Friday, 28 May 2010

New From ChicoBag


ChicoBag is rolling out a brand new line of produce bags called their Produce Stand Collection. I am a huge reusable bag advocate and after we switched to using reusable shopping bags, I started using reusable produce/bulk foods bags as well.

They are introducing 3 new types of bags that are all equally fabulous. They all have a draw string closure and are roomy enough to fit many a veg.
  1. Hemp-Cotton: This works great for your leafy greens or green beans, since the fabric blend naturally absorbs moisture. It also restricts airflow and is great for grains as well. I've used on both leafy greens and on bulk oats. It worked great for both. I was a little nervous about spilling oats everywhere, but it wasn't an issue at all.
  2. rePETe: This is recommended for squash, broccoli, carrots, and celery, as well as other vegetables of the sort. Each bag is made from 99% recycled materials. It is great for restricting airflow and locking in moisture.
  3. rePETe mesh: This bag consists of one side of rePETe material and one side of mesh. The mesh allows the ethylene gas (natures ripening agent) to escape. It is fabulous for storing apples, oranges, onions, and potatoes.

I was lucky enough to receive their produce stand starter kit to review and I think it's fabulous. I love that they took in to consideration the fact that different fruits and vegetables should be stored in different ways. I also love that they carried their rePETe line over into the produce bags. I always gravitate towards something that has been recycled. My favorite bag is the hemp bag. I buy what I can in bulk and this would be the bag I would chose for those purchases. I do think however that the rePETe mesh is probably the most practical to use, since the cashier will be able to easily see through the bag. I also love the little apple pouch that comes in the starter kit. I can shove my bags in there and clip it to my purse to ensure that it's not forgotten. I've enjoyed using these at the grocery store and look forward to using them at farmer's market as we approach that season.

ChicoBag is doing a great giveaway as part of the launch of the new collection. Make sure you head on over Bag Monster Blog and enter to win the new produce stand collection. It only takes a second to enter and it ends on 6/4/10. I tell you what, they are selecting 10 winners and right now the odds are looking pretty good to me. Now, head on over there and enter.


I was not compensated in anyway other than recieving a starter kit to review. As always this review is of my own honest opinions.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

The Twin Mommy and Miracle Blanket Review


During my pregnancy I had no idea what to expect of twin mommy-hood. I was worried about how I would possibly be able to handle two infants and a busy little toddler at the same time. I can now tell you that I have no idea how I do it, but I manage. At times it is a very busy and often chaotic life. Imagine changing up to twenty-five diapers a day. That is common in my house, thank God for cloth, or the money we put into diapers would be outrageous. Imagine two infants crying inconsolably for hours from their reflux. Every little challenge is multiplied and let me tell you, it ain't easy. Moms of trips or more, I have no idea how you do it and I think you are amazing.

Twin mommies, let's take a moment to pat ourselves on the back. We are doing a good job caring for our children. We are doing our best and it is certainly enough. It's not easy at all, but we manage somehow. Let's not let the insane amount of things on our to-do list stress us out. Let's not be discouraged by the constant business. We are so so so blessed to have two babies at once. :::gives a high five to all the other twin mamas:::

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Miracle Blanket Review
As many of you know, we have had some off and on sleep issues with the twins. We believe strongly in attachment parenting and co-sleep with them. When they were brand new and tiny, I would swaddle them up every night before bed in a receiving blanket. They quickly outgrew that method and was left wondering what to do next. My babies were used to being swaddled and had difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep if we didn't swaddle them. After too many nights of poor sleep and too many days of being worn down, I started to search for solutions.

I came across the Miracle Blanket and I was hooked by their line, "Helps even fussy babies sleep great, guaranteed!" I thought, well heck, it's worth a try, right? I contacted Miracle Blanket and was sent a natural unbleached blanket to review.

When it arrived, I immediately busted the sucker out of the packaging and ran it through the wash. My first impression was very soft and a good weight of fabric, not too hot, not too cold. They are 100% cotton, which I love.

What I liked most about it off the bat, was the lack of velcro! I get really tired to grabbing one thing out of the wash and having a giant trail of items all velcroed together pull out with it. Another problem I have with velcro is that the edges, where it is sewn to the fabric, are often scratchy and leave marks on the babies' skin. It is very nice to have an alternative to velcro.


At first glance the Miracle Blanket may look intimidating, but it is so easy to use. Miracle Blanket provides these simple instructions that anyone can follow:
We used the Miracle Blanket for months and loved it. Our boys are now no longer need swaddling to fall asleep, but it sure worked wonders while we needed it most. I should also mention, not once did either baby wiggle out of it or free so much as one arm. The Miracle Blanket made co-sleeping easier for us and helped us all to get more sleep at night. This is definitely on my list of baby must-haves. You can buy them in a variety of colors here.

