Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wishes & Kisses from Sandra Magsamen

I was recently given the opportunity to review Sandra Magsamen's new newborn gift line for her Wishes and Kisses brand at Walmart and I jumped at the prospect. Her designs are always so sweet. I was sent three adorable pieces from this collection, a set of socks, a set of bibs, and a snugly little monkey lovey.
These are part of her Wishes and Kisses brand, made exclusively for WalMart. Sandra is an art therapist and her mission in the Wishes and Kisses line is to surround our little ones with hope, joy, dreams, and love. Each piece in the collection encourages snuggling, smiles, and comfort. Let me tell you, they couldn't get any cuter!

First off, the socks are very soft and super duper cute. I love that I can use a different pair on each twin and have them coordinate without being completely matching. My favorite thing about these is that some of them have cute little grippy soles. Check it out:
The little monkey is so soft and snugly. L has become quite attached to it and enjoys cuddling up with it, gumming it, and shaking it (it rattles). I love how it has "Little Monkey" embroidered on it. When the twins were born, L had so much hair and bright big eyes. I've always called him my little monkey baby, so it's only fitting for this to be his lovey.
The picture on the right shows one of the bibs. They are so darling that I barely want to use them, just in case they get stained. A has been drooling like crazy lately, so I've been having him wear a bib when he's playing so that his shirt doesn't become drenched. These bibs work perfectly for that.

If you have any baby showers to attend coming up, I recommend checking out Sandra Magsamen's gifts at WalMart. They are too cute and $5-$12 a piece. You can't beat that!

The fabulous people from Sandra Magsamen are giving one lucky reader the chance to win two of the above products.

Giveaway has Ended and the Winner is #6, Cake Snob!
How to Enter:
Visit Sandra Magsamen's website and tell me about one other Sandra Magsamen product that you like. Leave me a contact email address. This comment is mandatory and if not included all additional entries will be void.

Extra Entries:
Open to US residents only. Ends on 5/6/10. Winner will be determined by random.org. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving samples to review.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

ChicoBag VITA Repeat Review and Giveaway


Since I seem to be on a roll about the reasons not to use plastic bags, I thought it would be fitting to post my review of the ChicoBag VITA repeat. Now, I could go on and on about why I do not like using plastic bags and the impact that they have on the environment, but I have done that and don't want to seem super repetitive. If you want to know more about their impact, go here to read the facts.

The VITA Repeat is available in 5 different, and equally fabulous colors. I've enjoyed taking it shopping and almost always get comments on how nice and big it is from the cashiers. I always tell them to fill it as full as they can. Since it is made to be carried on the shoulder, it is easier to carry when heavy than the disposable alternative. In short, I love it and can't wait to tote it around farmers market this summer. Oh, and look how compact it is! I can easily stick it and my purse and that helps me to not forget it.


I did a little experiment to show how much fits in one Chico VITA repeat.

Here are the players: 3 big boxes of cereal, a jug of juice, two packages of split peas, can of tomatoes, and a jar of peanut butter.


First up are the grocery store bags. In high school I was a bag girl at a grocery store and this is how I'd have done it. Three bags! Oh, and one of them ripped when I put the cereal in. :(

Now for the ChicoBag. It all fit easily into the one bag. Think of how many plastic bags you could not waste by using these at the store from now on.

ChicoBags is giving one lucky reader a chance to win a Vita Repeat!

Here's How to Enter:
Visit ChicoBag and comment here, telling me about one other product that they have that strikes your fancy. Be sure to leave a contact email if it isn't in your profile. This comment is mandatory and if not included, all other entries will be void.

Extra Entries:
Leave a separate comment for each entry.
Open to US residents only. Ends on 5/11/10. Winner will be determined by random.org. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving a bag to review.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Happy Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!! Did you know that it's the 40th anniversary of Earth Day? If you would like some more information about Earth Day check out earthday.org.

We had a special day today and tried to spend as much time outside as possible. I started the morning off by putting each of my little boys in a green cloth diaper, because I'm a dork like that. After breakfast I loaded everyone up, which in itself takes a half hour or so, and took the kids to a local park with the intention of cleaning trash off the playground and then letting B-bear play. Well, I am so pleased that it was a very clean playground, so we just went on to playing. B-bear had a blast.

