more about me!

I am a 29 year old wife and mommy from central Pennsylvania.  I met my husband in college, so many crazy and unbelievable occurrences happened to bring us together and we are still amazed that the cards lined up so perfectly for us!  We met in May of 2005, were engaged July of 2006, and married June of 2007.  Yep, didn't take me long to KNOW that he was the one for me!  He is my best friend and I could not get through a single day without him!  In June of 2009, we welcomed our first little bundle of joy, Miss A.  My pregnancy was quite easy with her, no morning sickness or problems, until my 32 week appointment.  At that appointment I discovered that my blood pressure was rising and I had developed PUPPS (pregnancy rash).  These two concerns were my constant companions for the rest of my pregnancy.  Lucky for me and for my little unborn Miss A, neither was too much of a problem and at 39 weeks I delivered her vaginally and started my incredible journey as a mama!

My first moments as a Mommy with Miss A.

When Miss A was born, I was still working Full Time as a Labor and Delivery nurse.  I absolutely loved my job!  Nothing compares to bringing life into this world and witnessing the miracle of birth on an every day basis.  I started working in L&D in 2007 and for sure, it was the perfect fit for me.  But what is even better than your dream career?  Your dream of being a SAHM!  This was my absolute #1 all time dream...but never thought it would be possible!  I tried not to hope or wish for it, but God must have heard my prayers!  Around Miss A's first birthday, my husband took a job with a better salary to cover what I was making and it was further away with longer hours, making it impossible for me to continue work anyway!  My dream of becoming a SAHM was finally a reality!

Around this same time, I took the plunge into cloth diapering.  Miss A has very sensitive skin and we were having trouble with eczema and other skin irritations.  Add to that, I had just become a SAHM and wanted to save some bucks!!!  So I started looking into cloth, but got so overwhelmed that it just turned me off immediately!  I met with some friends not too long after this, and one of my BF's (new contributor Laura B.) had her little girl in cloth diapers!  I casually asked her about them and about what she was wearing, and thus started my, addiction, with cloth diapers!

One of the first CDs Miss A tried...a BumGenius 3.0.

Being a SAHM is on of the most incredible and rewarding jobs EVER!  But it is also one of the most challenging and stressful jobs EVER!  Miss A definitely keeps me on my toes and there is never a dull moment...and she is almost THREE!  But she is my little bundle of energy and spunk!  I have never spoke on here about some of our more recent problems (mainly out of embarrassment) but we have had some speech delay problems and I plan to discuss this journey more in coming months.  We had noticed for a long time that she was not where she should have been speech wise, but our pediatrician (love him dearly but...) blew it off as nothing to worry about.  As she reached 2 1/2 we took matters into our own hands and had a speech consult.  I knew she was behind, but that evaluation really opened my eyes to just how behind she was.  The eval was just before Christmas and I am happy, proud, thrilled, etc to say that she has made HUGE improvements and is well on her way to getting back on track for her age.  It is just scary because a speech delay may or may not indicate other issues later in childhood and life.  So it is a constant worry and concern for us, but the improvement is astounding, so we keep hoping and praying that is was just a speech delay and won't be something more!

Add to all of that...we are expecting baby number two on June 6th!  Little man (Baby J) is 33 weeks baked and we are just so excited to meet him and become a family of four (seven if you count our dog Daisy and cats Maddy and Molly)!  I am excited to meet him, see what Miss A thinks of him, and just start our journey as a bigger family.  It is just so hard to believe that I am 33 weeks already...seems like just yesterday we were trying and getting nowhere fast!  It took us about 8 months to get pregnant this time which was extremely frustrating after we got preggo the first month we tried with Miss A.  It seemed like forever.  I know in the grand scheme of how long most people try to get pregnant, 8 months is nothing...but I can completely sympathize with those of you having troubles!

31 weeks preggo with Baby J.

My pregnancy this time has also been extremely easy.  No problems thus far!  No morning sickness and I got through my 32 week appointment last week with no BP I am going to keep doing what I am doing and pray that I can get to my due date with no concerns!  I have been working out (most of the time) and have been trying to watch what I eat a little better.  The past week or two, my diet has seriously slacked and so has my I need to be better about that...especially in these final weeks when I really want to keep my BP in check!

