Friday, July 27, 2012

More About Our Garden

What We Plant:

Yellow Beans
Sugar Peas
Green Peppers
Hot Hungarian Peppers
JalapeƱo Peppers
Sweet Corn

We plant a large garden so we can use it now fresh, and also to can and freeze things so we have fresh food for our family all winter long.  We make a spaghetti sauce, which we use the onions, green peppers, hot hungarian peppers, and tomatoes for.  We make pickles with the cucumbers.  Sauerkraut with the cabbage.  We freeze peas, yellow beans (we prefer them over the green), and corn.  We make a lot of recipes with the zucchinni, enjoy eating the sugar peas our of the garden (my fav), and making salads with the fresh lettuce. 

We also tried out mulching our garden this year.  Though it takes up some time up front to get the mulching done, it has saved us so much time weeding all summer long!  We used newspapers, and also cardboard.  DH can get the cardboard from work, and the newspapers were given to us since we don't get the paper.  We used these because they will break down in the garden.  We then cover them with cut grass.  We have a ton of mowing to do here on our land, so we had plenty of grass clippings to use.  If you don't you can also use straw.   The grass clippings were free, so then all the mulching was free for us.   Our garden starts out with seeds and some things we start out with plants.  The things we prefer to use plants with are, tomatoes, peppers (all the kinds), cabbage, and head lettuce.  We use onion sets, and the rest are started with seeds in the garden. 

We also compost and all our food scrap/waste is put in a pile near our garden.  Then in the spring we take that compost and put it in our garden, along with the fall leaves and grass clippings.  We then rototiller everything up into a rich soil!  Lots of organic matter make for a healthy and happy garden.

And you can see I used the word WE in this post a lot.  That's because this is something that our whole family is part of.  There is even a small portion (too shady to grow things well) that we let the kids dig and play in the dirt.  I hope our children not only remember the tasty sauce they grew up eating, but also the dirt between their toes and the taste of a fresh vegetable pulled from the garden.  We can't trust what the grocery is selling us, so why not take control and know you are serving your children the very freshest and healthiest of foods.  Also it saves a TON of money through out the year!  Why not save money while making the healthiest choice!

Here are some pictures so you can have a peak into our garden! Enjoy! 

 Our Garden Today (top pic is the left side, bottom pic is the right side)

 How it all started, seeds and plants.

 Just a blank canvas waiting for the the rest to be planted.  Onions on left were planted early.

 Today's yummy snack straight from the garden!  Mmmmm! My favorite!

 This says it all! <3

My two kiddos happy to be helping plant the garden!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Introduction to Newborn Cloth Diapering Series little man is 7 weeks old!  How can that be?  And it is time that I start getting the newborn cloth diapering series started!  Because we have had some twists and turns to our cloth diapering adventures, I wanted to start the series with how things have been going and the problems that we have faced along the way!

During my pregnancy, I thought *a lot* about what I wanted and what I expected in regards to cloth diapering a newborn.  Miss A was a long skinny baby and I assumed that our next baby would be the same. Long skinny babies are difficult to cloth diaper because their tiny little legs are too small for the leg openings and they tend to leak!  I didn't start cloth diapering Miss A until after she was a year old and there were still many OS diapers that did not fit around her legs and we had leaks.  So I knew that cloth diapering a skinny newborn would be the same and potentially even more difficult.

Another disclosure that I must confess...I really don't love prefolds.  *gasp*  So right up front, I did not want to buy or use probably the best cloth diapering choice for a newborn with skinny legs.  I knew that if we tried to use prefolds, both my husband and I would end up just not using cloth until Baby J fit into his other diapers.  So I didn't waste my money on a diapering choice that I knew we wouldn't use.  But for those of you with skinny babies like me...prefolds and covers would probably be the best leak free solution.  Prefolds just aren't a fave of ours.

So throughout my pregnancy (and even before I got pregnant hehe!) I started to build my stash of pockets, AIOs, AI2's, etc.  I even got a few fitteds and covers to use once he started going longer jags at night.

Another confession.  We bought disposables.  I knew that I wanted to get baby J into his cloth ASAP, but with a skinny baby, recovery from delivery, etc I knew that we would not be FT cloth diapering for a while.  And BOY was I right!  I was not counting on the problems we would face!

So baby J was finally born, the easiest delivery you can imagine!!!  He practically (and honestly!) almost fell out!  What an amazing birth!  Between breastfeeding, caring for baby J, trying to find time for Miss A, planning her birthday party, and trying to find any time to sleep...he was a week old and I hadn't gotten cloth on him yet!!  I couldn't believe that a week had gone by and I hadn't busted out the cloth yet!  The amount of disposable diapers going into the trash just made me nauseated, so I started transitioning him to cloth with the hopes that we would be FT in a week or so and no more disposables.  Man was I delusional!!!