The most fabulous part was that the only other people that showed up while we were there was another twin mama! Just like me, she had a toddler and then twins about two years apart. And she breastfed the twins exclusively for 14 months! It was so nice to talk to someone who actually does completely know what it's like. However, stupid me left in a flurry of forgetting the diaper bag at home and having poopy babies. I didn't get her number, or name for that matter. Sigh.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful until Mr. Once Upon a Baby came home and we did a little bit of gardening with B....which is oddly similar to the gardening that The Wife did with her little man. I swear great minds think alike. Here are a few shots of our gardening fun...

First off L and I get everything out and start wetting the pellets, which become a dirt soup. B looks at said dirt soup and tries to figure it out.

Where's that other one you ask? A is hanging around too, he's just super happy in his exersaucer. Once B realized that he was allowed to play with this dirt, he was all over it! So was Oscar.

Daddy came out to help us with the messy part so I could take care of the babies. B helped put the seeds in, well sort of helped. I think he really wanted to totally fill the pot with bean seeds.

And on a similar note, I started my garden in doors weeks ago and here's some shots of my starts (below). My tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant have been hardening off outside for a few days, but my slow to progress herbs are taking their sweet time under a grow light in my kitchen....lovely, no? I'm beginning to wonder why I even planted some the sage and oregano...since I have plenty still growing in my herb garden from last year. Hmm....perhaps some mothers day herb window boxes are in store.

To top off the day, I finally bought myself a used copy of Smart Mamas Green Guide, which I reference all the time. B got a cute little book as well about gardening, and it's made from %98 recycled materials. By the way, I wasn't paid in any fashion for mentioning these books, nor have I had any contact with them in any way. I just really like these books.

How was your Earth Day? Did you do anything to celebrate?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Impact of Plastic Bags and a Giveaway sponsored by Bagnesia



Giveaway Has ended and the winner is #3, Robyn. Congrats!

Happy Earth Week! Today is my day to host the "Celebrate Earth Day All Week Blogging Event" and I am going to focus on plastic waste. Before I get started, make sure you check out the other blogs participating Moms Wear Your Tees, Tales of the Wife, Retro Housewife Goes Green, The Crunchy Wife, and The Eco Friendly Family. I will warn you right now that this post contains some disturbing information and images.

There are so many reasons why we shouldn't use plastic bags, but I am going to focus today on the one reason that I find most disturbing. Did you know that the worlds largest landfill is floating in the Pacific Ocean?

Oh yeah, that's right ladies and gentlemen. The world's largest landfill can be found floating between Hawaii and San Fransisco. It is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and sea currents and wind carry waste from all over the world to this spot. Although scientists cannot agree on the exact size and depth of the patch, it is estimated to be twice the size of Texas and over 100 feet deep. Plastic makes up 90% of the patch. A study done by the UN Environmental Program in 2006 estimated that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic. They also conducted plankton studies and found that in many areas the amount of plastic in the water outnumbered the plankton by 6 to 1.

We are destroying our beautiful oceans and harming marine life. 76% of dead sea turtles found in the Western Mediterranean were found to have ingested plastic debris. Sea bird skeletons on the Hawaiian islands are found with guts filled with plastic. Below are three horrifying photos of the damage we are doing. I hate to post these, but it just might be what someone needs to see to spark a need for change. As you see in the first photo a sea turtle is snacking on a piece of plastic, which is not uncommon. The second picture is an unaltered sea bird skeleton filled with ingested plastic pieces. The third picture shows a sea turtle, permanently deformed by plastic.

Did you know that the average American uses between 300 and 500 plastic bags per year? And to think, that could all be replaced by what, maybe 5 or 6 reusable bags. I urge you to make the switch to reusable bags. This is the earth that we leave our children and it is in our power to make a difference. It may not seem that your little changes will make an impact. When more and more people recognize the problem and make these little changes it will add up.

And Now For the Fun Part!
The fabulous folks over at Bagnesia are giving one lucky reader a chance to win a Reusable Bag Reminder Kit. If you are starting to use reusable bags (please do) and keep forgetting them at home or in the car, their starter kit it the answer! I don't know about you, but I seem to always have that problem. I was sent a kit to review and I ordered some of their reusable produce bags.
First off, I love how the kit contains both a door hanger to remind you, as well as a neoprene steering wheel reminder. I don't know how many times I've gotten in the car and looked at the steering wheel, which reminded me to run inside and grab my bags. The bag is easy to toss in your purse and when folded up is smaller than my cell phone, yet holds 3 plastic sacks worth of groceries. This kit would make the perfect gift, or be the perfect place to start with using reusable bags.
The reusable produce bags are fabulous as well. I have been stopped in the produce section a few times now and asked about them. I love that because it gives me the opportunity to share them with someone else and influence them to make one little step to help with the plastic problem. They are very roomy and I haven't had anything yet that doesn't fit in them. They are made of mesh and are practically weightless, so it is not adding to your produce total one little bit. I've also received compliments on them from cashiers.

