Upspring Baby Products Review

As a MommyCon Parent Squad member, I received the opportunity to try some of the Upspring Baby products made for breastfeeding moms. Jackson is 15 months old and still nurses pretty regularly throughout the day and sometimes during the night. Throughout our breastfeeding journey, we’ve (luckily) had very little bumps along the way. At one point, I had doubts about my milk supply. At another point, I learned (rather quickly) that my breasts don’t respond well to pumping. Recently, I started to doubt my milk supply again- so these products arrived just in time!

 

Vitamins

Upspring sent me prenatal vitamins that you continue to take while breastfeeding. With these gummy vitamins, there’s also a softgel filled with Omega 3, DHA/EPA, and choline. These vitamins are non GMO, gluten free and have no artificial ingredients. I’m really terrible at remembering to take my vitamins, but these are seriously SO good- that I look forward to eating them. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve tasted some horrible gummy vitamins before!) I was prepared to hate them but the Mango-Peach flavor is just right.

 

Powder Drink Mixes

I also received samples of their Milkflow Fenugreek + Blessed Thistle Powder Drink Mixes. I received the Orange, Berry and Chocolate flavors. Here’s how they affected my milk supply:

On day one, I just received my package and couldn’t wait to try one. I also received a shaker bottle to mix it up quickly and easily. I went for the Berry flavor- because I just don’t think you can go wrong with berry drinks. I honestly really liked it. It smells a little weird- you definitely can smell the fenugreek! But it’s sweetness of the drink masks the flavor of the herbs. Pretty good! I couldn’t see much of a difference yet, but I was sure it took more than one drink to pep up my supply. That first night, I could tell a difference in my milk supply. It really felt like I had more milk. Jackson wasn’t fussing at me as much as usual and wasn’t unlatching like crazy, like he had been.

Throughout the past few weeks, I added the drink mixes into my water. (Or milk- the chocolate mix uses milk instead of water.) I have really noticed the affect on my milk supply. It’s been awhile since I would leak from the opposite side he was nursing on- but it has started happening even in the middle of the day. My opinion? They work! The Berry flavor is totally my favorite of the three choices. (Which, is also the only flavor conveniently sold at my local Target!)

 

Coconut Oil

Also in this Upspring goodie box, was coconut oil. Not just any kind of coconut oil but 100% Pure Virgin Coconut oil. It’s USDA certified organic and is lanolin, petroleum, paraben, gluten, and GMO free! We replaced lotion after bath on Jackson with this stuff- and it’s amazing! He smells good and his skin is so much softer! It’s also helped his eczema! I’ve also used it a few times on my lips since they’ve been extremely dry- darn Ohio weather! There are so many uses for coconut oil and I’m finding new uses for it every day.

 


Upspring also included Breastmilk Alcohol testing strips and Nipple Balm. While I haven’t been able to use them, I still thought I’d give you some information on them as they are great additions to any mama’s breastfeeding supplies!

 

Nipple Balm

Nursing can be so tough on our nipples. I don’t know how I would have continued breastfeeding without nipple balm. I have not had the opportunity to use this specific nipple balm, but I would definitely keep it around if I need it in the future! 😉

This nipple balm is made with beeswax, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, shea butter, cocoa seed butter, calendula flower extract, and rosemary seed extract. All these ingredients are natural and 100% organic. No need to wipe off before nursing baby again!

You can also use the nipple balm as a lip balm, dry skin moisturizer, ointment for cuts and scraps, and so much more!

 

Breastmilk Alcohol Test Strips

While studies have shown that some alcohol consumption while breastfeeding is okay, some mothers don’t want to chance the slightest amount of alcohol in their breastmilk. Upspring created these handy test strips that take just a few drops of breastmilk. You can either drip a few drops onto the strip or dip the strip into a small container of breastmilk. Within 2 minutes, you’ll have a result of whether or not there is alcohol detected in your breastmilk. I have found these at my local Target store- and they’re available online.

 

 

All in all, I highly recommend all of these products from Upspring! A huge thank you to MommyCon and Upspring for sending me the package to review! My milk supply, my toddler, and I thank you!!! <3

 

 

 

*Please note: I did receive these goodies in order to conduct the review. No other compensation was made. My opinions are 100% my own.

