Thursday, December 18, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Ideas!

I love shopping at our local store- The Green Nursery for all my favorite natural products! I've put together a list of my top 4 favorite Christmas gift ideas for the toddler, baby and expecting/new mom on your Christmas list. (There might even be one or two that a new dad would love as well! (This post will contain affiliate links!)

3 Year Old-

Here are my top 4 favorites for the toddler on your list!

Green Toys- Ferry Boat, Rocket Ship, Fire Truck or Tool Set:
My son loves these toys! We got him the Tugboat for Christmas two years ago and that thing is still used every single time he takes a bath. These are just a few of his favorites TGN carries.

He has several of these on his wishlist and is getting one of them for Christmas. He got the Fire Truck from his Grandmother for his birthday and absolutely loves it! These are great because they're made from 100%  recycled plastic milk jugs and are super durable.

Plan Toys Build-A-Robot-Besides being just plain cute, this little robot is an emotionally educational toy for your little one. Features inter-changeable heads with different faces conveying happy, angry, surprised, and sad.

Switchback Racetrack- My son loves playing with this every single time we go to TGN! Not only is it a fun toy but it helps build fine motor skills, imagination and creativity and also social skills.

Safe Sippy 2 - Straw and Sippy Cup in One- This would make a perfect gift for under the tree or even a great in the stocking. The Safe Sippy 2 is an innovative sippy and straw cup all in one. When your child gets too big for the 'sippy' mode, The Safe Sippy 2 can be instantly converted to a straw cup with the included straw and straw adapter. It's Stainless steel interior, and BPA Free plastic top and straw. 11 Ounces.

7 Month Old-

Here are my top 4 favorite gift ideas for the baby on your list!

Sophie the Giraffe Teething Ring- I absolutely love this teething ring. Giraffes are my favorite animal and this one is just adorable. My mom purchased one for my first son when he was a baby and now my (currently hard core teething) 7 month old is enjoying it! Sophie is made of all natural rubber and lightly vanilla scented.

HABA Magica Clutching Toy- This toy is great because is so brightly colored, it's sure to interest your baby. 

Make Believe Swaddle - 4 pack- These make a perfect gift for the baby on your list. They have so many great uses. Of course they're perfect for swaddling, tummy time on the floor and great for using as just a regular blanket.
They also make great stroller/car seat covers, nursing covers (if needed) or even a burp rag. My favorite is the Make Believe print because they're just the most adorable, ever!

Cloth Diapers (of course). My top two favorites are the GroVia Hybrid system and the Flip covers. They're perfect for a little one who's not really into toys yet and totally serve a great purpose.

The Green Nursery also has great gifts for the Mom on your list. Here are my top favorite gifts to give the Mom (and some could double for the Dad) on your list! Here are my top 4!

TGN has a great selection of baby carriers and you bet they would make a perfect gift for the mom (or dad) on your list. Whether they're new to babywearing or just want an upgrade to their existing carrier, TGN has some awesome carriers to pick from.
My favorite, 
Ergobaby Carrier - Night Sky. I love Ergo and this print is to die for!

LifeFactory Adult Bottle- These are great! They are BPA and phthalate-free and all materials are FDA approved. These glass bottles come with protective silicone sleeves to help with gripping to avoid breakage. They are dishwasher safe with no need to remove the silicone sleeve! If you know a new mama who's nursing, you know this will come in handy for all that water she'll need.

Mama-to-Be Tea Sampler- This is a great sample of Earth Mama's most popular tea blends. This would be perfect gift for the expecting mother on your list!

Chewbeads Jane Teething Necklace- These are not only functional for that teething baby who wants to grab everything to put in their mouth, but they are also stylish so mom can wear them to match any outfit! My personal favorite is the Emerald green!

So for all you last minute shoppers, check out The Green Nursery for some awesome gifts for those special people on your list!  Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!

I was in no way (nor do I plan to be) compensated for this post. I just really love TGN and all the awesome products they carry! ;-) Just a reminder that the links in this blog post are affiliate links.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

DIY Baby Christmas Ornament- A Pinterest WIN!

