Three Cloth Diapers to Help You Celebrate the 4th of July

The cloth diapering industry is expanding and with growth comes diversity. Well there are a few schools of thought on imported diapers and outsourced work, I'm not here to talk about that. At least not today. BUT, if you are looking for a great brand-name, American made/designed cloth diaper, here are three fantastic options for this Independence Day.

OsoCozy 

OsoCozy makes a diaper I am crazy about. The material is different than any other PUL fabric I've ever encountered and the soaker does the work of many. I'm really swooning over this design - it's like a puffy jacket but it's not puffy at all. It's ample in material yet light as well -- I'd never even held an OsoCozy diaper until last week and I've found a new favorite to add to my starting line-up! This is a winner that deserves a fireworks display!

Smarti Pants

A simple diaper that works, Smarti Pants has a very lightweight sleeve pocket diaper that will not be too bulky in the warm July weather but will also keep the babe from wetness on the bottom. Daddy is a big fan of this diaper since the stuffing sleeve is generous for big hands. I'm a big fan because our chubby thigh guy has more room with the design of Smarti Pants, so I'm not ever worried the gussets are too tight. I get a perfect fit, every time. This is cause to celebrate.

Best Bottoms 

The sly little foxes drew me in (as well as the American-made label) and the design and quality finished calling to me the rest of the way. I like that this diaper isn't plain - it's adorable. We chose to go with hemp inserts and they fit well inside the envelope cover, making use of all the space but not becoming bulky. Again, the diaper feels like amazing quality, even in the hand, so I can only imagine how comfortable it is on the bum! A girl can day dream about a parade that throws diapers instead of handfuls of candy, right?!

There you go folks. Have yourself a Happy Independence Day and try these three favorites next time your in the market for an American made diaper. Stay tuned for in-depth reviews of all three diapers! Have a safe holiday!


Are You Old Fashioned?

You hear 'old-fashioned' a lot in regular conversation these days. What does it actually mean though? I consider a lot of ideals and styles old-fashioned. Recently I had the opportunity to view a newly released DVD with that namesake and really enjoyed it!


NOTE: The movie is MUCH more interesting than the lame cover of the DVD. It was the one place that I thought they totally failed to do justice... Just my opinion though! So don't judge the disc by its cover!

The movie Old Fashioned is about a former frat boy turned "old-fashioned" antique shop keeper who gets to know a more free-spirited gal who is also his tenant. Let me tell you this much - it's categorized as a drama, and it's definitely not a comedy, but it's not too dark and is fairly light-hearted.

The thing I liked about the movie is that when I reflected on how that courtship stage actually FELT when my husband and I were dating, I thought the movie did a great job of getting this feeling in the forefront. The actors expressions, body language, the stolen glances...it was all SO well done.

A lot of movies in the Christian community get a bad wrap because of poor acting and low budget movies -- this is not the case. The cinematography was so fantastic! The story moved along well, and, it was real. Not super "Mary Poppins" -- which is also a common theme with many faith-based movies! This is not Mayberry -- there are some roles that are completely crass and vulgar and that is another aspect that MAKES the movie!

It's hard to imagine the lengths to which folks used to be expected to go during a prospective relationship quest -- ya know? Back when people were more old fashioned? But imagine how today most people are expectant of that first kiss or sometimes even sex on the very first date... what if we focused again on the conversation, the effort and the promise we were seeking?

The movie, whether you are a Christian person or not is rather thought-provoking and quite enjoyable. I totally recommend it! There is also a book by the same name that I have in queue which I will likely be starting tonight, just as soon as I finish a Wild Edibles book I've been loving!

Additionally, there is a devotional in print as well, again, with the same name, that is pretty nice for the reflection I mentioned. So many people are quick to "go through the motions" of the person they are interested in -- slowing it down, maybe being a little more old fashioned can be a great way to actually UP the ante in romance and excitement. It sounds crazy, but it's SO true. A little old fashioned chivalry is what won my heart when I was dating my husband!


The DVD release date is: June 16th, 2015. Find out more here:



Twitter: @OldFashionedVow






Disclosure: This review was made possible by a partnership with Flyby Promotions. All opinions are my own. 

Panasonic Home Surveillance - Three Unanticipated Uses for Families

Panasonic Home Surveillance Systems are excellent resources for a "regular" family, like ours, that just want a little extra peace-of-mind. They feature indoor and outdoor cameras and have accessories that sync up with devices, allowing you to say turn your home lights on remotely. Fun features, neat for a tech enthusiast.

(Photo courtesy of Megy Karydes, Foodie TravelingMom.)

For me? I'm very low-tech and the system was easy for me to wrap my brain around, so it gets some bonus points for that! But the biggest thing that had me "geeking out" about this system is the versatility of use. We are not urban. A far cry from it in fact -- we have a hobby farm complete with two ponds, an eagles nest, a river and our own chickens and pets. So though there is always the risk of home security issues, it's not something we lose a lot of sleep over. Some of the best home security we've found are good dogs. (Which incidentally is what I told the telemarketers that called a few months ago trying to sell me THEIR system. Imagine my surprise when I'd be blown away by Panasonic's system!) I'm definitely a skeptic converted. So while we spend more time in our tent than our home, we will know that the house, garden, chickens and more are all safe and sound!