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My Feeding Journeys + MiLK Conference Giveaway

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This week, #MomLifeMonday and #WinItWednesday are colliding! A huge thank you to MommyCon’s MiLK Conference for sponsoring this post and providing the tickets to giveaway!

*Before I became a mother, I had how my babies would be fed all planned. They would be breastfed for at least 6 months, until they started on solid foods. I would make their pureed baby foods and they wouldn’t eat “junk.” Little did I realize, babies don’t follow the plan.

 

Aubrey


Aubrey was our first baby, born when I was still a kid myself. I hadn’t been around breastfeeding much before becoming a mother. However, I figured it was something natural so it should work out just fine. I purchased nipple cream, a breast pump, breast pads, and a boppy pillow. I thought I was set and ready to go.

After Aubrey was born, we had a difficult start. She didn’t seem to be interested in nursing and her blood sugar was a little low. There was a point in time that she didn’t nurse for over 8 hours. After nursing again, they let us go home as long as we followed up with her doctor in a few days.

Breastfeeding was extremely painful for me. My nipples were raw. They were cracked and bleeding. I was putting Vitamin E on them plus the nipple cream. I distinctly remember, and it almost sends chills down my back now, crying when she would start crying in hunger. My poor baby wanted to eat but I didn’t want to feed her. I would cry and ask my husband, “what kind of mother doesn’t want to feed her baby?!” It was hard for us. And I decided to somehow, stick it out.

I started pumping in preparation to return to work. I had a cheap breast pump that I picked out at Target just because it went along with the bottles we picked. It did nothing for me. It would suck and suck but nothing would come out. I could nurse her just fine at this point with very little pain but I just couldn’t produce enough milk to store and to keep her satisfied. We fell into a rabbit hole and decided that we would start supplementing with formula.

The start of our formula journey was when she was 6 weeks old. I had that “plan” of just breastmilk until 6 months old so I felt a little guilty. At this point, she was half breastfed and half formula fed. Within two weeks, I was too overwhelmed as a mother at 18 years old. I needed life to be just a tad bit easier. And then she became 100% formula fed.

Looking back now- I feel like I had a strong lack of knowledge and support. I *could* have successfully nursed her until she was at least 6 months old. I *could* have nursed her until a year. I *could* have nursed her until she naturally weaned herself. Facebook Groups weren’t so much a thing when she was born and I was the first of my friends to have a baby. I had no idea what I was jumping into and thought that the most natural thing in the world would just come….. naturally. The super sore nipples could have been caused by a number of things. And I really wish I would have known to find a lactation consultant to help me ASAP. Aubrey was my first little guinea pig, if you will, on this whole being a mother thing.

 

Baileigh


Before Baileigh was born, I started doing more research on breastfeeding and how I could be more successful with the next baby. She was born 18 months after Aubrey so things were still fresh in my mind. I knew to start lathering my nipples up with cream even in the hospital. I knew that I wanted to get a freezer stash started and that I was going to have a much better pump as my sidekick. I had made all these “plans” again. Afterall, I had been there and done that. It just had to be easier the second time around, right???

Wrong. Baileigh and I had a pretty good nursing relationship from the start. She had an okay latch and it most definitely wasn’t as painful as it was with Aubrey. I had the same goal of exclusively breast milk for the first 6 months. I didn’t have to return to work as I had become a stay-at-home mom but I still wanted her to take a bottle. Three days after having her, I started pumping with a Medela manual pump. My goodness- I loved that pump. Baileigh took to the bottle so whenever we left the house, she would have a bottle of breastmilk so I wouldn’t have to nurse in public.

Here’s where I think I went wrong. I was so worried about my supply dropping like I felt like it did with Aubrey…. That I started taking a supplement to boost my milk supply. Fenugreek. I smelled like a pancake house and not in a good way. I had such a strong letdown that I started to almost choke her when she would nurse. I just had way too much milk! This little baby was only 4 weeks old and I could easily pump 10 ounces in a session. WOW, right?!

Baileigh then started having some belly issues. Well, more like spitting up issues. She had always spit-up just a little bit. But this was like, projectile vomiting. I specifically remember a middle of the night feed and I thought her head was going to spin around like a horror movie. The amount that she vomited all over the bed was WAY more than I thought she could even have in her little body.