As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving a miracle blanket to review.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Photos of Motherhood



Saturday, 22 May 2010

Doula Love Me?

We have a secret in our culture...and it's not that birth is painful. It's that women are strong.
-Laura Stavoe Harm

Since our birth doula was such an important part of our birth experience, and part of my motherhood journey, I cannot write about celebrating mothers without showing some serious gratitude for her.

I'm surprised at the misconceptions that people have about doulas. Early on in my last pregnancy when I announced to my friends and family that we were having a doula at our birth, I got some very mixed responses. Some people told me that it wasn't safe to give birth without a doctor, or not at a hospital. Some people couldn't understand why, with all of the nurses, doctors, and my husband, I would possibly need anyone else there. I found myself constantly explaining what a doula is, how they do not deliver the baby(ies), and how I hoped having her would effect my birth experience.

Pretty much as soon as I found out we were expecting, I started searching for a doula. I was lucky in my first birth to have a fabulous nurse who was amazingly supportive of my desires for a natural birth. I didn't want to bank on having such luck again. I wanted to make sure that I had support and that I had someone who knew many labor pain coping techniques, and someone to keep me centered. I planned to interview multiple doulas and chose the one that would best suit us.

I started searching online and found a few local doulas and set up an interview with Kristina from Three Rivers Birth Services. That was the only interview we had. From the first meeting with her I could tell that she was a caring and knowledgeable person that is in the right profession, for the right reasons. As my pregnancy progressed and became more high risk, Kristina was there for me. She helped give me the courage to be my own advocate. I felt more empowered and able to question interventions.

She was a fabulous shoulder to lean on and was always willing to chat about whatever was bothering me. I called her after most of my OB appointments, which were very often, and talked through what had happened. This helped me to really make sure I understood what was going on. I had a lot of difficult decisions to make during the pregnancy. Twin moms are often pushed towards a cesarean birth, and I had a few doctors that had that frame of mind. She never told me what to do, or gave me medical advice. Instead, she encouraged me to look into myself and find the answers within myself.

She visited me often during my many hospital stays and she was always so cheerful and encouraging. When it came time to deliver the twins, Kristina and her smile were there with me the whole way. I had a very limited space to move in, because of the monitors that were strapped to me, but she helped me to find positions to facilitate both the labor and my comfort. My memory is a little foggy, but I'm pretty sure that she pressed on my tailbone during every single contraction for well over an hour to ease my pain.

As labor progressed, I started to have anxiety and fear build up over the fact that I had to have an epidural and that although I was having a vaginal delivery, it had to take place in the operating room. It was the fear of the unknown that was so hard for me to get past. Kristina soothed me and helped me to relax, think past it, and enjoy the experience despite how far it was from how I wanted it.

I can not imagine doing this without Kristina. I have no idea what my birth experience would have been without her, but I am so happy how it was with her. Kristina was part of my story, part of my journey, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Since their birth, she has been such a resource to me, and a mentor for positive thinking. I'm so happy to know her and to call her my friend. Thank-you Kristina.

(For those of you thinking, where the heck is her husband in all this, he was there-asleep on the couch. He had actually had a terrible allergic reaction to something earlier in the day, had his actual eye ball swollen to a horrific size and was drugged up on Benadryl after his own ER visit. We woke him up right before I had my epidural put in, I believe roughly an hour before the twins were born.)

If you are interested in learning more about doulas or looking for one, check out DONA International for great information and to find a doula. If you live in the Tri-cities WA area and are looking for a birth doula or a birthing from within class, visit Kristina at Three Rivers Birth Services. She just might be the right doula for you too.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

My Mommies

I'm not dead! I know I've been gone for over a week now, but I am back and feeling great! It turned out to be what I call "thrushtitis". It was not fun!

Now, I realize that mother's day is over and done with, but I am going to pick up right where I left off. After all, shouldn't we celebrate mommies everyday? Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!


Today is all about my mommies! I am an exceptionally lucky gal. I've been blessed with several fabulous mother figures in my life. Between my mother, step-mother, mother in law, grandmothers (and grandmother-in-laws), and aunts (and aunt-in-laws) I have a fabulous support system. It is so important to have people who have been there and can offer up support and advice to help you.
These women have been there for me through many challenges that I've faced as a mother. They were there as a shoulder to lean on during my darkest and saddest time, when my first pregnancy turned out to be an ectopic nightmare. They were there to celebrate with me when we welcomed our first child into the world. They understood my anxieties and did all that they could to help me along after I found out that our surprise two under two baby was actually taking us to three under two. These woman have helped me through my bed rest by assisting with child care, providing meals, cleaning my home, and offering me company.
Mommies of mine, I appreciate each and every one of you. I don't know what I would do without you.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Not Well

