Friday, November 12, 2010

Amazon.com has lost my support!

Yestereday it came to my attention through a post on Stltoday.com (the St. Louis Post Dispatch newspaper online) that Amazon.com is selling books supporting pedophilia.  They pulled "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure" from their Kindle listings after customers expressed outrage.  However, that still leaves at least one other book supporting pedophilia "Understanding Loved Boys and Boylovers". 

This is disgusting!  To heck with the author's rights of free speech.  Every single pedophile out there is a danger to our children. They abuse children for their own sick twisted pleasure.  The rob children of their innocence and their childhood.  The do unspeakable damage to them emotionally and physically.  They don't deserve understanding or sympathy as far as I am concerned. 

Until Amazon.com pulls ALL books supporting pedophilia from their shelves I am boycotting them.  I will no longer buy or sell through Amazon.com.  I am also in the process of dissolving my affiliate status for the blog as well.  I encourage all of you to show Amazon.com your disgust at their choice to support such sick individuals.  Our kids are much to precious to be supporting a company that is selling a manual of sorts to help sick twisted people steal their innocence!

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Battle with Postpartum Depression

Many of you probably wrote me off as yet another blogger who collected lots of items for review and then "ran away" with them without holding her end of the bargain and posting reviews.  I can't blame you for making that assumption since I just stopped blogging one day with reviews left unwritten.  I apologize to everyone with a review yet to come.  I didn't stop blogging because I just wanted to collect items, I stopped blogging because I literally couldn't blog anymore.  I reached a point in my battle with postpartum depression that left me with no voice for anything that brought me joy.  I'm going to share my battle with postpartum depression with you, not because I want sympathy or understanding, but simply with the hope that even one woman who reads this will be inspired to get herself help.

This is a very difficult post to write because although I have came a long way in my battle I still feel shameful that I ever experienced postpartum depression.  Of course that is a stupid thing to feel shameful for, postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or something a woman brings on herself.  Postpartum depression results from changing body chemistry, change in life circumstances, and a variety of other things-- all beyond any woman's control.  It took me months to realize that I was suffering from postpartum depression.  I did not make the connection until Avin was close to a year old. 

The first signs of postpartum depression I wrote off as "normal" parts of new mommyhood.  If I hid in the bathroom, crying in the shower for 15 minutes it was just a natural response to the stress of taking care of a newborn.  If I was constantly sleepy it was the normal result of waking up to nurse a baby every hour or two.  If I didn't want to leave the house to do anything with friends it was normal because leaving home with a baby is so hard.  It wasn't until Avin was almost one that I had to face the fact that he was no longer a newborn, he slept for many hours at a stretch, and leaving home with Avin required just a little packing and scheduling but I was still experiencing those feelings.  I had a real problem.  

At my lowest I was spending hours every day planning ways I could support Avin and I if my husband and I divorced.  Avin was the one constant source of happiness in my life.  Everyone else in my life seemed to cause me stress and unhappiness.  One by one I started shutting out friends and family because I just couldn't deal with them, it simply took too much energy. In my mind my life was making me miserable and if I could just change it then I could be happy again.  I thought up elaborate plans to change my life by ending my marriage.  Looking back I think of myself as being "maritally suicidal".  I don't mean I ever considered ending my physical life but I daily fantasized about ending my marriage.  I have a wonderful loving husband who supports me in every way.  He has been my best friend since long before we ever dated.  There was no reason for me to be considering divorce, my husband was still the same wonderful man he'd always been and my marriage was still good.  It was just that I was so depressed that my twisted thinking made it seem like only the drastic change of ending my marriage could possibly bring back any happiness in my life.

I never left Avin's side unless I absolutely had to.  For the first year of his life I only left him long enough to go to college a few hours a night a couple of nights a week or for a hour or two after he went to bed.  Some nights I would be so worried about him that I would leave class early (or not attend at all).  My time away from Avin was marked with phone calls every few minutes with text messages in between to check on him.  Most of those check in calls and text were met with the response that he was fine and he and his daddy were having fun playing or watching Spongebob.  Even though my husband supported and encouraged me to go out with friends and take time for myself I simply couldn't.  The enjoyment I got from going to meet friends or spend a few minutes of time alone was vastly overshadowed by my overwhelming feeling of guilt for leaving Avin.  Every time I stepped out the door without Avin I immediately felt like I horrible mother who was abandoning her poor, helpless baby. 

My marriage and friendships began to suffer from neglect.  I found myself unable to care about anything (friends, hobbies, school, bills, etc) except for Avin.  Through every horrible moment of my battle my love for Avin was constant.  He was the one bright spot in my otherwise gray life.  That is what made it so hard for me to accept that I had postpartum depression.  I had always had the impression that postpartum depression was something that classified crazy women who couldn't handle being a mother.  I thought that if you had postpartum depression you wanted to hurt or kill yourself or your baby.  I didn't feel like any of those things applied to me.  I just knew that I lived in a constant state of sadness and walked around feeling overwhelmed by everything. 

I finally researched my symptoms online and found that the things I felt were consistent with postpartum depression.  When I finally realized that the things I had been feeling since Avin's birth weren't "normal" but they did have a reasonable explanation it was like tearing down a curtain and letting sunshine stream into my life.  I called my doctor and made an appointment.  When I went in I felt no judgement from him, just understanding.  We talked about what I had been feeling, sorted out the things that were linked to the postpartum depression, and he helped me to see what "normal" really looked like.  He also prescribed me Zoloft because it is considered safe for nursing mothers.  Now a few months later I feel like a new woman.  I've renewed and made lots of new mom friends.  My husband and I have a thriving marriage again.  I can finally leave Avin with his dad for some much needed "mommy" time without being wracked with worry and guilty.  Avin and I are active in multiple playgroups and are on the go all the time.  My dark cloud has lifted and I am basking in the sun once again.

I hope that if you could identify with anything I've shared that you will look into postpartum depression.  It can occur anytime between pregnancy and your child's first birthday (or even a bit later).  Do not let fear or shame hold you back from seeking help.  It is not something you have brought on yourself, nor is it a sign of failure.  But it is a joy-stealing illness and I hope you find the strength to fight it!  If you ever need to talk feel free to send me an email.  You can even just send me a quick note to let me know you could use some prayer support.  Whatever you chose to do, I wish you the best of luck and hope that you find your ultimate joy once again.

Thank you for reading my story and standing by me as a loyal reader through my long and unexpected absence.  I love blogging and am finally at a place where I can blog with joy and not anxiety.  Look for several upcoming blog reviews on great products like Ergobaby Products, Looster Booster, and more!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Delay in posting

I apologize for the delay in finishing my "Mommy Makeover Event".  I had to unexpectedly go out of town for the weekend and I am still not caught up at home.  I hope to get in some blogging tomorrow but the event may get extended to the end of the month because my son is turning one on Thursday and we have his birthday party out of town (3 hours away!) this weekend. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

MadreGear Nursing Top Review

I have no idea how I made it without owning a nursing top! When you have "girls" the size of mine nursing discreetly is incredibly hard in a conventional top.  I am a clearance rack shopper so for me the biggest deterrent in purchasing "nursing" tops was that you seldom find them in plus size on clearance.  I struggled for months with what to wear when I knew I would have to nurse in public.  In the winter I could wear a tank top under my regular shirt and still stay pretty well covered but that solution was too hot for Spring and Summer.  I was so lucky to receive this Annee Matthew Shirred Tunic for review. 