Baileigh also had some problems gaining weight. She was so tiny and petite. At the recommendation of our pediatricians, we started adding some cereal to her breatsmilk bottles. It helped to hold the milk into her belly, but just not enough for me to feel like she was nutritionally getting the milk she needed. Those pesky formula companies…. I had formula cans in my cabinet from the free samples they sent me. They won. I couldn’t see my baby not gaining weight anymore. And I couldn’t deal with all the spit-up anymore. I also was dealing with postpartum depression and I’m sure that wasn’t helping anything.

We quit breastmilk almost cold turkey at 6 weeks. At this point, I felt like a complete failure. How could so many mothers nurse their babies for so long yet I couldn’t seem to last more than 6 weeks?! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not “bashing” formula moms at all- but this wasn’t what I had planned for my babies. This wasn’t the healthiest option I saw for them and it just wasn’t what I had wanted.

 

Jackson


Jackson James- my little game changer. Before Jackson was even conceived, I found my support groups. Knowledge, power, support, confidence, and perseverance was what was going to get me to my goal for at least one of my babies. And with him, I even edited my goal to wanting to nurse him for one year.

When Jackson was born, we clicked right away. He was a boobie monster and loved mama’s milk. I decided to wait to really pump because being a stay-at-home mom, it wasn’t necessary for a bottle. There would be a minimal amount of times that I left him and it wasn’t going to be a for awhile anyways. It was just me and him- and that was A-OK for me.

Remember how I had hoped everything would just come naturally? I was waiting for a problem to occur: cracked nipples, bad latch, drop in supply. I was just waiting. Luckily, it didn’t happen in the beginning like it had with the girls. We were smooth sailing through our journey.

Months went by and he had only had breastmilk. My first *successfully* breastfed baby. I had support from family and friends. I nursed in public. I pumped when needed, and that was it. Everything was wonderful!

And then it wasn’t. Two things happened: Jackson’s weight gain seemed to have plateaued. And I needed to pump to leave him… And my boobs decided they weren’t going to cooperate anymore. I was worried that my supply had finally dropped. I was worried that Jackson wasn’t actually getting what he needed from me anymore. I tried lactation cookies, I tried increasing my water intake, I tried fenugreek again. Nothing seemed to be working. I even tried an electric pump and that got out less than my manual! I was so frustrated.

I had family pressuring me to try formula, so I did. After all, formula companies sent me formula while I was pregnant. Wouldn’t you know that a baby at 8/9 months old wouldn’t drink formula after only having breastmilk as their milk source? Yeah- I figured that too. Lucky for me, I have some amazing friends that knew my goal and knew my struggle. I now have an amazing supply of frozen donor milk in my deep freezer for when we need it. My supply has come back enough that I don’t wonder if I’m making enough.

We are just under a month away from his first birthday. I will have nursed my baby, with a little help from donor milk and a splash of formula, for one full year. I made my goal of 6 months of just breastmilk. I know there are many women that nurse for years and years and multiple babies. And compared to them- my story seems dull and silly. But it’s a part of my motherhood journey. And accomplishing this year makes me feel, well, kind of badass. My body has successfully nourished another human being though 9 months of pregnancy and almost 12 months earthside. <3

 

 

 

MiLK Conference

The second annual MiLK Conference will be held in Costa Mesa, CA November 11-12. It will be MommyCon’s final event in 2016. MiLK is an infant feeding conference for parents and parenting professional. It’s set-up to provide not only nutritional information, but support and an educational platform for the health of children. Want to go? There’s one of two ways from here- you can purchase your tickets using my promo code FLUFFBUM16 for $5 your ticket price OR you can enter to win the rafflecoptor below and win a pair of 2-day tickets! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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How I Hoped to Be and Kissing That GOODBYE

As a child and growing up, I had always imagined myself as the mom that was always baking, being crafty, and just being that perfect mom. Since becoming a mother almost 4 years ago, I’ve learned to kiss that hope goodbye.

I love to bake, yes. But I can not pull off half of the creative cupcakes and cakes on Pinterest. Heck, I want to make Christmas cookies every year. And guess what day passes every year without a single cookie being made. Yep. You’re welcome Santa for those Oreos or those cookies that my mom gave us. Fail.

My kids get awesome birthday parties, but all of my paper plates are in solid colors from the dollar section at Walmart. As for my decorations, thank you Amazon! The past few times, I’ve even made the cupcakes from a box (gasp!), instead of homemade. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I get pretty cupcake liners, frost with my piping bag and cool tip, and maybe add some sprinkles or something. Is this how I had always envisioned my children’s birthdays? Nope. But it’s the way it turns out and they’re still perfectly happy and don’t know the difference.