Baby J was 7 pounds 12 ounces at birth, long and skinny just like I predicted.  At a week old, he was 7 pounds 2 ounces.  With his cord stump still on, I started trying out cloth diapers to see what would work with his stump and what worked with his skinny legs.  Those two factors are difficult to manage both in one diaper!  The three that worked the best were Swaddlebees Newborn Simplex, GroVia Newborn AIO, and Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  But as the weeks passed, even those began to leak and gap around the legs.  Baby J was breastfeeding ALL the time but he was losing weight!  It was a mother's worst nightmare!  I had breastfed Miss A with no troubles and here my little boy was losing weight.

Our pediatrician brought up the dreaded "why don't you supplement with formula" discussion.  Ugh.  I didn't want to supplement because I wanted to find the problem and fix it!  But my little boy needed to gain weight too!  A lot of worrying and loss of sleep over this!!!  So I decided to switch feeding positions and pump to supplement with breastmilk.  I found that he was having a latch/suck problem and changing position to football hold corrected this immediately.  His feeding sessions shortened and he was sleeping longer at a time, so I knew we were in business.  And a week later we found that he was finally gaining weight!!!  It has been quite the stressful road with baby J so far, but little man is growing like a weed now.

What does all of this mean for cloth diapering?  Well, it means a lot for those moms out there reading with skinny tiny babies!  Baby J dropped to about 7 pounds, maybe a little less.  And I found that his skinny little legs in the cloth diapers just leaked and leaked.  We had to stop using most of our cloth for a week or so until he gained some weight back and they fit again (we were having leaks between every change and it was just getting frustrating and the laundry was just piling up).  The only diapers that fit at this point were the GroVia Newborn AIOs so we used a few of them here and there but none of our other newborn diapers fit.  Slowly as he reached 7 1/2 and 8 pounds, we were able to reintroduce the other newborn diapers.

So what I have found for skinny babies...GroVia Newborn AIOs fit the lowest weight on a skinny baby.  So if you have skinny and under 7-7 1/2 pound babies, these are my recommendation!!!  These also fit well under the umbilical stump for us, so you could get baby into them immediately!  I did find that this diaper was a little stiff (the fabric) and because these babies are so tiny, the snap choices may not fit well.  The smallest snaps were a little tight and the next snap out was miles too big.  But when the snap options lined up with the size of the baby, it was a nice leak free fit.

The next best fitting diaper for skinny babies...Swaddlebees Simplex Newborn.  This is my absolute favorite diaper!  I will be getting more of these for #3 someday!  I love the fit of these, I love the absorbency, I love the umbilical snap, and I love that these were the second diapers to fit when Baby J started gaining weight.  They fit ok when we first started cloth (he was 7-2 then), then as he lost they leaked around the legs, then as he gained we got back into them around 7 1/2 pounds.  Love these!

The other diaper that even remotely came close to working early for us was the Rumparooz Lil Joeys.  We tried these on when we first got him into cloth because they are to fit from 5 pounds, so I thought they would be great for my skinny baby!  I was shocked to find that even this tiny little newborn diaper did not fit well around the legs!  There were HUGE gaps!  Apparently you are to have a chunky 5 pounder!!!  When we first put these on they fit OK but we had leaks often.  Then as he lost weight they were just out.  And then as he gained he was almost 8 pounds before we could use them again.  As rapidly as he is gaining now, these are almost ready to be tossed in the too small pile.  If your baby has any meat on him, these would probably work well, but for skinny minis like mine, these were just not a great fit for us.  By the time they fit well around the legs, the overall diaper is getting too small.

As for the other newborn diapers, Kissaluvs AIO, BumGenius AIO, Tots Bots Tiny Fit, Fuzzibunz XS, Charlie Banana XS, and Applecheeks Size 1...because of his skinny-ness, they did not start fitting well until 8 1/2-9 pounds.  These newborn diapers did not fit at birth for us, but they are now fitting quite well and he will probably be able to wear them for a good amount of time more!  We are now up to 9 1/2-ish pounds and some of our OS diapers are fitting.  I have tried Best Bottoms and Rumparooz OS (both aplix) and they have fit well and leak free!!!

So what have I learned? Number One. If you have skinny may have a tough cloth diapering road ahead until they get up to 8 1/2-9 pounds (depending on your diapering choice)!  Number Two. Definitely have some disposables ready in case your cloth doesn't fit (you can always find someone to give the extras too).  Number Three. Consider Prefolds and covers...I kinda wish that I had bought a few just to try...I wasn't counting on baby J being 4-5 weeks old before his cloth fit well!