This top is made of a very breathable material that keeps me cool even though the front has two layers.  The "nursing" top feature works by just lifting up to reveal to openings for your breasts.  The under layer covers your belly and sides while the top layer provides top of breast coverage during nursing.  I especially like that the top layer floats loosely over your belly- very forgiving for a still flabby post-baby belly.  No one realizes that I am wearing a nursing top until I get ready to feed Avin (and then many people don't even realize that is what I am doing!). 

MadreGear carries a variety of nursing and maternity tops, bras, dresses, and nightgowns.  They have some very sophisticated styles that are a far cry from the shapeless blobs you can get at Wal-Mart!  MadreGear also carries a variety of necessities for trendy mom's and babies!

The customer service I received from MadreGear was amazing! Laurie was super friendly and provided me with tons of great options for a plus size mom.  I found her store to be a fresh, classy, trendy switch from classic maternity and nursing stores.  Stop by MadreGear and look around, I'm sure you'll fall in love too!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HOTmilk Lingerie Review and Giveaway

One thing no one warned me about when I got pregnant was that my breasts would grow as big as melons and that I would put as much effort into finding a bra that fits, as the athletes do into training for the Olympics! Nursing bras are hard to find in my area and to even begin to hope for a bra that is sexy and supportive is impossible around here! (Yeah, mid-Missouri, sometimes you suck!) I finally found a couple of bra's at Motherhood Maternity but they never fit quite right.  The only ones they carry for my size are underwire which caused me considerable doubt because I had read tons of things about NOT using a underwire bra when breastfeeding.  I finally gave in and bought a couple different styles.  A couple of months later I was back buying another set of bras because I had lost enough weight the old ones didn't fit right.  Both of the bra's I purchased were ugly! I hated their fit and always went around adjusting myself like a teenage boy because the dreaded "third boob" would pop up every time I shifted.  I kept searching and searching for a better solution until I found HOTmilk. 

HOTmilk is actually based out of New Zealand but they sell in the United States too!  They specialize in providing SEXY and supportive nursing and maternity lingerie.  I received their "Awakened by Her Desire" bra and panty set for review.  When I opened the package I thought they had sent the wrong thing because at first glance I couldn't even tell it was a nursing bra! I wondered how supportive it would be since it wasn't an underwire and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was very comfortable and supportive.  I did find that it seemed to run just a tiny bit small so I wish I would have opted to order one size bigger in the band and cup.  One very unusual (but awesome) thing about the HOTmilk nursing bra is that it has 6 rows of snaps on the bra band to allow for lots of flexibility in the band sizing as you lose your pregnancy weight.  I'll save you the details of exactly what my husband thought, but I'll just say that the mere sight of it hanging up in the bathroom had him calling me at school asking when I was coming home to model!

HOTmilk has also launched a line of camisoles.  I am very happy (and a little jealous) to announce that one lucky winner will win the "Sweet Reminiscence" camisole and brief (as featured in the February issue of Pregnancy and Newborn magazine).
Mandatory Entry: To enter to win this set you must first visit the HOTmilk website and then come back here and leave me a comment telling me your favorite item (cami set, bra, men's wear, etc).

Additional Entries:
Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (1 extra entry)
Follow my blog via RSS Feed (1 extra entry)
Follow HOTmilk on twitter @HOTmilkLingerie (1 extra entry)
Follow me on twitter @diapermom and tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway (1 entry per tweet up to twice per day, leave the permalink of your tweet in your comment)
Follow HOTmilk on Facebook (1 extra entry)

Contest is open to US residents only ages 18 and older.  Contest ends June 30, 2010 at 11:00 PM.  One comment = one entry.  Please make sure you leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  One winner will be selected via Random.org. 

Monday, June 7, 2010

Second Base Demi Cami Review and Giveaway

When I was pregnant my already voluptious breasts began growing to what felt like watermelon size.  Most of my maternity tops had buttons at least halfway down to allow for expanding breast and belly.  On one hand that was great because I definately needed the room for expansion but on the other it meant that I had mega-cleavage in every shirt I owned, even my conservative polo shirts.  During the winter months I just wore a thin tank top under my shirt and that allowed me to keep the cleavage to a minimum.  When Spring hit so did the overwhelming hot flashes and my intolerance for being even a little bit too warm.  I was at a loss of what to do because I couldn't bear the heat of wearing two shirts but I couldn't be showing the girls off either.  I finally settled on wearing a sports bra over my regular bra to provide a bit of coverage.  I REALLY wish I would have known then about the Second Base Demi Cami

The Second Base Demi Cami looks similar to a sports bra but comes in a variety of colors and strap styles.  It also comes in a variety of fabrics so you can match it to the type of clothing you are wearing.  The concept is a very modern spin on what my Grandma would have called a dickey.  It gives the coverage of a tank top without all the extra fabric.  It is great for obtaining a layered look, covering bra straps, and reducing cleavage.  I received the Second Base Meredith Demi Cami and I LOVED it.  I wear it under shirts with narrow straps or low-cut necklines.  It is thin and breathable but still provides excellent coverage.  Since it fits basically the same shape as my bra I don't have extra fabric wadding up around my middle. 

You can enter to win your own Demi Cami from Second Base.  To enter you MUST first go to the Second Base website and tell me which cami you like best and in what color!

Additional Entries:

Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect on the right hand side (1 entry)

Subscribe to my RSS Feed on the left side (1 entry)

Follow Second Base on twitter @shopsecondbase

Follow me on twitter @diapermom and tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway including @diapermom (Up to 2 entries per day)

Follow Second Base on facebook

Must be 18 to enter, open to US Residents only.  Please include your email in your comments so I can contact you if you win.  One comment = one entry. Contest ends Wednesday, June 30, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion Review



Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion is unlike any lotion I've ever used before.  When it comes out of the bottle it is a thin milky white lotion with a feel that is similar to condition in thickness and texture.  When I first rubbed it on it felt almost oily on my skin.  Even after rubbing completely in I felt like I had a thin coating over my skin.  It wasn't a bad feeling but it was definately different! I tried this lotion for several days especially on my super dry elbows but I have to say I just wasn't impressed.  I felt like it was too thin to really moisturize my dry skin.  I think that if you started using this before you got major dry skin it would be a great preventative lotion, but not a curing lotion.

I also was sad to see so many ingredients that I was unfamiliar with on the label.  Although it says it is "Natural" the ingredient list isn't so natural.  Ingredients: Deionized water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe Vera), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E),
Arnica Montana Flower Extract (Arnica), Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract (Chamomile), Achillea Millefolium Extract (Yarrow), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ecomom.com Lip Gloss and Lip Balm Review



Sproutbaby is now Ecomom.com!  Jody has branched out into tons of new organic products for moms, dads, and baby.  I was super lucky to get to try a couple of items from her beauty section of the store.  I received 100% Pure Lip Gloss in Juicy Pink Grapefruit and Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Lip Balm. 


The Italian Red Mandarin with Rose Lip Balm smelled like a huge bouquet of roses as soon as you took of the lid.  I ended up giving it to my Grandma simply because the smell sent my allergies into a frenzy.  I did try it out before I gave it away and I loved the way it felt on my lips.  The container is fatter than a tradition chapstick/lip balm so you don't have to make a million passes to get overall coverage.  It smoothed on with no cakey or waxy feel and made my lips feel so soft and smooth! According to the ecomom.com website "Pangea Organics lip balms have bioavailability (easy for the blood to use), absorb well into the skin and are long-lasting. Rich in vitamins, nutrients and essential fatty acids, their lip balm contains powerful healing properties that are good for you, and good for the lips."  I'm all about organic beauty products that are actually good for me!!!

