Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guidecraft Block Mates Safari Animals Giveaway & Review {CLOSED

Congratulations comment #54~
The toy that is getting the most play in my house right now is the Block Mates Safari Animals from Guidecraft. The Block Mates are plastic pieces that fit over a traditional size wooden block to create a very cool animal. You can let your imagination run wild and mix and match to make your own combination of animals. The set comes with the pieces to make a rhino, lion, alligator, elephant, and gorilla. My husband was very impressed that the Gorilla was designed so that its upper body is raised higher than its lower body---the way you would see them walking in the zoo.
The plastic pieces have a rubber piece on the inside that helps ensure a snug fit when you snap it onto the wooden block. When fully assembled each animal stands around 4 inches tall. My husband and son love playing with these animals. Instead of using one tradtional size wooden block my husband used two half size blocks for some of our animals. Since he used the half size blocks the two top pieces attached to one block and the two bottom pieces to another. Then he would mix and match the animals which just cracked Avin up. Honestly I'm not sure who had more fun playing with the block mates, my husband or Avin. They are well made and fun for all ages! We plan to add the Farm Animal and Dinosaur Block Mates to our collection soon.
Guidecraft is giving a set of Block Mates and a 5 Piece Unit Block Set away to one of my readers. To enter to win you must visit the Guidecraft website and then come back and leave me a comment telling me which Block Mate set you would most like to win.

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This giveaway is open to all US and APO addresses. Must be 18 to enter, void where prohibited. Winner will be selected via Contest ends on April 17, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Please make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry. Please leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Guidecraft Wooden Blocks and Block Mates Giveaways & Reviews

The boys in my house (that includes my husband and son) have been having a blast playing the last couple of weeks! Guidecraft provided me with some very awesome wooden blocks and play sets that have been a huge hit with my family! They also provided me with a wooden toy box to store it all in! I will be posting reviews on their 34 Piece Unit Block Set, their Safari Animal Block Mate Set, and Rainbow Block 30 Piece Set this week. I will posting a review on the toy box next week.

Guidecraft has been around since 1964 when it was started in a small woodshop, producing 10 items. It is still family owned but it now features over 580 educational toys and furnishings. According to their President, Jason Fein, their mission is to "stay true to the tradition of smart, beautifully crafted wood products, which allow children's minds and imaginations room to truly wonder and grow". I love that! You all know that wooden toys are my passion and I think they provide excellent opportunities for kids to build their imaginations. I am very excited to be sharing this company with you!

Guidecraft is giving my readers the same set of toys they gave me! That means that I will get to share these wonderful products with 4 lucky readers. One reader will receive the 34 Piece Unit Block Set, Safari Animal Block Mate Set and 5 Piece Unit Block Set, one reader will win Rainbow Block 30 Piece Set, and one reader will win a wooden toy box from their favorite collection!

There will be lots more great products coming from Guidecraft in the future. Take a minute to check out their website and then leave me a comment letting me know what you would like so see reviewed in the future! If your product is chosen for a giveaway in the future you will get 10 extra entries into that giveaway!

Wordless Wednesday: Avin's 1st Sandwich

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little Ducks Organics Snack Giveaway and Review {CLOSED}

Congratulations comment #10!
As you know I am always seeking out organic foods and snacks for Avin. He's almost 10 months old and it seems like he is eating more and more solid foods every day. We've come a long way since our first homemade purees and baby cereal puffs. He loves to feed himself finger foods now and will bang his tray for more Cheerios or snacks. He isn't very patient when it comes to meal time so to buy enough time to prep his actual food we always give him a little snack that he can feed to himself. He loves all types of cereal puffs and Cheerios but I hated constantly feeding him cereal. I was very intrigued when I was offered the opportunity to try out Little Duck Organics Baby Snacks.

I received 4 packages of snack in all three of their yummy flavors. The first one we tried was Apple & Banana. (I say we because I always try foods before feeding them to Avin.) The first thing I did when I picked up the package was check the ingredients list. It was short and simple: 100% organic apples, 100% organic bananas. When I opened the package I was mildly surprised to find tiny squares of dried (almost chalky looking) apples and bananas. I had been expecting it to either be slightly sticky and shriveled looking (think prune or dried apricots) or for it to be super hard and flat. I popped a tiny little cube in my mouth and it instantly re-hydrated and the banana flavor exploded in my mouth. Satisfied that the cubes were easily gummed and began dissolving almost instantly I poured some on Avin's tray. He was able to easily grasp the tiny little cubes and began popping them into his mouth as fast as he could go! He loved it! I mixed the bag of organic fruit snacks with some cheerios to make a sort of baby trail mix. Avin loves the snacks so much he will pick through the mix and eat the fruit first.

