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Oodie Bums Cloth Diaper Review & Giveaway

Today, I bring to you Oodie Bums! Oodie Bums is owned and operated by an awesome Canadian WAHM, Lindsay, who was kind enough to provide me with a diaper to review, and also one to giveaway! Oodie Bums offers One Size Cloth diapers--awesome because they grow with your child--from 8-35+lbs. Oodie Bums inventory includes: pocket diapers, fitted diapers and AIO's. Accessories are also available, including: Fleece Soakers, luxurious turned and top-stiched cloth wipes, Bamboo Inserts and OS hybrid covers. This WAHM has it all, in her Etsy store!

How It Shakes Out:
Daytime: 5
Nighttime: 4
User-Friendliness: 5
Quality: 5
When All is Said and Done: 4.5

Here is the Oodie Bum on it's smallest setting, next to a size Small diaper. (We never had any newborn diapers for our big boy!) Oodies are ONE Size pocket diapers with adjustment snaps to grow with your child. As you can see, it snaps down really small! 8-35 lbs!

Daytime: During the daytime we loved this fun diaper & had no issues. No leaks after the insert was prepped. The insert is one-size, snapping organic cotton. It takes a few washes to get the natural oils out of the organic cotton, but after that, it is super absorbent. The material is way soft, it is the only insert I have that is quite like it and I love it. There are 3 different snap settings to customize the diaper to your kiddos needs. I LOVE that there is a smaller opening to stuff than some other pockets. It keeps the insert in place very well & doesn't allow it to hang out of the backside of the diaper, but is still easy to use. I have many different types/brands of pockets but the ones that remain my favorites are the ones with the smaller openings for stuffing.

The Little Bug is a heavy wetter. So, we are in a perpetual search for a night diaper. I needed to stuff this diaper with another bamboo insert, the single insert provided, though very absorbent, was not enough for him at night. I have never been able to go with only a single insert at night though, so it wasn't too surprising. With the provided insert and a bamboo insert, we had no nighttime leaks. Even with 2 inserts the diaper was still quite trim. It should work for a newborn or young baby at night though. For this one year-old, it's tough to find a dipe to get us through the night.

Here is the inside of the diaper and the insert.

User Friendliness: Bug's dad grabbed this diaper and figured it out without a tutorial. That speaks volumes to the ease of use of this diaper! And, like I already stated, the smaller pocket is a plus for me. I love knowing once I stuff it, no matter how hard we play it's not going to bunch and hang out the back. The snaps are easy for us to use and not easy enough for our guy to pull off the diaper. We really enjoyed this fluff.

Here is a close up of the snaps and the texture of the soft organic cotton of the insert after it has been prepped.

Nice, snug leg elastic to keep messes in without making red marks or being too tight.

Quality: The PUL used in the pocket is a great thickness and it seems very durable. The craftsmanship of the diaper was great and it felt like good quality fabric. The snaps are really high quality and are easy for parents to use but not so easy that the babe can get them unfastened. Even the presentation of the diaper when I received it was commendable, Lindsay had a cute band holding the diaper and insert together, with all of the pertinent information for care and use. The elastic is holding strong and seems like a good balance between being tight enough with good efficacy (especially around the legs) and not being too tight, as to leave red marks and be uncomfortable. This is a really high-quality diaper.

When It's All Said and Done:
I love the color-coordinating patterns of the fabric that is used on the wings of the diaper, and the main body of the diaper. The one I am reviewing has a super cute azure blue colored background with matching tabs that feature squirrels and acorns! SUPER Love it!

The diaper is a great daytime and even naptime diaper for us, we just needed to add another insert for night. I am very confident that we will get a LOT of use out of this diaper because of the sizable snapping options and because the diaper is made of high quality materials. All in all, the diaper scored a 4 with us, simply due to the overnight factor, and we have YET to find an overnight diaper that would score a 5! So, we're happy with our experience and would definitely recommend Oodie Bums to everyone (new to cloth or veteran!

Buy It! And, Lindsay was super generous by not only offering up a diaper to WIN but she is also giving readers 10% off now THROUGH APRIL!!! Use the code REVIEW10 starting 3/30/2012 in her shop to save 10% off your orders! Thank you Lindsay!

Here is a chance for one LUCKY reader to WIN a sweet Oodie Buns Cloth Diaper for your stash!!! Super cute giraffes! I love this print too!

**Disclosure: These are 100% my words and opinions. I was not paid to complete this review; I did however receive a complimentary product for review purposes.**


Wordless Wednesday - Toy & Cat Storage

Our Playpen has never been used as intended.

Peeptree Cloth Wipes Review

Today I have a review and giveaway by the creative and generous Jodi, from Peeptree. Peeptree features handmade items including baby blankets, burp cloths, cloth wipes, stuffed animals, and more! Check out the Peeptree website or find them on Etsy.

Jodi sent me samples of five different wipes she makes. All of her items are unique and handmade. She uses many different techniques and materials when making a fun and funky product for you! Jodi also tries to make things that are useful and often uses repurposed materials when she can! We love green shops in this household! I used the Peeptree wipes with my Monkey Doodlez Wipe Cubes.

There were many different sizes and textures. I have been using them all -- some are better for bums, others for face and hands. I plan to use them for my kitchen as well, to accomplish my next goal of ditching the paper products there!

After using all of them, I determined I like this one best!

[Dino Wipe] This wipe was a great size (7 1/2" x 12") for wiping and then folding over and wiping again---I got 4 'swipes' out of this wipe! The print side is cotton and the white side is made from a single ply flat diaper, doubled up and sewn to the print. The material is a bit like cheesecloth in texture, so it has some 'grab' and friction to use on the pasty messes, but is still very soft to the touch for sensitive skin on baby bums. I loved this wipe!

