Monday, April 30, 2012

Bamboobies Nursing Pads Review and Giveaway

Bamboobies... the name cracks me up.  They are washable nursing pads made with ultra soft bamboo.  I've been trying some out for the last few weeks.  Bamboobies come in two varieties- regular and overnight.


The regulars are very thin and leakproof.  Their cute heart shape allows them to bend and not be all wrinkly and lumpy under a shirt.  They have a waterproof backing on them to help prevent leaks.


The overnight nursing pads are much thicker, although still very soft and plush.  They do not have a waterproof back to them, their thickness stops leaks though.  These tend to get lumpy in the dryer, but can be smoothed out a bit.

Both have worked well for me.  They have leaked, but only after being completely saturated.  One thing to note is that these do not have a stay-dry layer.  If you leak alot, you will need to change them frequently as it is not a good idea to keep that wetness next to your skin for a long time.  I much prefer washable nursing pads over disposables.  (Although I don't like other cotton pads, they leak too easily.)  These are soft and comfortable, and of course save money.  

Have you tried reusable nursing pads?  Would you like to win a pair?

Bamboobies is giving one of you a $16.99 credit good toward any product in their store.  There are three different ways to enter.  Leave a separate comment for each one:
- Check out Bamboobies website and let me know what you would order if you win.
- Follow Bamboobies on Facebook and let me know that you do so.
- Follow or email subscribe to my blog and let me know that you do so.
You may do any or all of these entries.  Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.  The giveaway will close on Saturday May 5th at noon EST.

Can't wait?  Order now with the Bamboobies coupon code WORD20 for 20% off.
Thanks, Bamboobies!

I received Bamboobies for review.  All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Savvy Naturals Review

This is not exactly how I wanted to be trying out a new product, by spraining my ankle!  However, I was very happy to have Savvy Naturals Arnica Salve on hand.  Arnica is great for sore muscles, bumps, and bruises.  The Arnica Salve did not offer immediate pain relief, but by the next day my ankle was markedly better.


Over the past few years I've slowly been building my natural medicine chest.  We've used arnica tablets and arnica massage oil with good results many times.  At times I've carried arnica tablets in my diaper bag just to have them handy.  I would definitely consider arnica a staple for any natural medicine chest.

I recently came across Savvy Naturals and knew we had to have their Arnica Salve.  It comes in an easy to use tube, and contains safe ingredients.  I had previously looked at this similar product but it contains parabens, not cool.

I also really like their decongestant rub.  Thankfully I haven't needed to use it on anyone yet.  Other decongestant rubs (Vics Baby Rub, for example) contain fragrance and petrolatum.  Neither are ingredients that I want to be putting on my body, especially when sick.  I'm happy to have something safe and natural within reach.  


So far my experience with Savvy Naturals has been great.  They are a family run company.  I love that they completely disclose all of their ingredients and explain them.  If you are interested in using natural medicines, Savvy Naturals would be a good place to start.

I am not an affiliate of Savvy Naturals.  We received Arnica Salve and Vapor Decongestant Rub for review.  As always, all opinions are my own.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Curriculum Planning

Spring is always my curriculum thinking/ planning/ buying time.  As we near the end of a school year I enjoy looking at what is working well for us and what needs to change.  This year we took a few breaks (baby Isaac, visit from Grandma, etc) so we have a couple of months left to go before being done.  The girls seem to do much better when we stick to our routine of schoolwork in the mornings.  I'm planning to continue some things right on through the summer to give us that structure.  Here are my thoughts on where we are:


Lucy (will be seven this summer, grade 2/3ish):

history
We are enjoying reading about American history in Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory.  Both girls listen every day and really like the stories.  Next year I think we are going to use My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures.

math
Lucy does a great job with math for the most part.  We have been using Singapore Math 1A and 1B.  She has done well, but needs more practice.  I am going to be switching to Math Mammoth, starting in level 1 and working through the summer with her on it.  It looks similar to Singapore Math, but seems to explain things more and give a bit more practice.

reading
Lucy is an excellent reader!  We are working through Heart of Dakota's emerging readers schedule.  In the fall I will be using ABeka readers with her.  I'm sure we will read plenty this summer too - Lucy and I are currently reading together the American Girl book Josephina just for fun.  :)

language arts (spelling, phonics, grammar, etc)
The grammar lessons in Beyond are pretty minimal.  I'm looking forward to using Rod and Staff Engligh 2 in the fall.  We are working through an Explode the Code workbook, and will continue through those.  Spelling comes naturally to Lucy, she usually aces her tests.  We will use Rod and Staff Spelling by Sound and Structure this fall.

science
REAL Science Odyssey is great, but it had fallen to the wayside after having Isaac.  Lucy was excited to pick it back up again this week.  We'll continue it at a relaxed pace through the summer and fall.  Exploring Countries and Cultures has some science in it, but we'll finish this too.

art
The girls are always doing an art project of some sort around here.  I am getting I Can Do All Things for Lucy to work through this summer.  She enjoys art and this will be something fun to occupy her.