I am really excited for the newborn stages coming soon!  Our nursery is back to being a nursery (we moved Miss A into her big girl room), I still need to wash baby clothes, but they are all out and sorted.  So washing is all I need to do and we will be ready for baby J.  I am excited for the prospect of the not knowing when he will come, when labor will start, etc.  I am just so anxious to see how his entrance into the world will be!  My labor and delivery with Miss A was fairly easy, so I am curious to see how this one will be!  I am excited to breastfeed again and do all of those tiny infant things!  Miss A was a breeze with breastfeeding, so I am anxious/excited to see what breastfeeding Baby J holds!   I am excited to get newborn cloth diapers on baby J and see how cute they are on him!  I am just excited for the whole deal!  The next 7 weeks just cannot pass fast enough!

30 weeks, my 4D Ultrasound picture of Baby J.

So here we are, with a new fresh start to my little blog!  I started this blog in August of 2010, just shortly after I got into cloth diapering.  After my experience with getting started and seeing how completely overwhelming the world of cloth diapering can be, and how wonderful online mamas were for helping me to get started, I wanted to pay it forward and create a blog where parents could come for honest information to help them on their journey!  From there it branched into other topics such as breastfeeding, babywearing, natural parenting, etc and now has grown to include 4 other mommies and their experiences!  I am extremely anxious and excited to see all of the wonderful things that come from this newest addition to the blog!  Each mama has her own flavor and ideas for what she hopes to do on the blog!  We still have a ton of kinks to work out, but this is extremely exciting!

I will still be working on cloth diapers (Miss A has no desire to PL) and will be doing my newborn cloth series after baby J is born!  More breastfeeding, babywearing, natural parenting, natural household supplies, and other topics to come from me!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Little Backstory To Say Hello....

     Hello TMG followers. My name is Robin and I will be Tuesday's blog contributor. I am have been married for almost 4 years to my "balancer". I call DH that because with him being so laid back and me being so outgoing (and outspoken), he has calmed me down alot! At the same time I have brought him out of his shell a bit as well! We have three beautiful children together, all which have been "pushed out" and breastfed. Jubba, our eldest daugher, just turned 5 in March. Captain Caveman, our only son, will be 3 in July. And the Velociraptor, our youngest daughter, was born in December of 2011 and is just 4 months and still breastfeeding. Our children are 2 years and 4 months apart from each other and none were "planned" considering I was on bc when I got pregnant with each of them ! I consider them blessings and treat them as such. I have always wanted to be a Mommy for as long as I can remember. People would ask what we wanted to be when we grew up and most of my friends would say ballerinas or princesses... I would say I want to be married and have LOTS of babies!
     I am lucky to be a stay at home Mommy at this point. It is the most rewarding job I have EVER had. I get to watch my babies grow and learn on a daily basis. My children have never been in daycare nor do I have any plans on them ever being there. Jubba started K4 this past fall in a cyber school program that offers a brick and mortar facility for them to attend actual school. I would LOVE to homeschool but I believe socialization is a big and important part of a child's learning experience. We do have a membership to the children's museum and use it quite often. I also enjoy taking my kids to the zoo, the park, the aviary ... really anywhere were they can experience new and exciting things. Watching them enjoy themselves makes my heart smile.
     I am a cloth diaper addict. I currently have two in cloth, but I am hoping that Cpt. Caveman will potty learn soon. He has expressed intrest so as soon as it warms up a bit more we will start "bootcamp" (which will be a blog series in itself). I started using cloth on Cpt. Caveman when he was 20m and I have never looked back! Cloth is my new favorite addiction! I love all things cloth! I have a stash of over 100 dipes and it continues to grow! My stash contains pockets, aios, ai2s, fitteds, prefolds, doublers, covers, and woolies ... I do NOT descriminate, I LOVE all cloth =) I also use cloth wipes, wipe solution, cloth friendly bum creams and cloth friendly detergent on all my laundry. And when Auntie Flow decides to visit again I will be using cloth pads as well! I have wooden teethers for the Velocirapor (when she's not devouring her Sophie) and I have nusing necklaces that protect me from pinches and also double as teethers. To help some this part up, because my list can go on and on .... if it's related to cloth or natural in anyway I probably use it =)
     I am a big fan of baby-wearing and do it as often as possible, even around the house! I love it and so does the Velociraptor. I love being close to her just as much as she does to me. Though some people would say I spoil her with this I say that is where babies belong! She is a well-balanced baby, she is not always in the ring-sling she gets some much needed tummy-time too! Baby-wearing helps me get stuff done around the house and keeps my baby happy so in my opinion two rights can not make a wrong =)