I love seeing crafty, homemade decorations for parties and bedrooms, but when it comes to actually gluing something together, my hands and brain don’t communicate and it turns out like a big glob of a mess.I almost feel like Pinterest was created to put a damper on moms and their feelings on their own abilities. I won’t lie when I say it bums me out to see all the pretty DIY projects because I’d LOVE that in my house. But if you’ve seen me DIY, then you’d understand why I don’t do it. And I don’t want (nor do I need) to decrease my self-esteem over a stupid home decor item that I can just pay for at Pier1 or World Market.

I love seeing all the cute finger paints and projects for two year olds, but then I realize who has to pick up the large mess on the floors, walls, tables, chairs, and kids. No thank you. I have done finger paints one time. And after that, my house looked like a Smurf blew up all over it and my kids. That was the longest clean up ever. Lesson learned, be prepared and do it outside. I have also learned that Play Do is awful. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT request it for your child’s birthday, Christmas, whatever. It sticks to everything, it crumbles, it just sucks.

I’ve learned that I am not Suzy Homemaker. My house is not perfectly clean, ever. I could not pull off the beautiful dinner parties with little name plates and pretty China- you’d get paper plates, sit where I told ya, and probably pizza or BBQ because I wasn’t cooking. That’s me! And that’s okay. This blog is not filled with DIY, recipes, party planning, or whatever else you find on other blogs. It’s just not me. I’m the mom watching Disney movies and making microwave popcorn instead of finger painting. I’m the mom that finds things to do at home rather than go to the zoo during the week. I’m the mom that I am and I’m learning to accept it or change it. And right now, I’m going to accept it and spend the time with my kids at this age. When they’re in school, maybe I will bake every day. Maybe we’ll do cool crafts or maybe I’ll take up a crafting hobby and not spend my money on the stuff I can just buy instead. Who knows?! But right now, I’m just going to be me. 🙂

 

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Buttons Cloth Diapers

When I started cloth diapering Bai, we used pockets. Then I ventured into some prefolds and then finally discovered all in ones. To me, they were easy- no stuffing, no folding, just all right there and good to go. Then I found Buttons Cloth Diapers.

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Buttons diapers are very “wallet friendly” when you’re starting cloth. Because of their system, you need a very small amount of covers to start out- like when using prefolds and covers. The only difference is no folding, no stuffing, its all right there! This diaper “system” uses snaps to hold the insert in place. It’s simple. One snap in the back, one snap in the front, and you’ve got yourself an absorbent diaper!

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This diaper is a one-size diaper and is marketed to fit babies between 9 and 35 pounds. There are two different sizes of inserts- small will fit between 9 and 20 pounds and large will fit between 20 and 35 pounds. The inserts are made of microfiber but have a soft fleece top so it’s safe against baby’s skin. The daytime inserts are very trim and fit nicely inside the diaper. The overnight doubler is thicker, adds a lot more layers, and makes the diaper less trim but SUPER absorbent!!

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If you’ve read any of my other cloth diaper reviews, you’d know we don’t end up trying many of the diapers overnight simply because they just won’t work. Baileigh is a super duper heavy wetter and can pee out of anything so it’s very difficult to find one that will work. Well ladies and gentlemen, this is one diaper that DOES work! The first night we tested it, I couldn’t believe it worked! I was literally in awe. I felt like that couldn’t have been right so I made that day diaper laundry day so I could put her in it the next night. And sure enough, no leaks that night either! So I HIGHLY recommend Buttons Diapers!!

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What makes these incredibly affordable? You can use one cover for on average 3 diaper changes. As long as your cover didn’t have to keep in a poop explosion, you should be able to just wipe it clean, stick in a new insert, and you’re good to go! A full “stash” can be made up of 8-10 covers, 18-24 inserts, and 2-3 overnight doublers! Check out Buttons Diapers HERE and see their prices for each item individually but also take a look at their packs!! 🙂

Interested in trying out Buttons Cloth Diapers? Enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate to use online using the Rafflecoptor below!! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Meal Planning