Bible
We need to work harder on our memory verses each week!  I'm excited about the Bible content of Exploring Countries and Cultures - praying for other peoples as we learn about them, etc.

Spanish
Spanish also got dropped along the way.  We have The Easy Spanish and like it, just need to use it more.  I'm hoping to get a computer at home so that Lucy can start Rosetta Stone in the fall.  (We just have a laptop that Ross takes to work.)

other
I recently came across these critical thinking books at our local homeschool bookstore.  I'm planning to order a few for this summer and fall.  Logic and critical thinking is definitely something that I want to challenge my girls on.  I want them to be able to process information and make decisions outside of their schoolwork.  These books would make great dinner table discussion topics.  (If you are interested in ordering, use my affiliate link for free shipping.)


Julia (will be 5 this summer, K):

Julia listens to all of the read alouds, history, even Lucy's reading, every day.  Often she is the first to answer comprehension questions.  I'm planning to consider her in Exploring Countries and Cultures right along with Lucy this fall.  I will not require her to do much of course, but she will enjoy it I'm sure.

Little Hands to Heaven
When Lucy had a break from school we actually kept going with Little Hands.  It was easy to do and gave the girls a bit of focus to their day.  Now that Lucy is doing schoolwork again I struggle to get this done.  They both want to listen to each other's things, so I have to wait until Lucy is done with her work and can listen too.  Hopefully we can work through the rest of it this summer.  This covers letters, early math, Bible, art, and more.

reading
We are working through The Reading Lesson ever so slowly.  Julia enjoys it, but does not focus for very long.  I'll pick up the pace by fall for sure though.  I also got the first three Explode the Code books to reinforce phonics with her this fall.

math
There are plenty of early learning math toys around our home for Julia to use.  I picked up this math workbook for her to use in the fall.

handwriting
Julia will use A Reason for Handwriting this fall.

edit: I just ordered Polished Cornerstones from Doorposts.  It looks great to work through for character building!

Phew, it took me a while to get that all figured out and there are only two of them in school so far!  What are your school plans this year?


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Baby Boy Toys

I've been having some funny conversations with Ross lately about what boys like.
"Do all boys like dinosaurs?"
"Boys like cars and trucks, right?"
"What about robots?  Do most boys like those, or just some?"

I don't know why, but I feel lost when it comes to the topic of boy things.  Baby dolls, princesses, crafts .... I can do those!  I feel like I'm in for quite an adventure though having a little boy!

I've been having fun browsing my favorite websites and making lists of things that Isaac might like.  Of course we'll need some cars and trucks, maybe a pounding toy, and a knight puzzle?  We already own quite a few baby toys that he will like: Max, various Haba clutching toys, and more.


I just couldn't resist getting him this sweet little Nicki baby, in blue of course.  It is soft and lightweight, and very well made.  The girls think it is adorable; I keep finding him tucked in by Baby Isaac wherever he is.  I probably won't be buying him many more baby dolls, but he needs to learn to be a good Daddy someday!  ;)


What are your little boy's favorite things?

Julabug is one of our favorite natural toy stores to shop at.  They sent us the Nicki baby for review.  All opinions are of course my own.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

MadeOn Hard Lotion Review

In this post, I mentioned a few of our favorite bath products from MadeOn Hard Lotion: diaper rash cream, hard lotion bars, and beesilk jr.  I just had to give them their own post and rave about them a bit more!  (Click here to visit MadeOn Lotion.)


diaper rash cream:  This is one of the best rash creams I've come across!  It contains zinc oxide, but not the nasty fishy stink and chemicals that other rash creams have.  A huge plus is that its safe for cloth diapers. I've used it for quite some time now and haven't had any issues with the diapers.  Usually one or two applications of this cream quickly clears up any redness.

hard lotion bar:  This is the first product that I ever bought from MadeOn Hard Lotion.  Lucy gets really red chapped hands in the winter.  We've tried plenty of creams and lotions, and this one works best.  It is nice and thick as it goes on, and really soaks into the skin and just works so well.  I've raved about it to others, and gave some to my mother in law for her sore cracking fingers.  At Christmas, I got each of my girls their own tiny hard lotion bar in a tin.  They like having their own to carry around (and I like that its perfectly safe for them).


beesilk jr:  Esther gets dry bumpy skin on her legs.  Beesilk jr is similar to the hard lotion bars, but easier to coat sensitive baby skin with.  We rub this on her after a bath, and it really helps.  Like the hard lotion, it stays on the skin and absorbs really well.  This is the perfect lotion for babies and little ones.