     I enjoy all things outdoors. Camping and fishing are two of my faves. I also enjoy reading, it allows me a little time in another world "away from it all". I love making matching dresses for me and my daughters. I am trying right now to take my sewing skills to a new level by trying my hand at making some fitted diapers for the Velociraptor. I enjoy listening to music, I have tons that I love and only a select few that I don't. I'm not big on wearing make up though I will for certain events and I own dress clothes and heels but am more comfortable in jeans, a cute top and some tennis shoes. I am pretty easy going and can be very spontanious at times, though being a Mommy has given me alot more responsiblities and spontanaiety and parenting does not fit all the time!
     I will be posting alot about my children (obviously, lol) and my experiences with them. I will also be doing alot of reviews (and giveaways!!!) on items I use and some I have never tried. I want to be as interactive as possible whe it comes to reviews so if there is anything you would like to see reviewed please let me know and I will do my best at securing it for you =) Speaking of reviews and giveaways ... I have a couple all ready lined up so be on the look out! I look foward to sharing my experiences with you and I hope you enjoy reading them =)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let me introduce myself...

Hi!  I am Jen and I will be Monday's contributor : )   I am very excited to try my hand at blogging & add to TMG!

I have been married for 6 years to my best friend from high school...we dated for forever (ok, "only" 8 years lol) and we have our Cub, the most amazing 20 month old son I could ever have asked for.  We also have a "daughter," Miss Riley Jade, our English Bulldog. 

I have nursed my son since the beginning and we are still a great nursing team.  I never thought to quit, even through allergies and sensitivities and pumping at work (which was quite an adventure, but I'll save that for another post : )  I love "wearing" Cub and he loves it just as much!  He has had a fluffy butt since around 3 1/2-4 months old and we use cloth wipes as well.  I made all his baby food.  Add to this all working full time and you have one very tired and sometimes overextended mama!

I'm all about taking Cub places like zoos, farms, aquariums, and anywhere we can see and do and enrich.  Don't mistake me for a crazy teachermama though, I am extremely babyled and whenever he is ready for things, he lets me know.  I'd describe my parenting style as an overprotective surfergirl--I let him do his thing but hover ; )

I lovelovelove scrapbooking (and I finally have the Holy Grail of scrapping...a BABY!!)  I have started sewing (cloth wipes, snack bags, flannel pants for Cub and a skirt for me, not too bad) and I am thoroughly addicted to Pinterest.  (Thanks to Pinterest, this weekend, Cub now has tons of homemade playdough and 5 bleached tees--another post for later :) 

I wear many hats--mama, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher!  I teach second grade and have been for 5 years now.  I have taught at two different schools, first a religious school (4 years) and now a charter.  My students have always been my kids, but things really change when you have a baby of your very own.
I work and this is a tough thing for me.  I can't quit and stay home to be with Cub.  I love teaching but of course I'd much rather be home snuggling and playing.  I suppose I get the best of both worlds--a paycheck and all the regular school vacations.  But still, it rips my heart out every morning and I race home every afternoon.  My son is such an incredible little creature and being away a moment is painful.  But life goes on!  Gotta keep on truckin' until that winning lotto ticket falls into my hands!  hehehe

<3 Jen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

BIG News!!! Meet the new TMG Contributors!!!

First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who submitted their name and information to become a contributor for the TMG blog!  I was amazed and touched by just how many of you wanted to come on board and write for the the blog!  It was very difficult choosing from all of you, but after long debate (including making my poor husband read all of your stuff and helping me decide) I finally came to my decisions!  So without further ado, here is the TEAM of people that will be bringing you the new and improved TMG blog!  We are all excited to get started as a team and really make this blog shine!!  Each person will be bringing their own flavor and expertise to the blog, so this is going to be a ton of FUN!!!

Up on Mondays...Jennifer!

My name is Jen--although I am referred to as "mum!" or "Mrs. M!!" 99% of the time.  I am a working mom of my "Cub," Drake, who is 20 months.  I have been cloth diaper-and-wiping my son since he was 3 1/2 months old and it was the best decision our family has made!!  I am a rabid baby wearer--yes he still lets me!--and extended breastfeeder, since my son loves his milk so much and I am so attached to the cuddles.  We have had a time of it with sensitivities and allergies, so nursing has not been without challenges.  My interests include my son! crafting, sewing (I am starting out, so get ready for my attempts!) and teacher related things--which really, are kids and creativity rolled into one : )  I am excited to explore blogging about parenting, fluff, craftiness and being a working mom.

Up on Tuesdays...Robin!