[Green Polka Dot Wipe] This wipe was a great size too (7 1/2" x 12 1/2") cotton on the print side and cotton flannel on the other side. It was also a really good size, I think I doubled 3 times on this one in one use during a diaper change. It's great for wiping up after a wet diaper or use on messy hands and face. Cotton flannel would be an awesome pair with muslin, the single ply diaper (cheesecloth-like material), or terry cloth. Though it is super soft on the sensitive baby bum, I usually end up smearing around the poo or using MANY wipes to get the job done these days. I have a super wiggly and somewhat impatient diaper change victim, so others may have better luck than me! It would be a great newborn wipe and good for breastfed poops that aren't too sticky, but for my toddler, it's not quite enough 'grab.' However, it's soft--so it works great for faces and sticky fingers.

[Sport Terry Wipe] This wipe was really great for cleaning up poo too! I like the size of the wipe (8" x *"8) and it is square instead of rectangular. The combination of this size wipe and the terry cloth texture, which grabs more, makes the smaller wipe still quite effective and less cumbersome in your hand. This is a great toddler wipe. It's a fun, boyish pattern, and it gets the job done. I wouldn't recommend it for newborn bums, at least not until you wash it 3-5 times, to soften it up a bit.

[Green Wipe] This wipe was a smaller size (10" x 5 1/2") and was a cotton green-colored batik material on one side and a cotton flannel on the other side (it has very pale yellow and white stripes on the flannel side, hard to see in the picture). This was another wipe that I love for faces and hands, but was too smooth for my toddlers bum. It worked great for wiping clean after a pee diaper, so I still keep it with my changing station supplies, but again, I like more 'grab' for the messy diapers. The cotton batik material was really a cool print. It looks like lime green with darker green spray painted on top, very cool appearance.

[Fish Stamp] This wipe was my favorite print and the smallest size (6" x 5 1/2"). Jodi hand-stamped the muslin side with a cute fish/sun print. 2 symbols that are very 'me' -- so I fell in love with this one instantly! I really liked the muslin better than cotton or cotton flannel and had never tried that material before. It held wipe solution really well and saturated easily when wet with the wipe cube spray. The cotton flannel side was super soft. I really like that it was hand-stamped--I felt kind of bad wiping poo with such a work of art!! (I think I may have to retire this wipe from baby duty and use it as my MAMA washcloth for washing my face!) Very creative and fun! It will definitely brighten my morning to see the little fish print!

These wipes were so fun to try out! I loved that each one was unique (as promised!) and that they helped me in my goal of greening up my house! I actually really like having an entire arsenal of different materials to cope with each individual mess! I will continue to use some in the diaper changing arena, but I plan to phase paper products out of our kitchen in the coming months, so these will come in handy there too. We are on a tight budget, since I'm at home and not in the workforce, so switching to reusable wipes will benefit us financially. I have talked with my husband about going to cloth in our bathroom, but we are both still in agreement at this point in time that baby poo is way less offensive than our own poo. Maybe we will explore that option in the future.....if we do, I'll know where to go for a wide array of colors, textures, sizes and prints!

You too can enjoy cloth wipes! Try them out with a great wipe cube, like Monkey Doodlez, and you'll be on your way to a greener life--with style, thanks to Jodi and her cool creations at Peeptree. I was a hard one to convert, and I'm not 100% cloth yet (I still admit to having disposables in my wetbag for travel), but, my Peeptree wipes made the transition much easier!

And now for the giveaway!!! Someone will be fortunate enough to WIN 3 of these great wipes [your choice]! You don't have to have children to use them! They work great for wiping up messes in the kitchen, bathroom, for dusting---anything! Think green--even a few less paper towels used in your home means a greener lifestyle! OR a few cents that you save by re-using!!


Monkey Doodlez Wipe cubes REVIEW

Today, I get to bring to you a product from Monkey Doodlez, a GREAT Canadian company featuring many items that ROCK, including swim diapers, AIO cloth diapers, the Tuck and Go System, accessories, and....


They also have so much more to offer on their site, so check out Monkey Doodlez and see for yourself! There are resources for diapering and just plain cool products galore.

I have been wanting to try wipe cubes for a few months now. Finally, the time has come!

I must be honest. I have been using disposable wipes at least 80% of the time this first year of my cloth diapering journey. I can't even tell you why. Laziness? Convenience? I did try making my own disposable wipes to save money, but I found that it didn't really save much and they didn't work that well. I ended up using 1/2 a roll of Paper Towel for each poo! [I felt less green than when I was using the disposables from the store!] So I kept buying brand name disposable wipes.

Until now!

Monkey Doodlez wipe cubes are so easy to use, and they are SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) free!! So, no icky chemical additives like other body products contain--major points with me for that fact! All you do is simply dissolve a cube in 2 cups of warm water. That's it! You have a great reusable wipes spray! Use for one week, and then discard anything left over and make a new batch. Simple. (You can also use a wipes warmer to make the solution, but we prefer a spray in this household.)

I folded up wipes and kept them DRY in a basket at home or in an old disposable wipes container for on the go. You can use the solution by pouring it over wipes, so they are wet 'n' ready, I just like the dry method better. I used to take a terry washcloth into the washroom and wet it, which was fine when my babe was an infant, but now, trying to change a toddler is tough enough--if I left to wet a cloth while changing him now, he'd make a break for it! Having a spray bottle right at my changing station eliminates that complication!

The solution is gentle, and didn't really have much of a fragrance--just kind of a clean smell. My boys' bottom is as fair as his momma's, so being gentle is super important in this household. Wipe cubes solution made it easier to clean up the pasty poo messes--more so than the plain water I had been trying! It also made me feel like my Little Bug had a cleaner bottom and front after each changing (whether he poo'd or not). The solution worked best for me with a very soft cotton flannel wipe. The solution is water-based (obviously) but the lack of oil (well, except for the small amount of essential oils) in the solution didn't stop me from getting a nice smooth 'sweep' of the wipe.

