Friday, April 30, 2010

Spring Babies

This is a face only a mother could love, don't you think? A family of cardinals made their home in a climbing rose bush just outside a window in our garage. I stood on a bucket in the garage looking out the window to take this photo. Lucy and Julia were able to take a peek and see the eggs before they hatched. Ross even saw the daddy cardinal feeding the babies. I love it when nature allows us a close up view of things like this!

Lucy and I are making a Spring photo book together. We went outside a month or so ago and took photos of green shoots sprouting from the ground, buds on trees, and anything else that reminded us of Spring. I printed the photos and put them in a little book for her. We'll definitely add these and try to get a few more shots as the babies grow!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Urban Baby Bonnets


I came across these unique baby bonnets and absolutely love them! We got to review one, and its just as cute in person as it looks online. The bonnets are all handmade in the US, reversible, and sooo much fun. I love the fabric combinations available. Esther has been wearing hers now to keep the chilly wind off of her, but it will also be great in the summer as a sun hat. We can even use it as a nursing cover up by folding the brim forward. There are boy hats available, and super cute fleece hats for winter too.

Designer-Mom Colette, is an artist and enjoys spreading her cheerful colored bonnets across the world in what she calls the urban baby bonnet project. A sort of worldwide sculptural installation. You can read her artist/ project statement on her website. I love that her business is not just about selling bonnets, its about the color and art and life involved. Very cool and so much fun to be a part of.

Esther's hat fits her well with room to grow. I like that it snaps, rather than having long ties or scratchy velcro. There are several snaps, so the hat will fit her for quite a while. The hats are a bit pricey, so I consider this a splurge item. You could think of it as buying a fine piece of artwork though, and what better way to display art than on your sweet little one? I'm sure we'll get lots of use out of this hat.

Would you like one? One winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to Urban Baby Bonnets. To enter, check out their Etsy shop and website and let me know your favorite bonnet. (If you win, this will be the one your gift certificate will be good towards.) For extra entries you can also:

be a follower of my blog,
be a confirmed email subscriber of my blog, and/ or
"like" Urban Baby Bonnets on Facebook,

Leave a separate comment for each extra entry. You must complete the first entry for the extra entries to be valid. I will close the giveaway on May 5 at midnight.

Colette has also given us a code for free shipping: FREESHIPWAA. Thanks Urban Baby Bonnets!

*Closed. Comment #5 wins!*

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Well, once again I was unprepared and forced into this by my sweet little girl exclaiming "Its Monday? We can do Muffin Tin Monday!" We pulled something together and enjoyed our fun lunch. If you've never done this before feel free to jump in, its really that easy. :)

We had fruit salad, avocado, cheese, crackers, and strawberry yogurt. Somehow putting all that in a muffin tin makes it more fun. I didn't even cut the cheese into cute little shapes, someday soon we'll be prepared and have a super fun MTM again. Check out Muffin Tin Mom for some much more creative ideas. I'll be back later this week with a homeschool update, more summer reviews (with discount codes), and more. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Abby's Lane

Abby's Lane is one of my favorite places to shop for cloth diapering supplies. They offer a great range of products at the best prices out there and have FREE shipping on every order! Join their yahoo group to get a 5% off code good every time you order from them as well. Become a Facebook fan for fun giveaways and contests. From now until April 30th, mention my name when you order and I will receive $5 in store credit! You must be a new customer, place a paying order, and mention my name in the comments box for me to get credit. (mention Christy - christy.vwATgmail DOTcom sent you) With free shipping and 5% off, I'm sure you can all find something you need. :)

BumGenius, Flip, Babylegs, and so much more. Check it out!

(Originally posted April 5, bumping this up for the last few days of this promotion.)

Flip Disposable Diapers

I'm not impressed with the Flip Disposable Inserts. I want to like them, but I don't. At all. We took them along with us on our recent weekend trip out of town. Thank goodness I brought disposables too because these are awful.

I had three Flip covers and the disposable inserts to use. The first time I had one of them on Esther she pooped and it went all over. It was sort of like just letting her poop in a plain cover because the insert did nothing to contain or absorb the poop. I had to rinse out her clothes, the pad I changed her on, and the cover. I had planned on washing the cover by hand in the sink if it got dirty, but I couldn't get the poop out of the folds in the elastic leg casing and across the back. Thankfully this all happened in the hotel room rather than during one of the conference sessions. I still had the other two covers to use, but I didn't even try again that weekend because I couldn't risk another huge mess.

Other times that I've had the disposable inserts on Esther, even with just pee they are soaked and the cover gets wet and isn't reusable. Like I said, I want to like them - the inserts are soft and I like that they are "healthier" than disposables. I think they are too narrow and thin though. For some reason, I've also had trouble with the laminate peeling on the inside of the covers, something my other diapers have never done. I may be able to exchange these, but I haven't tried to do that yet.