Usually when I share things on my Facebook wall or pin it on Pinterest with the caption- "OMG, I'm definitely trying this!" I'll be honest, I rarely try it. That's usually how this stuff works right? You either pin a bunch of stuff you'll never actually make. Or maybe, just maybe you do make it but it belongs on a Pinterest fail meme! 
Well, I finally made something from Pinterest that didn't turn out completely awful. To be completely honest though, I'm not sure I could have messed this up, because it's pretty simple to make and takes very few steps. So, while scrolling through Facebook one evening while nursing my little guy, I found the cutest Christmas ornament. Someone had taken one of those hospital hats they give all newborns and their hospital bracelet from their baby and put them in a clear bulb. 
I saw this as a way to stop hoarding things in my memory box, but also creating a very adorable keepsake that also doubles as a festive decoration. (Though it doesn't necessarily have to be kept as a Christmas tree ornament. You could hang it anywhere year round if you want to.) These could also be great gifts for the grandparents if you have enough hats and bracelets. I'll give you the complete tutorial, supply list and some great optional ideas that I'm still considering myself. Enjoy!

Supply List: 

•One clear Christmas ornament bulb. You'll want to get a decent size since you're stuffing a hat and bracelet in it. I personally suggest plastic for a few reasons. 1- You'll be stuffing things into the ornament. If you get glass, you'll need to be very delicate as not to break it. 2- If you get plastic, it'll be very hard for your little one to break it. (My guy broke one of our glass ornaments tonight. Sigh.) Trust me, I'm glad I got the plastic ones with a rowdy around! I got mine at Walmart for only 96 cents!

•The blue and pink hat the hospital stuck on your sweet newborns head straight after birth (I'm not sure if they're all pink/blue striped, but from what I've seen on Pinterest and Google, they seem to be.) If you didn't get that blue and pink one, use whichever one they gave you. 

•The bracelet that says your baby's info on it.

•One of those hooks you use to hang ornaments.

Every bracelet is different so this is where the optional supply list will come in handy. Our bracelet says "Baby Boy Fender" (for both boys). So the ornaments currently do not have their names on them, but they do have the dates obviously. So we know which ornament belongs to which boy. 

Optional Supply List:

•Puffy Paint/Sharpie-
Whatever kind of writing utensil you want to use is fine. This will be for writing your child's name on the outside.
Note- You could also write it on paper of something else and put that inside the ornament as well. Whatever you prefer. 

•Blue or Pink ribbon-
I'm still trying to decide whether or not I want to add anything at all to mine. I saw some cute ones on Google that had a blue or pink ribbon on them. I think this is a cute idea. 

So first you need to take off the top part of the ornament. (My son is a pro at this even though I tell him not to touch the ornaments.)
 Now to stuff the hat inside, I just started with the bottom and stuffed it into the bulb. I saw some who folded theirs length wise to stuff it in, but whatever works for you. In order to get the hat arranged how I wanted it, I used a pencil to get to the bottom and move it around.
Then I took the bracelet cut off some of the excess part of the band and taped it so it formed a circle. I just kind of dropped it in and used the pencil to move it to the perfect placement. After that I just put the top part back on the bulb and I was done.
That was the easiest DIY I've found on Pinterest/Facebook yet. Especially since it turned out so great. I'm currently contemplating putting their names on their bulbs along with a blue ribbon on the top. I think they look wonderful just the way they are and I definitely don't want it to be too "busy" by putting too much on or in them. I saw one that had tons of stuff inside and that just seemed to be overboard for my taste. 

I'd love to see your photos if you make one! Please feel free to post on my Facebook page or use the following hashtag on Instagram or Twitter so I can see yours! #ToFDIY


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rump Arounds Review + Giveaway!

I received the Rump Arounds pocket diaper for review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post, though I received the mentioned product for free in exchange for this review.

 The Rump Arounds pocket diaper is a one size diaper with a 4 rise snap setting allowing you to get an extra small, small, medium and large fit.
This diaper fits babies from 6.5 pounds up to about 40 pounds! There are four snaps per wing and two cross over snaps. This helps with size adjustment and prevents the wings from drooping. The diaper has a double gusset barrier protection which is great at holding messes in.  The soft inner is gentle against babies skin while keeping your baby dry.

