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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


"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.”

VTech Phones Baby Monitors - Making Life a Little Easier

I used hand-me-down baby monitors with our first son. We're really into the three R's in this house, so re-using the items was a great, economical choice for us. Then, four years later, we realized we needed an upgrade since those once wonderful hand-me-down monitor handhelds were barely hanging onto a charge at all.

With some research I decided VTech Phones line called Safe & Sound looked like exactly what we needed. We weren't interested in all the complicated bells and whistles, or even video monitoring. We just wanted to hear the baby or preschooler if they stirred while we weren't by their side. We'd used VTech phones in our home and we even have a VTech Bunny toy that has lasted as a gift from our first son four years ago. It seemed like the brand could really withstand the test of time, so maybe it could endure our wild family!

We went with the Safe & Sound line in the Model DM221. It has one rechargable parent handset (though you can order an additional one) and one base/baby unit. The baby unit plugs into an outlet and has a nightlight in the handle. The feature I loved most was the "talk" option on the parent unit. We are able to say "it's okay baby" or "mama's coming" -- or for the preschooler: "naptime is not over..." It's a great feature that we've never enjoyed before and adore on this monitor.

We are a bed-sharing family and last night, my preschooler was distraught. I left the room with our fussy infant to feed him. My husband was left with our older son who is still transitioning from "only" to Big Brother. I was able to use the unit to say "I will be right back, I love you." That was enough to get him to stop whimpering and actually fall back to sleep before I was done with the feeding of his brother. It's a great comfort for kids of all ages.

The audio is super clear and has five volume levels -- the only place where I lust for a bit more. I am going deaf slowly from my years running chainsaws and portable pumps -- and probably from listening to my music while running as well. Anyway, I can hear the level five perfectly clear, BUT I'd love to have a little more amplification so that if the dryer or dishwasher are running I can still catch every sigh, sneeze or cry. That said, the volume is absolutely FINE, I just always like the option of having a bit MORE.

The other unique use I've found for the baby monitor is dispatching! During spring fire season I often pick up night shifts at my old job. Since I'm often the only one there and nature still calls even when it's inconvenient, I use the unit to listen for radio calls while I use the restroom! Then I know if an Engine or firefighter has tried to contact me and can rush back up and get them back on the radio! Perfect use at home and in the office!

VTech Baby monitors can be found in many major retail stores as well as online at the VTech Phones site or from Amazon and other online resources. This particular set is very affordable, retailing for $39.95. If you're looking for a simple but very effective solution for your monitoring needs, this is it! We are super pleased with our experience thus far with the monitor and all of our VTech products!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product in this partnership. No other compensation was received; all opinions are our own. 

Lovey Letters by Leah ~ Showered with Love [review]

Do you have a little in your life? Someone expecting? A toddler that desperately wants to have an original bedroom? This shop is even great for grown-ups looking to dress up a room or personalize something of their own -- Lovey Letters by Leah is a fantastic resource for making a room "your own" or her own in this case!

At nearly three years old, Ava has an attitude of much bigger proportions. Ava loves Minnie. All things Minnie. In fact, she only watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I cannot persuade her with Dora or My Little Pony or anything else. Just Minnie. While this is totally monotonous for mama, it's perfect for Ava's personality.

So, in designing a new "big girl" room motif, it was of course, all things Minnie. Etsy is a complete treasure trove of all things Minnie. That is where I found Leah's shop. I was amazed at her diversity in what she could do -- which is really ANYTHING! In contacting Leah, she is incredibly thorough - attention to the utmost detail and absolute professionalism is all you get (with a hefty dose of passion and friendliness!) when you deal with her. I'd highly, highly recommend her shop and services if you are looking to add a little personal touch to a bedroom or nursery.

She drafted up what I could expect to receive from what I gave her (the details of what I'd like to see from the letters) -- I couldn't believe the extremely fast turnaround and how spot-on her mock-up was with what I had wanted and communicated to her. All in all, it was a fantastic transaction!

The letters arrived as promised within the shipping notification time frame. The box was just slightly mussed on one end, a little dented and so I was a tad worried -- I've never been one to blame the postal service or other couriers of being too gentle! But, due to Leah's wonderful packing job, the items were unscathed. The only change I'd love to see is rather than promoting use of Styrofoam packing peanuts, maybe newspaper or a more sustainable alternative.

The letters are wrapped with ribbon and printed wallpaper-like material. The lumber underneath is quality, a softer wood, and not particle board or chipboard - it's nice! The letters and underparts are all wooden - so it's a quality, heavy-duty item. Not like what you'd see in a big box store that is half-plastic or cardboard. This will last longer than your child's love of whatever character they choose!

This is a beautifully crafted unique gift for someone else or a little treat for yourself when "sprucing up" any room for a personal touch.

Disclosure: I worked with Leah for an article and inclusion in the Showered with Love event and received complimentary items. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own. 

Love Inspired - Book Series [Review]

Something you might not know about me is that I love a good mystery novel. I enjoy those stories more if they have a romantic undertone. What I don't like is if the mystery gets too dark or if the romance is a little too Fifty Shades of Grey, if you know what I mean! Well, something I recently learned about myself is that I love a good plain old-fashioned romance as well!