I love this lip gloss! It is very similar to my natural lip color so I can wear it with anything.  It tastes yummy on my lips and I love the the color is actually made from fruit pigments not artificial dyes.  The ingredient list reads more like a grocery list than a cosmetic.  The ingredients are: Vitamin E (a-tocopherol), contains all or some of the following fruit pigments: Pomegranate, Wine, Cherry, Cranberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Peach, Cocoa Bean and Plum, Vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Grapeseed Oil, Honey, Shea Butter.  You just can't find that in most cosmetic items.  This gloss is not teeny-bopper shiny and it is not sticky feeling on your lips.  My only complaint is that the application wand tip is very small and it usually takes me 3-5 times of dipping it in the bottle and applying before my lips are covered. 

If you are looking for high quality organic products for the entire family then Ecomom.com is the place for you! Stop in and check out all the new items Jody has in stock.  Follow Ecomom.com on facebook or twitter to keep up all the great sales!

Friday, June 4, 2010

milk Nursing Night Gown Review and Giveaway!

Night nursing was something I gave a lot of thought to before Avin was born.  I knew that in the hospital and at home I would want some comfortable pajamas and gowns to wear to sleep in but that I would have to be able to easily access my breasts for feedings.  I looked high and low for pajamas and gowns that would easily accommodate breastfeeding and it seemed like I could only find two kinds--- skimpy lingerie like nightgowns that would not cover or support me or pajamas that I am pretty sure came out of my grandma's closet.  When I found milk nursing wear and their organic cotton night gowns I went wild! 

I contacted them about a review and received the Crossover Maternity and Nursing Nightgown in black.  It was the perfect combination for me.  It is cute and comfy without being too revealing or granny like.  The gown comes down to my knees so I can wear it without fear of exposing my bottom half when I sit down.  The top is a wrap design that allows you to simply pull the material to the side for quick and easy nursing.  I like the empire waist line because it provides some support for my breasts.  The top also fits snugly enough I can wear nursing pads without them falling out.  The cleavage I show in it turns my husband but is mild enough that with a robe I don't feel too exposed when we stay with family.  The hem and sleeves have some ruffle to them so I don't just feel like a milk cow, I feel pretty and feminine.  The cut is flattering for my still flabby belly so it helps me to feel attractive as well.

I love this nightgown because it not only makes me look and feel attractive but also gives me peace of mind because it is made from organic cotton.  When my son is snuggled close to me I like knowing that he's not cuddling a bunch of nasty chemicals. 


milk is giving away a Crossover Maternity and Nursing Nightgown to one of my {very lucky} readers!  Mandatory Entry: To enter you must either follow milk on facebook or twitter and leave a comment letting them know Avinsmomma sent you.  (Make sure you leave me a comment with a link to your comment)

Additional Entries:

Follow milk on either facebook or twitter (whichever you did not do for your mandatory entry) (1 entry)

Follow my blog via google friend connect (on the right hand side) (1 entry)

Subscribe to my blog via RSS feed (on the left hand side)  (1 entry)

Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (comment and leave me the permalink to your tweet) -  
               Tweet up to twice per day, one entry per tweet

Contest open to US residents, 18 and older, void where prohibited.  Please make sure you leave your email address in your comments so I can contact you if you win.  One comment = one entry.  Contest will end June 29, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST.  Winner will be chosen using random.org.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Izzy Belle's Trendy Tots Nursing Pad Review

Although Avin is almost a year old we are still formula free and nursing about about 8-10 times per day.  Breastfeeding started out as somewhat of a bumpy road for us because we went through lots of issues including oversupply, over active letdown, and nipple aversion just to name a few.  Since about 4 months our breastfeeding has been smooth sailing.  We worked out all our problems and I became a pro at getting a wiggling baby latched on to the nipple without exposing myself to the world.  The only problem that we still deal with is leaking.  I can't tell you the number of times I've heard Avin cry or picked him up and carried him pressed to my chest only to find within minutes that my shirt was soaked with milk.  Nothing is more embarrassing than being in public in a shirt clingy wetly to your flabby belly! Try feeling beautiful in that situation!  I was so excited to try out the cloth nursing pads from Izzy Belle's Trendy Tots!

After Avin was born I tried several different kinds of disposable nursing pads to help absorb the leaking milk but I just didn't like any of them.  The thin ones didn't seem to absorb anything.  The ones with sticky tape on the back (meant to hold them in place) always ended up stuck to my breast instead of my bra.  The thicker ones absorbed good but they made unsightly lumps in my bra that embarrassed me almost as much as wearing my wet t-shirt in public!  When we made the switch to cloth diapers I also was clued in to reusable cloth nursing pads. 

Cloth nursing pads can just be tossed into the washer with your other laundry and reused over and over again. In order to prolong the life of the nursing pads, they should be washed in cold water on gentle cycle (preferably in a lingerie or hosiery bag), and should be allowed to air dry. I have found that washing their pads along with baby's laundry in a gentle detergent is an easy way to care for them. Never use fabric softener with the nursing pads, because doing so will take away from their ability to wick moisture away from the body (just like in cloth diapers). 

I love the cloth nursing pads from Izzy Belle's for several reasons.  One they eliminate my wet shirt issue.  Two they are Eco-friendly because they are reusable and made from a bottom layer of soft organic flannel, layers of natural antibacterial bamboo and organic cotton fabric, and a top layer in a fun design. Last but definitely not least I like that they have cute designs on them.  No one but me knows that my nursing pads are pirate themed but it's a fun design and it makes me laugh inside because each time I get ready to nurse Avin I always think of another corny pirate joke.  :)

Make sure you stop by Izzy Belle's and check out all their fun themed nursing pads! They also carry a variety of organic and eco-friendly products for both Mom and Baby!  You can find them on facebook and twitter too! Use coupon code MM10 for 15% off your entire purchase.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The "Before" Shot

With all good makeovers you must have good "before" and "after" shots.  My makeover sadly only has one before shot.  One of the things that shocked me into putting together the "Mommy Makeover Event" was when I looked back through the pictures taken since Avin was born I could only find a few that included me and in most of those I am in pajamas!  I avoided being in pictures because I was embarrassed about how horrible I looked.  So below is my "before" shot.  This is me in full mommy mode! Note the not so freshly washed hair scraped back into the "I had 5 seconds between screams" ponytail.  Note the not so flattering shirt that shows off the baby fat around the belly. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome to the Mommy Makeover Event

Welcome to the "Mommy Makeover Event"!  For the next two weeks I will be posting reviews and giveaways related to products designed to help a mom look and feel beautiful.  As a new mom I can tell you that you need all the help you can get to look and feel beautiful.  With a new baby sleep is always in short supply and it doesn't take long to slip into mommy mode and forget you are also a woman.  When you are focused on your helpless new baby and sleep deprived you just don't always have the time or energy to devote to doing your hair and makeup.  Sometimes wearing clothing that isn't from the new designer "Baby Spit" is a major accomplishment.  As for feeling beautiful...after gaining weight during pregnancy, adding a roadmap of veins and stretch marks to your body, and feeling like a 24 hour diner...beautiful is a completely foreign word.  I hope that the next two weeks inspire each of you to reclaim some mommy time for yourself.  As mom's we must remember that we deserve to take care of ourselves and that when we do things that help us look and feel good we are happier and more productive.  Don't feel guilty about doing a little something for yourself now and then! You deserve it because you a wonderful mom! You know if your baby got paid for being cute she'd buy those new shoes for you! I hope you enjoy the ride as I attempt to go from frazzled to fabulous!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!!!