We do like the Flip covers with the organic prefold insert, but its the same thing as folding a prefold and laying it in any cover. I like the snaps on the cover and the stretchy elastic tabs but overall I just don't love the system as much as I had hoped to.

I did not receive this product for review, I purchased it.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Every spring I look forward to visiting the butterfly gardens! We went on Monday and it was the perfect sunny day. Here are my pigtailed cuties having fun:

I thought this picture was a good example of how Esther spends her days - with lots of little hands tickling and loving on her:

Hope you're enjoying spring too!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

POM Wonderful Juice

I had never tried pomegranate juice until today. It tastes sort of like cranberry juice, but a bit different. POM Wonderful make a 100% pomegranate juice that is super healthy - no added sugars, preservatives, or colors. Pomegranate juice is a good source of potassium and antioxidants.

The POM Wonderful website has all sorts of fancy recipes that can be made with their juices. We chose to try a smoothie recipe that I thought my girls might like:

2 oz POM juice
6oz blueberry yogurt
1 cup frozen strawberries
Blend and enjoy.

This is my new favorite way to make a smoothie! The pomegranate juice adds just the right amount of tartness. I thought it was a bit sour just to drink, but Ross took some to work and thought it was fine. We enjoyed this and will definitely be using POM Wonderful more now that we've tried it.

I received some POM Wonderful juice for review but the opinions of course are all my own.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pete the Cat

My mom recently came across a video clip of two little girls reading Pete the Cat and thought it was hilarious. She sent us the link and ever since, my girls have been singing "I love my white shoes." Check out the video here. Its so cute!

I was excited to have the chance to review the book Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin. Lucy and Julia wanted to read it right away as soon as they saw it in the mail and were thrilled to have this book. Pete the Cat goes walking along and steps in strawberries, blueberries and more, turning his white shoes various colors. The book has brightly colored illustrations, and Pete makes me laugh on several pages. James Dean is the illustrator and he does a great job.

Pete the Cat comes with a card so that you can download the song that goes along with the book. Lucy and Julia sing anything to that same tune - "I love my red coat. I love my macaroni." etc. This is definitely a fun book to have and the song is catchy. I love the message of the book as well; Pete keeps a good attitude no matter what happens. We discussed how Pete might have been sad when his new shoes got dirty, but didn't cry. Hopefully Pete's good attitude will inspire my girls a bit. We're enjoying this book.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bloem and Grow

I found the cutest little name blocks for Esther recently! I went to a craft/ gift show while I was pregnant and fell in love with these adorable handcrafted blocks. I had to wait until Esther was born to order because we didn't know the gender or name yet. Kate at Bloem and Grow agreed to give me a set for review and even has a great discount code for us! Aren't they adorable...

Check out her website for more options. She has a variety of color schemes to choose from and will help you figure out a design that works for you. The set that I have is called "Sweet Garden". The blocks can say anything you like - Spring, Grandma, Hope, Family, Mom... and more. I keep thinking of sets I'd like to have. Julia wants a set with her name on them and I'd love a set that says Family for the living room. Here you can see the size:

Kate is mom to two little ones, Emmah 6, and Jake 4. She loves to scrapbook, shop, and spend time with family and friends. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 8 years. Kate just opened an Etsy shop, be sure to check it out! You can see more examples of her work on her blog.

Being somewhat crafty, I had thought of trying to make these myself, but they are such a great price and Kate does such a good job that I decided to leave it up to the pros this time. I love the blocks and will probably be ordering more sets. These are so cute in the girls' bedroom, although I have to admit I left them in the living room for a couple of weeks just so I could look at them. If you want to order a set, just mention my blog and Kate will give you 25% off of your order! Check out her blog for prices and more photos. Thanks Kate!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Motherwear Nursing Swimsuit

Isn't this place gorgeous? Our whole family got to go on a mini vacation this weekend to a La Leche League conference in Northern Michigan. We attended sessions, roasted marshmallows over a bonfire, and swam in an indoor pool. Even just sleeping in a hotel bed is super exciting to my girls so they had a blast. Lucy says her favorite part was swimming in the pool.

Motherwear graciously sent me a nursing swimsuit to try out and review! I definitely needed a new swimsuit. My others were two piece, and well, you don't want to see my post baby tummy right now. I was also looking for something I could comfortably nurse in. I searched everywhere online looking for nursing swimsuits. Some of them made me laugh. Overall there weren't many to choose from. The best selection I found was at Motherwear. They have a few different ones and three color choices. I got to try out the Goddess Tank Suit in Brown with Pink Dots.