Hi! My name is Robin I am 30, married to my "balancer" and a proud Mama of three children DD1 ~ "Jubba" ~ is 5y, DS ~ "Cpt. Caveman" ~ is 2.5y and DD2 ~  "Velociraptor" ~ is just 4 months. I have been cloth diapering for about a year and a half now and my journey opened my eyes to a different way of living - a cleaner, greener way! I have experiences in many areas that I will be sharing with you all. Some of the topics that I will be discussing include, but are not limited to ...cloth diapering, baby wearing, breastfeeding, mama cloth, co-sleeping, child birth, and potty learning ... just to name a few. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you =)

Up on Wednesdays...Laura D. (me!)

You guys all know me!  I am the creator of the TMG blog!  I am a 29 year old wife and mommy. In June of 2007 I married the man of my dreams and I have the best husband in the whole world!  He truly is my best friend and I could not get through a single day without him! Our little girl (Miss A) was born June of  2009 and she is the light of our lives!  She is our funny little "monkey" getting into everything and has no desire to potty train, so she is still in cloth diapers!  We are expecting a boy (Baby J) in June 2012 and are anxious to meet him and get him in cloth diapers too!  Yes, two in CDs...should be fun!  I used to work as a Labor and Delivery nurse, but now I enjoy being a Full Time SAHM with my (soon to be TWO) kids! I started this blog in an effort to help other mamas out there navigate the world of parenting, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, natural parenting, and whatever other topics come about!  It has been a fun journey so far, and this new twist is going to add so much to this blog that I have put my heart an soul into already!

Up on Thursdays...Jessica!

My name is Jessica and to some I am an extreme couponer but not really. I just enjoy making my dollars stretch as far as they can! I am married to my high school sweetheart (together 13 years, married 6) and we have three children - 4 1/2 year girl, 2 1/2 boy, 6 month girl.  I worked at a local university until I became pregnant with my third child and my husband and I decided that it was time for me to become a SAHM.  I was scared, excited, nervous, relieved, you name it - I was it!  We were suddenly going to cut our income in half - and thus I started my journey of saving money, cutting corners, and making those dollars last! 

Up on Fridays...Laura B.

Hi, my name is Laura!  I am a mama to 2, my son C who is 4 and my daughter A who is 2.  I started using cloth when C was around 9 months, and got hooked!  A wore cloth not long after birth, around 10 days old once her cord fell off.  I have a love of baby wearing and hope to share a lot about it with you all.  I breastfed both children til they self weaned, C at 15 months and A was around 18-19 months.  I am a SAHM who loves finding natural and frugal ways of living life.  We garden and also can a lot of things from our garden.  I am a novice sewer, but it's one of the few hobbies I make time for anymore.  


We start on Monday with the new TEAM effort, so get ready for some FUN!  This week everyone has prepared a long bio and information on themselves so that you can get to "know" all of us!  Then starting the week of April 23rd, regular posts will start!  So tons of reviews, information, etc will be coming your way on all sorts of Parenting topics!!!  Hope you are all as excited as we are!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Natural House Cleaning Products Review and Giveaway!

It is no shock to most of you that I am always looking for new (and more natural) products to use around my home.  It all started with cloth diapering, and it has just blossomed...grown...EXPLODED from there!  So when I come across natural cleaning products, I just have to give them a try!  As a mama to an almost three year old, three pets, and a baby on the way...natural products are a MUST!  When I was given the pleasure of reviewing Natural House Cleaning Products: Flushy, Trashy, and Sinky I was anxious and excited to try using them!!!

Natural House Cleaning Products were designed by a MOM who wanted to clean her house with ingredients that were not only safe for her family, but would also prevent an outbreak of germs in her home.  Insert, Probiotics.  We have all heard a ton about Probiotics in the past few years, and this is just one more of the many applications where these tiny little micro-organisms can really be beneficial to you, your family, and your home!  They carefully select non-pathogenic and non-toxic Probiotic bacteria and natural plant based biodegradable ingredients for all of their products.

First up...Flushy!

Let's face it...while cleaning the toilet isn't as bad as most people make it out to be, it still is one of the most disgusting chores around the house.  Because of the probiotics in the Flushy ingredients, Flushy continues to break down waste, germs, etc between uses and can actually make your nasty chore a little bit easier!  Not only does it clean the part you can see, it also works to break down waste and toilet paper build up in your pipes and septic system!  Talk about paying it forward!!!