Overall, I love my little newborn cloth booty...he is just too darn cute in his cloth!

Individual and in-depth reviews of each diaper coming!!  I will start with the GroVia Newborn AIO next week!!!  So stay tuned for CUTE newborn photos!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Project Pomona Review

    Here is something I am sure all parents with children in diapers, especially cloth diapers, can relate to ... finding a pair of jeans for our little ones that actually fit!  We have all dealt with the common occurances of the diaper sticking out of the back, buying a size up so the fluff fits just to have them be too long and just plain ill-fitting jeans. We had very little choice in the matter, until now!  I have come across a wonderful WAHM company that has just what we have all been searching for - jeans for our little ones' fluffy bums that not only fit but come in various styles and are super cute!

    I recieved the Little Wren in size 1 for the Velociraptor a few months back and she has worn them very often. The jeans that I recieved in the Little Wren style are a one of a kind pair because the pair I recieved had the wren on the front of the jeans and the ones available for purchase have the wren on the back.  The jeans are super cute no matter where the wren is placed and I feel HONORED to have recieved this very special pair of pants!  I must say that the are a great fit so far and STILL have a couple months to go!

The cuffs are awesome! They roll up to reveal a beautiful coral colored fabric with sweet little wheels.  I like that I can choose that option for her even when she's a little bigger because then they become little clam-diggers =)

The fit on her cloth-covered bum is amazing! There is NO diaper showing and absolutely NO gaps what-so-ever.  Yet the elastic is gentle ... Not one red mark!

The multi-snap fronts are genius!  This gives the pants a nice flat front, makes it easy to adjust perfectly, and what an adorable style!

    These pants are a go-to item in this house.  The denim is of very high quality and has just enough stretch in them for the perfect fit no matter how the Velociraptor has grown.  I can't wait for Pvt. K's chance to wear these - and whether this upcoming sonogram shows a boy or a girl as far as these pants go it's all good! In my opinion they would be just as cute on a little boy as they do on my little girl! I LOVE gender neutral items, especially ones this cute! And as soon as I see that it's time for a new size the Velociraptor WILL be getting a new pair. Heck, I am already busy looking deciding on which pair ... or should I say pairs!  Yes, they ARE cute but they are so very functional as well.  I have yet to find another pair of pants that have EVER fit my cloth-bummed babies better than these do!


Why Pomona?

"It all started with a silly nickname my grandmother gave me. As these things go that same nickname, Pomona, was bestowed upon my little girl when she made her world debut, but we never really thought anything more of it.

When brainstorming for a company name, Pomona kept coming to mind. So, I did a little homework and found out that Pomona was actually a Roman goddess, associated with fruitful abundance. Specifically, she was associated with the flourishing of trees, gardens and orchards- and the caring for their cultivation.

How does this relate to pants? After all, isn't this a more appropriate name for a landscaping company? Well, I can think of no better blessing than that of fruitful abundance and responsible cultivation to bestow upon a little one or our environment. For me it typifies how I feel responsible, sustainable businesses should be operated.

Many Project Pomona customers already make daily eco friendly choices that really do have a direct impact on their children and our Earth. This nurturing ideal is passed on and exemplified to their little ones in the hope that through them, and subsequent generations, positive changes can be made.

The big idea behind Project Pomona is to produce a single item that can be used over and over; a handcrafted, practical and durable item that accommodates the crazy growth spurts of a small child and can then be passed on and used again.

I do hope that Project Pomona can find a place in your eco friendly lifestyle."

                                                                                                         ~Meghan creator of Project Pomona

    Check out Project Pomona on:


     I hope you have enjoyed my review of these pants as much as I enjoyed reviewing them! Thank you so much for reading, enjoy the rest of your week and I will "see" you next Tuesday! ~Robin =)

Monday, July 23, 2012

No "NO!" Approach : )

So I'm back (and this time with a sick kid, but thank God I'm on vacation so I'm home...) and I've been giving a lot of thought to how we parent--our individual parenting styles.  I've been wanting to write this for a couple weeks. 

I am not talking about categorizing, I'm talking more the spirit in which we go about our duties as parents.  Active versus inactive, strict-swift discipline ("NO! STOP!") versus distract-redirect ("Should we do this?  How about this instead?!")  We can all fit into these labels at any given time of course--I have my "deal breakers" where it's automatic "I DON'T think SO!" however I'm talking about general beliefs. 