I am going to have to postpone today's post for "Hooray for Mommies". I think that the lack of sleep I've had over the past few weeks is catching up to me. I felt fine when I woke up, despite getting what I estimate to be under 3 hours of sleep last night. As the day went on, things went downhill. I now have body aches, feel dizzy-almost drunk, the chills, a terrible throbbing headache, and have a small fever. I'll catch up with you all tomorrow, if all goes well. Please send me lots of sleepy, peaceful baby vibes.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The New Mommy

Every child begins the world again. Henry David Thoreau

Happy Mother's Day and welcome to day two of "Hooray for Mommies". Today is the day that I recognize new mothers. When I say new mothers, what I really should be saying is mothers of new babies. I have been lucky enough to be a mama of new babies twice, to three babies.

Having a new baby is an experience like nothing else. In a moment, your entire life changes and you find yourself responsible for every aspect of another being (or multiple beings). The moment I first saw B and heard his first cries I knew that my life was no longer about me.

Being a new mommy has it's wonderful and special moments, but certainly has it's share of difficulties as well. New Mommies, you deserve a day to relax. You do so much and it does not go unnoticed and unappreciated. Your days are full of diaper changes, feedings, baths, tummy time, and all of the other household tasks. Your nights are full of wakefulness and your arms are full of baby (or in my case, babies).

Your babies appreciate you. Every smile, coo, and cuddle shows their appreciation. It may seem that these things are unnoticed, but they aren't. You are amazing. You are raising a human and are doing a great job. Congratulations on entering motherhood and on your precious bundle(s) of joy. :::raises glass to all the new mommies:::

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One thing that has helped me considerably as a new mommy is knowing how to properly swaddle my baby. It is amazing how a simply swaddling a baby can change their mood almost instantly. It gives them a sense of security.
The book "Swaddle Love" by Raegan Moya-Jones is the perfect introduction to swaddling for new parents. Not only does her book give simple, easy to follow instructions for swaddling, but it also gives parents insight on the science behind swaddling and the vast history that surrounds it. The book is both useful and delightful to read. If you are a new mommy, or are looking for a gift for a new mommy, this would be a great purchase.

You can find it here at Aden+Anais for $19.95. While your there, take a look at their beautiful and practical muslin swaddle blankets. They are soft and breathable, and are generously sized at 47"x 47" and make swaddling a breeze. These is my favorite set:



I want to extend a big thank-you to Aden + Anais for sending me a copy of Swaddle Love to review. It was my pleasure. As always, this review is written with my own honest opinions. I was not paid or compensated in any way other than receiving a copy of the book to review.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

The Expectant Mommy

Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you

Before you were here an hour I would die for you

This is the miracle of Mother's Love.

-Maureen Hawkins

Thanks for visiting for day 1 of "Hooray for Mommies"! Expectant mommies, today is all about you.

Pregnancy is the most life changing adventure I can think of. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was head over heels in love with a child I could only imagine. It still amazes me how much love I immediately had built up for the baby, how excited two pink lines can make you, and how terrified at the same time.

After going through two pregnancies, I envy those who say they love being pregnant and relish in their state. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled to be expecting, both times. I was just too darn uncomfortable to enjoy the baby growing process.

Of course I found joy in many things. Any pregnant mama will tell you how fabulous it is to be past the stage of "Is she pregnant, or just flabby and bloated". Starting to show was very exciting for me both times. Wearing maternity clothes for the first time goes along with that and was also super exciting. The excitement of that faded quickly for me in my last pregnancy, since they do not make maternity clothing to fit 30 week pregnant twin mamas who are very petite sans the belly.

My very favorite part of my pregnancies was when my baby/babies started to kick and wiggle. It makes it so real. This little perfect thing that you love with your entire heart and are preparing for is finally making themselves known. (besides making you miserably sick that first trimester).

So, to all you pregnant mamas out there, Happy Mother's Day! You are amazing to be growing a life inside of you. Kick up your feet and relax. No matter how tired, uncomfortable, or sick you are, try to enjoy a moment and enjoy being pregnant. Meditate on the love you have for your baby. Enjoy your excitement. Before you know it (though I'm sure not soon enough) your little one(s) will be here and a whole new and fabulous life while begin.

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While expecting the twins I checked out "Smart Mamas Green Guide" by Jennifer Taggart from our local library. I dove into it, expecting some tips on eating organic, and avoiding lead paint. I found so much more than that. Her book is full of information on how to protect our children from various toxins and nasty substances. I honestly had no idea about the impact all of the chemicals we live with has on our children and the environment. Jennifer Taggart is a very smart woman and has done her research. I purchased my own copy in honor of earth day and reference it daily. Her book literally changed my life and I suggest that every parent purchase a copy of this book and read it cover to cover.