I just want to take a minute to say thank you not only to the soldiers who fight for our country but for the families who love and support them.  I do not support the war in and of itself but I am so thankful for our military men and women who fight in it because I know they are literally giving their lives to make my life safer and better.  I pray for the families who have lost time with their loved ones in military service whether it was permanently due to death or temporary due to deployment.  I know that either way you've given up your time with them for our countries greater good and I appreciate it so much! Both of my grandfather's fought in wars and now my Uncle (who is more like a brother) is now in Afghanistan fighting for us.  I encourage you to hug a solider today and say thank you.  If you can't hug a soldier then please send an encouraging note to one and always keep all of our military men and women in your prayers.

I am flying the flag on my page today to honor our soldiers but fallen and current.  Please note that on Memorial Day, according to the US Flag Code, your actual flag should fly half staffed from sunrise until noon only, then it should be raised to full staff.



Flags

Flags

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Get your Leg Huggers for ONE CENT!!!

Everyone knows I'm a huge fan of Leg Huggers so I am very excited to share this deal with you!  I got an inside tip and an exclusive coupon code! If you go right now to http://www.leggerhuggers.com/ and enter the code "1centleg5" you can get a pair of Leg Huggers for a penny!  Hurry because the code will only work for the first 25 people! This is a one time use coupon, and can't be used with any other coupon, standard shipping will apply.  Happy Shopping!!!

I {HEART} My Baby Pumpkin, LLC!

I got started blogging because I read other people's blogs and saw the awesome things they had to review.  That led me to expand my twitter network and then my facebook network and now I am overlapping people in more places than I can keep up with.  The other day on facebook I had a message asking if I knew that I had won a $10 gift certificate to My Baby Pumpkin, LLC.  I immediately started racking my brain trying to remember who's blog I had entered to win it from.  Turns out I had just became a fan of their facebook page and been selected as a random winner!  I love it when I win free stuff but it is especially awesome when you don't expect it at all!  I hopped online and checked out their store.  They had tons of cool stuff related to baby wearing, cloth diapering, and just babies in general.  I ended up using my $10 to buy a pair of Army Friends Leg Huggers for Avin.  (In honor of his Uncle Monroe- a US Army Medic in Afghanistan!)  Shipping was free and I received it in just about 2 days!  I highly recommend you check out this great store.  Follow My Baby Pumpkin, LLC on facebook for lots of great sales and info!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May is National Foster Care Month

Did you know it would take less than 1% of the U.S. population to provide a family for every child in foster care?


May is National Foster Care Month and there has never been a greater need to bring attention to children waiting for forever homes. More than 463,000 children are currently in foster care and 123,000 children are waiting to be adopted.

Children in foster care are loving children. They are children like Shaquane and Edlina and Albert. Every child deserves to have a home with caring and supportive parents.

Help us spread the message this month to reach all Americans and teach them about the love and joy that foster care adoption can bring to your life.

Visit http://www.adoptuskids.org/ to learn more about fostering and adopting. You can also join our online communities on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood Review

I just completed a class in college called "Classroom Management".  The entire class was about how to manage your classroom by preventing behaviors when possible and by minimizing disruption when correcting behaviors.  One of the management types or theories was called "Love and Logic".  This theory spoke directly to my heart.  Love and Logic works by creating a safe and loving environment that kids want to be in and then applying logical consequences when they make poor choices.  It didn't take long for me to decide that this would be my main classroom management theory.  When I learned that they don't just address dealing with students from a teaching perspective but they also deal with kids from a parenting perspective I was very intrigued.  

Avin is only 10 months old so his "behaviors" are pretty minimal at this stage but I have already noticed that the things I thought would work with him don't.  My family has always believed in smacking little hands to keep them out of things that could hurt them.  I just naturally fell into that pattern with Avin but it only took a few times to see 2 things very clearly 1) I would have to hit Avin much harder than I wanted to for it to deter him and 2) He seemed to be learning very clearly to hit people when they did something he didn't like but not learning to leave things alone.  About that same time a study came out showing that kids who are spanked end up being much more physically aggressive than kids who aren't spanked.  That was enough for me, spanking as a routine solution to misbehavior is no longer an option.  So with no model to go on I started seeking out a solution that made sense for the gentle, loving way I want to raise Avin. 

Love and Logic just makes sense for our family.  I called my nephews' mom and told her about Love and Logic and directed her to their website. She got online and just from reading the resources posted for free on their site she began using Love and Logic techniques. Within days she reported a huge difference in my nephews' behavior.  My nephews are 5 and 7 so I wasn't sure if Love and Logic was something that I could apply to Avin or not.  I got on the Love and Logic website and saw that they had a huge variety of materials regarding parenting kids from birth and on.  I emailed Love and Logic and requested to do a review of the book "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood".  This book focuses on teaching parents how to use Love and Logic to raise their children from birth. 

I own a million "self help" books and I've only really read about 2 of them.  Most of the time they are so boring that I can't make it through the first chapter much less the entire book.  I fell in love with this book about two pages in.  I had taken into the bathroom with me to read while I snuck in a 15 minute soak in the tub while my husband played with the baby.  Once I started reading I couldn't quit and my 15 minute soak turned into a 2 hour reading marathon.  I read the book from start to finish while in the bathtub because I just couldn't put it down.  It is a great mix of serious information and light, humorous stories.  Everything it offers is simple, quick, and logical.  I love that it works based off of loving your kids so much that they miss you when you aren't together and allowing them to learn from their little mistakes as young children so they don't make big mistakes when they get older. 

If you are looking for a gentle but effective parenting method Love and Logic is for you!  There is no yelling, no cruel or unusual punishments, no crying it out for babies, and no spanking involved.  There is just lots and lots of love.  The book teaches you as a parent how to stay calm, cool, and collected while dealing with your kids behavior.  When you use Love and Logic it takes a lot of stress out of parenting and makes it fun again.  I strongly recommend this book to anyone with a child ages birth to 6.  I will be using Love and Logic as my parenting style. 

You can visit LoveandLogic.com for tons of FREE resources to help get you started whether you are a teacher, a parent, or both.  You can also order "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood" and many other wonderful books there as well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Yummy Spoonfuls Review

Yummy Spoonfuls' is a company that makes fresh, organic baby foods.  You receive them frozen on your doorstep in 2 business days after shipping.  Talk about easy shopping, a couple of clicks and fresh, organic baby food literally appears at your door.  Yummy Spoonfuls’ founder and CEO Agatha Achindu frequently speaks out on the importance of diet as it relates to various childhood diseases, Achindu believes the best baby food is fresh and pure--that means no chemicals, additives or preservatives. While difficult for small businesses to achieve, organic certification remains the consumer’s best assurance of purity, according to Achindu. Achindu’s passion for quality and the health of her baby led her to found Yummy Spoonfuls in 2006.

When Cookie Magazine online conducted a reader’s poll earlier this year, Yummy Spoonfuls was named Number One over 12 other organic brands.  I think Avin would rank it high too!  Yummy Spoonfuls' comes in three "stages".  Stage 1 is "Creamy Yummy, stage 2 is "Mushy Yummy" and stage 3 is "Chunky Yummy".  I received a variety of items from the stage 2 and stage 3 for Avin to try.  Avin doesn't like carrots very well so several of the choices were not popular with him because they contained a blend of carrot.  He does however LOVE fruit (especially blueberries) and the items that contained fruit blends he ate the entire container and yelled for more.  I would have liked to see a few more single strain vegetables at the "Mushy" and "Chunky" stage but more with more than 23 distinct and flavorful organic food items for babies, infants, and toddlers I really shouldn't complain!