I believe in active parenting.  I don't sit and yell--I get up and correct behavior as I see fit.  I was raised this way and it fits my son's personality.  He responds to proximity, he responds to reason for the most part (lol but he's 2 so---sometimes reason isn't his cup of tea!)  I don't use "no" unless it's a dangerous thing.  I have seen the overuse of no as a teacher.  I also hate when people tell me not to do something...but never tell me what they WANT me to do.  Are kids any different?  In my mind, they aren't. 

Picture this: kitchen...kiddo opens a drawer, mama says "NO!"  Kiddo goes back to the super fun game of open-slam open-slam while mama continues to yell no and cook.  Mama gets really frustrated.  Familiar to anyone out there?

Ok, you don't want me to open the drawer?  Well, why?  What do you want me to do?  What can I do in here?  What's in this drawer that's so super awesome that you don't wanna share???  Open-slam.  Open-slam.  Giggle...

My kitchen situation usually goes like this:
D opens a drawer.  I walk over and tell him to please keep the drawer closed because there is XYZ in it, thank you.  I lead him to a cabinet he CAN open and pull baking things out of if he really wants to (if you don't have a drawer or cabinet that's kid friendly they can play with, I highly recommend it!  D loves the baking tins and cookie sheets--cool things that are safe and easy for me to put away.)  As a rule, D is happy to move.  Sometimes he isn't.  I simply stand in front of whatever it is and explain again.  And again.  And again.  Dinner, dishes, whatever can wait. 

I have the luxury of having an only child where I can ignore everything else and deal with situations, I know this isn't everyone's reality.  But even a little more patience can go such a long way!  (Oh, and manners--I say please and thank you every time.  If I expect him to use those, shouldn't I model it?) 

Understand I'm not perfect.  Do I get frustrated?  Of course.  However as a teacher, you learn not to show it to kids.  This has carried over into my parenting.  Does D need to feel my frustration?  No.  Never. 

He is a child, I am the adult.  I also work full time wrangling other people's kids, so yes, I am tired.  I am stressed.  I get burned out.  Not my kid's problem.  When I peed on that stick three-ish years ago, I made him the promise that I would be his loving, patient and caring mama and put him above all else.  When I walk into my classroom, I make the same promise to my students.  My issues are not theirs. 

It's natural for me and my unending patience (his term) amazes my husband every day!  What is SO satisfying is first seeing D respond to this and grow into a happy, well adjusted toddler...second is hearing Daddyguy say things like "Is that the best choice?  Should we pick that up?  Leave it, please!"  when before he would have yelled "NO! DON'T" from the couch. 

I totally understand that not all parents, kids and situations are created equal, all I'm saying is try a no "NO!" approach, redirect and see what happens.  Keep track of how many times you tell your kids what you DON'T want them to do and see what message you're sending.  Try to tell them what you would like them to do instead.  Let me know what happens! 

<3 Jen

Friday, July 20, 2012


Do you love to feed your family fresh local grown food?  We have found that the best way to do this is to plant our own garden.  I was raised in a family that did a lot of gardening.  My husband as well.  We now grow a large garden that we enjoy the benefits of year round.  Not only do we get to eat fresh vegetables out of the garden all summer long, we do a lot of canning also.  By preserving our own garden vegetables, we can enjoy healthy food all year long.  Last year was our first at really canning from our garden.  We were so happy with our results that we plan to can even more batches!  We canned spaghetti sauce, salsa, applesauce, sauerkraut, sweet and dill pickles.  The apples were from a neighbor who wasn’t using the apples, so we got them for free!  They were an early variety that aren’t very tasty to eat, but were great for making applesauce.  Our spaghetti sauce is so fresh and tasty that it was gobbled up and we need to make sure we make another batch (totaling four) so we have enough to get us through til the next summer.  It’s so rewarding to serve this home grown, homemade food.  Even if you don’t have enough room for a large garden like we do, you can plant a small one or even in containers.  Looking forward to sharing with you pictures of our garden and our harvest and recipes for what we can in the next weeks!  Do any of you love to garden?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

School Supplies

I had someone ask me what's the best way to stock up on school supplies - either for going back to school or homeschooling.  (I LOVE direction in posts!).

I did a post on free office supplies here - check it out.

By far the easiest way to get free back to school supplies is to sign up for swagbucks, start earning swagbucks, redeem swagbucks for gift cards, buy supplies from, and use gift cards to get FREE supplies.  But this does take a bit of time - so I would start now for next year! :)

But there are a couple other options to score cheap supplies. There's always wally world (Wal-Mart) starting it seems after Christmas they start advertising their back-to-school specials.

