Saturday, March 31, 2012

Deal: aden + anais cozy sleep sack

I love aden + anais products for baby!  We use their swaddling blankets allll the time, and have a couple of the sleep sacks too that we use.  I had been looking for another one and found this deal at  The car print cozy sleeping bag is on sale for $18.70, normally these sell for $45!  The "cozy" ones are nice and thick.  I like that they are breathable cotton instead of synthetic fleece (which is not so breathable and seems to bother my kids sensitive skin a bit).  Snap one up fast, only size small and medium are left.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Rainy Day Fun - Hello Hanna Paper Dolls

With a new baby in the house, I've been doing my best to think of things that will keep my girls occupied and happy.  Thankfully the weather has been nice, so they've been playing outside quite a bit.  On a recent rainy day they really enjoyed playing with Hello Hanna Paper Dolls.  We received some of these to review, and had a friend over for a paper doll playdate!

Hello Hanna paper dolls are great in that they include a thick cardboard doll, a dog and doghouse, two sheets of clothing, a sheet of stickers, and a stencil so that you can make more clothing!  (We saved the cardboard left over from punching out the doll and dog so we could use that as a stencil too.)

After dressing their dolls in the clothes provided, they spent the afternoon cutting out more and playing with the dolls.  Lucy used some patterned scrapbook paper to make clothes and added some of the stickers for embellishments.  Julia's doll moved into the Playmobil house and lived there.  Esther enjoyed playing with her doll a bit too, even though she was too young for most of it.  Our little friend went home and cut out a bed and pillow for her doll.

I love that the dolls encourage creativity.  Having some clothes already made, along with the stencil and stickers is a great combo.  They got to play and dress the dolls right away, and then the stencil and stickers provided another whole level of play and thought.

The dolls include several outfits, one of which is a karate outfit, which kind of made me laugh.  My girls have no idea what karate is and ended up using that for a bathrobe.  Lucy was happy to see that the dolls all had glasses stickers to wear just like her.  Julia's only issue with the dolls?  She thought they should have a nose and asked Lucy to draw one on for her.  :)

We thoroughly enjoyed our Hello Hanna paper dolls and recommend them for any little girl.  Thanks, Hello Hanna, for keeping my girls entertained on a rainy day!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our Favorite Bath Products

When I began changing things in our home to a healthier lifestyle, we focused on food first.  Bath products and things that we put on our skin came a close second.  As I read about and researched the various ingredients in my bath products, I realized how important it was to choose natural, safer products.  We now make it a high priority to read ingredients and make the best choices we can find.  Here is a little peek at some of our current favorites:

Hugo Naturals Vanilla and Sweet Orange works well and smells great!  (Amazon has a good price.)

Julia and I both use coconut oil as a leave in conditioner for our curly hair.  The others in the family do not use conditioner.

shaving gel:
I use body wash as shaving gel now.  For years I would get very itchy legs after shaving, lotion afterwards barely even helped.  I was surprised that once I switched to using a non-toxic body wash to shave with, the itchiness was gone.

body wash: 
I love using Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Hand to Toe Wash.  The kids are finishing up a bottle of California Baby body wash and will switch to Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Non Scents Hand to Toe Wash.  (California Baby recently changed their product formulation and I'm not a big fan of it anymore.  Earth Mama Angel Baby is all rated zero in the EWG Skin Deep database.)  
We also really like Apple Valley Natural Soap.  It is a nice, non-drying, lotiony feeling soap.

diaper rash cream: 
Rash cream from Hard Lotion is safe for cloth diapers and works wonderfully.  It contains zinc and coats the skin much better than other oily creams we've tried.

Coconut oil is a great all-over lotion, it works well on my legs after shaving.
Hard Lotion bars are the best ever for dry skin.  Lucy gets red, dry hands and uses this.
This whipped body butter is what we use on the girls after bath time.  It has been great for dry winter skin.
I've also been loving Earth Mama Angel Baby natural stretch oil for my pregnant belly.

Badger Vanilla Madagascar lip balm is the best ever!  It is soft and creamy and smells delicious.

Ross uses Tom's of Maine flouride free.  The girls use Branam xylitol toothpaste, and I have a tube of Miessence toothpaste that I like.