Here are the ingredients:
Ingredients: 100% Vegetable Base Glycerine (Aqua, Glycerin, Sodium Stearate and Sodium Oleate, Sorbitol, Stearic Acid, Lauric Acid, Sodium Laurate, Sodium Myristate, Pentasodium Penteate, Tetrasodium Etidronate), 100% Pure Aloe Vera Gel, Steam Distilled Lavender Essential Oil, Tea Tree Oil. CONTAINS NO SURFACTANTS OR PROPYLENE GLYLCOL, SODIUM LAURYL SULPHATE OR SODIUM LAURETH SULPHATE.

This [below] is my diaper change basket. I use a spray bottle with 1/2 the solution in it, just so that I don't have a giant bottle to lug around. I refill as needed from the 2 cup solution I make with each cube. The wipes were provided by Peeptree and Tender Bottoms, 2 other really fantastic companies! Peeptree is up for review with a giveaway tonight, under my "Giveaways/Reviews" tab, and TenderBottoms will be coming soon--a review and giveaway also!!

We've been using them for about two weeks and I'm not only getting used to cloth wipes, I'm starting to LIKE using them! I have been trying several different sizes and textures of cloth wipe along with my Monkey Doodlez wipe cubes and I've found a few that I really LOVE! So, I may not have completely converted to 100% cloth, but wipe cubes have definitely made us a little more green, one cube at a time! Click here to find a retailer of Monkey Doodlez near YOU!

For all of you out there who are super curious now, and would like to try Wipe Cubes OR any of the other products that Monkey Doodlez offers, Cheryl Yakem, founder and CEO of Monkey Doodlez, has kindly provided me with a special DISCOUNT CODE for you lucky readers to use for 15% off on your next purchase of Wipe Cubes from Monkey Doodlez in the next 10 days! The code is mommyhood15!! :) I know you will enjoy them as much as I did!

**All opinions are 100% mine and I was not paid or compensated in any way to write them. I was however, provided with a complimentary product for reviewing purposes. Please see my PR Friendly tab for more information or to have me review a product for you.**

Water Aerobics Hell - MMM #4

Manic Mommy Monday!

As I have posted before (excitedly) I took a super part-time job as a Water Aerobics/Water Babies instructor at a pool about 20 minutes from our house. I had attended the class while pregnant as something to keep me 'limber' during the winter months of my pregnancy. It was really low-key and the prior instructor became a very good friend of mine. Because I was already certified as a First Responder, which is basically a terrestrial lifeguard, I was eligible to take this job, even though I have to attain my lifeguard certification. The low-key part was what got me to sign on. My friend who had done the job for 5 years had started when SHE had her 6 month old baby with, since Little Bug was 10 months at the time, I figured it would only get easier. Surely it was fate that another mama would find the job & be able to bring her little guy to swim too. 4 hours a week. I could handle that.

HAH! I am starting to dread these FOUR HOURS after only one month of fulfilling the position. At first I thought 2 hours (Wednesday Water Babies and Water Aerobics are back to back) was just too much for the little guy to be in a pool. Understandable. So, dear, sweet hubby takes an hour off work to play with Bug while I teach. Great. Until a few clients complained that they didn't get a good enough workout when he was with me. So, feeling self-conscious about having the kiddo there, I tried to do my best to work the snot out of them the next time.

PSH. They got a better workout, but it was really shitty, the last 15 minutes which are supposed to be calming stretches were spent hastily going through the motions while Little Bug screamed on my hip. Super. So dad started taking him more. Grandpa chipped in a day here or there. My mom came last Wednesday to help out with him (any excuse is good enough for her to drop everything & visit!)

Last Monday was a fiasco. True, he had just spent 4 straight days of undivided play and attention for his 1st birthday, so having to go back to the grind might have been a bummer for him, maybe? But we got about 10 minutes into the hour-long exercise class and he whined. So I got out of the pool with him and taught from the deck. He whined. I get back in the pool with him. Splash and play like a dork while still trying to teach a class. Whining turns to crying. We get back out and bang on the window, looking outside, while I steal glances at the clock and will it to speed up. More whining. Then comes the fit. Throwing his head, sitting down, slipping along the floor (as I hold his hand and attempt to still teach the class...) So, with 15 minutes left, I quickly dress him, and haul him out to the car. I parked directly in front of the pool window/fire exit door so I could stand 5 feet from him and keep an eye on him. I knew as soon as I ran out of the pool room my students were either talking about what a rotten kid I have, what a rotten mom I am, or both. I was so embarrassed. Then I felt guilty about the embarrassment. I called my husband bawling after I had tried to maintain my professional composure until we left the parking lot. I felt bad for resorting to leaving him in the car, even though I all but drove into the pool room with my car. I knew he just wanted to nap, and as soon as he got into the carseat he did--I wouldn't have let him scream in the car... My class told me they could stretch on their own, so I ended up leaving anyway. Epic Failure. That situation sucks so bad--Little Bug is upset, I'm upset, and the students are no doubt upset, since they pay for my instructing service and got 1/2 at best of my attention.

I prepared as best I could. We had slept in until 8:30. I had given him Tylenol 1/2 hour before class so that it would ease teething pain. Ugh! On Wednesdays, I teach Waterbabies right before Aerobics. Last week, 3 little ones were crying and whining almost the entire 1/2 hour, including Little Bug. This Wednesday was no exception, but thankfully I had mom to help while I taught the adult class. It's supposed to be fun, so I feel bad when he doesn't have fun. I hope my little fish isn't learning to HATE the pool! Or worse, WATER! But, then again, he loves puddling in the sink/bathtub...