Office Max - every week they have special in-store deals for super cheap! And you would be silly to not take advantage of their Max Perks program - wonderful way to stock up on copy paper, ink, pens, etc for free.

Office Depot - I don't know much about them as we don't have one near us but from other posts I see - they have great deals as well!

Staples - I am just beginning to shop here on a regular basis. They have an Easy Rebates program that seems so simple - buy the stuff, submit your data, and receive a check.  But you do have to have the cash up front to purchase the items (similar to Office Max).  They have been having really awesome deals on back-to-school supplies - plus always be on the look out for clearance!

While I could easily (ok not really - I just don't have that much time and resources) I would highly recommend Hip2Save - she puts together fantastic back-to-school deals each week!

*And don't forget if you are shopping on-line to be sure to go through a cash back program such as Ebates or Shopathome!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Swim Trainer Review and Giveaway

As a child, I was a complete water is no surprise that Miss A is the same!  She loves pools, bath tubs, water tables, and even just puddles of water!  I would have loved to put her in swim lessons this summer, but with the arrival of baby J and my husband working so much, it just would not have been possible!  When I heard about the Swim Trainer from Thanks Mama, I knew that it would be PERFECT for her and I just had to try one out!!

Out of the box, the Swim Trainer doesn't look much different that your normal swim ring, but it is MUCH different!  The swim ring has inflatable side panels and an inflatable stomach panel that hug close to your child as well as the larger inflatable ring that goes completely around your child!  All of this is secured onto your child by two clips.  These two clips even have a plastic safety piece that snaps over the clips so that they don't accidentally come unclipped during use.

I did have a bit of trouble at first getting my Swim Trainer blown up.  It took me a few minutes to realize that some of the plastic valves were sealed shut.  I simply (and gently) rolled the valve between my fingers until the seal broke and I was able to blow the ring up.  Not sure if it was sealed from the manufacturer or if with out extreme  heat, it may have resealed in our mailbox (aka. the 100+ degree oven).  This was the only trouble that I had with the Swim Trainer, so I consider this a very small and very easy to fix problem!  Be sure to follow the directions and fill the inner sections first before the larger outer ring!

Now, the real test...on the child!  Miss A does NOT like change.  I have talked before about how stubborn my little girl can be, so I was really not sure how she would take to strapping on this ring.  Much to my surprise, she came over and stood still while I strapped her in!  I was shocked!  I think being at the pool and seeing other kids with their blow up rings really helped because she did not give me one stitch of trouble!!  My only complaint is that the shoulder straps can be a little difficult to adjust, but once you get them moving, no biggie!  It was quick and easy to strap her in and would not be a problem if your child was giving you a difficult time!

So with Miss A all strapped in, we headed to the big pool!  The pool has a sloped beach entry, and my little daredevil has NO fear, so just like always, she ran right into the pool and headed for deep waters!  Only this time, with her Swim Trainer on, instead of sinking as the pool deepened, she floated and began to kick and swim around!  My just-turned-three year old was swimming for the very first time!!!  She was SO excited and so was I!  With no instruction she was able to just 'know' instinctively what to do!  And she instantly LOVED it!  She just kicked and kicked and was able to move herself around the pool, turn, and go in the direction she wanted!  She was in love and so was I!!!  I honestly did not have a hand on her the entire time, she was doing it all on her own, I was just there in case she needed me or tipped over!  (or to keep her away from the water slides!)  It was amazing to see my little girl swimming!!!  She absolutely loved that she could kick herself around and could be independent from mommy!! She just giggled and laughed and kicked the whole time!!!  (PS. she slept great that night...wore her out!!)

The instructions say very clearly not to leave your child unattended and not out of reach.  Please listen to this.  I did not allow Miss A out of arms reach and it is a good thing.  Because she was not using her arms correctly (because we had to take 2 toy tigers into the pool) she kept tipping forward a little.  It didn't happen often, but I was glad to be in arms reach to keep her from completely tipping over.  If she had been using her arms to swim correctly, this would not have happened!  (or if she had not been clutching two plastic tigers...)

Overall, I love the Swim Trainer!  I would recommend it to ANYONE and EVERYONE wanting to teach their child to swim!  Miss A never wants to get out of the pool, but on this occasion she kept trying to swim away from us when we told her it was time to go and when I took her Swim Trainer off she bawled hysterically!  She LOVED it!  So even Miss A highly recommends the Swim Trainer!  While at the pool, two of the lifeguards and a few parents even came and asked me about it and said they wanted to buy one!  They saw how easy it was and how well it worked!  (much better than those cheap Walmart rings!!!)