I opened the Strawberry Mango snacks next. Once again the ingredient list was short and simple: 100% organic Strawberries, 100% organic Mango. The strawberries had a few irregular pieces that were a little bigger than the tiny cubes in the apple and banana package. I would take a second to sort through and pick out any larger pieces if you are giving them to a beginning eater. I confess that I am in love with the Strawberry Mango snacks. Seriously, my husband made me quit eating them because they are for the baby!

I love that the snacks are made with 100% organic fruit and no dyes, fillers, or preservatives. They come in convenient resealable packaging and are great for tossing in the diaper bag. These are Avin tested and Mommy approved!

The folks at Little Duck Organics are giving away a package of snacks to three of my readers! To enter to win a package of your choice of flavors you must sign up to publicly follow my blog via google friend connect and tell me which flavor combination you would like for your baby.

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Please make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry. If you are tweeting please leave the permalink to your tweet in your comment. Please make sure you include your email address in each comment so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US Residents, 18 and older, void where prohibited. The giveaway will end Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Three winners will be selected via

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where is the Mommy Motivation?

I realized today that my issues isn't as much a lack of time as a lack of motivation. I have a 5 mile long to-do list with household chores, baby stuff, school stuff, etc. but I never seem to accomplish anything anymore. Today I realized that I waste a huge amount of time doing nothing. That's right, literally nothing! My husband entertained the baby today and I took an almost 3 hour nap and then when I got up I fed the baby lunch and then did nothing. Well, by nothing I mean I sat in the floor playing with the baby. I had plenty of opportunities to knock out my to-do list but I just couldn't talk myself into getting started on anything. I find myself in this same situation every weekend. Where is my mommy motivation? Monday through Wednesday I am so busy that I literally meet my husband coming and going. As soon as he gets in from work I head out to school then I get home and head straight down the hall to put the baby to bed, then I meet him heading to bed. Thursday is always wasted trying to rest up from the three previous days. You would think Friday-Sunday I could work up some energy and get some things done! Avin still doesn't sleep through the night so I find myself getting up multiple times in the night with him. Although his awake time is short it is still exhausting to constantly get up and down. I feel like motherhood is lived in 2 hour intervals. You get up in the morning, get the baby breakfast, play, within 2 hours you put him down for nap, within 2 hours he gets up, plays, you feed him lunch, the he plays, within 2 hours he's ready for nap, he gets up, plays, within 2 hours you feed him dinner, he plays, then whoa- within 3 hours it's bedtime, you put him down and then get up every 2-3 hours to feed. I find myself dragging, accomplishing less and less, looking and acting like a zombie. I need to find some mommy motivation!!! So, ladies, please, if you have the secret to Mommy Motivation please do not hesitate to leave me a comment and share. All tips on coping with sleep deprivation, actually having a clean house, a sleeping baby, and completed homework are welcome!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organic Echo Wooden "Tool Box" Toy Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations to comment number 250! Organic Echo provided Avin with a Wooden "Tool Box" Toy set to review. You may not know this but wooden toys are my secret passion for Avin. We haved several different kinds now that I think are wonderful. Wooden toys promote a level of creativity that electronic, plastic, and light up toys do not. After watching Avin interact with a wide variety of toys I've even began to think that "learning" toys that light up, talk, or play music may be a contributing factor to kids having ADD. That sounds a little crazy I know, but the short bursts of noise and light keep kids hopping and they never learn to settle in and just play. It is very important to me that Avin develop a strong and active imagination. I believe that wooden toys can help do just that.

The cost of wooden toys has been hard for me to accept. Generally they are much more costly than plastic toys but after having purchased several different items now I've came to realize that the value behind the toy is well worth it. Plastic toys often get broken or destroyed before one child is finished with them, where wooden toys are tough enough to make it through several children (and probably still have life left). The price you pay to replace plastic toys or constantly replace batteries in electronic toys will add up to what you would have invested in wooden toys in the beginning.

When our "tool box" set came in the mail my husband was at work. I eagerly unpacked it and placed all the tools in the little tool box and waited for him to get home. He was in the process of assembling a wooden toy box (check back next week for a review!) and I thought it would be so cute if I met him at the door holding Avin and his "tool box". I let my husband come in and get changed out of his dress clothes and then I met him in the doorway holding Avin and the tool box and said "Have tool box, will travel!". My husband reached out for the tool box and tried to set it in the spare bedroom so it would be out of Avin's reach---he thought at first glance it was real tools and he was afraid Avin would get hurt! I cracked up!!! Once my husband actually took a second glance he realized what it was and immediately headed into the living room to play with Avin. The tool box set includes a hand drill, flat blade screwdriver, a hammer, a ruler, a square, a saw, and of course the tool box. This set is extra heavy duty. All of the pieces are made from real wood and have been hand assembled. The pieces have been put together securely and the seams are so flush and tight that it is hard to tell it is not all one piece. The hand drill does have a little knob mounted on the wheel that seems to be fastened on with wood glue. I was worried about Avin accidently breaking it off and it posing a choking hazard so I tried to break it myself. I tugged and yanked and banged it on the table and that knob didn't budge. I figure if I couldn't break it trying then Avin was probably safe. The hand drill is definately his favorite because of the wheel he can turn. The saw is too big and heavy for him to hold and play with right now but he'll grow into that soon. This tool box set was a huge hit with all the men in my life- my son, my husband, and my dad. When I told him that we were going to get it for review he asked if he play too! We went to visit my parents and sure enough Avin and Grandpa spent some serious guy time build pretend things in the living room floor with Avin's toys. After this play session we did decide to put the tool box up for a couple of months because Avin is learning to walk and he lost his balance and hit the tool box and bruised his cheek. Once he isn't falling so much we'll be getting this back out and he'll play with it for years to come (well, if Grandpa and Dad don't wear it out first!)