So now, I feel like after only a month, it's is OBVIOUSLY not worth hubby taking 4 hours off his Family-Supporting bread-winner job to take the Bug for my $200+/- job... But, I feel bad quitting and leaving them in the lurch, because I'm not really a quitter. This was such a 'good plan' in my mind! Perfect for a SAHM, right? I hope it works out. It's lame to whine about it, but it really is stressing me out. So I'm whining!

I called 6 different people whom I would trust my child with for an hour that would also be available during the right timeframe. None of them could help me out tomorrow. So.....As this MANIC MONDAY begins, I am off to class, baby in tow. I hope the class doesn't try to drown me. Crossing my fingers for one hour of smiles and happiness from the little man....

Fire on the Farm!

Ahh, spring. A time of crisp breezes, a time for babies, a time to kiss the winter cabin fever feelings goodbye! Sunshine, daffodils, Pussy Willows, and fawns! And for me, a time to light my field on fire. :)

Every March (and this includes last March when the bug was 2 weeks old) hubs and I light off 60 acres of our 112 acre property. This is one of the highlights of spring. As some of you know, I used to be a firefighter (woods, not houses) for my career. I loved it. So when I smell smoke it ignites some nostalgic happiness in me, and I am invigorated. I take that drip torch and either walk or ride around, lighting up the land and sky. It makes me very happy.

Our land is grass. So each winter the snow matts it down and burning it off makes rejuvenation of the landscape quicker and easier. (The new sprouts don't have to fight an inch of dead stuff). It has also attracted Sandhill Cranes to our land, which couldn't make me happier! The bluebirds love it too! So, since I'm not only a pyro, but a bird nerd too, from my time as a Wildlife Biologist, this delights me!

Since we had a very mild and relatively snow-free winter, the burning restrictions are coming fast. The window of opportunity was very small to accomplish our task, so we ended up doing it the night before Little Bugs birthday. I was one busy mama that week. We had 3 of our friends come help us--the extra people (and extra fourwheeler) were very helpful and we pulled off our most successful burn in the 4 years we've been doing it. These guys are from my old fire crew, so it was like old times burning with them! They also still work with my hubs, since he's a forester and all that natural resources work is related and is a small community of people. We met at work for those of you that didn't know that.

RLR Laundry Treatment from Bouncing Babies - REVIEW

Today I am happy to share with you a review of RLR Laundry Treatment, that was made possible by Stacey over at Bouncing Babies!

I have often said that I use a lot of pocket diapers. 80% of my collection are those that come with microfiber inserts. I didn't know until after purchasing as good portion of my stash that microfiber are notorious for stink! And stink they DID!!!

Then, my babies' bottom burst out in a crazy, angry diaper rash, something totally new to me, even after 11 months of cloth. I had purchased some used dipes on the net and didn't realize you had to strip them. I always washed used diapers REALLY well, bascially prepping them as I would a new diaper. I never had any problems until that week. My poor boy was in disposables for the whole week + a trip to the doc. (which of course was on the last day of the rash, so the doc thought I was crazy because the bum was lookin' good by then!)

Worried yeast or bacteria would stay in the diapers and perpetuate diaper rash problems, I was told about stripping for that purpose. I tried the Dawn dish soap technique. Twice, because the first time I used an ultra concentrate (oops) so I had to go out and get the old school original kind and try again. It worked okay. I wasn't super impressed and thought it was kind of a waste of water for the results I got. Now I was worried that in addition to yeast and bacteria, there would be the addition of a new soap to the mix! Eek!

Then, in one of my mama groups online, Stacey at Bouncing Babies recommended I try RLR Laundry Treatment. So I did. And, one week after stripping my inserts, still no stink. I am confident that if the smell is gone, the bad things like yeast and bacteria and detergent build up are gone as well! I couldn't be happier to see my boy in his CLOTH diapers again, worry free!

I did a load of 15 daytime-sized micro fiber inserts and 3 hemp inserts. 2 were used and so dingy and set-in stains they were beyond help for making them look nice again, but the stink came out, so I feel like they are clean even though they are dingy. The rest of the inserts look and smell like new! I put in one packet of RLR and could not believe the amount of suds that developed! I continued to rinse until the water was clear, then continued with my normal detergent and did diaper wash process as usual -- so, the RLR Treatment couldn't be EASIER! There is also a 'soaking method' which is explained at the Bouncing Babies website, under the RLR Laundry Treatment tab, for those of you who go that route. RLR should be used on fitteds, prefolds, and inserts only. Pocket diapers with stay-dry liners and similar should not be used with RLR.

I'm very pleased with my results and will be switching to RLR for all of my stripping needs for diapers, but I also plan to use it on my whole families' clothing. We have hard water and RLR helps to get all of the mineral, dirt, and random other particulate build up out of fabrics, to make them look, feel, and smell a lot better! You can find RLR at many retailers, including Bouncing Babies! Click here to purchase your own RLR Laundry Treatment, at just $2.50/packet, it's well worth it! There are also bulk options to buy RLR Laundry Treatment, so stock up and SAVE! No more worrying about smells in your house from ammonia-soaked diapers. This really does work. I'm so happy that I happened upon this product!

Bouncing Babies also offers a great selection of Cloth Diapers such as bumGenius, GroVia, Thirsties, Flip, OsoCozy and Fuzzibunz. They also provide a wide variety of Cloth Diaper Accessories and Laundry Products.

