Wednesday, 14 December 2011

**Ended**Flash Giveaway!

Merry Christmas to all of my readers! I've changed my work at home mama business in the last few months and now I'm making hats rather than diapers. I love the change and it's been very successful for me so far. As a thank-you to both my blog readers, and those who have helped me succeed with my hats, I'm giving away one ready to ship hat to one lucky winner. The winner will get to pick any one of the following three hats: Child Sized Mini Hat, 0-3M size Penguin hat, or the NB newsie hat pictured.

To enter, simply follow my blog and leave a comment on this post telling me so along with an email address to contact you by.

Want an extra entry? "Like" my hat page on facebook HERE. Leave me a comment telling you that you "like" the page, and include your email address.

This giveaway will end *TONIGHT* at 9pm pst. Winner will be drawn randomly with random.org, and will be notified immediately via email. As long as response from winner is rapid, the hat of choice will ship tomorrow.

Good Luck!

Update! The giveaway has ended and the winner is #2! Congrats Jackie! I'll email you asap :)

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Big Old Stocking Stuffers List for the Kiddos

Last December I was out and about shopping for stocking stuffers at our local Walmart (gasp!). I went down the Christmas isles picking out things like M&Ms in a tube, and I realised that the entire aisle was full of a)things that are totally processed and completely unhealthy, b) plastic craptastic toys (sorry ma') that are only going to last a day or two before they are toast, and c)excess packaging that creates even more waste.

So I went home and vented to my husband and we came up with a plan to keep us out of those isles and from buying things that will be in the trash within a week. Here was our oh-so-complicated-plan: Buy handmade. That's it. After all, these stocking are from Santa after all, and I've never heard of a Walmart on the North Pole. Aren't all his toys and goodies made by elves?

It does take a little bit of planning ahead of time, but if you hit up some local bazaars, small boutiques that offer local goods, and etsy, you should have no problem putting together an awesome stocking. Now, I'm not perfect at sticking to this plan. We always put a couple of things in every year that are store bought, like a toothbrush. Here is the list I made up of stocking stuffers for little ones. A post full of mama and daddy stocking stuffers will follow in the next few days. Enjoy!

  1. An Orange (Why the heck not!? There was always one in my stocking. Economical, Green, and a great space filler)
  2. Play dough (I ordered some from this etsy seller: Mama K's Aromatic Play Clay)
  3. A Book (store bought, but you could always go used on this one!)
  4. Crayons (even better, go for some cool shaped recycled ones like these)
  5. A harmonica/ maracas/ whistle (probably store bought on this one too, but you could always check and see if you have a small local shop that could help you out)
  6. Wooden car/ Train car (I've seen these at every bazaar I've been to this year)
  7. Socks! (you could try and find some cute hand knitted ones, or hand dyed ones)
  8. A Hat or mittens (again look local or on etsy, you could even support my shop)
  9. Bath Toys (probably back to the store for this one too, Green Toys does have some fun ones as well)
  10. Bubble Bath/Bath Bomb/Soap (these are super duper cute)
  11. An ornament (check etsy!)
  12. Cup or mug (like this one)
  13. Hot coco mix
  14. Playsilks
  15. T-Shirt (again, there are some great choices on etsy)
  16. Bean Bags (heck, you could even make these your self)
  17. A hair bow/clip for the girlies 
  18. Felt/Crocheted play food
  19. I spy bag (I like this shop)
  20. Kaleidoscope
  21. Card games (such as Old Maid, or Go Fish)
  22. Small Puzzle (search etsy for wooden puzzles)
  23. Rubber Stamps 
  24. Toothbrush (my kids get a fun one every year)
  25. YoYo
  26. Stickers
  27. Magnetic numbers or letters
  28. Finger/Hand puppets
  29. Small stuffed animal or doll (Etsy baby!)
  30. Undies or a Cloth Diaper (bam! Etsy again
 Check out my Etsy treasury for kids stocking stuffers.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Stroll in Style: Baby Jogger City Mini Review

As time goes by my stroller needs have changed here and there, and we recently unloaded our giganta-stroller and started looking for something new. B does not want to sit in it anymore, so there was no use in hanging on to a triple that barely fit in our trunk. So we went and bought a popular brand of double umbrella stroller from a big box store. That was a huge waste of money! Yes, it folded up nice and small, but if the kids stretched out their legs we'd abruptly stop in an aisle with a foot smashed under the wheel. Screaming children, holding up traffic...not my idea of a good time.