I use Alba Botanica, but don't love it.  Miessence has worked well in the past, I need to get some more.  Ross uses Arm and Hammer unscented because we can't find a good all natural deodorant that is reliable.

I usually do not wear any make-up, but when I do its Vapor Organic.

We've used Badger sunscreen for several years now and really like it.

hand sanitizer:
I carry Cleanwell's orange vanilla hand sanitizer spray in my diaper bag and love it.

Am I forgetting anything?  Let me know and I'll add it to the list.  What are your favorites?

Friday, March 23, 2012

What's In the Diaper Bag?

Isaac and I had our first trip out of the house the other day, to a La Leche League meeting.  It took me a while to figure out what I needed to pack in the diaper bag!  I had been carrying a smaller purse with just an extra diaper for Esther in it, but now I need the bigger bag again.  So, what's in the bag?

(Note: My diaper bag is the medium zip tote from Land's End.  I got it for around $15.  If you keep an eye out they run some great specials.)

nursing cover
changing pad (just a layer of PUL and cotton sewn together)
diaper (cloth diapers and a disposable as a back up extra)
zipper pouch containing:
nursing pads
hand sanitizer
maxi pad
hair tie
and mommy/blog business cards,
fruit leathers
wet bag
spare big sister panties in a ziploc bag
burp cloth
change of clothes

Depending on where I am going, I would grab my ring sling too.  If I am traveling with all three girls, I bring a snack for each, a diaper or two for Esther, and water bottles for all.

Everything packed neatly inside.  

Want to play along?  What are your must-have diaper bag items?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cloth Diapers In Action (Newborn)

Isaac is 11 days old and is in cloth diapers full time now.  We waited for the meconium to be gone before starting cloth.  At 4 days old, I tried a XS Fuzzi Bunz on him and the fleece ended up sticking badly to his umbilical cord.  It gapped a bit around the legs, but seemed to work okay otherwise.  I went back to the disposables that I could fold down for the cord though.  He was around 7lbs 7oz here:

XS Fuzzi Bunz at 4 days old

At 9 days old we started using BumGenius one size pocket diapers with just the newborn insert.  They have been working well.  The legs are a little bit loose, but the diaper is wide enough that it keeps everything contained.  The inserts are soaked whenever I change him, so we'll have to move up to the regular inserts soon.  He did leak through once at night because I had him in it too long.  The cloth diapers seem much more comfortable on him; the disposables were irritating his legs.  Isaac is about 7lbs 9oz now.

BumGenius one size pocket diaper at 9 days old

BumGenius one size pocket diaper at 11 days old

This one is stuffed with the bigger insert.  You can see it makes him have a puffy bottom, but not too bad.  We didn't have any leaks with this overnight.  (He hates having his diaper changed, so its hard to get good photos!)

Here is the XS Fuzzi Bunz at 11 days old.  It fits nicely.  I'm interested to see how quickly he outgrows it. 

XS Fuzzi Bunz at 11 days old

The Small Fuzzi Bunz is still way too big.  I ended up taking it back off of him because it was huge around the legs.

My little helper and I hung the diapers out in the sun today:


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Story Number Four

Hm... where do I begin?
Well, first of all, here are Story One, Story Two, and Story Three.

Now that you've read those, you know that Julia was 2 weeks and 2 days early, and Esther was 10 days early (and 9lbs at that!).  My midwife and I both suspected that I would go early; my body just makes babies a little faster than the typical 40 weeks.  Of course we had no way of knowing when baby would arrive, but looking back I feel like I had a good idea of what my body was doing.

The week before baby arrived, we managed to get through a bit of extra schoolwork and wrapped things up nicely.  We finished our read aloud story and worked ahead in a few subjects.  I rested on the couch most afternoons, but was feeling well.  The week before that had been spent running errands and finishing my big grocery shopping trips.  Everything was nested and ready; I was trying my best to be patient.

Ross' birthday is March 3rd.  He suggested having the baby that day, but baby must not have heard him.  We had family over for cake on Sunday afternoon, March 4th.  My wonderful mother in law brought all of the food and did all of the clean-up, we just hosted the party at our house so that I wouldn't have to go anywhere.  By the end of the day I was having quite a few Braxtons (pre-labor contractions, not painful), more than normal.  I laid on the couch much of the evening and had a little crying fit to Ross about how the waiting was getting to me.