**Disclosure: My opinions are 100% my own and I was not paid by anyone to write my review. I was given a complimentary product to complete the review.**

Manic Mommy Monday - Birthday 2012

Here we are again, Monday. For us, Mondays mean Water Aerobics in the morning and Baby and Me in the afternoon. We've just gotten back home from my parents house and big birthday celebrations! I'm trying to get excited about 10:30 pm laundry duties and unpacking, etc. But, it's not happening. So, I'm blogging--ahead of time! Yes! Generally I read "I'm scheduling this for posting" (especially on TGM haha) and I think, 'wow, she's got it together.' Finally, I'm not procrastinating!

Little Bugs birthday is the 15th. We started celebrating that day (Birthday 2012: Phase 1) by going to a park, DQ, and having a nice, fun family day outside. Just the 3 of us. Then he saw his auntie (who was on spring break) and whom he has not seen in 3 months.

Friday, we ate cake and opened some presents. As soon as we woke up, hubs and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth, about 5 feet from the couch and the presents, and only gone for about 2 minutes, when we heard a distinct "rippppp." Yep, the Bug had acquired a talent for opening presents we had yet to see, since he didn't really have an interest in unwrapping during Christmas. So, apparently, he was ready for his gifts! It was a hilarious start to Birthday 2012: Phase 2.

At my parents, we had a hard time sleeping 3 deep in a full-size bed. On the 2nd night, Travis slept in my little brother's room. He was out partying with friends and wouldn't be using it, and between the whining of the boy when dad or I would get in his space and the snoring from his dad, I was all for the separate beds!

We got to see his first sandbox experience, on my parents back deck. Bug thought it was way more fun to throw toys off the deck than play in the sand. I never thought we'd ever have an outdoor deck party in March, but it was gorgeous. We all got some color! The bonus of early spring = no bugs! [Though coming home to tick-covered dogs kind of deflated my no-bug happiness].

We took lots of strolls with grandma pushing the stroller--Bug loved it. He went through a huge baby-wearing ONLY phase and hated the stroller. Apparently, that's back on the table & mama can jog. No more excuses!

He got so many nice presents from family. We now have a 6 volt fourwheeler zipping around the house. What's really funny is that not only did our one-year-old pick up fourwheeling instantly (after being a 'baby' about getting on his Bounce and ride last week) but he decided he's a trick rider and sits backwards and often stands to ride it. Such a boy!!! His uncle, grandpa, and parents happen to LOVE fourwheeling, so he comes by it honestly.

Now, I've never heard of a kiddo who didn't LOVE their personal birthday cake (we kept sweets away from him & were food nazis for a long time--he didn't get anything 'fun' until 11 months). Little Bug got 2 cakes. Didn't really like either of them, even cried. I was shocked. He's a foodie like his mama, so I figured we be cleaning up crumbs and that's it. I made chocolate fudge/marble cake with chocolate frosting. It was the shape of a bear. Well, cat but turned bear when I was finished. He didn't like the feel of the frosting sticking to his hands. So he fed me some cake then cried. He does LOVE ice cream cake though. So, he did inherit some of my terrible eating habits.

I only teared up once about my little baby being a big boy. I thought that was pretty good! All in all it was a perfect first birthday bash, the only problem is so far, I cannot find my camera. I know it's there, it's not lost, however, I am still trying to sift through our belongings, gifts, laundry, & random junk from my car.

So, I'm hoping to have pics up for this post. But for now, snuggling into bed with my hubby, reading a favorite author, and hoping to catch a few Zzz's before the first feeding and subsequent rest of the night in bed with the big boy.

**Pictures to come after I find my camera.......**

Birthday Boy!!!

One whole year. I truly feel like I was just a beluga whale with swollen feet and being induced for the long labor process just yesterday. And now, my busy Little Bug is ONE!!! We are just taking a short break from festivities so I wanted to post quickly to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY GUY!!! More to come, but I'm going to take this time with my fam! I know all you mama's (and daddy's) and friendly folks alike understand! :)

Meet the Manic Mommy Adventurer MMM #2

\It was too manic last Monday so I am retro-actively posting my intro today. :) Cuz I can. Haha. Well, I'm a 26 year-old mama to one cool dude who turns ONE YEAR OLD this week!!! My husband and I had our first date, which was skydiving about 4 1/2 years ago. I've also taken him on dates like adventuring up a wild Alaskan river, digging for garnets in an old quarry, and snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean. :)

I cannot believe my little boy -- "Little Bug" is already a year old. I can remember being miserably pregnant, with swollen club feet and stretch marks, having Gestational Diabetes and a GIANT baby. It wasn't all bad, in fact, all of that was a good trade to feel the Bug kicking my belly. But, I won't lie I wasn't one of those moms that ADORED every pregnant moment, and I don't know if I am looking forward to #2 or not.

(making his way to the outhouse on our property!)

We live on a hobby farm in Minnesota. We have horses, geese, chickens, 4 dogs, 3 cats, and once in a while a Timberwolf ventures onto the property. We also have 120 acre deer hunting & farming getaway about 20 minutes from our home. It's our little house on the prairie. I'm trying to talk my husband into getting a milk cow or two.

Speaking of milk cow, I have been breastfeeding for nearly a year, and I had set that a goal for us, but I do not see it ending anytime soon. We all enjoy it. Everyone says 'breastfeeding is so hard' but I really think that I'd be going crazy trying to figure out how to make bottles! And, I have such a healthy little lad, I can't help but give breastmilk credit for a lot of that! So, I'm a big supporter and advocate of breastfeeding.

I love sweets. I love Chocolate the most. I also love GOOD coffee---and by this I mean I'm a total coffee snob. I WILL drink almost anything, but, if I am to buy it, I prefer ordering it directly from Costa Rica and Guatemala. I guess I see it as no different than preferring Grey Goose to Silver Wolf vodka, for those that like a cocktail. I also LOVE to travel. I have done really crazy BUT amazing things while abroad. Surfing. Backpacking a small country by myself. Using the language of a country WAY out of context and wrong, but trying nonetheless. Meeting people. Ziplines. White-water rafting. Wading through a small river known to have crocs now & then with my backpack on my head. Researched Sea Turtles. Slept with Giant spiders. Ugh! Held some weird monkey. I LOVE TRAVEL!!!