I contact the author and she was kind enough to agree to give away a copy of her book to one lucky Once Upon a Baby reader.

Here's how to Enter:
Visit The Smart Mama and tell me one thing, anything, you learned from her site.
This comment is mandatory and if not included, additional comments will be void.
(please leave a contact email address)

Extra Entries:
leave one comment for each entry

Open to US residents only. Ends on 5/15/10. 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 or given any product for this review and mention. I just honestly love this book.



The Line-Up



Saturday 5/8: The Expectant Mommy
(with review and giveaway of Smart Mama's Green Guide by Jennifer Taggart)

Sunday 5/9: The New Mommy
(with a review of Swaddle Love by Regan Moya Jones from Aden + Anais)

Monday 5/10: My Mommies

Tuesday 5/11: Doula Love Me?
How having a doula effected the birth of our twins and my overall pregnancy. A brief introduction to what doulas do, and the importance of doulas.

Wednesday 5/12: Photos of Motherhood (Wordless Wednesday)

Thursday 5/13: The Twin Mommy
(with a review and giveaway of the Miracle Blanket)

Friday 5/14: The Nursing Mommy
(with a review of Nesting Pillows from The Blessed Nest)

Saturday 5/15: The Toddler Mommy
(with reviews of some Eco-Friendly and safer sippy cups from Klean Kanteen, The Safe Sippy, Earthlust Birds and Bees collection, and Sigg)

Sunday 5/16: Myself as Mommy

Hooray For Mommies!!!



Mother's Day is tomorrow and I couldn't think of a more fitting way to celebrate than to host a special Mother's Day celebration. To be honest, I had planned on running it this previous week and ending it on mother's day, but sometimes, life takes a hold of you and things just don't go how you imagine them to go. So, it may be a bit late, but let's celebrate mommies! After all, we work hard and should be appreciated year round, right?

Of course it wouldn't be a true event if it didn't come with some giveaways, so check back in later to see what's up. I've got a teensy bit of "blog catch up" to do, and then I'll be back this afternoon to really kick off the celebration! In the meantime, go hug a mommy.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

4Moms Cleanwater Infant Tub

I am so pleased to introduce you all to this great company. 4moms was actually started by two men in 2005. They wanted to get into the juvenile market and put together a focus group of four moms. It was so successful, and they gave such great input and expertise that the moms became the face of the company. Between them they have 13 kids, which includes 3 sets of twins! You gotta love multiples! Their products are amazing. They have thought of everything and since the products are designed based on direct feedback from real moms, there really isn't much to complain about.

I was lucky enough to review their Cleanwater infant tub. I had never put much thought this, but if you think about it, babies sit in diapers all day long. When you bathe them, the water gets dirty and they sit in that dirty bath the entire time. Also, most baby baths do not keep the water warm for very long. The Cleanwater tub solves both of those problems. The water can freely flow from the faucet, into the tub, and out the side. It makes for a warm and clean bath experience for baby. There is also a reservoir of clean water to use to rinse your baby with. If you have a baby that hates bath time, this might be your answer. Also, it has another really great feature, a built in thermometer. It tells you the temperature and also has a great system where if the display is green, the temperature is warm and safe. If the display is blue, it is too cold. If it's red, you have it too hot. If it gets dangerously hot, an alarm sounds.
Here is a diagram I put together to show how the water flows in and out.

So, we've used the tub multiple times now and here is what I have to say about it. This is great for moms of multiples. I hate, hate, hate having to prepare a bath, bathe one baby, and prepare the bath all over again. This takes out the step of preparing it all over again and saves me time a energy. I always say that anything that makes the day of a twin mama a little bit easier is well worth it. This is true for this tub. I really like the thermometer feature. All baby tubs should have a built in thermometer, don't you think? It's a great safety feature. Another big plus for this is that it fit very will in our sink, but it also comes with an adapter in case it doesn't fit. My babies enjoy bathing in it, and I've mentioned before that they are not happy bathers.

The one thing about this tub is that is uses a ton of water. We've fashioned a way to collect the pour out water to use on the lawn since we don't use anything in the bath water that would hurt plants.

Here's A enjoying his bath.


4moms also makes a few other products that are really fabulous. They just debuted their MamaRoo pictured below. It's designed to mimic the bounce and sway motion that parents commonly do. It also has a setting to mimic a car ride. Why hasn't someone thought of this earlier? It's pure genius! I'm also in love with their stroller, the origami. It is a full sized single stroller that folds up to be super compact. It is just super cool all around. You really should check it out. Be sure to visit 4moms and take a look at their products. You can purchase the Cleanwater infant tub online at Diapers.com and other retailers.


As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated in any way other than receiving tub to review.

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