So Here is Your Chance to Win a Reusable Bag Reminder Kit from Bagnesia.
It includes one compact reusable bag with a clip, one door hanger, one steering wheel wrap and one small reusable pouch to store it all in.
Here's how to enter:
Comment here telling me one reason that using reusable bags is important to you. (This is a great resource) This comment is mandatory and if not included all other entries will be void. Be sure to leave a contact email address if it's not in your profile.

Extra Entries:
Open to US residents only. Ends at midnight pacific time on 4/24/10. Winner will be determined by random.org. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving a kit to review.


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Celebrate Earth Day All Week 2010 Blogging Event Kick-Off



Happy Earth Day Celebration Week!

This is the 40th Earth Day!! What does Earth Day mean to you? We will be exploring that during our week long Celebrate Earth Day All Week 2010 Blogging Event.

Each Day will hosted by a different blog with green interests. Each blog will discuss green tips, green experiences, and/or green reflections. Each blog will also be hosting a green giveaway(s) that will run through our week long blogging event.

Monday- Hosted by Moms Wear Your Tees Blog with giveaways sponsored by SprigToys and Shaklee
Tuesday- Hosted by Tales of the Wife with giveaway sponsored by ArtsyFarstyFooFoo
Wednesday- Hosted by Once Upon a Baby with giveaway sponsored by Bagnesia
Thursday- Hosted by Retro House Wife Goes Green with giveaway sponsored by The Soft Landing
Friday- Hosted by The Crunchy Wife with giveaway sponsored by SodaStream
Saturday- Hosted by The Eco-Friendly Family with giveaway sponsored by Greenzys

Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs.

Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy.

Please visit EarthDay.org to take action, sign petitions, and join events in your area.

We would love for you to leave us a comment with something special you are doing for Earth Day!

We would also love it if you help spread the Earth Day excitement and commitment to going green. So grab our blogging event button from the top of this post and post it on your blog with a tidbit about going green and then add yourself to the linky at Moms Wear Your Tees Blog.
ONLY add yourself to the linky if you have grabbed our event button. Thank you and Happy Earth Day Celebration Week!

Friday, 16 April 2010

It really is a fabulous life....

There have been a few things going on lately with people I know that make me think about how lucky I am. I complain a lot about how I have little time for myself, how my house is never as clean as I would like, how my toddler gets into everything, how I am always soothing a baby...the list goes on and on.

Today I realized that I am the luckiest mama in the entire world. I have 3 beautiful little boys that love me and depend on me. They are perfect. They are healthy. I am truly blessed. So what if B is the tantrum king and gets into everything. He is so so smart and at this age is really so much fun. He comes up with something new every day and is absolutely hilarious! I have the best of both worlds- a super fun toddler and snugly little babies. What more could a girl want? Oh yeah...and a husband that adores me and a black lab that thinks I'm queen. I've got that too.



Today I don't care if the kitchen is messy and there are toys all over the floor. I don't care that the laundry needs to be done and diapers need to be folded. All of these things can wait. They will happen in time. Today I will just sit back and enjoy my family, my life.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Earthlust Review and Giveaway

As I mentioned before, I am on a mission to get plastic out of my kitchen. I have been boxing up all sorts of various plastic offenders and replacing them with healthy alternatives. I have included a variety of plastic water bottles in my round-up and I refuse to buy bottled water, which by the way is the second most popular beverage in the United States. Did you know that those bottles take 700 years to biodegrade and that 80% of them are not recycled? Eek! I don't like those numbers. And there's more! Did you know that the manufacturing of bottled water produces 25 million tons of carbon dioxide each year? Gross!
I came across Earthlust, a fabulous small company that creates durable, convenient, and gorgeous stainless steel water bottles. What I love most about the company is that it all started when founder Allison Tryk's son was born. Just like myself, her priorities changed right then and there and she knew she wanted to protect his health and the environment.