I received the Orange Tiger Minky in snaps for my review. The print is super adorable and extremely soft. The diaper came with a three layer 100% bamboo insert. It worked well on it's own during normal wear and shorter naps. For long naps, overnight or during shopping trips, I would definitely add a booster to ensure you get enough absorbency. The pocket opening has stretchy elastic which is nice because you don't have to worry about any of the mess getting back into the insert like you have with some diapers. 

Having the four snaps and two crossover snaps is great for getting a nice custom fit. It also fixed the issue of the wings drooping that you can get with some diapers that only have one or two snaps. The diaper also has a great "snap wrap" feature that allows you to roll the diaper up like you can with a disposable and snap it closed until it's ready for the wash. This is helpful for when you're out and about. It gives you plenty of room in your wet bag for more dirty diapers and if you have a messy diaper, it keeps the mess contained so it doesn't get everywhere!

I got a really nice fit on my 5 month old who is about 22 pounds! There is plenty of room for growth as well, so it doesn't look like he'll outgrow this diaper quickly. As far as pocket diapers go, not only is the fit really nice but it's not super bulky and fits well under his clothing. 

Rump Arounds has several different types of diapers to choose from along with trainers, wet bags, diaper pails and changing pads. Along with inserts, prefolds, mystery bundles and much  more. You can purchase the diaper I reviewed  or another product from their website-

Rump Arounds has graciously offered a diaper of your choice up for a giveaway! Simply enter below in Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 22, 2014

Which Comes First- Weaning or Potty Training?!

I'm a busy stay at home mom of two boys, so I don't get very much free time and when I do, it's usually taken up by taking a quick shower. So I don't really read too many blogs or follow very many, just a few favorites. Dirty Diaper Laundry is one I enjoy because I've learned a lot about diapers and I feel I can really connect with a lot of her posts. Last year she wrote two posts I really connected with and I actually cried a little bit reading them. She wrote about her son turning two and how he was still nursing. She also wrote about which would come first- weaning or potty training. (You can read them here and here.) I thought back when I first read them that they really spoke to me, but now I'm finding I can relate to them even more. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have been working on potty training. However, C just isn't all that interested and I really don't want to push him if he's not ready. We purposely waited until after his brother was born to even try because becoming a big brother was going to be a big enough change as it was. So now I'm just kind of passive about the potty training thing. Some days he chooses to wear his "big boy" underwear but some days, he's just not interested. We'll get there eventually, today just isn't the day. I have to remember that every kid is different and he'll get the hang of it in his own time. I just wish others would see things this way and stop bugging me about getting him out of diapers. Trust me, I want him potty trained more than anyone else. I'm just really over all the diaper laundry I've been doing lately, so having one in diapers would be a huge relief. We'll get there though, I just wish other people would trust that he'll do it in his own time and that the answer is not to push him until he's ready.

Now, not only do I get a hard time about C not being potty trained, I also get a hard time about him still nursing. As he was nearing 2 years old, I would get questions about weaning him. When I found out I was pregnant with Baby C those questions only came more frequently and were even more annoying than before. It was like everyone thought I was strange for wanting to tandem nurse. Here's the thing, I make plenty of milk to nurse both of my boys without any issue. Baby C has been gaining weight exactly like his brother did when he was a baby. I'm not worried about the baby not getting enough milk. In fact, I have designated the left side to the baby and the right side to C. This makes things easier for me. First, this means both breasts are being emptied so that helps me avoid plugged ducts and mastitis. I had a terrible time with both when C was a baby. I even ended up with mastitis when Baby C was just a month or so old. Tandem nursing has been a wonderful experience so far. Sure it has it's days where I just want to quit and just have my one baby to nurse, but the good days trump the bad days.