I used to be many things. I used to be a wildland firefighter. I used to be a wildlife biologist. A night auditor. A naturalist. A literacy tutor. A dispatcher. Unemployed. A student. A personal trainer. A florist. A housekeeper. Being a MOM is by far the most demanding, hardest, most trying job I've ever had. I love it.

I am supporter of green living. I try to get greener each day. Sometimes I relapse. But I try. We heat our house with firewood that WE go and cut. We recycle, but FIRST we REUSE! Everyone forgets about that R! We compost. We harvest 80% of our own meat. We do buy pork occasionally for a treat. My parents got us 1/4 cow for Christmas. Otherwise, we eat Elk, Venison, Chicken (that we raise), grouse, pheasant, fish (that we catch), occasionally moose, bear, or crayfish. On one rare occasion, Caribou, which I love. We also grow a garden each year. We hang our clothes in the summer, which I am excited for! Nothing like a SUNNED diaper! :) I use cleaners, that is my weakness--vinegar is sick. I can't stand it, so I use bleach, which gives my olfactory the signal of cleanliness, even if it's mostly psychological!

I try to read to the Bug everyday. He is a physical brute, so he doesn't sit long. But, we keep at it. We have been baby signing for MONTHS, like since 6 months. And so far, maybe a nursing sign once or twice, more once and that's about it. I use baby 'wearing' carriers but also LOVE my jogging stroller. We have 2 frame backpacks, and those get the most use.

He is "Little Bug" because of a phase we went through for bedtime routine. "Snug as a bug in a rug." Each night as I swaddled him up. Then it REALLY stuck when he started clinging to us ALL THE TIME around 9 months old, so I called him my "Stick Bug" and when he pooped, my "Stink Bug."

His hat was too big. This is Bug 3 days old on the way home from the hospital. I loved this pic.

Both my parents and my husbands live within 2 hours of us, and the Bug is the FIRST grandchild on either side. He is so spoiled. I'm glad that he (and they) get the time to bond and interact. Not everyone is so lucky. I also have a pretty big network of friends and acquaintances in our area--from work, Mommy groups, & my Aerobics class.

So, there it is. We are a small family of first-timers and we screw up a lot. Like everyday. But we do our best. I try to listen to my 'mommy signals.' I try to involve Bug's dad. I try to also maintain my identity, which so far was lagging behind everything else, but this blog has really helped. It's like my online wo-man cave. And I love it.

Baby Paper Review

I had the pleasure of reviewing 'Baby Paper' by Wize Choice Creations this past month.

*Photo used with permission from Wize Choice Creations, 2012.

The Little Bug LOVES paper. He is also at that age where he is exploring his world through taste! HE is the Anthony Bourdain of all things inedible! And, he especially loves to eat newspaper. The chemicals that go into make paper as well as the inks make them toxic in some cases, unsavory in others.

As you can see, his ever-present sidekick, Whiskers loves it too! It makes a great noise, just like paper does! But, unlike paper, mommy can wash off the cat hair and other icky stuff from Baby Paper. I loved how it held up in the wash. So far, I've washed it 4 times (in the last month) and it still sounds like it did when I got it. It's still soft on the outside.

It goes everywhere with him...even mamas treadmill!

I have been in the habit of bringing it with us in the car, it's a great way to keep him busy as we buzz around town. The only thing I think would add to the cool-factor is maybe a couple 'tags' sewn on like tabs. Something very secure for safety, but also as an added sensory feature. Other fun prints would be neat to see as well. We chose 'mint' but it also comes in polka dot, pink, blue, yellow, lilac, and black/white stripe.

*Photo used with permission from Wize Choice Creations, 2012.

It's definitely going to be one of our primary items packed wherever we go because it's really convenient to bring along size-wise and as the tag says, "babies LOVE to play with paper!"

Find a retailer where you can purchase your own at the Baby Paper Website!


**I did not receive any compensation for this review. These words and opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by anyone else. I did receive a complementary product to complete the review.**

Talk the Talk

I know you are not supposed to compare babies. Each one is original. Each one develops at his or her own pace. Blah blah. I'm definitely not lining up at 'cutest baby' contests or starting each thought with "my baby is better than yours!" but I am a little concerned, also a little disappointed. Now before you gather a lynching party, you must know that I'm not in any way ashamed or anything crazy, just bummed that my kiddo is a late bloomer of sorts in the spoken word.

Words are my life. They kind of have to be when you're a writer or blogger. Bug has said (and understood the meaning of 'kitty' since he was like 9 months old. That was his first word. It remains the only word that we are 100% sure he knows and says. He says 'ma' and variations of 'ma' during sleepy, crabby, sad, or ouchie times, and more in the evening. He says 'da' and all of it's variations during the daytime, happy times, and while playing.

I've been pointing to everything lately, teaching him words for objects. And you know what he does? He points. It's almost comical and I'm trying to keep it all in my head, because I don't want to be like a crazy 'dance mom' but with words! I want him to do it at his own pace, I just want to also make sure I have provided a good learning environment!

Signing isn't really working either. We've been at it since nearly 6 months of age. He bangs his hands on the tray of the highchair when he wants more. He grunts when he's hungry. He puts his hands up for kitty. These are HIS signs, which is really cool, I just am so ready to communicate more openly with my Bug! He did do the nurse sign once, but I am not sure if it was a fluke or understanding. He doesn't really wave bye-bye. I know he understands. From being with him nearly 24/7 (and because I'm his mama) I just know when he understands and what he is trying to communicate.