Each unit of baby food came frozen in its own little plastic cup.  I loved the convenience of this because you could heat and eat without needing to dirty up an additional bowl.  I worry about the BPA in plastics and was very pleased to see that all of the Yummy Spoonfuls packaging is BPA free!  I was however disappointed to see that the plastics were not recyclable in my area.  Sadly we can only recycle number one and two plastics so I had to toss these little containers in the trash when we were done.  The cooler that the food arrives in is made from Styrofoam so it is non-recyclable as well.  Packaging is a strong consideration for me so I would probably only purchase this in bulk to reduce the number of Styrofoam coolers I used. 

You can purchase Yummy Spoonfuls online at amazon.com or YummySpoonfuls.com.  I suggest starting off with a variety pack sampler like Yummy Spoonfuls Mushy Yummy Variety Pack, 4-Ounce Tubs (Pack of 12).  You can also find Yummy Spoonfuls online on twitter and facebook.  I'm sure your baby will love Yummy Spoonfuls as much as mine!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tushie Huggers by Agoo Review

I had the opportunity to review a very brilliant but unusual product recently.  I received a Tushie Hugger (for Avin) from Agoo Apparrel.  Agoo is one of my favorite companies that produces baby leg warmers (see my previous review).  Tushie Huggers is sort of a leg warmer/short set combo.  When you see the outfit you would assume that the shorts and leg huggers are two separate pieces but they aren't.  Tushie Huggers also come in girl designs with a skirt attached to the leg huggers.  They even have matching tops to make super cute little outfits!  When I first opened the package I wasn't sure how I felt about the Tushie Hugger.  It was just so different from any kids clothing I had seen before.  The shorts are a thicker weight of material but the legging portion is a very thin, breathable layer.  I quickly saw how brilliant this product was when we hit spring in Missouri.  Our mornings were starting out cold and windy and our afternoons ended warm and breezy.  The Tushie Hugger was a perfect combination for us.  It kept Avin warm by protecting his legs from the wind but allowed him to be cool with the breathable fabric.  Avin is a super active kid and one great thing about the Tushie Hugger its unique design means that no matter how hard he plays and crawls his leg warmers aren't going to roll down.  His little knees stay protected but he stays cool. 

The cost for the Tushie Hugger is reasonable and they are made from cotton yarn so washing is super easy.  The downside of the cotton yarn is that by the end of the day the waist can get a little saggy from stretching.  Tushie Huggers come in sizes 0 to 36 months.  I think this would be super cute on a little tiny baby!!!

You can find these great products at the Tushie Huggers Website or on facebook

I'm Back and the Blog is Going to be Better Than Ever!

I've missed you all!  These last few weeks have been crazy for me.  I finished yet another semester of college and managed to pull out all A's for the third semester in a row!  They say that one year I'll graduate with a Bachelor's degree but I don't believe it- I've been in for 9 years and haven't seen one yet.  (Ok, so maybe I quit a few times along the way...but I'm back full force!)  Avin managed to get sick the last two weeks of school so I had a sick baby at finals time.  I also had not one but two unplanned, last minute visits from family during that time.  I've thought about the blog and all the things I wanted to post but the time just wasn't there for me to get any work done!  I'll be posting a ton of new reviews and giveaways in the next month or so!  Among the big ones is an Ergo baby carrier!!! Of course the Mommy Makeover event is coming up quickly and I am so excited! Make sure you visit all of my great sponsors and tell them Avin's Momma sent you!  I'm off to get some reviews banged out and some giveaways posted!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Finally! The Guidecraft Toy Box Giveaway & Review {CLOSED}

Congratulations comment number 240!

You already know how I am in love with all the wooden block we got from Guidecraft...now let me tell you about how much I love their Little Farm House Toy Box!  With all of the wooden blocks and other toys Avin has there was never any doubt that we would need a toy box, the question was just where to find a high quality, cute, functional toy box.  When I saw the Little Farm House Toy Box I fell in love!  I want to re-do Avin's bedroom from Precious Moments to a farm/John Deere theme and Guidecraft's Little Farm House line of furniture is perfect for that!  The line includes a table and chairs set, a rocking chair, a table lamp, a clothes tree, storage step-up, and of course the toy box. 

First things first... When the UPS man delivered this toy box he took pity on my and actually carried it in the house! The boxes were HUGE and heavy.  Each piece was well wrapped and there was no damage to any pieces of the toybox.  When my husband came home I asked him if he would put it together during Avin's nap time.  I headed off to school and fully expected that I would return home to an assembled toy box.  Turns out that I was way off base with that line of thinking!  Derek quit assembling the toy box halfway through! He said Avin woke up but I'm pretty sure he just didn't want to assemble it.  (Did I mention he'd rather be poked in the eye with a hot stick than assemble furniture?)  I am no carpenter but after looking at the directions I decided I could finish the toy box myself.  I jumped right in and finished everything but attaching the lid in just a few minutes.  You MUST have two people to attach the lid- one to hold the lid vertically in place and the other to screw in the 9 screws.  Derek said that the small screws included for assembly were very poor quality and that they rounded out before they were completely flush with the wood.  I bought a $1.97 bag of screws at Wal-Mart and 4 weeks later I finally managed to force Derek into holding the lid still while I put in the last of the screws.  All total the assembly time for us was 4 weeks, but if I had just done it all myself  from the beginning the assembly time would have been about 25 minutes.  Once it was assembled it was very strong and sturdy. 

The interior has 2 removable dividers so you can organize the toys.  The bottom of the toy box has casters so it makes it very easy to move from place to place.  I LOVE that the lid has special hinges that prevent it from falling closed!  You must push on the lid to close it and then it moves downward slowly.  The front of the toy box has a long shallow cut out that protects little fingers from being smashed when the lid closes.  I honestly don't think you could do damage to little fingers with the lid of this toy box if you tried! The exterior of the toy box is amazing! The toy box has a farm scene painted on it (it looks like it is done by hand).  The lid has farm animals carved and painted on it.  The only thing I didn't like about the appearance of this toy box was that the red barn was tiny compared to the animals on the lid.  Otherwise this toy box is just too cute! 

Within minutes of final assembly Derek had all of Avin's wooden blocks put away in the toybox.  It took Avin about 20 minutes to figure out how to open and close the lid.  After that he spent his evening opening and closing the lid.  It was so adorable to watch him open the lid and peer in at his toys.  He would reach in and rummage around until he found what he wanted then he would take it out and close the lid.  I think I might finally be able to store toys out of site but still within his reach! That could lead to the discovery of a living room floor again!

Guidecraft is providing one my lucky readers with a Little Farm House Toy Box! To enter to win you must visit Guidecraft and then come back here and tell me what your favorite furniture collection. 

Additonal Entries:
Follow me via google friend connect or Rss feed. (1 entry)

Follow me on twitter @diapermom and tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway (get creative!) that includes @diapermom and @guidecraft (Up to 2 tweets per day)  (Leave a comment with the URL of your tweet)

Follow Guidecraft on twitter @Guidecraft (1 entry)

Follow Guidecraft on facebook (1 entry)

Grab my Mommy Makeover Button and place it on your blog (7 extra entries- Make sure you leave the URL where I can find it)

This giveaway ends May 29, 2010 at 11:00 PM.  It is open to US and APO addresses only.  Must be 18 to enter, void where prohibited.  One winner will be selected using random.org.  Please make sure your email address is in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  One entry = one comment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thank you Heidi!

Since the day that I started my blog I've had a super, amazing blog follower named Heidi.   Heidi entered my first giveaway and then sent me an email right off the bat letting me know that she had created a blog button for me and put it on her site.  When I started my blog I was not tech savvy and didn't know how to adjust my layout, create a blog button, anything.  I didn't even know what a blog button was until I went to her site!  Since then Heidi has went on to give me countless HTML tips and created multiple blog buttons for me.  This week she rocked my socks off by designing a set of buttons (a header, a Sponsor button, and a regular button) for my Mommy Makeover Event.  She spent tons of time on these.  She worked with me for days and days on these buttons, never complaining when I requested she tweak this or that. 