It's just so extremely frustrating to me when people tell me I need to wean my toddler. There are still plenty of benefits to him nursing. Not only for him, but for me as well. It always baffles me when others are so judgmental of full term nursing mothers. If it's "not for you" fine, wean your baby at one. However, if another mother is comfortable nursing her baby past 1,2 or 3, you should have nothing to say to her. Just be supportive and if you can't be that, just don't say a word. It's hard. It's so hard being a full term nursing mother when so many people are giving you the stink eye and making comments behind your back. I've always set goals for myself. I set the goal of 6 months, then a year and finally 2 years. We didn't have the easiest nursing relationship in the beginning, but it definitely got easier and I loved it more and more. I never set a goal past 2 years, because at this point, it's all up to him if he continues or if he stops. From the looks of it, he's not going to be stopping before he turns 3. Insert big, huge, giant *gasp* from those who judge. You heard read it correctly. I will not be weaning my toddler before he turns 3. He's such a picky eater when he eats solids, that I'm extremely thankful that he still nurses. 

Since he does eat solids, nursing him is much different than nursing Baby C. I tend to shy away from nursing in public unless he absolutely needs it. This is because he can and does eat solid food, he doesn't depend on nursing like Baby C does. However, if he's really having hard time and needs the comfort or if he gets hurt, I have no issues nursing him wherever. Just yesterday we went to eat lunch and the poor little dude just has not been feeling the best lately. He came up and sat on my lap and asked to nurse. I let him because there is nothing more pathetic than a sick child. When we're at home, it's completely different. I'll nurse him as much as he wants to nurse. I usually offer him something to eat before and after to make sure he's getting full enough, but if he declines, I'm okay with nursing. The most important thing is that he's healthy and happy.

Back to tandem nursing for a moment. I have to say that I feel like it's helped ease C into the transition of being a big brother. While he doesn't always want to nurse at the same time as the baby and often says "Daddy, take baby please!" he knows that if the baby is nursing, he either has to wait, or join. I feel it's been a wonderful bonding experience and has been keeping the three of us close. Bonding is one of the biggest rewards of nursing and I wouldn't trade it for anything. When we first brought the baby home, C didn't want anything to do with him. He would pretend he didn't exist and hated the attention the baby got. Now he doesn't mind giving the baby kisses or tickling his feet.

He used to get extremely upset if Baby C would touch him at all during nursing and last night I caught him trying to hold the baby's hand. So tandem nursing has definitely been working in our favor. I will say that it's entirely up to you and your comfort level if you're wiling to tandem nurse or not. It's not for everyone and that's alright! You do what works best for your family and your little ones. The same goes for full term nursing. If you're not comfortable nursing past 2, then that's fine. Like I said though, try not to judge those of us who want to let our little ones nurse until they are ready to wean themselves. It's hard enough being a mom as it is, we don't need added stress from fellow mothers.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy World Breastfeeding Week Friends!

It's World Breastfeeding Week so I'm going to focus this week on breastfeeding, of course. I wrote last year about supporting breastfeeding mothers. In the post I talked about how my biggest supporter is and has always been my husband. Even now with tandem nursing, my husband is still my biggest supporter. On the nights that my toddler wakes up to nurse more often than my 2 month old, I really feel like weaning him. I just feel way too over touched and the feeling makes me want to pull my hair out. Those are the rough nights and they're not that often, but I still have them. The rest of the time is fine. I still enjoy the bond that nursing my toddler gives us. It's a great way to calm the both of us down and just snuggle. My husband supports whatever decision I make. He often tells me, "It's your body, your boobs. You're the one nursing them. So in the end, it's always up to you." It's so important for a breastfeeding mom to have that support. This is why I love World Breastfeeding Week so much. I want other moms out there to know that they have support. If you don't have support from friends, family or people close to you, there are always groups online that will offer you support and words of encouragement. 