Just as I was complaining all over about that little piece of useless metal stroller, the kind folks at Baby Jogger contacted me. I was thrilled at the opportunity to review the Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller. I had heard so many wonderful things about them from other twin moms, and I could not wait to try it out. The big brown truck dropped it at my door and I immediately had it out of the box. This baby was so easy to put together. B did most of it to be honest, with a little mommy help here and there.

We put this stroller through rigorous testing before I was ready to write this review, and let me tell you, the results are great! Along with everyday use, we also tested it out shopping at the mall, to the doctors office, and at a regular preschool drop-off/pick-up.

Let's talk everyday use first. This stroller takes up much less space in the trunk than our last jogging stroller, meaning the groceries will fit around it! It is easy to manoeuvre and the wheels are nice and small, and can swivel or be locked. Also, one of the first things I noticed about it, is that the wheels do not stick out from the side of the stroller. Another great feature is the adjustable canopies. Sometimes L needs to be a little more closed off, than just shaded from the sun. A simple shopping trip can be overstimulating for him. These canopies come way down. He can have most everything blocked out and feel more comfortable. It's like this stroller was made for us!

We rarely go out with all of the kids, especially not to crowded places. It is just such a hassle with all of buckling and unbuckling of car seats and strollers, the hazards of a parking lot, or a little one wriggling out of your grip. Those days may be over for me! We took the City Mini Double to the mall on a busy night with lots of Christmas shoppers about. We had such a relaxed time. We manoeuvred through the crowd with no problem. The store that I never go to, because the aisles are too narrow was a breeze for once! I love, love, love how narrow this stroller is! I seriously can not get over it! My husband pushed it for a while and commented on how much he likes the placement of the handlebar. It is easy to push and he didn't have to stoop over. We made a few purchases that were easy to store underneath in the basket, and when I tired of carrying my purse, it fit snugly in the mesh storage on the back of the seats. We even got a compliment from another shopper about how sleek and stylish the orange and grey is. We give it an A+ for shopping with!

Where I probably complained most about the past strollers was that they did not fit well through the doors at the pediatricians office. I hate (with a passion) handling doctors appointments alone with all three boys, but sometimes I just have to do it. For this I need the stroller. The City Mini Double preformed fabulously here too. It fits through doors with no problem, and can turn in tight hallways with ease. It is also super duper easy to put the kids in and get them out when it is their turn to see the doc. The buckle is easily accessible and manoeuvrable and there is no hassle involved. I give it an A+ for doctors office use (with a couple extra credit points for being so easy to fold up and get back in the car)

Three days a week I have to pick B and his best bud up from preschool. Not only am heading in the building with the twins, but I also have another little one from my home childcare that comes a long with me. Coming out of the building I have 5 kids with me! While it isn't a super busy parking lot, it is still not the easiest thing to get them all to the car without some one trying to run off (most often L). The City Mini has made this much easier too. Before we got it, I would not use the stroller because it was either too much of a pain to get set up and folded down, or because it didn't fit in doors. Now, it saves me time to put them in it, rather than chase a tot around the parking lot while holding a string of hands of 4 other kids. Nice visual right? Not so fun. I love that I can put Mr. Squirm away from mama in the stroller with his brother and the big kids can all help me push. Everyone stays together and we get through the parking lot quickly and safely. After everyone is buckled, it only takes a second to fold up and put in the back. I can even get it put away with one hand. For preschool pickup the stroller gets another A+.