I absolutely love the color. It doesn't show up well in these photos, but in person the pink dots are nice and bright. I really like the fit of this suit as well. The gathered tummy hides my post partum pouch a bit. I got a small and it is a tiny bit big in the cup size but still works fine. The swimsuit has a support bra built in with lightly padded cups. I was able to wear my nursing pads with this and I like that it gave me some shape instead of flattening me out. To nurse, just pull over the top layer to reveal openings. I like that I don't have to worry about how I will nurse my baby, its easily accessible.

I am sure this swimsuit will get lots of use over the summer and will last for several years. If you're looking for a nursing swimsuit, check out the options at Motherwear. I have a few pieces of clothing from them as well, including the dress I recently wore to a wedding. Their items are high quality and stylish. Sign up for a free catalog and check out their Facebook page for sales. Thanks Motherwear!

Monday, April 12, 2010

"That" Moment

We had a fun moment at our house the other day. Lucy has been learning to read, sounding out letters and putting them together to make words. She's been doing this in her schoolwork and does great, but for the first time the other day she picked up something on her own and was reading. She got a Spinny Speller for Christmas and wasn't too interested in it at the time. On Sunday she picked it up and started reading every word, giggling with Julia at the silly ones like "hig" and "mup". It was so much fun to listen to her sounding out "m" - "o" - "p" - "mop!" Ross walked into the kitchen and I told him - this is that moment in life when your child learns to read and for the first time is sounding out everything and catching on! So much fun!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Angel Baby Bottom Balm

Lately Esther has been wearing her Flip diaper with the organic prefold fairly often. Its absorbent, trim, and cute! What's your favorite baby fluff-wear this week? We're headed out of town this weekend and I'm taking the Flip disposable inserts, I'll let you know how that goes.

I had Esther is a disposable diaper recently and noticed that she was very red and bled a bit in her leg creases. I'm not sure if the diaper rubbed her the wrong way or what but cloth is definitely much more comfortable. Thankfully we had just gotten some Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm to review. I put some on her and it did seem to help. I've also used this on Julia's "toddler mouth" - you know, where they bite their bottom lip and make it red and chapped? She calls it her medicine and asked me to put it on her face a couple of times until it cleared up. I love having this natural option and not worrying about chemicals being absorbed into my babies' skin.

I didn't use a ton of this all at once, but its supposed to be safe for cloth diapers. It seems like it would wash out just fine and I didn't have any issues with the small amount that I used. This is a great all purpose healing balm to have around - good for scrapes, dry skin and more. Thanks Earth Mama Angel Baby! In April, you can use the code "CLOTH20" for 20% off an online order. (Hint: join their Facebook page and email list for fun giveaways and more.)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sonny and Reed Necklace

I love reviewing products that were invented by moms! This one is a safe necklace for mom to wear that baby can teethe on. Sonny & Reed Necklaces were created by two moms who noticed their babies tugging and chewing on their jewelry and were concerned about safety.

The necklaces are made in the USA of non-toxic FDA approved acrylic. The beads are large enough that they do not pass through a choke tube (although the tag does carry a choking hazard warning). At any rate, if the necklace broke it certainly wouldn't be hard to find all of the beads. They are 2 inches long and about 1 1/2 inches wide. I received a clear necklace with brown cording. Other options include clear with pink cording, black beads, or blue beads.

It arrived in cute packaging...

I couldn't wait to try it out! Such a fun chunky style that will go with almost anything I wear. Esther already likes to pull on my necklaces and pinch my shirts, so this is perfect for us. The beads are hard acrylic - smooth on one side and bumpy on the other. I'm not sure how comfortable I am with letting her teethe on the necklace just because of it being plastic. I do like that its sturdy and she can pull on it and play with it without ruining it. I wear mine while I'm nursing as something for her to hold on to - its a perfect length for her to reach. I'm sure it will help entertain her in places like the grocery store or church as she gets older too.

Stylish mom jewelry that's safe for baby to play with = two thumbs up! Want one? We have a discount code good for 10% off your entire order and free shipping. "OneLittleWord10" Thanks Sonny & Reed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CSN Stores

I mentioned a while back that I would be reviewing some fun summer items in April. Here is the first one - a Step 2 WaterWheel Play Table from CSN Stores. CSN Stores has over 200 websites with a large range of items available. We chose to review the water table from Toys and Games Online. CSN Stores shipped the water table to me quickly and as soon as nap time was over we put it together.

It was easy to assemble, just a few parts to snap together -

Yes, those are our snow boots in the background! It was just starting to warm up when we got the water table. The girls had to wear coats, but I let them play because they were so excited to try it out.

By the end of the afternoon they were pretty wet and cold but had a blast! Here you can see the table is just the right height for them.

It comes with two boats, a cup, and a water wheel tower. Most of the pieces say that they are #5 plastic, which is a "safe" plastic. There is also a note in the instructions that the table is recyclable when you are done with it.