Once upon a time, I started planning my family’s meals every week. We started saving money at the grocery store from not buying extras and there was no questioning what was for dinner because it was listed on the fridge. For some odd reason, I just stopped doing it. I found we were starting to waste food, spent more money at the grocery store, and we would eat late at night. On a mission to eat better, go to sleep earlier, and save money, we I decided to start meal planning again! Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday

  • Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Toast & Yogurt
  • Lunch: PB&J with Carrots
  • Dinner: Hamburger Soup from The Pioneer Woman

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal
  • Lunch: Leftover Soup
  • Dinner: Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce (also The Pioneer Woman), Baked Potatoes & Salad

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Sausage Sandwich and Bananas
  • Lunch: PB&J with Grapes
  • Dinner: Roast, Potatoes & Carrots in the Crockpot

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Eggs, Toast, and Apples
  • Lunch: Mac n Cheese with Peas
  • Dinner: Lasagna, Garlic Bread, & Salad

Friday

  • Breakfast: Pancakes and Yogurt
  • Lunch: PB&J with Celery
  • Dinner: Sausage, Potato, & Kale Soup (The Pioneer Woman) with French Bread

The weekend is usually our free days. We never really know what we’re going to be doing or if we’re even going to be home. So I usually make sure we at least have the essentials in our house for weekend meals. And some weekends, we find ourselves at a family member’s house or out running errands so it’s easier to pick up dinner. We also do our weekly grocery shopping on Sunday, so we typically decide that day what we want to eat that evening. This has really worked for us as far as eating better and saving money!

Do you plan out your meals weekly?

 

 

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Our Cloth Diaper Wash Routine

Cloth Diapers can be complicated, but I believe it’s only as complicated as you make them! I will totally admit that I was super overwhelmed when we decided to make the switch from disposables. There was so much information to read, to take in, and to just learn. A lot of things are just trial and error and you can’t really read enough to just figure that stuff out. You don’t know what inserts you’ll like, what type of diaper will work for you, what cloth diaper wash routine will work, so on and so forth. Some people make the wash routine complicated. Me… I make it as simple as can be:

  • Warm Rinse, no detergent.
  • Heavy Duty Wash, with detergent
  • Cold Rinse and Spin

And then you’re done! Bahda-bing. Bahda-boom. I throw everything in the dryer with wool dryer balls for 20 minutes, take out the covers and AIO diapers, and then finish drying the inserts, prefolds, and cloth wipes. The detergent needs to be what works for you. In our house, we use Gain. We’ve tried cloth diaper detergent and it didn’t take out our ammonia issues. We tried ALL free and clear, also didn’t take out our ammonia issues. We switched to Gain and have had no problems. It canceled out the warranty in our bumGenius diapers, but most of them were bought used anyways. We use a small amount of bleach about once a month to really clean them and use RLR Laundry Treatment as needed. The dirty diapers are in a hanging “rubbish bag” that was bought from Alva Baby. I spray off any poopy diapers and then just throw them in the bag. I usually wash every other to every two days. It honestly depends on the stink from the bag, how many diapers have been used, and if I really want her to wear a diaper that day that was in the bag dirty. I have so many things going on that I just can’t handle complicated.

So tell me, what’s your wash routine with your cloth diapers? And what detergent have you found works in your house??

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bumGenius Obsession

It has finally hit me. I have become addicted to not only cloth diapers… but bumGenius cloth diapers! I have had a few of their Flip diapers for awhile and I really liked using them with my prefolds or a fitted diaper for nighttime. When a few of the newer limited edition prints came out, I decided to venture into bumGenius and see what all the fuss was about. I had mainly only used China Cheapie diapers up to that point so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I bought one of each diaper: 4.0, Elemental, and Freetime. I decided this would be the best thing for me to see what bumGenius was about and decide what I liked and if I’d continue buying. Oh My. Gosh.

I had no idea that this would turn into a buying frenzy. I starting stalking any and all bumGenius buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. I was stalking Cotton Babies and my new favorite cloth diapering store, The Green Nursery. Pretty soon, I had about 2 4.0 pocket diapers, 2 Elemental diapers, a few more Flips, and 3 Freetimes. If only I had known that I would fall in love with Freetimes…. In one week (maybe two), I purchased enough used and new Freetimes to wash them every other day. I practically have an all new stash! And I can not even be sorry. I love the convenience of not having to stuff pocket diapers. It takes me 2 seconds to put them on and I know they are diapers that will last through multiple children. I’ve also noticed that bumGenius diapers hold their value better than China Cheapies. You will find that people will pay $3ppd for a used Alva but a used 4.0 diaper may sell for $14ppd. That’s only $3 under what you paid for it in both cases but you may have a lot more use out of that bumGenius diaper.