Baby Jogger. There are actually quite a few additional accessories that can be purchased for use with the City Mini, including a glider board that attaches to the back for an older child to ride along.

The Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller can be purchased through many retailers (check here for a retailer near you) or through various online stores such as Baby's R Us, and Buy Buy Baby.

As always this is an honest review full of my own opinions. I was not compensated for this review other than being sent a sample of the product to review.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Some Great Deals on Zulily!

If you haven't checked out Zulily.com yet, you are missing out on some really great deals this week! Plus, use coupon code FREESHIPZU212 for free shipping on orders over $60. These are just a few of my favorites, but there are so many cute things on sale, it's hard to pick! You'll have to check it out for yourself!

This Playful Chef Deluxe Set is only $21.99
This Melissa and Doug boys travel set is on sale for $22.99.
And my personal favorite, the Happy Trails Dog rocker is only 39.99 (down from $90)! I think one of my boys is probably getting one of these. Too stinking cute!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Small Business Saturday!

I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Yesterday was black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Today is Saturday and let's all remember to support small businesses that could use our support too this holiday season. Here are some ideas to get you going online, but remember to support local shops too!

Friday, 4 November 2011

thredUP- Kids Clothing at a Great Price

Have you heard of thredUP? It's my favorite way to buy used kids clothing. This box cost 19.95 (some are a bit more), including the shipping and was well worth it!!!




 (I appologize for the craptastic quality of this video...next time I will set the camera on two building blocks instead of just one)

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Seven Months Without Shampoo, and why you should ditch it too!

It's time for an update on the no-poo experiment! No shampoo, that is. Seven months ago I ditched shampoo (see this post) and started following a regimen on baking soda and vinegar. I'm happy to report that it is still working fabulously, and I encourage you to try it too. I seriously have never had healthier hair.

There are several reasons that I ditched shampoo. My biggest concerns are that many "big brand" shampoos contain ingredients that are very bad for our bodies. I know that sounds over the top, but it's true! So without further ado, and in no particular order, allow me to introduce you to some shampoo  top-toxic-offenders.

Fragrance (or perfumes): Of course this is what makes your hair smell so sweet and clean, but this baby is nasty! I have a big problem with ingredients that are not fully labeled, and certainly do not consider "fragrance" to be an appropriate label. It's a combination of various smelly chemicals, which turns out are commonly full of neurotoxins and is toxic to our immune system. Also, consider the allergy concerns that are associated with fragrances.

DMDM Hydantoin. This is another nasty little irritant that is an immune system and skin toxicant. Also, according to the EWG, there is concern of formaldehyde contamination.

Propylene Glycol: This one is another chemical that causes immunotoxicity and is also toxic to our organs. Watch out for this one as it is absorbed quickly by skin contact and often causes irritation.

Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate: Make sure to keep this away from your babies. It causes developmental and reproductive toxicity, and is dangerous to endocrine distribution.

I encourage you to do research on every product you  put on your body. A fabulous place to start, where much of my facts came from today, is the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I bet you'll be surprised at what you find out about your favorite beauty products.

On a slightly different topic, I had my hair chopped a few weeks ago. What do you think?

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Happy Birthday Twins!!!

My tiny little babes turned two today! I can not believe how the time has flown by. I've been running full speed, trying to keep up. It's easy to forget to slow down and enjoy it. I have two two-year-olds! How did this happen?! Where did my little nurse-all-night babies go?!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

I must be a bad parent

...because right now, the TV is babysitting my child. No, this is not a regular occurrence. The boys are sick. All three of them.

It's not the snot and coughing that is wearing me down. It's the fact that for the last 8 hours or so I have barely had a moment of not being touched. Crazy, right? I'm an AP mama that has had too much attachment today. (explanation for fuddy-duddy relatives that have no clue what I'm talking about: AP=attachment parenting) Is that even possible? Do I fail at AP because I. JUST. NEED. ONE. MINUTE. OF. NOT. BEING. TOUCHED? Eh, well think what you want. I'm cool with the situation.,but, then again, at this point my brain is only working by the wonders of coffee.