Here is a great video from a fellow TMOM and her son, as they unbox the same system that I am referencing here! Isn't is such a manageable size?!

I don't have a traumatizing firsthand story about a robbery or break in that keeps my kids up at night. Sure, neighborhood kids have stolen a jug of gasoline and there was that one time that we had a litter of puppies dumped on our property. Small instances of poor judgement mostly. But I do find value in this home security system more than I ever though possible in fact!

What follows are the three ways we utilize the system time and again.





1) Hunting
This time-honored tradition is a supreme part of our lives. It's part of what keeps us in meat and we do a lot of subsistence living from the land. We will now be able to monitor what critters are frequenting our land - including deer. This funny thing happens when you have a garden - the deer come to you! Though this does not apply to hunting season, since the vegetables have long since frozen by then - the deer do stick around a lot of the time though! It's not only an asset to hunting strategy to be able to have studied the behavioral patterns of the deer for hunting, it's also a really neat lesson in biology for the kids! Last year we had a large, Boone & Crockett bragging rights buck on our property - we also had tracks of a few unwelcome trespassers looking to bag the buck. This year, we'll have footage of anyone trying to poach on our land! (We hunt for meat, not antlers, and sincerely hope this big ol' buck survived the season and will seek refuge on our land year after year.)
2) Travel Fears
I used to be one of the bravest gals I knew. I guess I'm still brave in some ways, but I also have more fears than ever before after becoming a mom. Now while I'm out camping or fishing or just seeing the themeparks with my young family, I can monitor my home from afar. This will at least kick one travel fear to the curb, allowing me to better enjoy my time with the family. An odd side note: we can also talk to Binky and Whiskers while we're away, in case they get lonely!
3) Farmyard Security
I mentioned that we are rural. It's not usually humans that have us searching for our pants and flashlights at 3 a.m. It's farmyard pests. We currently have a skunk lingering on the property - which in all seriousness probably means about a half dozen skunks. We have a groundhog - which is no bother to me, other than a few ill-placed potholes in the yard. The eagle probably won't take any chickens since they prefer the lazy route: the buffet of buzzards, carrion. We have bears occasionally and a local coyote pack. The red-tailed hawks and goshawks are the ones that really desire that juicy white meat. No matter who is slinking around, friend or foe, man, woman or beast, we'll have some good intelligence, night and day, of who the "perp" is!

There is a long list of features and uses for Panasonic's Home Security systems - our uses are merely those that fit our lifestyle and living situation. There is a use for everyone and since the sticker price is less than $300 -- it's very affordable. With night/Infared options, accessories to remotely operate certain fun features, and the option to hook up multiple cameras, you could have a veritable home command center thanks to this handy, easy-to-use system. The size is pretty small - the box is no bigger than a child's lunchbox and the cameras are boxy and sleek, not like the "old school" black surveillance cameras in gas stations. They aren't camouflaged for use in the natural environment, but that is easily remedied.

In a nutshell, the system is easy to set up, has no cost to maintain (no subscriptions or data to pay monthly), and is great for in and outdoor use. I feel like it is a very comprehensive system for such a small price. We are having a blast, feeling like farm ninjas!

*Disclosure: This post is a partnership with Travelingmom.com and Panasonic. I received a complimentary camera system to utilize and write about. No further compensation was received. All opinions are my own.*

Milestones Marching On... with Stonyfield and Tommee Tippee

The first baby grew fast. And we waited almost four years before we had the second baby. Why in the world did the second one start racing through milestones well before I got my "feet back underneath me" as a mama of two?

I have no idea if it's my age or if it's just that children grow exponentially faster as you have more of them. No matter what the cause, it's true -- my baby is barely a baby anymore! We're fast approaching toddling! Yes, he's just shy of six months old, but I feel like I got about three days of newborn, a little bit of infant, and now I'm going to have another four-year-old in no time! So now that the time has come to feed him, I'm embracing that milestone.

It's harder to do things right the second time. But, I've decided to be conservative in starting solids, he will get what we eat - just in mushy, tiny tastes. No gross rice cereal. Bananas, yogurt, avocados, REAL food. What won't change is that we'll still need to "gear up" to feed a little one again. This is where Tommee Tippee is a real asset. There is an entire line (way beyond neat bottles) that includes bibs, bowls, sippy cups, and even pacifiers! [I so wish sometimes that he would take a pacifier!]

This is the milestone that I dread, because it means I have a "big boy" and my husband loves, because he can finally help more with our baby. Feeding is essential to bonding. Feeding is fun. Feeding is messy. But, with some nifty tools and tricks, feeding is a lot easier.

Tommee Tippee has a great line of all the tools you need to make the first solids and the journey to becoming a "big kid" eater really easy!

Empires Album Released by Hillsong United! [review]

Gone are the days of listening to whatever kind of music I want in my vehicle. Yes, I went through many phases, so this may just be another phase of life, but I know this phase of shuttling small children will not include the explicit music I may or may not have liked in my teen years. No Eminem, Snoop Dog, or even Carrie Underwood here. 