The girls love the water table and have played with it almost every day since we received it. The WaterWheel Play Table is also a big hit with any of our little friends that come to visit. I like that we can play with water and not get soaked! This will be a great summer toy, and we're already getting lots of use from it. Thanks CSN Stores and two thumbs up for the Step 2 WaterWheel Play Table.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Dairy Party!

This week we were learning about cows, so we had a dairy Muffin Tin Monday! Butter (that we made by shaking cream in a jar), bread for the butter, lunchmeat, ice cream, crackers, cheese, and yogurt. The girls were pretty excited to have ice cream for lunch! We talked about foods that are made from milk and we even went to visit a dairy farm.

Thanks for stopping by! I'll be closing the Dippy Cups giveaway tonight so be sure to enter if you haven't yet. I've got a few fun summer reviews and giveaways coming soon so be sure to check back often.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

We're enjoying Spring! Warm weather, flowers blooming, sunshine, and new life.
Happy Easter from our house to yours.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Seventh Generation Giveaway

Just in time for Spring Cleaning, we have a giveaway from Seventh Generation! They have a new line of botanical disinfectants including a bathroom cleaner, multi-surface cleaner, and disinfecting wipes. The disinfectants contain thymol, a component of the herb thyme, and can be used on hard surfaces including counter tops, plastic cutting boards, highchair trays as well as children’s toys. They kill over 99.99 percent of germs* naturally and are effective against the Influenza A Virus, including H1N1. *Refer to product label for full details.

I received a kit of Seventh Generation products to review and have another to giveaway! (The Seventh Generation Products, information, and additional prize pack were all given to me from Seventh Generation through My Blog Spark.)

Seventh Generation has partnered with eco-lifestyle consultant and author, Alexandra Zissu, whose new book, The Conscious Kitchen, discusses what’s good for your health, what’s good for the planet and what tastes great. I've enjoyed reading through this book. Here are some of her great tips on maintaining a green and healthy kitchen, including:

  • Change is Good
    Choosing cleaning products without indoor air pollutants like volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, is a simple and effective way to reduce your indoor air pollution. If you’re not prepared to switch everything overnight, start by swapping out the one product you use the most, and moving forward from there.

  • Think before you spray
    Residues from cleaning products can last on a surface for longer than we we’d like to know and travel to areas that we sometimes don’t intend them to. Don’t contaminate your food by prepping it on a surface that may contain harsh chemical residues - rinse cleaning products from food preparation surfaces carefully or use botanical disinfecting cleaners that do not require a rinse step.

  • Home is Where the Clean Is
    Your standard cleaners are good for removing soils and dirt from kitchen surfaces, but to tackle germs you need a cleaner that is effective against microbes like bacteria and viruses. Many cleaners contain ingredients that have antimicrobial properties such as vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, but the germ killing power of these is not necessarily guaranteed. To be sure you are killing germs, use an EPA registered disinfectant. Seventh Generation tapped into the disinfecting power of the common garden herb thyme, to provide a disinfecting cleaner that kills germs* naturally.

  • Make the Old New Again
    Think twice about the items that you’re using to clean and dry your kitchen equipment and dishes. Use rags (like old t-shirts and washcloths) instead of paper towels. If you aren’t prepared to kick your paper towel addiction just yet, use only recycled versions that are unbleached or haven’t been whitened with chemicals containing chlorine and see how long you can make a roll last.

  • The Writing is on the … Sponge
    Be sure to read the fine print on sponges and only purchase those that do not contain antimicrobial pesticides. Remember to store sponges in a dry place and frequently clean them by popping plastic sponges wet in a microwave for two minutes or boiling sponges for three minutes in water.

  • Mom Was Right, Wash Your Hands
    Wash your hands with soap and water before and after prepping food, and always before eating. So much of what can be potentially harmful in a kitchen can be reduced by this simple act that doesn’t require any harsh chemicals whatsoever.
What did I think of the Seventh Generation products? We've been making our own cleaners for some time now, and I think this is a very important step you can take towards having a safer home. I had never tried anything from Seventh Generation before and it all seemed to work well. I really don't like the thyme smell, but its much better than a chemical smell and dissipates fairly quickly. I do wish that they disclosed the ingredients right on the bottle; you can go to their website to see a full list. I think this is a great "safe" option and I'm happy that its available. I'll probably keep a bottle of this on hand for times when we are all sick and I need to disinfect everything.

The paper towels are, well, paper towels. Not the greenest thing to use, but I have to admit I do still use paper towels from time to time for art project clean up or cleaning the toilet. These are a nice option to have.

Would you like to try these out? One winner will receive a kit as shown in the photo above. Leave a comment being sure to include your email address. You can leave extra comments for following my blog, and for being an email subscriber to my blog. This will close April 16th at midnight.

*Giveaway closed. Congrats Tina!*