Dear person who sent me a thred-up box and threw in a Baby Einstein VHS as an extra, (that I thought I would never, ever use) I thank-you for ten minutes of cling-free time.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Hippy Hippy Snap Diaper Pattern Review

I chose to sew from the Hippy Hippy Snap diaper pattern this week. It is another one of those infamous diaper patterns with great reviews in the diaper sewing community, so I had to try one for myself.

The Hippy Hippy Snap pattern, is a great price at only $5 at doddlebee.com. As with the last pattern I reviewed, this pattern is also a download. I really love that. It's convenient and I don't have to wait for it to be mailed, just print it out and tape the pieces together. The pieces fit together with no issues and was easy-peasy to cut out. The pattern has 4 different sizes NB, small, med., and large.

This pattern is written to be sewn into either a PUL pocket, or a fitted pocket (not waterproof). I chose to make another PUL pocket diaper, so I used an inner layer of suede cloth and an outer layer of a fun orange ooga booga printed PUL. I made a medium, and it came together very well. It was another very easy to follow pattern, will well written instructions. I do wish that it had some explanation on the sizes just for reference, but over all it was a nicely made pattern.

The finished diaper turned out really cute. It is a very trim diaper through the rise. I actually have a little bit of trouble getting the soaker stuffed into the diaper, because it is such a tight fit. I should probably make up a slender little soaker just for this diaper. There is actually a supplementary pattern on the website for a soaker pattern to go with this diaper.

 The fit is great on my boys, and overall it's a very nice little diaper. I would love to try this pattern again to make a fitted.

Friday, 8 July 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit SouleMama.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Fattycakes Pattern Review

I'm on a mini-mission to actually use every unused pattern that I own, this year. Way back when, before I started sewing and selling Very Baby diapers, I bought pretty much every diaper pattern under the sun. I've never really used them, so I thought it's about time to put them all to use.

I looked through all of my patterns, trying to decide which to sew first. It was an easy decision to start with Fattycakes, because I've only ever heard it's praises. So many diaper seamstresses love this pattern and many sew and sell from it. I was a little bit worried about the fit, because my boys are anything but fattycakes, more like skinnysticks.

Fattycakes is available as a PDF download from Inspired and is only $6. I consider that to be very affordable and it's nice to not have to wait for the mail man to deliver it. The pattern pieces print out on 3 sheets of paper and are easy to cut and assemble.The pattern is really adaptable and can be sewn into a fitted, all in one, or a pocket diaper.

I chose to make a pocket diaper. Rather than pinning and cutting it out, I find it easier to trace the pattern with a fabric pen and simply cut along my markings. I used an inner layer of suede cloth and an outer layer of PUL. The instructions are straight forward and well written. It went together in a flash with no glitches. I top stitched around the entire thing, just for my own personal preference.

I really love how it turned out. The fit is actually really good for my skinny guys! The waist snaps make it so adjustable that it fits both my 27 lb babe and my 20 lb babe.

So, in short, it's a great pattern and a fabulous way to spend $6. Licensing (to sell from the pattern) is also available only if you are an active member of Diaper Sewing Divas, and is on a case to case basis.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

We were adopted.

Holy smokes, I forgot how much work puppies are! Chewed shoe, check! Hole dug, check! Three zucchini plants ripped out and the then buried, check! Cabbage eaten straight off the plant (days before ready for picking), check!

Meet Willie, our little rescue pup. We found him abandoned in an empty parking lot a few weeks ago, with the intentions of taking him to a shelter on their next business day. He made himself at home, and fit in so well that we couldn't bear to part with him. He's become best buds with Oscar, and he loves the kids.

He checked out very well with the vet, who thinks he is a lab/Aussie mix. Whatever he is, he sure is a cutie. Now if I can just survive the constant training, we'll get along just fine!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sweet Baby L

L is autistic. There, I said it. It's out. We don't know where he falls on the spectrum, but we know that he is on the spectrum. It will be at least six months before we have any more information. This is our new reality. I can't seem to get my mind off my sweet babe.