Organic Echo has a great selection of wooden toys suitable for home or daycare use. They also carry a variety of other toys, activity tables, wall panels, and educational toys. One lucky reader is going to WIN a FREE City Life Transportation Vehicle Set. The City Life Transportation Vehicle Set is constructed with wood and painted with bright primary colors. This set features 10 individual vehicles, 6 traffic signs, and 6 city buildings for additional pretend play. A wonderful stand-alone set or as an accessory to wooden railway set or car collection.
Features: 10 Individual cars 6 Traffic Signs 6 City Buildings
Ages 3+
Wood displays not included

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Please make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry. If you are tweeting please leave the permalink to your tweet in your comment. Please make sure you include your email address in each comment so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US Residents, 18 and older, void where prohibited. The giveaway will end Thursday, April 16, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. One winner will be selected via

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dr. Bloom's Chewable Teething Jewelry Review & Giveaway! {CLOSED}

Congratulations comment #29!
I'm sure by now all of you know that Avin teething is going to send me to the looney bin! The poor kid popped two bottom teeth out at 6 months old after trying for almost two months. He's 9 months now and still only has 2 teeth but he's been in teething misery ever since. He chews on everything all the time! Recently out of pain and frustration he'd even began trying to chew on me. (Talk about a breastfeeding shocker- OUCH!) I found him an amber teething necklace for him to wear to relieve the pain (see my blog for a review) but that didn't take away his need to chew to try to break those tiny teeth through. I've literally retrieved Avin's teethers and toys from the floor hundreds of times because he drops them or throws them down. I don't mind playing fetch for him at home but when we are out and about I can't always get to a sink to wash his toys off and this germ-a-phobe momma isn't about to give him something that has touched a dirty floor! When I found Dr. Bloom's Chewable Teething Jewelry I was excited!

Dr. Bloom's Jewelry is dentist created and endorsed, made with FDA approved materials, phthalate free, lead free, BPA, PVC, Latex free, waterproof, and dishwasher safe. It isn't the most fashionable jewerly I've ever worn but it is now some of my favorite! The braclet is a simple bangle and the necklace I chose was a black latex-free stretchable cord with the rectangular slide on it. The slide feels a little chunky on but it is the perfect size for Avin to hang on to and chomp on. I really liked that I could wear the necklace inside my shirt and no one noticed it until he felt the need to chew then I could pop it out. The cord is adjustable to your desired size so I was able to wear it a little long and have plenty of room for Avin to stretch it out and chew on it. He liked it so much that I had to take it off and let both of my parents wear it so he could chew on it while he was being held! It was great to have something readily available for him to chew on at any time and not to have to worry about it getting dirty or dropped in the floor. The bracelet did hit the floor a couple of times but it was a great distraction toy for when he wanted to hold something he shouldn't. I was able to swap him the bracelet for the "no-no" object and he was happy to have something in his hands to chew on.

As far as fashion goes you probably aren't going to win any awards for fashion with this jewelry, but to be honest it flows well with my hasn't been washed in two days hair and my "this shirt only has a little spit up" mommy outfits. I didn't post any pictures of me wearing the jewerly because when I saw how I personally looked I was too embarassed! (Definately time for a mommy make-over!) The style of the jewerly reminds me a lot of some things I wore as a teenager. Like I said earlier, the lack of designer fashion isn't an issue for me because I just wore the necklace inside my shirt until he wanted to chew. The people who saw us out while I was wearing it all thought it was brilliant and not one person seemed to be put off by the fact that I wasn't wearing 24K gold.