There bottles are made from a food grade stainless steel and are BPA free. The beautiful artwork is expertly designed featuring limited edition prints by the founder herself and other talented designers. These are two of my favorite designs. Aren't they fabulous?!
I was sent their Green Parsley 20 ounce bottle. I've been using it daily. As a mama nursing twins, it is super important that I stay hydrated, This bottle helps me remember to drink lots and lots of water. It is so pretty that I love carrying it around with me and the little carabiner clip makes it easy to take out and about. It also makes a handy toy for baby in a pinch. :)

Their bottles are available in 13 ounce (perfect for the kiddos), 20 ounce, and 1 liter sizes. They also make insulated mugs, sports lids, and hemp bags and hats. One very exciting new product us their Birds and Bees Bottles made just for toddlers and babies. They include both a nipple attachment and a sippy top, so it is the perfect transitional sippy. Another great plus is that they insulate for up to four hours. They are very, very, cute! So cute that I've already ordered one in the bees design. They are selling on a first come first serve basis and will begin shipping on Earth Day (4/22), so hurry and order yours before they are gone.
So, how do you get one of these fabulous water bottles? You can buy one here, or enter to win one!!! Earthlust is very kindly giving one lucky reader a chance to win your very own water bottle.

Giveaway Has Ended: The winner is #5, I'll be contacting you shortly!


How to Enter:
Visit Earthlust and comment here telling me what your favorite bottle design is. Please leave a contact email address if it is not on your profile. This comment is the mandatory entry and if not included additional entries will be void.
Extra Entries:
Leave a separate comment for each entry.

Open to US residents only. Ends at noon pacific time on 4/29/10. Winner will be determined by random.org. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be drawn. As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving a bottle to review.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Friday, 9 April 2010

Naturepedic Crib Mattress Review

When we were expecting our first child, I hardly gave any thought to his crib mattress. I'm pretty sure that I chose the least expensive, but new mattress that I could find. After all, he's a baby. He doesn't care, right?

As we have started making changes in our life to be more eco-friendly, I have become more aware of the dangers of things like PVC (aka vinyl), flame retardants, pthalates, and polyurethane foam, all of which are common in mattresses. Let me give you a very brief run down of why I avoid each of these things:

Vinyl/PVC: This is used in crib mattresses as a cover. It is often referred to as "the poison plastic". It is usually softened to become flexible by adding pthalates- a known hormone disruptor in animal studies. (this has been banned from mouthed items such as teethers, but is still present in crib mattresses)

Flame Retardants: Many companies are not required to, and will not divulge the ingredients in their flame retardants. Most contain PBDE, which has been shown by the Washington State Department of Ecology to cause problems in rodent brain development. The department states, "Most of these problems stem from pre-natal exposure and exposure soon after birth. The health effects appear to be permanent". I don't know about you, but I don't want that on my infant's mattress!

Pthalates: As I mentioned, this is a hormone disruptor that can have damaging long term effects.

Polyurethane Foam: This is added as an internal filler to the mattresses. It is a petroleum product and as you can imagine is highly flammable. Most importantly to me, it offgasses VOCs (volatile organic compounds) including toluene and formaldehyde. Can you say ICK!

Now think about this for a moment: As Naturepedic says, "Babies and toddlers spend 10-14 hours a day sleeping and playing on a crib mattress. Furthermore, a child’s every breath inhales air no more than six inches away from these chemicals. As such, for the first few years of a child’s life, the mattress is the single most prominent object in the child’s environment."

Now that I have taken the time to educate myself on this common household hazard, I'm switching my children to Naturepedic mattresses and hopefully we can switch our mattress before too long as well. Naturepedic provides a safe option and does not use any of the items I listed above. They also do not use allergenic materials and they use natural, organic, and renewable materials whenever possible.

Another fabulous thing that I found out about Naturepedic is that they are willing to provide every one of the 6400 hospitals in the US with completely free bassinet mattresses. How fabulous is that? What a great company to support.

Ok, on to my review. Naturepedic very generously sent us a crib mattress to review. It came just in time, because B-Bear had just managed to pop a spring through his old one. The Naturepedic mattress is incredibly sturdy. It is firmer than his previous mattress and is pretty darn comfy. I love that, unlike the old mattress, this one had no smell. The old one smelled like a blow up backyard pool, and it never got any better. B-Bear is thoroughly enjoying his new mattress and it is holding up very well.


Naturepedic also carry a variety of other items such as changing pads, bedding, and adult mattresses. You can order yours at Naturepedic.com.

If you would like to do some research yourself on the safety of crib mattresses, these are some good places to start: Five Problems with Crib Mattresses, Tree Hugger, Healthy Child Healthy World, and The Smart Mama.

This review is completely honest and my own. Other than receiving a free sample of the product from Naturepedic, I was not paid for any of the opinions or reviews expressed on this blog.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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