The Swim Trainer comes in three different sizes/stages depending on your childs size and swim ability.  The red fits 13-40 pounds and is for beginner swimmers, the orange fits 33-65 pounds and helps to teach correct arm and leg movements, and the yellow fits 45-80 pounds and helps to transition child to swimming without a flotation device.  So no matter your child's age or ability, there is a swim trainer for you!!

Total Stars:  ★★★★★

We took some videos of Miss A using the Swim Trainer!  Keep in mind that my husband is videoing while holding baby J, so please excuse the poor quality! :)  The first video is when she first got it on and was just figuring it out!  The second is more of her figuring it out and trying to swim away from me! LOL  (please excuse the butt shot!)  And the third is her definitely trying to get away from me, but it really shows just how quickly she caught on to this!  All three videos were shot within 5 minutes of her getting the Swim Trainer on for the very first time!

About Thanks Mama is family owned and operated natural baby store. They offer a great selection of cloth diapering products, potty training pants, swim diapers, natural baby care products, baby carriers, bibs, toys, nursery furniture and bedding, strollers and much more. They look for innovative products that are good for the baby and the environment and they never forget that most families are on a budget. That’s why Thanks Mama offers the Lowest Prices, Free Shipping on orders over $60 within USA, 90 days easy returns; Buy Safe Guarantee and Price Guarantee. Thanks Mama does ship worldwide!

Follow Thanks Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Pinterest, or Google +. They host weekly Giveaways, Contests, Sweepstakes, Twitter Parties, talk about modern family fun and challenges, natural parenting and green living.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Moby Wrap Review and Giveaway

I got my Moby after I became obsessed with all things baby wearing!  DH picked out a pretty shade of green (moss) and I was so happy to open up my newest carrier Christmas morning.  I used it with DS when I got it at around 5 months, then from birth with my DD.  It really is my favorite carrier for newborns.  There is no carrier out there that I like as well when baby is itty bitty.  It is so soft and supple.  It's made of a stretchy t-shirt like material, how couldn't it be comfortable!  Baby can snuggle in close to mama and be absolutely wrapped in the most comfy material.  It comes in so many cute colors, it's hard to choose just one!  I always recommend this awesome wrap to new mamas.

This wrap is the easiest of wrap styles to wear.  Many times woven wraps are heavier, bulkier and can be much harder to learn how to wrap and be comfortable.  They have more of a learning curve than a stretchy wrap.  Not the Moby, it's so simple and because it's a bit stretchy, so it's very forgiving!  I am not the most coordinated person, and was a bit afraid of the idea of all that fabric and trying to wrap it just right.  Well I never had an issue! I just followed the booklet I received with my Moby and never had an issue.  It's such an easy carrier, because there is nothing but just fabric.  It's so simple!  There are a few ways to wrap it, and also ways to place baby in the wrap.  So it's very versatile!
 Wearing A (#2) only weeks old.  Look how snuggled up she is!
Wearing C (#1)  at around 5 months!

We are due in December with #3, and I can NOT wait to get out my trusted Moby and wrap my newborn up against me.  All three babies wrapped up close to mama in my Moby, makes this mama happy! :)

Thanks Mama has generously offered to giveaway a Moby to one of our wonderful TMG readers!

Thanks Mama is a family owned and operated business out of Boston MA.  They sell natural parenting, green, and economical mommy and baby items, many of which they have used themselves!  They carry cloth diapers, baby carriers, strollers, nursery furniture, toys, and a whole lot of organic items.  Name brands include bumGenius, GroVia, Fuzzibunz, Prince Lionheart, Green Sprouts, Ergo, The First Years, and Earth Friendly Baby.  They offer free shipping on orders over $60, have easy returns, great rewards, and tons of other great items for mommy and baby!

You can find Thanks Mama on Facebook and Twitter.  And please visit their website to check out all of the amazing products they carry!

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Thursday, July 12, 2012


So I bailed on a post last week. Sorry about that. I normally aim to have the post wrote and saved by Wednesday evening but last Wednesday was the 4th and then Thursday was insane! Grocery shopping, lunch with a former teaching from HS, then couple hours making sure my daughter didn't drown at a CEF day camp... good times ha!

This week has been no better. I am trying hard to limit my on-line time but darn it's hard... really hard.  But I've been attempting to get back to goals for each day and moving more instead of sitting in one spot.:) So much easier said then done.

Today I thought I would share with you some of the ways I get coupons... people often wonder how in the world I get so many coupons... well people love me! :) hee hee But seriously - because I help so many people out with my savings they in return give me their coupons and share what they have... it's a wonderful cycle. So ask - ask your coworkers, your husband's coworkers, your friends, your family - anyone you can think of - you'll be surprised how willing people are to pass along coupons.