In short, I am happy that I’ve found a brand that I am happy to stand behind. Don’t get me wrong- I do love a good deal. I’m happy paying $5 for a diaper. But in that case, I’m not supporting my surrounding economy. BY buying from an American company, I’m helping pay Americans and helping them put food on their tables. That’s a reason why I like to support WAHMs when I can. I love knowing that I am actually helping someone in the states, some family that may be struggling, just by buying their product. Do I love paying $20 per diaper? Oh heck no. But I’m getting something better quality, USA made, and I’ll still be saving money in the long run since I’m not buying paper diapers.

carroll diaper

Baileigh in her Carroll diaper. Adorable!!!! 🙂

 

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BB-Cloth Diaper Review

BB-Cloth makes one-size pocket cloth diapers in a variety of fun prints, solids, and football team logos! They’re affordable and adorable. So what more could you really need?!

A little bit of background of BB-Cloth: This company was created November 1, 2013 after noticing the lack of football team cloth diapers on the market printed on PUL fabric. The company has since taken requests for new teams and other prints. Each design is their own and is made in a limited quantity.

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Chevron is super popular in our house so this diaper is more than just a pretty design! This diaper also came with a bamboo blend insert. Their insert worked so well that I didn’t have to double up on inserts like I usually have to do with any other diapers. This made the diaper super trim and not bulky. I was very surprised that the one insert worked so well for Baileigh! I usually have a horrible time with new diapers because she’s a heavy wetter and it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out how much pee that particular diaper will hold and if it can withstand a long car ride or her 2 hour naptime.

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I was very impressed with this diaper. It is similar to an Alva diaper, but with higher quality. Since it does compare to an Alva, you could also use it as a newborn diaper folded like this.

BB-Cloth also has a variety of fun prints that have JUST been released! And aren’t they adorable???

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Want to win a BB-Cloth diaper for your baby? Enter in the Rafflecoptor below!! 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Please Note: I received this BB-Cloth diaper for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

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A Big NO NO in Colder Weather!!

no coats in car seats

Just a friendly reminder: please DO NOT keep a puffy winter coat on your baby/toddler/child when putting them in a car. It is so unsafe and could cause harm if in a car crash. A few good alternatives are:

  • blanket in the car
  • allow the car to warm up before bringing baby out there
  • a light weight sweatshirt or fleece jacket
  • strapping baby in the car and then putting the coat on backwards

We have a special balnket in the car for the girls and they wear light, zip up sweatshirts. We put their heavy coats on to transport them from the house to the car, the car to the store, the car to the house, etc. but they are always taken off before strapping them into their car seat. Safety first!!

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Toddlers love Juice… Mommy DOESN’T!

Most toddlers start out with 1/2 their sippy cup of juice and then the other 1/2 is water. Mix the water and juice together and you’re giving the toddler more of something to drink with less sugar. Wrong. Juice is like toddler crack. At least in our house it is. And that is exactly why we cut it out of our children’s diet.

Some of you may be thinking, “Why would you cut out juice?” “Juice isn’t harmful.” “Juice is not full of sugar.” or even, “100% Juice only is just fine!” Nope. Nope and nope. I would only buy 100% juice for my kids with no added sugar. I thought that even 1/4 of their sippy cup mixed with 3/4 cup of water would be just fine. Nope. I lived. And I sure as heck learned!My kids only wanted juice. They would refuse milk, water, everything that wasn’t juice. They were addicted. I finally got them to break the habit by switching to milk only in the mornings and after nap time (when their dad was home) they could have juice. It was like day and night. They were calm and good listeners in the morning and then someone flipped the switch after nap time. It was the juice. Even though they didn’t have much of it, that small amount of “natural” sugar got to them. They were bouncing off the walls. It wasn’t until my husband really noticed a difference one weekend that we just stopped buying it. And I’m so happy we did!