Mostly, my drives consist of either children's music, Disney soundtracks (which I consider to be their own genre), or NPR talk radio - which tends to get too in-depth about war and all the headlines are usually graphic, so that is very limited. Basically, I get to listen to A Prairie Home Companion and kids stuff.

Well, the new album by Hillsong UNITED called Empires released this week. We've been listening to it in the car for about a week now and not only do the kids like, so do I. Most of the time it's background noise, since there is always lively conversation or crying filling the van. But what words I'm able to hear stick with me throughout my day. 

Songs like "Touch the Sky" and "Here Now" resonate with me as the day goes on. My hope is that is true for my children as well.

"My heart beating, my soul breathingI found my life when I laid it downUpward falling, spirit soaringI touch the sky when my knees hit the ground"


FIND OUT MORE:

Twitter: @HillsongUnited

Instagram: @HillsongUnited


Check them out on tour this summer: http://outcrytour.com/

Here’s a video of their performance on the TODAY show in case you missed it last month:https://vimeo.com/123986301

*This post is brought to you by a partnership with FlyBy Promotions.

Happy Earth Day with High Mowing Organic Seeds and Stonyfield

Well, Earth Day is HERE and what better way to encourage kids to celebrate the planet than adding some green to the landscape? High Mowing Organic Seeds helped us to get going on the green-up this year, even though it's still been snowing.
This is our 'planned garden' coming together
Have you had a planting party with your kids before? You can keep it simple of make it as elaborate as you have time and imagination for! We decided on starting some seeds, container gardening, and a salad bowl. We have a larger garden planned, as we may transplant, but for now, while the frost is still going out in the northern climes, we're working with pots.

High Mowing Organic Seeds
We will be planting all organic (like our High Mowing Organic Seeds) or heirloom varieties. If you live in town, heirlooms probably aren't for you, since it's likely that your pollinators do not care as they do their job whether or not your stock is being mixed with Joe Farmer next door who uses GMO seeds. Just food for thought. But, organic seeds are a great idea everywhere! We love organic seeds (High Mowing Seeds has great variety) for sweet corn. Heirloom varieties from the early 1900s taste like field corn today, in my opinion! Back then, it WAS sweet, but after all the breakthroughs that seeds have seen and how our palates have become accustomed to really sweet corn, I just cannot eat the historical type. High Mowing has corn that actually tastes like corn as we know it today AND is organic!

We planted Ruby Red Chard, Peppers, Ping Tung Long Eggplant, and some varieties of squash, tomatoes, and peppers. This was just to start - we also have carrots, more tomatoes, more squash, cucumbers, beans, and peas to get done!

A great way for kids to get their hands dirty, literally, planting can be fun for one or many. It's a super fun party activity for birthdays. Instead of the tried-and-true Marigold for Mother's Day, you could start seeds on Earth Day like herbs of veggies for mom next month!

How will YOU celebrate Earth Day? 



Disclosure: Partnership with Stonyfield made this post possible. All opinions are my own. 

gMovies Wholesome Family Entertainment [review]

I've noticed lately that my son is seeing a LOT on cable that I wouldn't ever allow. So, we're breaking up with Cable. That doesn't mean we're "upgrading" to DirecTV as the ads say though. Nor are we going to Dish or any other similar version of television that is marketed to consumers. 
An example - I find the Salem commercials on channels that could very well (and do) have family audiences inappropriate, disgusting and terrifying to kids. How is this allowed to be on? Same with the American Horror Story ads. These are NOT "daytime" television appropriate but I've seen them several times during children's waking hours. Now to play Devil's Advocate, some would simply say "shut the TV off." I agree. Too much screen time in this house is the other factor leading to turning the boob tube off. 
I started looking into family programming that I'm okay with. I knew NetFlix was an option to keep my husband and I happy in our precious and sparse "grown up tv time hours." But I hadn't heard of gMovies until recently. I'm hooked! This is a provider of Christian shows and movies, with new titles added each month. It's only $4.99/month to subscribe, and I KNOW the content will not stop me in my tracks and have me rushing to distract my child while I change the channel! 
With gMovies, my only regret is that it is now spring and when I should be spending time outside, I now REALLY want to watch a movie! Clean the house? No, I'd rather watch a bit of a tear-jerker before I start the mopping and window washing! Not all of the movies are drenched in Christian "preachy" story lines--for those of you thinking that way. I'm a spiritual, Christian woman, but even I do not like beliefs shoved in my face repeatedly. This is not solicitation disguised in drama or comedy or cartoons -- it's just entertainment that is Christian-based and has a very family-friendly vibe. I dig it. A lot. 
So I guess what I'm getting at is: if you are like me and you want a little "TV time" (via a device, computer or smart TV, since this is an internet-based subscription) and you want it to be a little more modest, wholesome, and virtuous than what is offered via mainstream providers, you should think about subscribing or at least trying gMovies!
So do you wanna try it? Here's a code for you to get TWO weeks FREE!
2. enter code: FREETRIAL17

Enjoy!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
 

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