I recommend this product for every single mom with a teething child! The color choices allow you to match it to your outfits so it blends well and now they have keychain charms that you can clip to diaperbags, key chains, or beltloops. Make sure you use the coupon code "2010M" for 15% off your order at

Make sure you enter to WIN your own FREE necklace/bracelet chewable jewerly combo! To enter simply visit Dr. Bloom's website and pick out your favorite combo then come back here and leave me a comment letting me know what style and color combo you picked. (I chose the Rectangle Slide & Bracelet - Blue Topaz)

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Please make sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Please leave a seperate comment for each entry. Open to US Residents, 18 and older, void where prohibited. The contest will end April 14, 2010 at 11:00 PM. One winner will be selected using Winner will be notified by email.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PartyLite Candle Review & Giveaway {Closed}

Congratulations to comment number 60!
PartyLite used to just be about cute and yummy smelling candles but now they offer food items by Two Sisters Gourmet and Spa Products. This is a company after my heart- candles, food, and spa products it's like my favorite Saturday afternoon in a store! Neptunebaby provided me with the opportunity to review some "Just Desserts". The Just Desserts line of candles are two layers of scents in a medium size glass holder. The scent I reviewed was Mulberry Vanilla Delight. I wasn't sure how I would feel about this combo because I'm not usually a mulberry fan but when it got here and I got my first whiff my nose fell in love!

The scent was so yummy. Vanilla is my go-to fragrance for winter but in the summer and spring I prefer lighter fruity scents. The combo of the candle gives me the perfect mix of vanilla and berry. When I burned the candle the scent was not overpowering but it did leave behind a light scent. When I read the product description of a "single serving jar" I expected something slightly bigger than a votive candle. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the candle is about the size of a coffee cup. The packaging Neptunebaby uses for shipping is wonderful, I received my candles in their glass jars with zero breakage. (Trust me, with my mail carrier that is really saying something!) I've burned these candles for several hours now and you can hardly tell. I believe the description is accurate when it says a 20-30 hour burn time.

I love that you can order online from Neptunebaby or if you are close to her you can host a candle Party. Candle parties are such a fun girl's night activity because everyone loves candles or knows someone who does. Add a bottle of wine, some appetizers, a variety of candles and some great friends and you have a ready made good time! To celebrate all my great friends and readers Neptunebaby is allowing me to host an online candle party!!! We're giving away one set of Just Desserts candles to one of my readers!

To join the party and enter to win your FREE candles you must go to Neptunebaby's PartyLite website and then come back here and leave a comment telling me what item(s) you would love to have.

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Please make sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Please leave a seperate comment for each entry. Open to US Residents, 18 and older, void where prohibited. The contest will end April 13, 2010 at 11:00 PM. One winner will be selected using Winner will be notified by email.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Proud to Be a Babywearing Momma

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about babywearing and most of it hasn't been good. Slings in particular are getting bad press because of a recent tragedy of a baby suffocating while in a sling. A few years ago a certain brand of slings issued a major recall because parts were breaking and babies were falling. Even my mom has been influenced by the latest media blitz on slings. She called me this week telling me that I was NEVER to wear Avin in my moby wrap again because it was too dangerous! It took forever to get her calmed down and properly educated about babywearing but she finally settled down and decided that maybe it would be OK to keep wearing him. (Gotta love moms "letting" you do things with your own children!) The point is that a lot of moms who are unfamiliar with babywearing or new to babywearing are going to react the same way to this negative media. As smart, educated babywearing momma's we have to spread the word that when properly used slings, wraps, and carriers are perfectly safe for babies and actually provide a lot of benefits.

Babies who are worn often cry less, are more comfortable and secure feeling, and often fall asleep while being worn. Parents who babywear find that they can be comfortable keeping their baby close for long periods and are not as restricted in what they are able to accomplish. They also feel good about themselves because their babies are happy and content. For mothers who breastfeed, babywearing is especially convenient. Most slings, wraps, and carriers allow for a mother to breastfeed while on the go with little exposure. That is great news for momma's with frequent eaters or who may be shy about feeding in public.

I hate that any parent experienced the loss of their child but to put a ban on all babywearing as a result would be like banning beds and cribs due to SIDS. Yes, precautions should be taken but most slings are still a great choice. Not every type of sling, wrap, or carrier works for every person. I personally don't use slings because I am a plus size, large breasted momma and I've never found a sling that allowed me to comfortably carry Avin without feeling pregnant all over again. I love my Moby and it has been great for both my husband and I to use while wearing Avin. Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of babywearing devices to find what works for you. Yard sales and online classified such as Craigslist are great places to find carriers, wraps, and slings at heavily discounted prices. Your local cloth diaper or baby stores can be a great help in choosing the right carrier for you. Lots of shops hold babywearing workshops to allow you to try different carriers and to educate you on how the different carriers work. I encourage you to attend one if you haven't already!