We were sent diaper rash cream and beesilk jr so that we could share with you just how much we love these products.  I have also purchased these on my own before and truly do enjoy them.  I am also an affiliate for MadeOn Hard Lotion, so clicking through my site to make a purchase helps.  Thanks!  Click here to visit MadeOn Lotion.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Raw Cookie Dough Bites

I get soo hungry when I'm nursing!  It can be tough to find something quick, easy, and healthy to eat.  I've recently had to cut out diary and eggs for Isaac, so that makes it even more of a challenge to find something to eat.  Thankfully these two recipes fit the bill (gluten free, dairy free, egg free).


Nursing Mom Crack Raw Cookie Dough Bites


1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs coconut flour
3 Tbs ground flax seed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is dairy free.)

Mix peanut butter, honey, and vanilla until creamy.  Grind flax seed and add.  I grind the coconut flour also to get the lumps out.  Add all ingredients and mix everything well.  Shape into tablespoon size balls and refrigerate.  Grab from the fridge and eat whenever the mood strikes.

You can also freeze these on a cookie tray and then keep them in a ziploc bag in the freezer.  I'd have to make a triple batch for any of them to get that far though.  Perfect quick protein snacks for little hungry tummies or nursing moms ...okay, dad can't resist these either!  For the original recipe and other variations see here.  Another similar treat:

Oatmeal Energy Bites


1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand is dairy free.)

Mix and scoop into tablespoon size balls.  These are crumbly, so I sometimes add extra peanut butter or honey.  Chill and serve.  Store in the refrigerator.

Do you have a favorite easy snack?  Please share!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Butterfly Scripture Canvas


My mom is here visiting from Texas this week.  Aside from getting in lots of baby snuggle time, she helped me paint this beautiful canvas for the girls' bedroom.  We used this scripture art and this butterfly canvas for inspiration.  Psalm 4:8 was one of our memory verses earlier this year.  Lucy and Julia both know it by heart and say it at bedtime when they are afraid.  I've had a little paper posted in their bedroom with the verse written on it, but wanted a better way to display it.  I absolutely love how this turned out!

We used a 22"x28" canvas, acrylic paint, watercolors, watercolor paper, a black paint marker, and a butterfly punch.


Everyone helped paint the canvas.  It took a couple of coats (2 bottles of the paint).


We used watercolors to make bright pictures with splotches of color.


My mom wrote the words on the canvas with a pencil first, and then the paint marker.  We punched butterflies out of the watercolor paintings and used hot glue to stick them on.



I love, love, love it!

(For more ideas on how to creatively display scripture in your home check out the Write Them on the Doorposts contest.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Painting Easter Eggs with Q-tips


Happy Easter!  

We dyed and painted Easter eggs last night.  Quite a challenge to keep six little hands, nine cups of dye, twenty-four eggs, and eighteen little paint pots from creating a disaster!  One way that we kept the mess down was to use Q-tips for paint brushes.


We used the new Q-tips Precision Tips Cotton Swabs with pointy ends.  They worked nicely, and I was very happy to not have to wash out paintbrushes countless times.


Some of our artwork:




These Q-tips are a pretty neat must-have craft tool!  We will definitely be keeping them on hand.  They also work well for putting dabs of glue on things or painting hard to reach spots on crafts.  Check out the Q-tips Cotton Swabs Facebook page for news, tips, and a coupon.

In other news, our Easter garden sprouted!  We had a bit of drama with it; the original grass seed refused to grow, we had to replant it with wheat berries, then the wheat started to mold, and the dog ate one of the crosses.  After all that work, I was quite relieved to see this on Easter morning:


We read through the Easter story together and then moved the rock away from the empty tomb!


more about the butterflies later this week...

I was provided with Q-tips® Precision Tips™ cotton swabs, a $25 American Express gift card and information about the product by Rocket XL. All opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Homeschool Tools

Aside from the books and pencils, there are a few tools that come in handy for homeschooling:



I love laminating things!  We use this quite a bit for making preschool games, laminating chore charts, potty charts, and anything else I can think of.  The laminating pouches are sold in bulk at Sam's club for a decent price.  You can usually find this laminator for around $25.