I don't think that any family ever wants their child to have ASD, although it is relieving to know why L is the way he is. Through this whole ordeal, all I want to do is scoop him up and hold him, snuggle him, and never let him go. Unfortunately that won't happen because he isn't a fan of being held and touched, only on his own accord, which is rare.

I've had a couple of very sad and teary weeks. It's time for me to move on from my denial/pity party. My child is healthy. He is happy. He doesn't know that he is any different. He is special. He is beautiful. I love him for his differences, not despite them.

I don't want anyone's pity, only support and love. Please send vibes of strength and attitude renewal my way. On another note, I have found that comments like "there is no way that an 18m old can be autistic, that's ridiculous", "he's too young to know that", "I don't believe in autism", or "autism is just an excuse for poor behavior and learning deficits" are completely unhelpful, not at all comforting, and honestly rather insensitive. Even comments made with the best of intentions are not always a good idea. If you know anyone going through something like this, it might be something to keep in mind.

Friday, 20 May 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit SouleMama.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I've Ditched Shampoo

I'm sure your thinking "Lost it now, she has. Off the deep end, this one is" (or maybe you don't speak like Yoda. I like to imagine that some of my readers have quirky personalities)

Allow me to elaborate. I never thought of ditching shampoo until it became a hot topic on a message board that I frequent. At that time, I was couponing like crazy and had just stocked up on shampoo, so going no-poo wasn't on my short list. I couldn't imagine a way to loose the poo and not have greasy, stringy hair. About a month ago, I decided to look into the method a bit more, after being a bit sick of dandruff or oily hair. I read about it on a few eco-friendly blogs and decided to make the leap.

I've been without shampoo for one month now and I'm amazed at the results. Now, no shampoo does not mean that I don't wash my hair. I do. I just use baking soda, water, and vinegar. It's super easy. I take a cup with a tablespoon or two of baking soda, and add water until it is a little thinner than a paste. Starting at the front of my head, I massage this into my roots and then rinse it away. I follow this with a quick rinse with equal parts apple cider vinegar and water, then rinse it out with just water.

My hair has never felt this healthy. Shampoo strips your hair of it's natural oils. This makes your scalp freak a little bit and make more oil to compensate. If your like me, you are washing all the time to get the rid of the overproduction of oil. Then, I end up with dandruff from shampooing too often. Ah, what a nasty cycle it is. Also, most shampoos contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and mineral oils, two things that I avoid putting on my body.

If you'd like more info on going no-poo, this is the best source that I've found so far: Babyslime: Info Shampoo Free. She goes into much more detail about SLS and mineral oil on that page.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Local Spotlight: Middleton Six Sons Farms

I mentioned recently that we have been eating asparagus like crazy, taking full advantage of it while it is in season. So far we've gone through three 20lb boxes of it from Middleton Six Sons Farms, and I don't plan to stop until it's season is over. It's become a part of our daily diet and I'm so going to miss it when it's gone!

There is something charming about buying produce within eyesight of the source. Once every one to two weeks, I load the kids in the car and drive out to a little stand out in the country, about five minutes from our home, where the asparagus is picked daily and Laura, one of the owners is there to greet you with a smile. (Yes, she was posing for this photo, but she really is as kind as she looks.)


The cute, little, red, stand is set right on the edge of the field. You can take a 30 second walk over to the growing asparagus and show your children how and where it grows. I want my children to know where their meals come from, and this is a fabulous opportunity for me to demonstrate that.

The price and quality is fantastic. For only $25 you can purchase a 20 lb box. If stored properly, it lasts us about a week, and we do not let any go to waste. If 20lbs seems a little outrageous, they do offer 10lbs for $12.50, 5lbs for $6.25. Any quantity smaller than that is $2.00 a pound, still far better than grocery store prices.