She is always one of the first people to enter all of my giveaways.  As a result she's won twice because of all the entries she does! She is just an awesome blog follower!  She's also an awesome blogger!  She runs The Maxwell's Madness and does amazing reviews and giveaways.  She also blogs about life as a mom.  Her blog is fun and fresh and promotes baby wearing and cloth diapering.  I encourage everyone to head over to her blog and enter some great giveaways. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you Heidi!  You have made my blog so much better than I ever imagined.  You are an awesome friend, blogger, and website designer! 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

CIO (Cry It Out) Helpful or Harmful?

My husband and I do not subscribe to the CIO method.  We are attachment parents.  However, I will be the first to tell you that as a daycare worker I used CIO all the time. It has never felt right for me as a mother.  When I hear Avin cry I feel it in my heart and soul.  After a couple of months I could even tell what his different cries meant from down the hall.   We have had people tell us multiple times "you know it won't hurt that baby to cry for a while".  My response to that is "well it might not hurt him but it does hurt me, sorry".  In the past couple of weeks I've come to understand that I have been wrong, extended crying can indeed hurt your child.  I'm not trying to say that anyone who uses CIO is abusing their child but studies have show extended crying to have ill effects on children.  I found the information presented in this blog article very startling but helpful: http://www.lepetitowlet.com/2010/04/dangers-of-letting-your-babe-cio.html.  Every parent has to develop their own routine and find what works for them.  I wouldn't dream of saying the methods my family uses are what would work for any other family.  I just encourage everyone to educate themselves on the subject.  Don't let others pressure you into letting your child cry it out.  Yes, babies can cry, but why should they have to?

Join the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution

This morning I responded to the call to join the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution.  I went and signed the petition to help change school lunches.  I knew it was something I couldn't ignore when my husband (who thinks my green/health changes are crazy) couldn't believe I hadn't signed up because even he believes in it.  Avin is only 10 months old so school lunch isn't exactly on our menu yet but change happens one step at a time.  I have realized that I need to start being active now if I want things to be better once he gets to be scool age.  I want Avin to grow up healthier than I did and that means not drinking a soda and eating a candy bar or bag of chips for lunch.  I encourage you click the link on the right and join Jamie and I (plus thousands of others) in the food revolution! Let's teach our kids to enjoy food in a healthy way!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tiny Tush Trim Hemp Diaper Giveaway & Review

In keeping with my Earth Week theme I'm ending this finally Friday with a cloth diaper giveaway! 

A few weeks ago I received the Tiny Tush Trim Hemp diaper to review.  We have been battling night leaking for months since Avin is such a heavy wetter.  Most of our nighttime solutions make Avin look like is trying out to be a baby sumo wrestler but that wasn't the case with the Tiny Tush Trim.  The TTT as I'll call it was really trim.  Because it is a fitted diaper made from 80% hemp and 20% organic cotton the entire diaper is super absorbent.  It is made with hidden snaps so all that is against your babies skin is the soft hemp/cotton. 

We really liked that it had an absorbent contoured snap-in liner.  We layered two more thin hemp/cotton doublers underneath the liner for a soft, super absorbent diaper.  If you have a tiny newborn baby you could actually just use the contoured snap-in liner as the diaper.  I liked that I didn't have to unsnap the liner to wash it.  I tossed it in the diaper still snapped in and it came out the same way.  Since it only attaches at one end it allows the liner to agitate separately from the main diaper.  The drying time on this diaper was the same as our microfiber liners.  (Some of our fitteds take two 70 minute drys) 

The diaper has all snaps and no Velcro or "hook and loop closure".  It has snaps vertically to adjust the size of the rise and horizontally to adjust the waist size.  This diaper fits newborn to 35+ pounds.  For a one-size diaper you can't beat the trimness of this diaper.  Even with a diaper cover on there is very little bulk.  This quickly became our go-to diaper for overnights especially once we tried it with a wool cover!  Because of that I never did manage to get a picture of Avin wearing it, because bedtime is no time for a photo shoot in our house! I'll include the stock photo for the diapers -that's really what they look like :)
Tiny Tush is giving away one Tiny Tush Trim to one lucky reader. 
Mandatory Entry:  You must sign up to follow me via google friend connect or RSS feed then visit the Tiny Tush website and come back and tell me something you loved!

Extra Entries:
Follow me on twitter @diapermom  Tiny Tush on twitter @TinyTush (1 entry)

Tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway that includes @diapermom and @TinyTush (1 entry per tweet, up to twice per day)

Follow Tiny Tush on facebook

Grab my button and put it on your blog - make sure you leave the URL where it can be found in your comment (3 entries)

This giveaway is open to US addresses only, void where prohibited, must be 18 to enter.  Giveaway will end Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:00 PM.  One winner will be chosen via random.org.  Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.  Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  One entry = one comment.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cutey Baby Wet Bag Giveaway & Review {CLOSED}

Congratulations to comment number 69!
What is a wet bag? Basically it is a waterproof zippered bag made to hold wet or soiled items. Why do you need one? Because they are a lifesaver for diaper changes and dirty baby clothes! I had the opportunity to review a Cutey Baby Wet Bag recently and now I am a wet bag convert. I used to keep those tiny little blue plastic bags in my diaper bag but by the end of the day I ended up with several different ones going and my whole bag smelled like baby powder.

The Cutey Baby wet bag is made out of PUL (the stuff that makes cloth diapers waterproof). The design is super simple but so helpful. At the end of the day I take my diapers and clothes out of it and toss it right into the wash. When I'm not using it the bag folds up small for storage. The bag easily fits 5 bulky diapers, wipes, and a shorts/t-shirt.

Cutey Baby is a great company that produces great modern cloth diapers (see my previous review). Their wet bags are available for purchase.  Click the link on the left hand side of this post to see all the cute prints they are available in!  Make sure you go check them out because Cutey Baby is giving one away to one of my readers!

Mandatory Entry:
Visit the Amazon.com link and then come back and tell me what pattern you would like to have if you win.

Additional Entries:
Follow my blog via Google Friend connect (1 extra entry)

Follow me on twitter and tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway that includes @diapermom AND @CuteyBaby (1 entry per day)

Follow Cutey Baby on twitter

Follow me on Facebook

Follow Cutey Baby on Facebook

Add my button to your blog (3 extra entries)

This giveaway is void where prohibited.  Open to US residents age 18 and over.  Contest will end May 13, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST.  Please leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win.  One comment = one entry.

In Honor of Earth Day: 15% Discount at Tadpoles Bedding Company~

Tadpoles Bedding Company offers a variety of baby and toddler items including organic crib sets and organic clothing and accessories.  In honor of Earth Day they are giving a 15% discount on their organic items (good until April 30, 2010) So swim on over to their store Tadpoles Bedding Company  and enter the coupon code earthday15. 