I will be continuing to wear Avin because it works for us. I'm still proud to be a babywearing momma! I welcome curious glances and questions about "What is that?" because that means I get the chance to educate one more person.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Costco Car Seat Review

I was provided a Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat in Triton Black and Green by for review. I originally went on the search for a new car seat because at 9 months old my son has officially outgrown an infant carrier seat. is like a huge virtual shopping mall with 200+ stores. I literally spent hours checking out different options for car seats there. I love their detailed search features- I could sort the 200 results by price, age, brand, type, and more. Getting a good quality carseat that will accomodate Avin for a long time was very important to me. The Cosco Convertible fits kids up to 40 pounds and works both front and rear facing. I also chose this carseat since it was reasonably priced because as much as I would LOVE to have an expensive Britax I could never afford one and I doubt most of my readers could either. Shipping took about 2 days from the time my order was placed. The carseat arrived at my door in a huge box. When I saw the size of the box I was so glad I had ordered it online and not purchased it in a store. I don't know how I would have ever fit that box in my car with the baby! The carseat was pretty much ready to go out of the box except for adjusting the straps to Avin's size. I sat the car seat in the floor and it took about 2 minutes to get the straps adjusted to the correct size. The shoulder strap adjustment is simple but only if the carseat is out of the car. The piece that the straps attach to is on the lower section of the back of the car seat so when it is installed it is almost impossible to access. The car seat does come with a quick release adjuster for the tightness of the straps. It allows you to quickly and easily adjust if you need more room over bulky clothes or if your baby gains weight but not height. Avin even inspected them to make sure I had it right! The cover is completely removeable so you can clean it if you get crumbs or spills. The directions just say to wash with warm soapy water but I have another Costco car seat and I just tossed mine in the washer on the delicate cycle and line dried and it came out fine. The model I received has an option cup holder with it. The cup holder was the hardest part to install of the entire car seat! Avin helped with that too! In the end I had to enlist the help of my husband to install the cup holder. It just snaps onto the side of the carseat but I couldn't figure it out. Of course, it took him about 15 seconds. In order for the carseat to be level in the rear facing position I had to roll up a towel and place under the front of it. It can be installed using either a seatbelt or the LATCH system. I used the LATCH system. Two simple clips and it was in. I tightened it as tight as I could get it then had my husband come out and tighten it some more. All total the actual in-car installation took about 5 minutes. The back of the carseat almost touches the back of my front seats and I drive a mid-size 4 door sedan. This is a big car seat. Avin is about 27 inches tall and it is already getting a little ackward to manuever him into the carseat without the hitting the edge of the seat or the roof of the car. Both of those problems will go away as soon as he is old enough to go forward facing. Overall I was impressed with the car seat. The carseat is solid but lightweight and the LATCH system make installation very easy. I love the colors of the cover. The cover has a nice layer of padding in it for your babies comfort. The padding is not overly thick or plush but it seems to just right for Avin. For the final word on how Avin feels about this carseat I'll leave you with a picture of him immediately upon getting buckled in and a picture of him 10 minutes later.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rockin Green Shake It Up Pail Freshener Review & Giveaway! {CLOSED}

Congratulations #29
You all know I am a die hard Rockin Green Cloth Diaper soap fan. Anyone who's been near me for more than 5 minutes and mentions cloth diapers or laundry knows that! As long as I've been a fan of RnG Cloth Diaper Soap I've wanted to try their Shake It Up Pail Freshener. My diaper pail is actually just a kitchen trash can without a liner or lid. I can't tell you how many times I've walked through the door of my son's bedroom and almost gagged from the smell of a poopy diaper or the harsh ammonia scent of a overnight diaper. When he started eating solids I started scooping the poop out of his diapers with a disposable wipe and dropping it in my diaper genie and that helped cut down on the smell---until you opened the diaper genie and then GAG! the smell hit you full force in the face.

I bought recently some Fresh Linen Shake Up from a friend and I received some Mango Sorbet from Kim for review. The Fresh Linen is a very subtle scent that I didn't really notice when I walked in the room. The dirty diaper smell was gone but I wasn't smelling a strong Fresh Linen scent in its place. When I received the Mango Sorbet I could smell it as soon as I opened the mailbox. Thank goodness no cars were driving by because I think I started drooling immediately. I got inside and shook some in my diaper can and it smelled so yummy! The scent makes me think of fresh fruit and warm summer days. Of course it took care of the dirty diaper smell, but it also replaced it with a very yummy Mango scent. Even my husband (who I refer to as nose deaf) walked in the room and said "Hmmm...that's odd, it smells very fruity in here". I even sprinkled a little in the bottom of the diaper genie and now when you open it the smell is yummy not yucky!

I confess that Shake It Up has made me exhibit some odd behavior. Yesterday I paused next to the diaper pail and took a deep breath and smiled. Yes, I confess, I have started sniffing a dirty diaper pail, but in my defense it just smells so good! Today I even sprinkled a tiny amount under the floor mats in my car because sadly my car doesn't smell so fresh. Between the dirty diapers that fall out of the diaper bag and the fast food wrappers that get left behind for sometimes days before I have an extra hand to pick them all up sometimes my car just gets funky odors in it. I hate using commercial air fresheners because without fail they are always too strong for me. I am happy to say that Shake It Up was just the right amount of yummy smell.