Sunday night I had some painful sporadic contractions that kept me up from 1am - 4:30am.  I had to drive 40 minutes away Monday morning for my midwife appointment and wasn't sure if I should go.  My mother in law watched the girls for me and I set out.  I took two beach towels along, one in case my water broke, and the second to wrap the baby up in if I ended up giving birth in the car!  Along the way I had two or three sharp contractions.  I remember thinking that these were not the Braxtons that I was used to, and wondering what my body might be up to.

Yolanda (my midwife) didn't seem to think much of the contractions.  She said that if I had been up the night before, I was probably just tired and feeling the normal Braxtons more than usual.  We chatted about when to call her and what labor might be like.  She had mentioned that if I had a boy, labor could be very different than it was with my girls.  Everything was great at my appointment.  We made another appointment for next week Thursday, but I told her I was not coming to that one!  (Meaning I knew I would have the baby before then.)  As I walked out of the office, I half-jokingly told her that I would call her that night.

I walked down to Ross' office and told him I was still having contractions, but that Yolanda didn't think anything of it.  I told him to stay alert in case I called him later that day.  I continued to have strong contractions the rest of the day, about two an hour.  I tried to drink plenty of water and napped on the couch, but they were consistent.  It felt like my body had started something and wasn't going to stop.  At this point I was happy for the progress.  Even if the contractions had stopped, I knew they were pushing my body closer to labor.

We had a friend who was in town over for dinner that evening.  He was going to be here until Saturday. As he left, I told him to come back later that week for a photo with the new baby.  (Keep in mind, this is only March 5th and my due date was really the 23rd.)  Around 10:30 pm, we lay down for the night.  I had a few contractions 12 minutes apart and then had quite a bit of bloody show.  I told Ross that he wasn't going to sleep and that we were going to have a baby.  I called Yolanda just to let her know what was going on before it got too late.  She said to call her in the morning unless I needed her before then.  Eventually I sent Ross to bed and tried to lay down too.  The contractions came every 10 minutes and were strong enough that I could not sleep through them.  Laying down actually made them hurt worse, so I sat on the exercise ball and tried to distract myself by checking email and Facebook.

I posted "boy? or girl?" on Facebook, with most people responding "boy".  We suspected I was having a boy, but had not had an ultrasound at all.  At the same time, I had already had three girls, so another girl would not have surprised me either.  I saw a discount code to, so I window shopped and picked out boy clothes that I liked, just in case.  I tried to rest a few times, but each time it felt better to be sitting up.  The contractions were strong, but I wanted Ross to rest and didn't think Yolanda needed to come yet.  Around 3am they crept closer to 7 minutes apart.  At 4:30am they were still 7 minutes apart, so I woke Ross and called Yolanda to come.  She had said at my appointment that day, contractions 4-7 minutes apart for two hours meant to call her, but that I should call a bit sooner given my fast labors.

Ross woke and started filling the tub for me.  I was afraid to get in until I knew Yolanda was almost here.  I didn't want to relax too much and have the baby come too fast.  Eventually I did get in the tub for a while.  Yolanda arrived around 5:30am.  I got back out of the tub and spent time walking around, leaning on the exercise ball, and leaning over the couch during contractions.  Yolanda was great with helping suggest positions to try and pressing on my back for pain relief.  I was really tired by this point and just wanted things to be done.

Yolanda checked and told me I was about 8 centimeters.  My water had not broken yet, and I kept wishing it would and thinking things would move along faster if it did.  At one point I saw light coming in the bathroom window and realized it was morning.  That gave me hope that baby would arrive soon.  I worked through several more contractions and things began to speed up.  I was saying "I don't want to do this!" and thinking in my head that I sure hoped this was transition and that I could be done soon.  The girls were sleeping through all of this, and finally we decided to call Ross' mom and have her come over to be here when they woke up.  She arrived at about 7:30am.  Ross, Yolanda, and I had moved into the bedroom and I had started to push.  Yolanda said that the cord might be around the baby's neck and that I was really going to have to push hard to get him out.