Below is a list of place online that I use to print coupons as well - these are legit sites that I use regularly. - love this one - such an easy way to earn swagbucks... too easy almost ;) - don't use this one too much but they do sometimes have great deals!

Also - if you have two computers - use them both!!! I have a desktop and a laptop so I can print double the coupons - use your resources!!!

*The above links are my referral links - I earn a very small percentage upon you signing up or printing coupons through my link - as a SAHM I appreciate all the help!*

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Review and Giveaway!

Any parent expecting a child (pregnancy, surrogacy, adoption, etc) has to plan ahead for sleeping arrangements.  You have to ask yourself questions such as "what will be the easiest option" and "what will be safest for my baby?"  There are so many options out there, and each parent has to decide what is right for them and for their child.

With Miss A, we did not know about all of the options out there.  We had a traditional bassinet in the corner of our room.  Miss A had trouble falling asleep on her own and either my husband or I would end up sitting on the floor next to her bassinet popping her binky back in her mouth and turning her glow worm on repeatedly until she FINALLY fell asleep.  Many months later, after she was happily sleeping in her crib, I discovered the existence of Co-Sleepers and thought to myself "I WILL have one of those for baby number two!!!"

After I got pregnant with Baby J, I showed my husband a picture of a Co-Sleeper and he fully agreed that we should have had one with Miss A and we should get one for the next baby.  On a whim, I contacted Arm's Reach about a possible review, but never did I dream that they would be willing to do a review and giveaway too!  So please join me in thanking them for their incredible generosity.

Arm's Reach sent me the Co-Sleeper Mini in Toffee Dot as well as a pack of Leg Extensions (to raise the Co-Sleeper to the height of our bed) and a Nature Perfect Organic Sheet in natural so that I could review both the included sheet and the organic (it is also wonderful to have two sheets for when one is in the wash!).

Out of the box, I was absolutely in love with the color/print!  The toffee color is a wonderful tan/chocolate milk color that is neutral enough for any decor but also enough color to be really quite nice!  And the cream colored polka dots are large enough to give some fun and cuteness to the Co-Sleeper but small enough not to be overwhelming!  The dots are just plain cute!  But again, they are not overdone and keep the piece neutral for any space!  I wasn't sure if I would like the dots, but as soon as I pulled the Co-Sleeper out of the box, I was in love with the cute but neutral print!!  The fabric of the overall Co-Sleeper is a brushed cotton blend twill that is very soft, stain repellent, easy to clean, and seems to be very durable and long lasting!  I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled by the quality of the fabric on the Co-Sleeper!

Setup of the Co-Sleeper was EXTREMELY easy!  For anyone who has ever set up a pack n play, it is basically the same!  You just simply click and lock all of the side rails and push and lock the bottom of the bassinet, then place the mattress in, put the sheet on, and you are set!  It really is quite easy!  The first time I tried to lock all of the rails, they were a little hard to get locked (probably stiff from being in the box for a while) but after I took it down a couple times (to see if they would ease up) they now lock and unlock quite easily for ease of setup and take down!

Likewise, to convert from a drop side Co-Sleeper to a free standing bassinet is quite simple!  (this model does not convert into a play yard)  On the side that touches the bed, you need to unlock both the bottom and upper bars.  Then there are three straps with clips around the upper bar.  Simply unsnap the three clips, unlock the two side connectors, slide them up and off of the bottom connectors and lock them onto the upper connectors, and then lock both the upper and lower bars.  Sounds complicated, but it really isn't!  This is great for travel or if you need to move the bassinet away from your bed for some reason!  You can still use the Co-Sleeper as a bassinet but have that bar raised for safety!

Underneath the bassinet, in the bottom of the Co-Sleeper, there is a zipper compartment for storage.  You can put your spare sheets, clothes, diapers, whatever you need to have handy can be stored down there.  There are also pockets on the sides of the Co-Sleeper for storage.

I have always wondered how Co-Sleepers attached to the bed.  I thought it was some complicated system and would be a pain to setup.  Wow, was I wrong!  I love when things are just plain and simple and work better than some complicated system would!!  To attach the Co-Sleeper to your bed, there is a plate with straps attached that you run under your mattress.  So the square plate is on the opposite side of the bed from the Co-Sleeper hugging the mattress, the straps run under the mattress, and clip to the Co-Sleeper holding it tightly against the bed!  Easy!  I simply ran the straps across the foot of my bed and the with two tugs on each side, I was able to get the straps up and in place.  No lifting of the mattress!  I did it myself!!  We have a king size bed and you can see from the photos how much excess strap I have left, so no worries about it fitting your bed!  The only problem that I had, was that there are loops on either side of the Co-Sleeper that you are to run the straps through.  Because I had to use the leg extensions to raise my Co-Sleeper, the straps ran under where the loops were.  If I had put the straps through the loops, they would have just ripped off.  So I did not run the straps through the loops.  The Co-Sleeper is still extremely tight against the bed and cannot be tipped over or moved.