You can also follow them on facebook and twitter for more great deals in the future.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bottombumpers Diaper Pail Liner Giveaway & Review {CLOSED}

Congratulations comment number 68~

Thanks to Strawberry Kids I received a Bottombumpers Diaper Pail Liner to review.  Strawberry Kids had so many great items to choose from, including organic items, cloth diapering supplies, and breastfeeding accessories, that it took me forever to settle on the Diaper Pail Liner.  Once I did I was so glad that I chose the Bottombumper Diaper Pail Liner!  A diaper pail liner had been on my wish list for a long time but it didn't seem like a necessity so I had been putting off purchasing one.  I use a kitchen trashcan as a diaper pail so at night when I took the diapers down to wash I would wipe up any obvious spots in the pail then spray it down with Lysol and once or twice a week I would wash it inside and out with a disinfecting cleaner.  I'm a germ-a-phobe so it seriously grossed me out to be sticking my hands down in a dirty diaper pail.  The pail liner is made of durable 2mil PUL waterproof knit which is basically the same thing that outer part of many cloth diapers are made of.  It prevents urine or feces from leaking out of the bag and getting your pail dirty.  The liner is a generous 50" circumference to fit stainless steel step cans and 13 gallon trash cans (which is what I have), it is 30" tall to go in and over the edges of the pail, and has white fold over elastic to grab the sides of your pail and keep it in place.   At night when I take my diapers down I simply pull out my pail liner and toss it in the wash with my diapers.  No more scrubbing out dirty diaper cooties from my pail!  It works great for me because it is easier to carry down my stairs than the big trash can and when we travel it works as a dirty laundry bag for the entire family!  The Bottombumpers liner comes in White, Butter, Light Blue, Sage, Baby Pink, and Red.  The sage is what I chose and it is a light shade of green that goes great in Avin's nursery.  I no longer think of my diaper pail liner as a luxury item- it is definitly a necessity and I'm thinking about getting another to use while the diapers are in the wash!
Strawberry Kids is giving a Bottombumpers Diaper Pail Liner away to one of my readers!

Mandatory Entry:  Visit the Strawberry Kids website and then come back and tell me what item(s) you would LOVE to have. 

Additional Entries:
Follow my blog via google friend connect (1 extra entry)

Follow the Strawberry Kids blog Mom to Bed By 8 (1 extra entry)

Follow me on twitter and tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway including @diapermom AND @strawberrykidss (1 tweet per day 1 entry per tweet)

Follow Strawberry Kids on twitter

Follow Strawberry Kids on facebook

Grab my button and put it on your blog then leave me the link in your comments (5 extra entries)

Sign up for my RSS Feed on the left hand side of my blog (2 extra entries)

This giveaway is open to US addresses only.  One winner will be chosen using Random.org on May 28 at 11:00 PM CST.  Please make sure you leave your email address in your comments so I can contact you if you win.  One entry = One comment.  Contest is void where prohibited.

National Kids and Pet Day $20 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway! {CLOSED}


Congratulations #29~
April 26th, 2010 is National Kids and Pet Day! I love that we have an entire day devoted to Kids & Pets. In our house that is the case everyday because our world seems to revolve around Avin (the baby) and Emma (the black lab). We started out with 2 cats, Emma, and Avin but sadly we made the decision to give the cats away. It broke our heart because they had been our "kids" for years but it was just too much to have 2 house cats, Avin, and Emma. My cat, Jade, was adopted from an individual almost 9 years ago and she was an adult cat when I adopted her. In her old age she was confusing my carpet with kitty litter and other things. After getting rid of her I wish we had at least taken her to the vet to see if there was anything he could have done for her. The honest truth is that a vet bill doesn't fit into our budget since I am staying home full time with Avin. I've been considering getting pet insurance for Emma since it works similar to health insurance in humans. Strangely enough you can get pet insurance and groceries in the same place--Kroger.

Offered through PetFirst, Kroger pet insurance policies cover routine care and medical procedures for dogs and cats, and is available at more than 2,400 stores in the Kroger family including City Market, Dillon’s, Fred Meyer, Frye’s, King Sooper, Owen’s, Pay Less, QFC, Ralph’s and Smith’s. In addition to being available in-store, Kroger’s pet insurance can be purchased online at http://www.krogerpersonalfinance.com/pet-insurance/. Kroger’s pet insurance works at any veterinarian nationwide, with reimbursement typically occurring within two weeks. Coverage starts as low as $9.95 per month and right now, individuals who purchase online can save $10. $9.95 per month covers accident insurance so if you dog should run out of the yard and get hit by a car you it would cover the vet bill.

We discovered pretty quickly that as good natured as Emma is she does get annoyed by the baby. He LOVES her and spends a good part of his day chasing her down to play. When she sees Avin coming she usually gets up and moves out of the way because she has learned that he is no going to love on her. We have been working very hard at teaching him the different between "pet" and "pull". Emma has been pretty patient so far but it's been a big adjustment for her since she is no longer the baby.

Some tips for parents to teach their children regarding safe pet play are:
Teach your children to pet softy, stay away from food dishes, toys and bones, and not to startle your dog or cat when it is sleeping.
Keep babies and toddlers at a level higher than your dog. Dogs perceive height as representative of their hierarchy. Keep your children off the floor when the dog is in the room. (We don't follow this since Avin is an active crawler but we don't leave them alone in the room)
Don’t give your dog toys that resemble your children’s toys or clothing. Stay away from fabric stuffed dog toys that resemble your child’s stuffed animals.
Involve your child in your dog’s care. Even just the presence of your child in the same room while your dog is receiving his favorite things or activities can help build a positive association to children.

For more information on family friendly breeds or additional tips on teaching your children about pet safety, visit Kroger’s Pet Health blog.

For helping raise awareness of National Kids & Pet Day I was provided with a $20 gift card to spoil Emma and a $20 gift card to giveaway to a reader so that they could do the same by the Global Influence Network and the Kroger Co. The gift card is good at good at all Kroger family stores -- King Soopers, Ralph's, Fred Meyer, etc. To win this giftcard you must leave a blog comment relating a cute, funny, or sweet moment shared by your kids and pets.

Additional Entires:
Follow my blog via google friend connect

Subscribe to my feed on the left hand side of my blog (5 extra entries)

Tweet any unique tweet about this giveaway using @diapermom and the hashtag #pethealth (Up to 3 tweets per day)

This contest is open to US Residents, 18 and over, void where prohibited. Contest will close April 30, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Please leave one comment per entry (5 entries = five comments). Please leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. One winner will be selected using Random.org.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sugar Plum Baby Fitted Diaper Review

How many times have you been woken up in the night by a screaming baby and when you go to pick them up out of the crib you find them soaked from a leaky diaper? Nothing ruins your night like trying to juggle a screaming baby, find new jammies, replace the sheets on the bed, and hunt down another clean blanket. We were having that kind of night every night with our cloth diapers because Avin is such a heavy wetter. I'm not kidding, I think when I go to bed he gets up and drinks a gallon of water or something...the amount of urine he can produce overnight is amazing. We tried double stuffing, switching to fitted with a cover, adding hemp/cotton doublers nothing was working for us. UNTIL I found Monkey Toe Diapers and her wonderful Sugar Plum Baby Night Diaper!

When this diaper came in I was expecting it to be like all the other fitted diapers we had tried. In some ways it was but in lots of ways it was so much better! This diaper comes with snap closure so Avin can't take it off during the night. The interior of the diaper is so soft! It is made from velour and I confess to rubbing the clean diaper on my cheek and sighing because it was just so soft. The entire diaper is absorbent but when you snap the soaker in you add an additional 6 layers of protection. Lay down the included doubler and you're looking at 10 layers in the wet zone! This diaper is pretty bulky on Avin because he is long and lean but it is super absorbent and that more than makes up for the bulk. I like that the diaper is made from bamboo and organic cotton. The bamboo/cotton combo is great for increasing absorbency. It also makes me feel good to know I am putting organic natural fibers next to Avin's skin.