It took me a while to figure out how best to push.  My legs were sore from all of the contractions and when I pushed it tensed them up more and hurt soo much.  I kept saying that I couldn't push!  At the time it felt like the hardest thing in the world.  As I was pushing, my water finally broke.  I switched positions a couple of times and ended up on my knees, leaning over a stack of pillows.  I pushed for about 45 minutes total.  When the head came out, Yolanda had me reach down and feel it.  She had me push slowly and she carefully checked for the cord.  Ross caught the body as it came out.  Isaac Ross was born at 8:10am on March 6th.

I quickly asked "Is it okay?  Is it a boy or a girl?" almost without a pause between the two sentences.  Even though they told me it was a boy, I think I asked a few more times because it just wasn't sinking in.  He was purplish, but Yolanda said he was fine.  She decided that the cord had not been around his neck, but strapped over his shoulder, holding him back a bit.  After a few minutes, Ross cut the cord, the placenta was delivered, and I tried to nurse a bit.  He weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 19 1/2 inches long.

Grandma and the three big sisters came in to visit.  They had been in the living room coloring pictures for the baby.  The girls were still in a bit of shock, having woken up to find Grandma here and all that was going on.  Everyone took turns holding Isaac.  We actually hadn't decided on his name yet at that point.  The girls left with Grandpa and Grandma to spend the day at their house and go shopping for boy clothes.  We called them later on that morning to tell them the baby's name.

Isaac is almost two weeks old already!  We've spent lots of time just snuggling and nursing.  The days following his birth have been sunny and warm, prefect for sitting in the rocking chair by the window.  I've had lots of help and been able to rest quite a bit.  Isaac is nursing well, and is already back to his birth weight.  We are all thrilled to have a baby brother in the house!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Easter Resurrection Garden

I'm not sure where to give credit for this photo.  I first saw it on Facebook, and its all over Pinterest as well.  Its absolutely wonderful!

The girls and I put ours together this evening:

We used a small jam jar for the tomb.  (In the original photo, its a tiny flower pot.)  We planted some grass seed and will use a spray bottle to water it a few times a day.  I'll share another photo once ours sprouts, but wanted to post this now in case any of you are inspired to create your own.

Having this visual reminder of the Easter story in our home is a great way to spark conversation and thought.  I can see this becoming a yearly tradition.  Do you have anything special that you do around Easter time?  Please share!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Whole Wheat Muffins

These are easy to whip up and our whole family enjoys them!

Whole Wheat Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
Cream together butter and sugar, add egg.
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use hard white wheat.)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Add flour mixture and milk mixture alternately to bowl and mix well.  Fill muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 425 12-15 minutes.  Makes 12.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Freezer Food

My freezer stays pretty full.  We take monthly trips to Costco and purchase bulk bags of organic frozen veggies, chicken breasts, loaves of whole wheat bread, and more.  I love having all of that on hand, helping me avoid trips to the grocery store.  In the last weeks of my pregnancy I made a trip to Costco, the health food store, and Meijer, stocking up on anything and everything.  When I got home, I realized that I did not have much room left for storing freezer meals.  Even so, I managed to fit in a few things.  I am definitely enjoying the convenience of premade food right now.  Here is what I froze:

breakfast this morning

whole wheat muffins
coconut flour muffins with chocolate chips
granola bars
sloppy joe meat (I double the sauce and instead of more meat, use cooked brown rice.)
shepherds pie
cheesy mini burgers
I tried twice to double this chili recipe, but it was so good we ate it all before it made it to the freezer both times.

The granola bars have been nice for a late night snack.  I get sooo hungry, especially in these first days of nursing.  Oatmeal is great for milk production too, so thats a bonus!  I am still planning to double my recipes whenever I cook so that I have meals on hand for days that we need them.

What are your favorite freezer meals?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cloth Diapers: Our Newborn Stash

I wrote this post before baby arrived.  He is still in disposables at the moment, but we will start using cloth soon.  I'll be sure to snap some photos to post!