I had the opportunity to read a series called Love Inspired - it's part of Harlequin and I never thought I'd be a Harlequin enthusiast, it seemed too "tame" for my tastes. But then I realized in the last 15 years I've grown into a different person (a lot of that has to do with time and children) and Harlequin novels have grown into a more modern, readable resource as well!

I started of course with the Firefighter book (A Firefighter's Promise) in the six-book series! It's actually quite intriguing. Not because it's a page turning mystery and I need to know what happens before I can possibly sleep, BUT, because you can really identify with the characters. They are very real life. Not just for firefighting enthusiasts either. The characters are mothers, fathers, friends. You could actually see yourself in the story -- nothing over the top. It's so relative to my life and I love it! I am SO excited to get a move on the rest of the series!

This would be a FANTASTIC Mother's Day gift - don't tell my mom, but she's going to be getting my slightly rumpled, dog-eared copies in addition to her flowers and breakfast! :)

The Love Inspired product line is a series of 6 books that are released every month & only have a shelf-life of one month. The books mentioned here are on sale April 21 - May 28.

*Disclosure: I am a partner of Flyby Promotions and was able to collaborate for this effort through that partnership. Complimentary books were received, no other compensation was given.*

The Holy Grail of Cloth Diapers [Review]

Everything has it's own Holy Grail, unattainable, magnificent, fabled "icon" of any niche, hobby, trade, or collection. For me, I found my Holy Grail of cloth diapers and finally have that sucker in my stash! Many are fans of the Ragababe or possibly another beautiful crazy stocking session-madness diaper. For me, I saw quality and beauty and felt deep diaper desire when I came across Holden's Landing Etsy shop with my first son.

Holden's Landing has what can only be described as luxurious, plush diapers. They are handmade and some are even custom embroidered, like the Puffin diaper that I received. It's one of those times when I am actually a little sad for it to become a poo-catcher. It's just so pretty!

The shop owner and creator of the fabled diapers is Bonnie. She must know how the diapering community can be, because she has a "Nappy of the Month" club -- a new masterpiece will arrive on a three or six month subscription basis! How fun! I think I would spend my days checking boxes off of the calendar until the next fluffy package arrived! It would be a slippery slope for me!

So, our AI2 Organic Bamboo Velour cloth diaper arrived and I fell in love. I wasn't even sure at first, during those initial newborn poo days that I had it in me to parent a preschooler and a newborn AND cloth diaper. It was a distant memory, the diaper laundry, and it seemed daunting. I'm so happy that I went with it again and it didn't take more than one load to remember how much I adored diapering with cloth. Adding the Holy Grail diaper to my stash made me delighted. It's so soft and the Puffin reminds me of the adventures I had with my boys last summer (one holding my hand, one holding a place in my heart while in utero) exploring the Puffin-filled seas in Alaska.

Since it's an AI2 diaper (my personal favorite system, especially for bigger, older babies) it does not require the use of a cover -- thus no reason to cover the adorable Puffin! The diaper is hand-dyed and is an ocean of blue hues. The soaker is quick-dry and topped with organic bamboo velour. You can even ask Bonnie to include a microfleece top! We got the M/L size -- our big guy is at the bottom end of this currently, fitting around 15-30 pounds. It should be one of my absolute favorites for most of the duration of our diapering journey!

I appreciated learning about Bonnie's journey as a seller, the fact that she wasn't happy with her options on the market while pregnant and planning to use cloth for her kiddo. I cannot imagine having the talent in even her little pinky finger with all the artistic embroidery and crafty material matching creativity that she puts into all of her diapers. When someone is passionate about their craft, it surely shows and that is definitely the case here!

Holden's Landing is therefore my most sought-after diaper. It's plush and pretty and totally functional. I would NEVER have thought to use my prettiest diaper as our night-time diaper, just because I typically put the cute ones on during the day, secretly hoping to get to change my son during a mommy group or play date to let others get a glimpse! (Yes, it's crazy. But, I love talking about fluff and showing off the work of handmade diaper sellers!) I did have it on him two nights ago and he fell asleep shortly after putting it on him. I did not want to break the cardinal rule (do NOT wake the sleeping baby!) so I left him in it. He is an all-night and into the morning sleeper, and we had only the slightest (we're talking dime-size) area of wetness after about 13 hours!

I would say these are pretty trim for the maximum absorbency that they provide, but they are definitely not my MOST trim diapers. AIOs tend to be more slim and trim. BUT, it is, along with some of my other AI2s, one of my most absorbent diapers. No worries for daytime or nap. Even nighttime use was pretty impressive.

So know in your cloth diapering adventures that the Holy Grail of your diapering dreams IS attainable! It's possible to be cute and effective on the bum! I'm happy to share Holden's Landing with you as one of my all-time favorite cloth diapering sources. Check out the Easter fun in her shop -- loving all the bunnies and farm babies!

But wait! Bonnie wants to shower someone else with love! She is providing one diaper (hand-dyed Black Cherry -- pictured far right) for the giveaway hop going on now! Enter here to get in on an elusive Holden's Landing handmade diaper as well as some other great prizes from my site and many others.

Hop around this weekend and enjoy all the shower-themed goodies! Thanks to Bonnie of Holden's Landing for this great prize! Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary diaper to try and to write about. I love it so much. No other compensation was received. Thanks Bonnie! Shop small!