Like I said, I love WBW and to me it's all about celebrating our bodies and the fact that they can nourish our babies. To me it's also all about supporting each other. Breastfeeding doesn't come easy to every mom and there are those who have had a really hard time but pushed through because she wanted to do it for her baby. There are those moms (like me with my first son) who just wanted to give up because it was so rough. Do I feel like I'm a better mom than anyone who didn't breastfeed? No. I just did what I knew was best for my babies. If I'm honest that's not really the first reason I decided chose to breastfeed. Here's the thing, I'm cheap. I hate spending money if I don't have to. I'm always finding ways to save money and I like being frugal. This is part of the reason I chose to cloth diaper. So when it came to breastfeeding vs formula feeding I looked at the cost. Formula is so freakin' expensive, that's just one cost I couldn't justify. I mean, my boobs work and they work really well to feed my babies, so I'm going to use them. They grew to a ridiculous size while I was pregnant with my first son and I wanted to put that to good use! Another reason I wanted to breastfeed was because I'm kind of lazy. The last thing I want to do in the middle of the night is trip over toys on my way to the kitchen to attempt to fix a bottle of formula while I'm half asleep, probably spilling most of it on the counter. That's just too much work for me. I like just being able to roll over, open my nursing tank top, nurse my baby and fall back to sleep snuggling. Which is also why I like to bedshare. It just makes everything so much easier.

I don't like seeing those who don't breastfeed getting offended or hurt by WBW. We're supposed to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I advocate for breastfeeding because it's a passion of mine. Maybe one of my nursing photos I post online will help a mom feel more comfortable when some can make nursing mothers feel ashamed. I often see posts where people say that breastfeeding is an "intimate" moment that should only be shared between mom and baby. I don't believe that. The more we're open about nursing (in public or posting our beautiful nursing photos) the closer we are to normalizing it so we don't hear stories about a nursing mom being kicked out of "such and such" store for nursing her baby. I feel like the more I talk about it and the more I spread the correct information, the more I can help struggling moms who are about to give up. Some mothers are made to believe they're bodies are failing them. If you're baby is gaining wait, having enough wet diapers and bowel movements, you don't need to supplement. So I don't post my nursing photos or talk about breastfeeding because I feel like I'm better than anyone else. I just wish other moms could see it that way. 

Support is key in breastfeeding. Hearing other nursing mom's success stories and struggles that they pushed through to make it to their breastfeeding goal might just help another mom push through her own struggles and give her the boost she needed. My good friend told me about her horror nursing story when I was struggling with nursing my oldest. I was so close to quitting. I would tense up every single time he went to latch. My nipple was bruised and both bled at one point or another. They hurt so freakin' bad I just wanted to cry and I did cry. I would stand in the shower wondering how I was going to get through this. It wasn't until my nursing toddler went to the dentist at 2 that I found out he had a tongue tie and that's why nursing was so painful. Nursing should not be that painful. Had I gone to a lactation consultant (like I wish I would have) I would have known much sooner that he had a tongue tie and could have gotten it taken care of to make nursing him a much less horrible experience. Although, I still did enjoy the bonding we had and wouldn't trade that for the world!
At the end of the day, just own it. Own your decision on how you chose to feed your baby and nobody will be able to make you feel one way or another. I chose to breastfeed my babies and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

Oh and nurse on milky mamas! I support each and every one of you and hope you get the support and love you need to meet your breastfeeding goal.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer To Do List!

Most people (I assume) have a bucket list- a list of things they want to do before they die. I don't really have mine written down, but there are quite a few things I have in mind that I'd love to do before I croak. In fact, my husband and I plan to do a lot of traveling once our kids are older and out of the house. Well, my friend over at TheMamaBomb did a kind of spin off of a bucket list. She's been doing a summer bucket list. I thought this was such a wonderful idea. There are so many fun things to do during the summertime, so having a list of things to get done leave us with a lot of fun summer activities to do. It's also quite hard to get out a lot during the winter time and it's not an idea I even entertain half of the time. Just thinking about getting out on snowy roads with two kids sounds like an awful idea. Which is why I will be looking for a lot of indoor activities once the winter rolls around. Anyway! I loved her idea so I made a list of things I would like to do during the summer while we have a lot of time and the weather is nice. Of course there are many days where it's just so dang humid, we don't even want to bother getting out. I mean, even if we went to an indoor activity, having to walk out into the humid air is awful enough to keep me home.

We have kind of a short list as my husband is currently taking classes towards his degree and we have one (manual) car that I can't drive. (Maybe that should go on my list- learn to drive a manual car!) However, once we complete our short list, I will find more things to add. I'm always finding new things to do through some local moms. We have this nice little group formed (thanks to one lovely lady who put the group together) and there are always tons of new ideas of things to do floating around in the group. (I actually put "host a play date" on my list so I can get to know more of these women.) We're also pretty frugal in our home, so when we can avoid spending money, we do. So I always try to add things that will be either free, or extremely inexpensive, but fun! So far we've done quite a few fun things.