The quality of this diaper is top notch. The material is high quality and super soft as I mentioned before. The snaps are sturdy and attached securely. The seams are nice and neat. Because of the design of the diaper when you remove the soaker it unfolds to the size of a large wash cloth. Because the double, soaker, and diaper are three different pieces the drying time is super quick (half the time of our other fitteds).
Susan Mraz is the owner of Monkey Toe Diapers and she was a pleasure to work with. Her shipping time was quick, just a few days. When I opened the package the diaper was wrapped in tissue paper, tied up in ribbon with her business card attached. I felt very fancy and it tickled me to be getting a diaper in such a nice wrapping!

I highly suggest Monkey Toe Diapers for your overnight (or any) diaper needs. You can find them on facebook and twitter. Hurry and follow them because when they reach 200 fans/followers they will give away a Very Baby One Sized Fitted or Pocket Diaper!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cloth Diaper 101: You CAN do it!

I am a cloth diapering momma! I'm proud to say it and I'm always looking for opportunities to share information about cloth diapering. I have to laugh because as excited as I am about cloth diapering I can't compare to my husband. He's given more cloth diaper tutorials to our friends and family than me! :) We love cloth diapering, and while we understand it's just not for everyone, we can't imagine having it any other way. We started cloth diapering Avin at about 3.5 months because disposable diapers kept him with diaper rash and to be honest we just couldn't stand to spend $100 plus a month on diapers. We invested $200 in 24 diapers (23 BumGenius & 1 Happy Heiny) and we have never looked back. In this post I'll take you through the different types of cloth diapers, frequently used cloth diaper terms, washing cloth diapers, and cloth diaper accessories.

Types of cloth diapers:
Pocket Diapers (example: BumGenius 3.0) Pocket diapers have a "pocket" that you stuff with some type of insert (usually microfiber) and the outer part of the diaper is waterproof so no seperate cover is needed. These are easy to use, dry quickly and are very user friendly.

Fitted Diapers (example: Sugar Plum Baby or Tiny Tush) Fitted diapers are a super absorbant diaper that are made to wear with a waterproof cover. These are a great overnight diaper choice due to their absorbancy but the dry time for fitted diapers is somewhat lengthy.

All in Ones (example: BumGenius AIO) AIO's are just what they sound like. They are the most like a disposable diaper style. They are not as absorbant as the pocket or fitted and their dry time is very long.

Prefolds (example: Econobum) Prefolds are the cheapest of all the cloth diapers. They require you to fold a liner and place inside a seperate cover. They dry quickly but can be confusing to fold.

One Size Diapers (example: Fuzzi Bunz One Size) One size diapers are usually pocket diapers with a series of snaps on the front or hip that allow the diaper to grow with your baby. They can be rather bulky on small babies but they save a lot of money because you can use the same diaper from birth to potty training.

Hybrid Diapers I'm not sure "hybrid diaper" is an actual term but it is what I use when I refer to my Flip Diapers. The Flip Diaper system uses a cover that can be paired with either a lay-in cloth liner or a disposable liner. gDiapers and GroBaby also offer similar options. They are great for daytime travel when you don't want to pack along a large stack of cloth diapers.

Everyone has their own preference and motivation for choosing a specific diaper. Some things to ask yourself when you are planning your diaper purchase are 1)How important is cost to me? 2)Will my baby stay still long enough to put on a prefold and cover? 3)How important is the length of time it takes to dry? 4) Is a trim fit more important than only having to buy one set of diapers?

Once you decide what kind of diaper you think you would prefer I suggest you go to your local cloth diaper store and actually look them over. Cloth diapers come in so many fabrics and prints that you may find out you love something else even more. I purchased half of my diapers new and half used. Purchasing your cloth diapers used saves even more money and is perfectly safe for your baby. You will want be familiar with some common cloth diapering abbreviations before you buy.

Frequently Used Cloth Diaper Abbreviations:

AIO - All in One diaper
AI2 - All in Two diaper (typically a pocket diaper)
CD - cloth diaper
CPF - Chinese prefold
IPF - Indian Prefold
DSQ - Diaper service quality
EUC - Excellent used condition
GUC - Good used condition
F&C - Free & Clear (used referring to detergents)
PUL - polyurethane laminate, a material used to make diaper covers/wraps
Woolie, Shortie, Longie - Refers to diaper covers made from wool
Seconds- Second Quality Cloth Diapers are diapers that have some (usually minor) flaw in the design or construction of them.
'Sposie- A Disposable diaper
Diaper Pail Liner - Usually made of PUL, fits inside a trash can or diaper pail to hold dirty diapers
Wet/Dry Bag - Usually made of PUL or similar material, used to hold dirty diapers on the go

Washing Cloth Diapers: I had wanted to cloth diaper before Avin was born but I had heard horror stories about the time and effort required to keep cloth diapers clean. I kicked myself when I found out that those stories were true 30 years ago! Today's cloth diapers are nothing like what our mom's had available to them. Caution: You do have to use cloth diaper detergent! All cloth diapering mom's have their own method for washing so I will just share mine. When we change Avin's diaper I toss the dirty diaper into a kitchen trash can that has a diaper pail liner in it. (If it is a poopy diaper I wipe it out with a wipe and toss the solids into the diaper genie). Many people use a diaper sprayer and rinse out into the toilet. At the end of the day I take the liner full of dirty diapers down to the washing machine. I seperate the diapers out into their different pieces (we use AI2 and fitteds) and I do one COLD rinse. Then I do one Heavy Duty HOT wash with 2 scoops of Rockin Green Cloth Diaper Soap with an extra COLD rinse at the end. You must use some type of cloth diaper detergent because other detergents contain elements that will cause your diapers to stop absorbing and start actually repelling and leaking. Some popular brands are Charlies, Rockin Green, and Tiny Bubbles. Once the diapers are washed I usually hang any piece that has velcro or elastic up to dry and I toss the rest in the dryer. You do not use fabric softner or dryer sheets with cloth diapers. If you get stains setting your diapers out in the sun to dry will clear most of them up.

Cloth Diaper Accessories: When you use cloth diapers you don't have to HAVE to have anything special except the cloth diaper detergent and cloth diaper safe diaper rash ointment. Diaper rashes are rare with cloth diapers but they do still happen occasionally. You cannot use regular diaper rash ointment (Desitin, Butt Paste, etc) because they will coat your diapers and cause them to repell liquid. You need a cloth diaper safe ointment. My favorite brand is Sweet Cheeks but other popular brands include Grandma El's and Northern Essence.


Some people use a diaper sprayer which connects to your toilet and works like a mini shower for your diapers. I don't have one and I don't have any issues with my diapers.

A couple of things I do have and LOVE are: 1) A small wet bag- mine is made by Cutey Baby and holds about 5 dirty diapers. It is a super cute print and fits down in my diaper bag. It's great for storing both dirty clothes and diapers. When you get back home you can toss the bag itself in the washer for easy clean up. 2) A diaper pail liner- I just recently got a diaper pail liner and now I can't imagine life without it! Before I would spray my diaper pail (aka a kitchen trash can) down with Lysol Spray everynight when I emptied it and once or twice a week I had to scrub it out with a disinfecting cleaner. Now I just pull the liner out and toss it in the wash with the diapers. It also made a great dirty clothes bag when we traveled this weekend.

Of course no matter what type of diaper you use you still need wipes to get your baby's bottom clean. I still use mostly disposable wipes for poopy diapers but I use cloth wipes for hand and face washing after meals and other quick clean ups. Cloth wipes can be as simple as baby wash cloths wetted in water. For more great in-depth information about using cloth wipes please visit The Eco-Friendly Family.

If you have any other questions or comments regarding cloth diapering please feel free to leave a comment. I'm no cloth diapering expert, just a cloth diapering addict, but I'd be happy to share what I know.