Esther's cloth diapers have all been through three kids and are about done for, so I bought new ones this time around.  I watched Black Friday sales and other deals and got these at great prices.  I'll admit the stash looks pretty boyish, but I couldn't very well buy pink in case we have a boy.  Blues and greens work either way.  If we have a girl I am going to order the lovelace print and a couple of pinks to round out the colors.

On the top shelf are mostly BumGenius one size snap pocket diapers.  On the right are size small Fuzzi Bunz and the tiny one in the front is an xsmall Fuzzi Bunz.  I have two of those and they are oh so cute!  The BumGenius are all set to the newborn size with just the newborn insert stuffed in them for now.

The bottom shelf holds prefolds, size one Seventh Generation disposables (for the first week), a couple of covers and fitted diapers, toddler size prefolds (to use as changing pads), and boxes of cloth and disposable wipes.  I am definitely a pocket diapering momma, but have prefolds and fitteds on hand just in case baby's tiny legs do not fit well in the pocket diapers at first.  I also like them for back-up, when diaper laundry is not done on time.  The prefolds are organic yellow edge GMDs, my absolute favorite.  I love how they are sized shorter than other prefolds and fit so much better.  The covers that I have are Thirsties Duo Wrap size one with snaps.

The BumGenius will last us all of baby's diapering years!  I have a couple of Medium Fuzzi Bunz that are probably still good that baby will use eventually too.  I have tried various sized fitteds and other brands over the years but am happy with our simple pocket stash now.  I love having all snap diapers - no more icky velcro that doesn't stay on and gets nasty in the wash.

If you're curious: I went through and added up my receipts from the various orders.  For 17 Bumgenius, 1 Thirsties cover, 2 xs Fuzzi Bunz, a pail liner, wet bag, and 5 small Fuzzi Bunz (like new from a friend) I spent a total of $297.26  Part of that was funded by selling other cloth diapers that I had and didn't want.  Everything but the small Fuzzi Bunz were purchased new from online stores.  I already had the prefolds, fitteds, and cloth wipes from last time.

Even if you were new to cloth diapering and had to purchase a few more items, you would still be saving sooo much money over disposables!  Oh, and I still have enough rewards money from Abby's Lane to get two free Bumgenius in pink if I end up needing them.  ;)  For a premium stash that will last all of baby's diapering years, I'm happy with the total.  Because the diapers are all new, I'm sure they'll last through one or two more children as well.  (That would cut the cost of diapering down to $150 or $100 per child!)

I think we're all set!  Now to have a baby to put these diapers on!  Of course I will post newborn fluffy bottom photos just as soon as I can.  :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baby Is Here!

Isaac Ross, 7lbs 9oz, 19 1/2 inches long, born at 8:10am Tuesday, 3-6-12

Monday, March 5, 2012

Baby Wearing

Several people commented on my What Does A 4th Baby Need? post, interested in the ring sling.  I am not a baby wearing expert, but have used a couple different carriers.  Here are my thoughts on what works for me:

Moby Wrap: many people love this one.  I tried it and found it to be very comfortable (you can read my full review here).  However, I did not end up reaching for it often because I felt like I was sort of drowning in all that fabric.  Also, it seemed like once I got the baby all wrapped up and snuggly, she wanted to nurse or needed a diaper change or I had to take her out for some reason.

Ergo:  I like wearing the Ergo on my back once baby is a bit older.  On my front it feels bulky and I can't bend over or sit while wearing it.  (I'm 5'5" and have a small frame.)  I didn't care for the infant insert for this reason, I just don't like the Ergo for a front carry around the house.  The infant insert also props the baby up higher and into my face a bit much.  If I'm out shopping and walking around, the Ergo is fine on my front.  I guess I'd call this one my "out and about" carrier.

Mei Tai: I made my own mei tai, similar to a Babyhawk.  It worked well for a back carry, but I made the body too large.  My babies felt a bit smothered when worn facing my front in the mei tai, they couldn't see out and the ties seemed to squish them.  I'm trying a Babyhawk this time around because I think the smaller body will work better.

Ring Sling:  I have a Maya Wrap ring sling that I really like wearing newborns in.  The upright carrying position is my favorite and seems to work well.  The rings on it are super heavy and the tail is long, so I purchased a new ring sling to use with the new baby.