This year I purchased an electric pencil sharpener at Costco.  It saves so much time to just zip a pencil in!  This one doesn't seem to work well with some of our cheap Dora and Tinkerbell pencils, sharpening them off center leaving a bit of the wood.  It does fine with the better quality ones though.  Any homeschooler should have an electric pencil sharpener!  With all of my busy little artists constantly going through pencils, I am sure this is saving me countless hours.



This is another tool I picked up recently.  I had been trying to make a book for a school project of Lucy's.  After experimenting with several different methods and then breaking a needle while trying to sew the spine, I ran out that night to buy this.  I can now simply fold paper in half, open it, and staple on the spine!  Genius.  Lucy really enjoys making books (see an adorable one here), and I'm sure we will be using this often for school projects too.



I don't think I can tell you how many times I've tried to get three holes in the right spot by just using a single punch.  Inevitably the holes are off just a little and the paper doesn't fit the binder correctly.  Needless to say, it is quite handy to have a three hole punch!

As you can see, I've tried to get by without some of these items, but find them very handy to have.  They are all stored in a big cabinet in the basement along with countless other craft and office supplies.


Do you have favorite school tools that you can't live without?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinterest

I am addicted to Pinterest.  I love searching for and pinning all kinds of creative crafty things.  Its been keeping me sane while up at all hours of the night nursing - or contributing to my insanity, one or the other.  Aside from pinning crafty things, I've been having fun creating boards around themes.  There is something great about having a page of photos around a theme.  I've always tried to create blog posts with photos, Pinterest just takes that a step further.  Fun!

the little guy responsible for keeping me up at night

I think it will work to share the links with you?  Let me know if you can click on these and see them (as long as you have a Pinterest account).

my main Pinterest page

a Nursing Mom's Wardrobe

Everything You Need to Start Cloth Diapering

What do you think?  Do you "Pin"?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Gluten Free?

I've been avoiding this for a year or more now.  We finally decided that we just had to give it a try.  For the last five weeks, Lucy has been gluten free.  I can't say yet if its helping her or not; we're still in the trial period.  Initially it seemed soooo hard, but we're fumbling our way through and finding our resources. Because we began this when I was very pregnant, I've been buying quite a few pre-made things, instead of playing with recipes.  My thought has been to just do whatever we can to get through a trial period, and then if we stay gluten free for the long term, I'll do more of my own baking.

This is definitely not a comprehensive guide to going gluten free; I just thought I'd post what we are doing to start.  Rather than pages of gluten free resources and recipes, I think I would have liked to see a basic "this is how we started" kind of post.  So here is mine:


Recipes:

These are all very basic, normal recipes that are gluten free.  They don't require any fancy flour mixes or anything.  She does use coconut flour in a couple things, and we've had good success experimenting with that.

Coconut flour muffins are easy enough to make.  We like them with chocolate chips or blueberries.

These raw cookie dough bites are yummy!  (They use coconut flour.)

I've made these black bean brownies before and we all enjoyed them.

My baked oatmeal recipe is gluten free, as long as you buy gluten free oats.

This is my normal waffle recipe, again, gluten free with the right kind of oats.


We've purchased gluten free: Udi's whole grain bread, a couple kinds of crackers, brown rice tortillas, a gluten free pancake mix, breakfast bars, Annie's bunnies, etc.

Normal things that we eat that are gluten free: any fruit or veggies, rice, potatoes, quinoa, tortilla chips, brown rice pasta, eggs, cheese and other dairy.


Lucy's meals look like:

Breakfasts: eggs, smoothies, Udi's GF bread with peanut butter and honey, breakfast bar, oatmeal, pancakes, or waffles

Lunches: leftovers from dinners, GF bread sandwiches, GF crackers and cheese, tortilla chips and cheese or hummus

Dinners: anything with rice, potatoes, brown rice pasta spaghetti, soup with rice instead of noodles, etc




I just purchased this book to start gluten free baking with.  I also just bought the dry container for my Vitamix blender so that I can grind my own flours (brown rice, etc).  We have had to watch out and not let Lucy eat things just because they are gluten free.  Many of the foods or mixes sold in stores are overly processed, contain too much sugar, or are made with white flours (white rice flour, and other things that are pretty lacking nutritionally).  Hopefully I will be able to figure out a few more recipes soon here.

There you go, a jumble of ideas to help you get started if you are considering giving gluten free a try.  Please leave a comment and share your favorite gluten free resources!