So I talk. I wait. I listen more closely. At this point I think I'd be proud as a peacock (peafowl, since I'm a lady) if he said "Shit!" Really. I just want to hear his wonderful little voice. I keep telling the people that ask me "What is he saying now" that he is taking his time talking. After all, he was early on all things physical. And, I have a friend in the 'why' stage with her toddler, so I keep telling myself to enjoy this time. And I do.

Three Little Birds Design Company Large Reusable Sandwich Bag REVIEW

Anyone who knows our family knows we LOVE tie-dyes. What they may not know is that I pack my husband his lunch, everyday. That lunch includes at least 2 sandwiches. I enjoy concocting new culinary delights for his tastebuds. Some days he gets peanut butter and jelly. No matter what that sandwich, one thing is a constant = the use of baggies in our house. 2-3 sandwiches a day is 10-15 plastic bags/week. Not only is that hard on the budget, it's hard on the earth.

So, we got the opportunity to try a large, reusable sandwich bag by Three Little Birds Design Company--and it is tie-dyed! :) I love the mission statement for this company--I advocate for greener solutions and sustainable living. Our family also values products made in the USA. So, if you're in the Southwest, there are a few vendors that carry this sweet company's products! Their site provides vendor locations, information about the company, and a full product line. The logo is pretty sweet too!

Since I'm at home most of the time, I don't pack lunches for myself often. So, I thought who better to test than my hubs. And he doesn't treat things daintily. So, he would surely put this bag through the ringer!

Upon receiving it in the mail, I noticed first how cool it looked. Then, I noticed that the craftsmanship was really high quality. It has a Velcro closure, and at first I was skeptical that Velcro would keep all the sandwich ingredients in the bag (especially the way my husband can be hard on things!) I expected him to say he scooped avocado out of the lunch pail. Not so. The Velcro is super sticky and heavy duty, and is sewn really sturdily onto the fabric. The dye job was really very well done. I kind of wish I had a whole matching set of tie-dyed bags, a picnic basket, purse, skirt, etc.! They really know how to

First we tested the turkey, hummus, avocado, lettuce & onion sandwich. The bag did not retain any smells, not even onion. It didn't leach in any smells from the refrigerator either---no green pepper, garlic, etc. This was a huge plus. The bag had plenty of room (I use wide 12-Grain bread and make fatty sandwiches, and there was room to spare! As you can see! My husband works earlier than we wake, so I pre-make lunches at about 10pm the night before. The only downside for this test of the sandwich bag was that because it encased turkey, it required refrigeration overnight and then a few hours in the lunchbox before eating. The bread was a little stale by lunchtime the following day at lunch. Not bad, but a little bit. [I got the report from my husband--it was the first thing that I asked him as he came through the door that night!] So, if you can avoid making sandwiches 14 hours before being eaten, then the bag is super!

We also used it for the peanut butter (or sometimes Nutella) and jelly (sometimes honey) sandwich that is an everyday staple. This is the 'breakfast/mid-morning' sandwich. Without fail, at least one sandwich will be some kind of nut butter and a flavored gelatinous spread mix. :) We raise bees and harvest our own honey, and it's delicious. It also usually leaks through the bread. So again, I was expecting a mess in the lunch box. Amazingly the reusable bag contained the mess! It also kept the bread fresh. This was a total success.

We have continued to use the bag for the PBJs in this family. They don't work quite as well for us for meat/refrigerator sandwiches that need to be kept for longer periods. But hey, 1/2 the baggies used and 1/2 the garbage created is a really AWESOME improvement! We have also used it with great success for cheetos, almonds, cookies, and other snack-type foods for lunches, including toddler snacks. It has been washed 8 or more times and has retained its original soundness. Plus, my husband has the coolest lunch at his office, I'm sure of that!

You can buy this really aesthetically pleasing and earth-friendly bag in several sizes, colors and yes, they DO make matching lunch kits!!! (squeal!) by clicking here. You can also Like Three Little Birds Design Company on Facebook.

Visit their site and check out all of the other great green products that they carry! If you order between now and the end of March, use the code MOMS at checkout for 15% off all orders!

**These opinions are my own. I did not receive compensation for this review. I did however receive a complimentary product from Three Little Birds Design Company to complete the review process.**

Stellar Stuff #1 Archive

This week, I'd like to share with all of you A Prairie Home Companion, with Garrison Keillor. It's truly an amazing program on most public radio stations. It airs live on Saturday night at 5pm and on Sunday morning, a repeat of the show is on at 11 am.

I was fortunate enough to see these guys LIVE this winter, and it was such a fun experience! The sound effects are made by one man, largely without any equipment! He does use a cupboard door for hinge sound effects, and some wood blocks for footsteps, paper for well, the sound of paper....but it's very cool that one dude can produce so many noises and then have those noises illustrate in our minds the intended pictures! This is RADIO folks!

Garrison has said many times on the show that he is autistic. This is so inspiring for those out there that share the affliction. He's so talented! And hey, anyone that can rock a suit and red kicks that is over 50 (or under actually!) is pretty sweet. His voice is full of charisma. And think about it...he ENTERTAINS live every week! Not even the most famous of rock stars do that!