With three other children to chase around, having plenty of baby wearing options is a good thing!  To recap: The ring sling is my go-to carrier at first when baby is tiny.  Once he/she has a bit of head control I will use the mei tai.  The Ergo is great for keeping in the car and using out and about as baby gets older.  There are plenty of other carriers out there that I haven't tried, these are just my thoughts on the few that I own.  I'll have to post an update after baby arrives and let you know what our new little bundle thinks of the carriers.  :)

Do you have a favorite baby carrier?  

Friday, March 2, 2012

Seventh Generation Training Pants (Includes Giveaway!)

Esther is potty training ...sort of, kind of.  I really wanted her out of diapers and tried putting her in panties one day.  After cleaning up a few messes we were doing okay, but by the third day she would just cry when she peed.  She also happened to run a fever that day and felt miserable, ending our panties trial.  I put the panties away for now, but I do sit her on the potty several times a day.  I figure its a good start and she will catch on more when she is ready.

Because her cloth diapers are pretty worn out, we've been using disposable diapers when we leave the house.  She is at the point where she pees a TON and ends up soaking through a cloth diaper fairly often.  If we're home I just change her clothes, but that is harder to plan for when we are in the car.

I was excited to have the chance to try out Seventh Generation's disposable training pants.  At this point, they are great for Esther.  She still needs the absorbency, but wants to be able to sit on the potty and pull up her diaper by herself.  She likes wearing them and we call them her "silly guy" diapers because of the Lorax on them.  The stretchy tear away sides are nice for when the diaper is messy.  The training pants have an absorbent core made with more renewable plant-based materials.  I also really like that Seventh Generation Free and Clear baby products do not contain chlorine, fragrance, petroleum-based lotions or latex, and are hypo-allergenic.

Seventh Generation recently decided to feature the Lorax on their diapers as a reminder of the environmental message of sustainability.  The pictures on the diapers are a bit hard to see, and the book is over Esther's head.  We are big Dr Seuss fans around here though, so her older sisters have enjoyed reading The Lorax.  It has a great message and an inspiring ending.  You can even register for a free The Lorax themed scrapbook with the purchase of three Free and Clear diaper products, while supplies last.

Seventh Generation is giving one of you a prize package containing one new Free and Clear diaper product and a copy of The Lorax book!  To enter you may do any or all of the following:

- leave a comment letting me know you follow my blog via email or Google Friend Connect
- leave a comment letting me know you are a fan of One Little Word She Knew on Facebook
- leave a comment letting me know: Which Seventh Generation Free and Clear diaper products are you most interested in trying with your family in an effort to be more eco-conscious?

You have a total of three possible entries.  The giveaway will end on March 9th at midnight (unless I'm having a baby that day!).  Be sure to leave an email address so that I can contact you.  :) *Now closed.  Congrats, Heather.*

Disclosure: The Seventh Generation Diapers prize pack, product, and information have been provided by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Children's Xylitol Toothpaste

We're trying out a new toothpaste!  I've read a bit about the benefits of xylitol, and was excited to come across Branam children's toothpaste with xylitol.  We avoid flouride in toothpaste (and our drinking water), but xylitol seems like a great natural way to help fight tooth decay and reduce bacteria.

The girls love using the toothpaste.  It comes in fun flavors: bubblegum and grape.  You can also choose between a gel (for younger children) and a paste (a bit more abrasive, for older children who are used to brushing).  So far the bubblegum gel is a huge hit.

Branam children's toothpaste:
- Is made with 30% xylitol.  (Other brands include just a token amount of xylitol for marketing purposes.)
- Is made in the USA.
- Uses xylitol from the USA, sourced from non-GMO corn or birch.
- Is endorsed by Healthy Child, Healthy World.
- Was developed by a pediatric dentist - Dr Steve Branam.

I like that my kids are using a toothpaste that I can feel good about.  Its worth browsing the Branam website for more information and to see other products that they carry.  They also have a couple of fun coloring pages and stories posted.  For more about xylitol, see here.

Thanks Branam!  Two thumbs up from us!

(We received toothpaste from Branam for the purpose of review.  All opinions expressed are my own of course.)