The Leg Extensions are also quite easy to assemble!  They simply click together and click onto the bottom of the Co-Sleeper!  Our mattress is brand new and quite high with a pillow top on it.  It tops out at approximately 26 inches and we needed two sets of extensions on each of the legs!  I was concerned about the stability of my Co-Sleeper on "stilts" but it does not take away from the stability of the piece at all!  And having those two extra extensions on each of the legs puts the Co-Sleeper at the exact right height on our bed!  If you have a higher bed, I highly recommend (URGE!!) you to spend the extra money on the extensions so that your Co-Sleeper is at the same height as your bed making it so much nicer for you and baby and safer for both of you as well!

The matching included sheet is made of a soft 100% Polyester.  To the touch it almost feels like suede which is very nice, soft and comfy, for baby!  I was hesitant about this sheet because I felt that it would stain easily...NOPE!  Arm's Reach knows what they are doing!  I can safely tell you that ALL bodily fluids came out of this sheet with no problem!  My son threw up, peed, pooped...the whole kit an caboodle!!  And they all came out with no problem!!!  Even EBF poop!  This sheet also has the velcro strips on the bottom to match the velcro strips in the bassinet.  The sheet is fitted, but having these velcro strips attached means no movement of the mattress and you can get the sheet on 100% flat and tight making it as safe as possible for baby!  I have washed this sheet many times over the past 5 weeks and it shows no wear or tear!

The Nature Perfect Organic sheet that Arm's Reach sent me additionally is made of 60% Organic Cotton and 40% Rayon.  To the touch it feels like a thick jersey fabric and is extremely soft and comfy for baby!  It also has the velcro strips on the bottom to match the velcro in the bassinet just like the other sheet.  I love that it is a nice organic cotton and I love how soft the fabric is, but it is a little more prone to staining.  My son also threw up, peed and pooped on this sheet and I have to tell you that everything washed out, but the EBF poop was a little harder to get completely off of this sheet.  Part of that is the organic cotton and part of that is the fact that the sheet is a natural off white color.  EBF poop and white don't mix!  But after 2-3 washes, the stain did come completely out!  The sheet is wonderful, definitely worth the extra money to have the soft organic cotton and a spare sheet for your Co-Sleeper!  I just wish I had a darker color!  

Best of all, all of the Arm's Reach Co-Sleepers meet all ASTM, CPSC, and JPMA safety standards.  These are the three top safety standards and is a HUGE testament to the Arm's Reach products!  Additionally, sleep research expert Dr James McKenna PhD and pediatrician Dr.William Sears recommend co-sleeping to promote bonding and help both parents and children to sleep better; both endorse Arm's Reach products.

Personally, I love using this Co-Sleeper.  I love having baby right next to me.  I love being able to just reach over and sooth him or put his binky back in.  I love that I don't have to get out of bed; possibly waking my husband, or waking the baby or myself any more than I need to.  I love that when he is ready to eat, he is right there.  I love that it promotes bonding and makes breastfeeding that much easier!  I love that it is not just for breastfeeding mothers, it is perfect for any parent with any feeding choice!  I just love everything about having a Co-Sleeper!  I really think this is a must for any parent!  It is such a relief to have baby right next to you where you can see and hear him/her and can easily care for him/her without having to get out of bed!  This is also perfect for mom's who are recovering from a C-Section; they can have baby right next to them and don't have to get up to get baby.

My only complaint is that it does make getting in and out of bed a little harder.  I cannot live without my nightstand, I need my phone, drink, etc.  So I actually moved my nightstand out and put a smaller table up at the head of the bed, this causes the Co-Sleeper to be about 10 inches further down the bed than it needs to be.  But even if the Co-Sleeper was as far up the bed as it could go, it would still be a challenge to get in and out.  But definitely worth it to have baby right there!  However, for recovering C-Sections, you may need extra help or may want to use as a free standing bassinet for a while.

This Co-Sleeper comes with the Co-Sleeper, mattress, sheet, and travel bag.  Retail price for this item $160.
Leg Extesions. Retail $22.
Nature Perfect Organic Sheet. Retail $25.

Please visit Arm's Reach on Facebook and thank them for this amazing review and giveaway!!!

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