A little piece of history in the making, APHC is a great listen if you love lore, sattire, and just plain GOOD comedy. Garrison does bits like 'News from Lake Woebegone' and 'Guy Noir' as regular parts of the show. So, lend you ears RIGHT now if you are in the central time zone! Find a PR station and sit back with a cup of Joe for an AMAZING radio program! You will be glad you did

A Shot in the Dark, Cries In the Night

We co-sleep. Little Bug starts in the crib but makes his way back into bed with me (hubby sleeps in our 'old' bedroom, because it's too crowded for Bug with 3 in a Full bed & it's too noisy for his work schedule). See CRIB for more on that. The last 3 nights he has been waking up around 1am, IN BED WITH ME MIND YOU!! and he just screams. Like the 'I'm mad temper-tantrum type screams' not pain, hunger or any other emotion I can correlate from past experience. I have no idea if this is night terrors? He rolls around and does the mad cry. Nursing is the only thing that gets him back to sleep. He's not hungry though, he does this even just 10 minutes after falling asleep following a nursing session. I'm baffled. No temp. Ears are perfect. No rash. Yes, teething a bit. Maybe a reaction to too much use of his Baltic Amber necklace?? Maybe a reaction to mom using Fenugreek? A bad dream? An assertion of independence? I have NO IDEA! He rolled around so much and flailed and screamed that he managed to poke me in the eye with his little finger, so now my eye is completely bloodshot and both of us are getting no sleep. Ahh! Any suggestions from mom's that have been through this or anyone who says 'aha' when they read this are welcome!

A monDAY in the Life.... MMM #1

What a perfect way to start this blog event----my INTRO will be next Monday!! LOL Should have scheduled a post, BUT was so tired, so I went to bed at almost the same time as hubby last night! Okay, this is particularly awesome, because the hub and I RARELY go to bed @ the same time. He goes BY 10 pm and I LOVE that hour between 10-11pm when Bug is asleep (and before he wakes for some boob) and dad is asleep too. It's MOMMYTIME! I have an application due today, about 3/4 complete, I'm teaching my 8th class of Water Aerobics today & leaving the Bug with grandpa for 2 hours.

UPDATE: Little Bug missed his morning nap, got to eat a chocolate chip cookie with his banana, and didn't get a diaper change. But, at least he WAS happy playing and was smiley when I got home. And I did see a Coyote on my drive home. :) Bonus!

Then I will come home, shower, hopefully finish the application, get my shopping list together, drive to Mommy & Me, and I usually do Zumba Mondays, but thats taken a hit since I started 'working' teaching aerobics. Bah! Right now I'm hunting & pecking lefthanded with a broken H key, nursing the Little Bug. So, I will be back, with 2 hands to fill in the details here & plan supper too.... A very MANIC MOMMY MONDAY indeed!!!

UPDATE: I managed a shower while Little Bug took a SHORT nap at noon, and then fed us both. Taking a quick 5 to update this post so it's a little more interesting! I DID drop off my payroll stuff (which they said on the 5th to get paid the 15th) and I'm glad I got it dropped off, but still won't get paid til the end of the month. Oh well, ONE LESS THING to do! Still finishing the application -- using a MAC w/out Microsoft. So, need to switch to our dinosaur PC upstairs to get the documents uploaded. But THAT pc is too slow to multi-task, and I can't stand only doing ONE thing at a time! LOL. So, I am juggling a few technology issues while deciding what laptop to go with (I've been saving!) and suggestions are WELCOME on what to get! I only have about $600 to spend. I have made a grocery list that includes a lot of chocolate! :) hmmm...a stress eater you think? I always love going to Mommy & Me, and Little Bug does too. So, all for now. Stay tuned for the PM update. See just how crazy the day got.'s also snowy and blowy and I had no idea it was going to do this! Can't they RECALL weather like they do kids' products?!?!?! 26 mile drive in snow, so I should try to leave early. Bahahaha!

PM UPDATE: Phew! We survived this Monday. Bring it on next week! I submitted the application, I hit 2/3 of my grocery/errands, we had an eventful Mommy & Me class. We even saved $16 with coupons. It's not extreme, but we don't need 1,200 bottles of Grape Powerade and 46 bottles of Tobasco! Bug is in bed & mommy gets to surf the net and blog a bit! :) HAPPY MONDAY!!!

Naked Time

The Little Bug LOVES to be naked. And, honestly he's an adorable kid to watch (all the time) but he really gets wound up when he doesn't have the confines of clothing holding him back! He's mastered walking and RUNS after his kitties when he's in the buff. Well, he does wear his amber necklace...

We recently had a bad diaper rash, so he's been naked a lot, airing out the bum. This was a big lesson for mom in many things.

1) Naked little boy babies pee everywhere. Which is okay, since we are starting to potty train. See my post on EC to read more there...

2) You should strip diapers that you buy used. Duh. It seems so obvious now, after the diaper rash... I 'prepped' about 6 diapers that I had bought used in a mommy diaper forum that is statewide, so semi-local. So, I did more than a normal wash routine on them, but looking back I cannot believe I didn't think to strip the 'unknowns' before with our dipes! This was our first diaper rash that was more than a nickel in size and didn't go away with a dab of diaper ointment (which we use with a disposable diaper, of course!). It was also the first rash that I think was yeast driven. I will spare all the details, but it was gross. (I had never seen white-topped raised bumps EVER on my kids' bum). It has not only taught me to strip (see my post on Stripping Adventures) but also has made me pretty leery for the moment on used dipes.

3) When Little Bugs pee on the kitchen floor, unknowing moms slip and fall on their asses in said pee.

4) Little boys that run around naked also POO on the floor. And it NEVER seems to be on the linoleum or hardwood. Always on a light-colored rug or the new carpet.

5) The potty is a great toy to take apart and play with (after being sanitized, of course!) but since we started potty training has seen very little pee. Or poop. But, the floor 6" away has had a lot of action.

So, now after 7 days out of cloth, a trip to the doc, stripping all of our stash, and lots of elimination adventures, we are cured and back in cloth. I just feel like such a dope of a mom for not knowing to strip the dipes beforehand. I hope this will help a few mamas 'new' to cloth--see our 'cloth story'
! Luckily, I took him out of the cloth right away, so only about 5 diapers were affected, but I still took the opportunity to treat our whole stash.

Look for my review of RLR Laundry Treatment, coming soon!