And even better, Flushy is a cinch to use!  It comes in water soluable packets, so all you do is simply drop one of the packets in your toilet, let it dissolve, activate, and foam for 5-10 seconds and then scrub with your brush!  When you are satisfied, simply flush all of those good probiotics down the toilet and they will continue to work on your pipes!


Who thinks to clean their garbage can?  Honestly, I never did.  And to tell the's NASTY!!  Again, this is one germ ridden area of your house that (I think) most people don't clean.  I mean really, who is going to take the bag out and look in the bottom of your trash can, but it is a HUGE breeding ground for fungus and bacteria.  The same is true of your diaper pail!  Think of the nastiness in the bottom of your diaper pail!  EW!

Trashy has been designed with those same wonderful Probiotics to get in the bottom of your trash can and/or diaper pail (yes, it actually says on the bottle for diaper pails! YAY!) and kill those nasty germs and funk that live there!  And it could not be more simple to use.  Who wants to stick their arm in there and scrub?  NOT ME!  So all you do is simply spray the bottom of the trash can or diaper pail with Trashy and then air dry.  If there is serious gunk, you will want to wipe it out of course!  Trashy has a nice fresh scent and will continue to fend off those nasty germs long after you spray!

And last...Sinky!

The sink.  All kinds of different things get into your sink.  Food, mold, mildew, grease, soap, paint, name it!  You may or may not have a garbage disposal, either way...Sinky is your Man!  Just like Flushy, Sinky not only cleans your sink, but your disposal and your drains too!  Those probiotics are hard at work to digest odor, grime, and clean out build up in your pipes!

And just like Flushy, Sinky is a cinch to use since it also comes in the same water soluable packets.  You simply drop one in your sink, run hot water for 5-10 seconds, and watch the foaming action work on your sink.  If you have a garbage disposal, you simply run it for a few seconds.  Very easy to use and the probiotics continue to work long after you use Sinky.


I really loved these products.  They all have a nice, pleasing, fresh scent to them...nothing harsh or "chemical-ly."  They are extremely easy to use!  The are all natural, plant based, non-toxic, eco-friendly, and non-pathogenic probiotics.  They are safe for me, my husband, my kids, my pets, my home surfaces, etc.  And they continue to work long after you actually clean that area.  What is not to love?

Natural House Cleaning Products has a cute video highlighting what their products are all about, please take a moment to watch it!  It is quite adorable and made me laugh.  The dog licking the toilet...I clean with vinegar and my dog always licks whatever I clean! Including the toilet!!!

If you would like to purchase Natural House Cleaning Products, please visit their website here or you may purchase their products on Amazon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Day Has Come...

Well folks...I tried to avoid it...but I just can't keep up anymore!  With an almost 3 year old and a baby on the way (arriving SO shortly), the blog is really suffering and it makes me terribly sad!  So I am looking for a blog contributor or two! Who would like to write for The Mommy Goods?  This is a really hard decision for me, because this blog is another of my babies, but I just cannot keep up the amount of posts that I need to and so I am hoping that one of you lovely mamas would like to help me out!  I will of course still be around and will be doing my series on newborn diapering after baby J comes, but I just cannot keep up with the blog on my own and give it the attention (and you guys the information) that I feel it deserves!

If you are interested, please email me at with the following information as well as any other information you want to include!

1. how long have you been cloth diapering?

2. how many children have you cloth diapered?

3. how many different kinds of diapers have you used?

4. what are your favorite diapers?  what are some diapers that you hated/didn't work for you?

5. have you used other reusable items ie. mama cloth, cloth training pants, etc?

6. how much time per week do you think you could spend working on posts for the TMG blog?  I am hoping that between myself and potentially 2 more contributors, we can each post one day a week so that there are three days a week with posts.

7. what are some other experiences that you could write about ie. breastfeeding, babywearing, etc?

8. take one of your diapers (either a fave and/or a hate it) and write up a short review of your likes and/or dislikes and the features of the diaper  (so I can see your writing style!)

Keep in mind, most of these questions are more curiosity and just looking at background, nothing is a MUST.  If you are new to CDing and want to write, that could be a PERFECT angle!  So don't think that experience is a must!  I would like to start incorporating more informational posts ie. washing, getting started, etc so any areas of expertise and any level of experience will be more than considered!  I would also like to get back to writing about other natural parenting topics such as breastfeeding, babywearing, etc.  Again, experience in these areas is not required, but we may branch out a little with more writers and more experiences to draw from!  And of course, your ideas are MORE than welcome!

Hope to hear from you guys soon!!!