Kim from Rockin Green is going to share the yummy with one of my readers for free! One reader will be selected to win a container of Shake It Up in one of 11 great scents. One winner will be chosen via on March 27, 2010.

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Contest ends Friday, March 26, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Contest open to US addresses only. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited. Winner will be chosen using Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Please make sure you leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Cutey Baby Modern Cloth Diaper Review

I have already admitted that I am a cloth diaper addict but I am afraid I may have reached a whole new level. I have been working to become a diaper tester for several different companies so I can be the first to know when new styles of diapers hit the market. I started out as a product tester for Cutey Baby Modern Cloth Diapers but after I received one I had to send them a request to write a review. This is the neatest cloth diaper I have ever seen.
It is an one size, all in one diaper that works like an all in two! The diaper has a side snap that helps to size it up or down (versus the front snaps that other brands use) They also have removable Velcro laundry tabs. I'm still having mixed feelings about that part of the design. On one hand I love not having to worry about the Velcro catching on things in the washer, but on the other I've almost lost the tabs on several occasions when I removed them to wash.

The design of the diaper allows the insert to come out on its own during the wash. I LOVED not having to touch a urine soaked liner! The insert is attached so you don't have to hunt through the laundry to try to match it to the right cover. Unlike some other all-in-one diapers the Cutey Baby dries super quick, in the same amount of time as my BumGenius inserts. The legs have gathers (I think other websites refer to them as channels) that help catch any mess and keep it in the diaper. The material on the inside is all so soft and wicks moisture away from Avin's bottom so well! The design is very trim and when I first saw it I laughed out loud because I thought "That will never hold Avin's urine!" I ate those words because when I changed him the diaper was soaked but not a drop had leaked. My only complaint at all about the diaper is that it is almost too big for Avin. At 19 pounds and 27 inches tall we are on the middle snap of the BumGenius 3.0's but the Cutey Baby diaper just barely fits Avin. When he wears it I use the side snaps to make it smaller plus I fasten the Velcro so far that it touches in the middle. Even at that there is still some wiggle room around the top of the diaper. Even though the diaper doesn't fit snug on him we still haven't experienced any leaks! I wouldn't recommend this diaper for a newborn or a skinny baby but I think it would be perfect for chunky babies and older infants. We even love the cute prints. The one Avin is wearing above is called Green Tribal. It is my understanding that Cutey Baby is already in production to correct the size issues. Make sure you stay tuned to my blog for a follow up review on the second production diapers.

You can purchase these Cutey Baby diapers online at or Kelly's Closet

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tired Tuesday

Holy cow this semester of college is kicking my butt! I hate that I'm not able to post more often here lately but I just don't have the time. Avin is hitting another growth spurt and teething and that makes for long days and sometimes even longer nights! Couple his clingy monkey behavior with a boat load of homework and you get one tired momma. The good news is that I have some very awesome reviews coming up including a Vera Bradley diaper bag, a Costco Convertible Carseat, Agoo Tushie Huggers, and I might even throw in a giveaway or two so please bear with me and keep checking back often!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Simple Saturdays & Sundays

My family is crazy busy all week long. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights I rush out the door almost as soon as my husband gets home. That means he has worked all day then comes home to take care of the baby all night. For me it means I am on call 24/7 for the baby plus I attend college full time. Avin likes attention and so it can be hard to get things done around the house during the day. That means that I'm left trying to use Thursday and Friday evening to catch up on housework and homework. That usually flows over into the weekend as well. Suddenly the only two days we have to spend as a family are eaten up with chores and homework. Amazingly I've realized that chores and homework are not our biggest weekend time drains. Technology is! My husband plays video games zones in front of the tv with his ipod to relax and I talk on the phone and surf the internet. The end result? ZERO quality family time! So, I've decided we are switching to simple Saturdays & Sundays. We will be unplugging from technology on weekends and living a more simple life. Weekends are going to be about spending quality time with our family and going back to church~ I apologize for not posting on weekends in the future but I hope you understand! I encourage you to "unplug" and go back to simplier activities this weekend, even if it is only for a few hours.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Fact: Carseat Laws

Have you ever started out shopping for one thing and ended up looking at something totally different? That happened to me this week. I was looking for kids bedding because I am so over Avin's precious moments theme and somehow I ended up checking out baby gear. I drooled over strollers for awhile and ultimately ended up checking out carseats because I realized that Avin is less than 2 pounds from outgrowing the carseat in my husband's car. When I mentioned getting a new carseat to my husband he said "Why? We both have one in our car.". He didn't know that their are weight limits to certain carseat types! That inspired me to share some Friday Facts about carseat safety! Did you know that carseats have expiration dates? They are typically good for about 5 years from date of manufacture, after that they "expire" because of age and use. You can visit the American Academy of Pediatrics website for a wealth of information ranging from the different types of carseats to installation instructions and other FAQs. Rules for carseat usage vary from state to state so if you are from Missouri you can visit the MoDot website for the latest laws concerning carseat usage. If you are not from Missouri I encourage you to google your state to make sure you are up-to-date.