Local folks, I suggest that you check them out. For all my non-local readers, research your local resources. I'll bet that there are local farms near you that would love to sell you some spring produce. Get to know the growers, and the nice people who run the stands. I guarantee you that it will be worth your while.

I'm committed to supporting my local farmers by buying my produce locally, I hope that you are inspired to do the same. Visit farms, join a CSA, shop at farmers market,  or find some u-pick fields/orchards. Just don't spend your summer in the super market. If you do, you'll really be missing out.

For more information on Middleton Six Sons Farm, please visit their website: http://www.middletonsixsonsfarms.com/ or their facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/middletonsixsonsfarms.  To Learn more about eating local (aka the locavore movement), visit Locavores.com.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

These are my very favorite blogs, and some written by some very close friends. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have, and continue to.


Eco-Friendly and Frugal












Valley girl has baby, goes crunchy

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The First Bites of Spring!

It's been spring for weeks now, and I've been not-so-patiently awaiting the emergence of the local asparagus. The first asparagus signals to me the kick-off of the growing season. Normally, around these parts, asparagus starts shooting out of the ground in the beginning of April. This year, the local growers have had a tough spring full of chilly nights and frost-covered mornings. Finally, today my favorite local asparagus farmers Middleton Six Sons Farms, opened up their roadside produce stand and with that I finally felt the glow of springtime.

This year I have a lofty goal of not only eating locally this spring and summer, but also putting as much by as possible to keep us through the winter. I plan to shop at farmer's market weekly for our produce, visit local farms and u-pick farms orchards, buy organic (locally) as often as possible, and buy local meat from reputable farms (grass fed when possible). We've also started our own mini-homestead in the backyard with our two lovely chickens. I hope they turn out to be a great egg source in the coming months. Our garden will begin to grow soon and we will eat from it and preserve what we can. We also plan to dig a small root cellar to store our potatoes, carrots, and the like. This is all a very exciting chapter for us to undertake and I can not wait to see where it leads.

For now, I know that we will be eating loads of asparagus as long as it's season lasts. It all started today folks and I'm elbow deep in broken stalks, a pot is ready to blanch in, the food saver is running, and soon the freezer will be a little more full. Let's see how many 20lb boxes we can work through this season!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Tot School Thursday: C is for Caterpillar

This week in tot school, we finally used our Letter of the Week curriculum, and learned about the letter "C". The kiddos really had fun with it, especially the art projects. We paired our activities with reading Very Hungry Caterpillar and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. B bear has both nearly memorized now. I'm not looking forward to returning the latter to the library this week.
 I also found some fun "C" thing on No Time for Flashcards, and of course we couldn't talk about caterpillars and not do the classic egg carton craft.

For more fun Tot-School Ideas check out 1+1+1=1 and other participating blogs by clicking the image below.

Friday, 8 April 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, visit SouleMama.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Tot School Thursday: Counting Eggs

 

   Last weekend I made these little counting eggs for B Bear to help teach him number recognition and order. I found this idea on Counting Coconuts, but instead of using fabric paint, I decided to embroider the numbers on the felt.

   B has played with them a little bit, but surprisingly L is completely captivated by them. I introduced the eggs to the twins while B was out at his grammie and papas house. L and A poked at them a bit and A quickly lost attention. As soon as A was off doing something else, L swooped in, grabbed the little bucket and took it to a quiet spot where he could play alone.

    He spent over a half an hour dumping the bucket and then putting them all back in. After that half hour, I sat down with him and he would hand me one egg and wait for me to say, "That's an eight!". Then he would smile and hand me another one.

    I've left the bucket of eggs out for a few days now, and my little man keeps going back to them, over and over again. I guess the time it took me to cut felt and embroider numbers, was time well spent! I only made the numbers 1-10, but I think I'm going to make 11 and 12, because the little bit of OCD in me is really irritated with ten eggs, since we all know eggs come in dozens.


For more fun Tot-School Ideas check out 1+1+1=1 and other participating blogs by clicking the image below.

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