Go to the Wonderlab- This was something I had been looking into for a really long time. I wanted to wait until I felt my little guy was old enough to enjoy it and get something out of it. We finally took him this summer and he had such a blast! We'll definitely be taking him back quite a few more times before the summer is over. He especially loved the little "bubble room" they had there. The kid is seriously obsessed with bubbles.

Go bowling- This is one of those things that was a hit or miss. Thanks (again) to my friend over at TheMamaBomb for posting about Kids Bowl Free, we were able to sign C up to bowl free all summer long. This included 2 free games every single day until the end of summer. It did not however, include shoe rental. Now we could have signed up for the family pass, which would have given us a pass for 4 adults to bowl under the same "rules" as the Kids Bowl Free, but we didn't think we'd go enough. It's a good thing we didn't, because we only went bowling once so far. For our 2.5 year old, one game at a time was enough. He was cranky half of the time and happy the other half. 
We didn't think he really enjoyed it, so we figured we wouldn't go back again. However, the next day all he wanted to do was go bowling. He even remembered that I had a green ball and his dad used an orange ball. So when he got up he got into his toys and gave me the green one and said "Mommy's turn" and would cheer for me when I "did it". I'm not even sure what kind of bowling we were doing, but he was having a blast. So I think we'll go back a couple more times.

Jumpin' Joeys- This is my little dudes favorite place! (Well one of them.) He just loves going to the bouncy house and bouncing around. The arcade is pretty freakin' cool for him as well. It can be hard to get him to leave once we're there. For just one child, this is pretty inexpensive and he can bounce around for as long as he'd like. This is great when we need to wear him out so he'll take a nap. 

Splash Pad- Oh my goodness! This is another one of our absolute favorite outdoor activities. We've gone quite a few times actually. He will run around like a crazy person playing in the water. He just loves water. Bath time is probably his favorite, so it makes sense that he would love the splash pad. We attempted to go to our pool at our apartment complex, but he's just too young and a little bit too crazy to take advantage of the pool. (I have a huge water fear, so it really stresses me out having him around the water.) So the splash pad is the perfect medium.

Parks- This kind of seems like a weird one to put on the list because it's the park. However, sometimes we can get so comfortable doing the same boring things, we forget to take advantage of some of our great parks we have around here. So far this summer we have been to at least 4 different parks in our area. He loves running around with other kids and always has a blast at the park, so I love taking him to different parks to play. Of course we have our favorite which we frequently visit, but going to different parks here and there can also be fun.
Library- So this is another strange one to have on the list, but like I said, sometimes we forget to take advantage of the simple, yet fun things we have to do around here. We've been to the library several times this summer. It's the perfect hangout when it's too hot to be outside and when C is getting to restless being stuck inside. We can check out new movies or books and let him play with other kids for however long he wants and he loves being there. 

Famers' Market- You would not believe the number of times I've planned to get to our local Farmers' Market only to have something come up. We finally did make it last Saturday and got an amazing haul of stuff. I actually plan to write a separate post dedicated to this, but it was a great time! We had fun walking around and C got some honey stick and blueberries that he really enjoyed eating. It was also nice being able to support out local farmers! (Shop local when you can!

I have several other things I have on my list that I'm determined to get done before the end of summer. Although, we're probably putting the zoo off for a cooler month. Not that it's been ridiculously hot this summer, we've actually had some amazing days, but we're also super busy with getting ready to move and my husband's finals coming up. So it's just more convenient to wait to go to the zoo. That's probably the one thing I'm looking forward to most though! Of course there are things we've done that I haven't put on my list as well. Sometimes we just like to do things spontaneously because sometimes, it's just more fun not to plan everything out. 

So tell me, do you have a list of things you want to get done during the summer? What about a bucket list? Tell me, what is something you've always wanted to do, but haven't yet? You should absolutely set a date and do whatever it is you want to do!