I am very excited to announce that I will be doing a review in the next few weeks on the Cosco Scenera Convertible Car Seat in Triton Black and Green - 22160TRI provided by CSN stores. Stay tuned to see my reaction!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Happy Baby Foods Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations #51
I breastfeed and make most of Avin's solid foods, however, there are just some things I can't make- like cereal and cereal puffs. In Mid-Missouri our selection of organic baby food is practically non-existent so when I got the chance to review a variety of organic baby foods from Happy Baby Foods I was ecstatic. Helen at Happy Baby Foods sent me a wide variety of foods to review. Happy Baby Foods is unique because they offer a selection of frozen baby foods, much like I make for Avin myself. The selection of frozen foods I received came packed in a cooler packed with dry ice. When I opened the cooler all the products were still frozen solid. I was disappointed to see that the items were packed in a Styrofoam cooler because of its environmental impact but I don't think there are many cost-effective options for shipping frozen foods. The frozen foods are packaged in frozen cubes so there is no heating in plastic, you just pop out what you want, heat, and feed your baby. The shelf stable products I received came in a regular cardboard box the day after I received my frozen foods. We received too many foods to review all of them in one post so I will just highlight Avin's two favorites.

Avin's favorite products were the Organic (Cereal) Puffs and Happy Melts (Organic Yogurt Snacks). I am overly cautious about what I feed Avin so before giving any new food to him I always taste it myself. I have to say that I loved the banana/mango Happy Melts as much as Avin! They were yummy! It was sort of an odd combination because the melt is freeze dried fruit and yogurt so when you pop it in your mouth it is a dry disk but then it immediately melts and tastes just like creamy yogurt. Avin couldn't get enough of them either, they immediately became a snack time and diaper bag staple. He felt the same way about the cereal puffs.

We tried the apple flavor puffs. The taste of those was very subtle but still very tasty. In comparison to other brands of cereal puffs the Organic Puffs were bigger and did not melt as quickly in Avin's mouth. A few times he had difficulty chewing them into smaller pieces but after a couple of time he figured out how to actually chew them. When I compared the ingredients of the Organic Puffs with our other cereal puffs I was very surprised. The list of ingredients in the Organic Puffs was short and all natural or organic. Our other puffs used artificial flavor and non-natural ingredients. The organic puffs also had half the sugar of the other puffs. Sugar is a HUGE concern of mine because diabetes runs in both my family and my husband's family. Happy Baby Foods made my son a very happy baby and made me a happy momma! The foods were nicely packaged in ways that minimized waste. Our puffs container was recyclable as were the boxes for the frozen foods.

Happy Baby Foods has put together a fabulous gift package giveaway for one of my readers. One super lucky reader is going to win:
2 free trials for each of our products
1 Eric Carle Growth Chart from our marketing partner YoBaby
1 FAQ on Probiotics & DHA
1 infant and toddler Nutrition Guide, co-authored by Dr. Sears

Mandatory Entry: Follow my blog publicly via google friend connect then leave me a comment telling me what product or products you would most like to try from Happy Baby Foods

Additional Entries:

Follow me on twitter and tweet "RT @diapermom Happy Baby Foods #Organic baby food company review and #GIVEAWAY enter now" (Retweet up to 3 times per day, 1 entry per tweet)

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Blog about this giveaway on your blog. Make sure to leave a link back to your post in your comment. (1 entry)

Follow Happy Baby on twitter (1 entry)

Follow Happy Baby on facebook (1 entry)

Contest ends Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Contest open to US addresses only. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited. Winner will be chosen using Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Please make sure you leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sprout Baby Product Review & Coupon

I recently received Episencial Playful Foaming Wash and Episencial Nurturing Balm for review from Sprout Baby. As you know I'm a cloth diapering momma so I was unable to review the Nuturing Balm myself because it is a zinc based diaper rash cream. For those of you unfamiliar with cloth diapering zinc coats the cloth diaper the same way it coats the skin and it can reduce the absorbancy of the diaper, eventually leading to the diaper being ruined. (Check back later for a Cloth Diaper FAQ post featuring a Sprout Baby Discount Code!)

However- a friend of mine who uses disposable diapers happened to have a son just getting over Rotavirus. She volunteered to take the Episencial Nuturing Balm and review it for me. She reported that her son had a horrible rash after suffering from the Rotavirus. In the week after his illness she used the Episencial Nurturing Balm on his rash and it cleared right up. Since then she said that her baby has had no rash. She reported that the balm didn't have any fragrance to it. She had nothing but positive things to say about the balm. It is an organic diaper rash cream so if you are a disposable diapering momma I think this would be a great product for your baby.

I happily reviewed the Episencial Playful Foaming Wash myself before using it on my son. Although the Sprout Baby website reports that the the foaming wash is fragrance free I found that it has a yummy scent. The "fragrance free" label comes from the fact that no fake scents are added. The yummy, slightly-spicy, citrus scent comes from organic orange extract. I have sensitive skin and I did not experience any type of irritation while using the foaming wash. I did feel like I had to use a lot of wash during my showers but part of that was because I felt like if I didn't see bubbles it wasn't working. Since the cleaner foams you don't see bubbles, so once I got past that mental block I used much less. I have super hard water and I found the wash to rinse away very easily. My skin felt soft and smooth after using it. I loved this wash! My husband even commented on how good I smell after using it.

Sprout Baby carries a wide variety of organic baby products ranging from food to diapering to skin care and much much more. Make sure you stop by the Sprout Baby Website and browse their great selection. Use the coupon code SBBL154 for 15% off your first order now through March 31, 2010.

Teething Tuesday: Teething Necklace Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations #17!
Have you ever heard of a teething necklace before? Until a few months ago I had never heard of this concept, although from what I've read they've been using it in Europe for years. Judging from the name I thought it was a necklace babies wore to chew on to help cut their teeth. That isn't the case- it is actually a baltic amber necklace they wear around their neck and somehow their body absorbs pain relieving properties from the amber. After reading some reviews, and suffering many miserable days with a cranky teething baby I started looking for a place to buy a teething necklace. I was blessed to be connected with Inspired By Finn who provided me with an 11 inch light mix teething necklace to review for Avin.

Inspired by Finn provides some great information on their website about baltic amber and their teething necklaces. I learned that the baltic amber has pain relieving properties that are absorbed through the skin. I also learned that the lighter and cloudier (think closer to white than brown) the amber is the more of the pain relieving property it contains. The necklaces are all hand strung and knotted between each bead. They are designed to break if a good amount of pressure is applied to minimize danger to your child if it should get caught on something. Since it is knotted between each bead you only have to worry about one or two loose beads if the string were to break.

Inspired by Finn carries both teething necklaces and anklets. I debated about which I would rather try because the necklace is thought to work better but you can leave an anklet on during nap and bedtime. In the end I received the 11 inch light mix necklace to review. I use the necklace as both a necklace and an anklet. Avin is 8 months old but on the thin side and the necklace is the perfect length to wrap around his ankle twice and secure. During the day while he is up and about I keep the necklace on him as a necklace but then I switch it to an anklet during nap and bedtime. When he wears it as a necklace it is loose enough that I don't feel like he is choking but it is short enough that he can't get it to his mouth even if he tried. He actually seems to notice it and attempt to play with it more on his ankle than his neck.

I know you are dying to know- does it work? My answer is absolutely!!! Avin was sick when the necklace came and had been restless and not sleeping good but the first night he wore it he slept better than he had in months. He had been waking every two hours and since he's started wearing the necklace he only wakes about twice per night. I had been giving him Hylands teething tabs at least three times per day and since he started wearing the necklace he hasn't had any!!! He seems to be happier, less fussy, and very noticeably less drool. I wish we had known about teething necklaces when his first two teeth were coming in. That would have saved Avin and I so much misery for the two long months it took them to break through. This is a product that will be going on my top 10 list of must have items.

Inspired By Finn is a great shop and Kate (the owner) is so nice! Her shipping was very quick and when the package came it was in eco-friendly packaging. She even shared a special discount code for my readers! Use the code BLOG at checkout to receive 20% off anything in their store. You must go check out her fabulous products at Inspired By Finn. They even have babylegs under $10!!!

If you have a baby who is or will be teething this is a must have product. It will save everyone in the household so much misery! I plan to give these as my new baby shower gifts. I'm even giving one away to a lucky reader for FREE!!! (Thanks to Kate's generosity!)

Mandatory Entry: To enter you must become a blog follower via google friend connect and then visit Inspired By Finn and come back and comment telling me which youth necklace (less than 16 inches) you would like to win.

Additional Entries:

Follow me on twitter and tweet "I can't wait to win a teething necklace from @diapermom and ban teething pain for good!" (Can tweet up to 3 times per day- 1 entry per tweet)

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Contest ends Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Contest open to US addresses only. Must be 18 to enter. Void where prohibited. Winner will be chosen using Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected. Please make sure you leave your email in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Please leave a separate comment for each entry.