Aubrey REFUSES to drink water. Plain water is just “YUCK” in her words. This means if she wants something to drink, her go to is milk. Milk is good for you so its not a huge bad thing… but too much of anything can be bad for you. Right now, we’re figuring out how to make our own flavored water. I looked at MIO but there’s so many ingredients in it that’s just not good for you. I might as well be giving them juice! I am looking at a special pitcher that has a place for fresh fruit and it will diffuse into the water. We’re also looking at adding essential oils and stevia to a pitcher every few days to also make a flavored type of water. This is just one more thing we did to become more “natural” parents!

Something I would like to point out: I am not depriving my children of fruit juice. If we go to a relative’s house and they offer my kids juice, that’s fine. We just prefer juice to be in moderation. We had also made the decision months ago to not buy juice boxes. After seeing pictures of the Capri Suns with mold in them, we decided to not take that chance. Juice boxes are expensive anyways!! If we do offer juice in the future, it will be homemade, raw juice from an awesome juicer. We just meed to purchase one first!

Mommas that also don’t do juice, what kind of drinks do your little ones drink regularly? Any tips to help me get Aubrey to drink plain water?

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Our Elf on the Shelf Today

I have been taking pictures of our elf, Lily, to show you some of our fun ideas. I wanted to wait until closer to the end of the season to share them all, but I loved today’s set-up!! Lily brought the girls one of those indoor snowball fight sets. As soon as the girls saw it, they were so excited and so thankful. Aubrey just kept saying, “Oh, thank you Lily!! Thank you sooo much!!” How cute is that?!

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The girls have been playing with the “snowballs” all morning. They’re SO fun!! If you want to buy these for your little ones, click the link below! 🙂 These are perfect all winter long, not just around Christmas time!!

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Reusable Snack Bags from ReUseIt

If you’re a crunchy mama, you’re probably looking at new things to try all the time that will help reduce waste in your home, save money, or will eliminate chemicals in your life. We switched to reusable baggies to mostly save money. Yes, plastic sandwich bags don’t cost a whole lot. But that price eventually adds up. Currently, my husband uses between 15 and 20 sandwich/snack baggies per week. When my kids start school, they’ll be doubling or tripling that number. I would have to buy a new box of bags every two weeks or so. And that’s ridiculous if you ask me. So after some discussion, we decided that reusable snack and sandwich bags would be the best option for our family… especially if we decide to expand our family at some point in the future. So I went to ReUseIt and looked at the different options. They have a ton of different options for a waste-free lunch. They have lunch boxes, lunch bags, snack and sandwich bags, food containers, bento boxes, napkins, utensils, cold packs and more. There are so many “steps” you can take to reduce the cost of packing lunches in your home. And ReUseIt is a great place to start. They have all these different options in a bunch of different brands. Here are the ones I chose to review:

itzy ritzy lunch bags planet wise lunch bag

I tried the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Mini Reusable Snack Bags (2 Pack), the Itzy Ritzy Snack Happens Reusable Snack Bag (not pictured), and the Planet Wise Reusable Sandwich Bag with Zipper. These a GREAT, QUALITY, bags. I like these bags because they come in a variety of fun prints, making it more difficult for a child to forget about them on the lunch table or accidentally throw them away. That makes these bags perfect for a kid-friendly, waste-free lunch! The zippers make it super easy for any age to open and close them without a hassle. No more pinching the ends of a plastic baggie to *hopefully* close them and pray for no leaks! These bags are leak free! I wouldn’t recommend putting an actual liquid snack or food in them… Let’s be honest here! But you can put in some fresh fruit or fresh veggies without any issues! 🙂

Are you interested in winning the ones that I received for this review?? Click HERE for a chance to win these awesome reusable bags AND a Glow Bug Cloth Diaper!!! 🙂

Please Note: I received the reusable bags mentioned from ReUseIt for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

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Glow Bug Cloth Diaper Review & Giveaway Announcement!!

Glow Bug cloth diapers are made in China and the company is based in Canada. They are a great option if you are wanting to build a stash quickly because their diapers ONLY come in packages of 12. They do occasionally have Mini Bundles with only 4 diapers. I have found that if you are apart of a co-op, you may be able to find a group that offers them. And B/S/T groups are always a great option to find a single diaper to try before buying an entire package. Glow Bug diapers are one size pockets. They each come with two microfiber inserts that snap together and snap into the front of the pocket. The pocket is a little different because it opens at both the front AND the back. This makes stuffing the diaper a little bit easier! What really sets these diapers apart from others is the 360 degree gussets! Baileigh usually has solid poops so this doesn’t really do anything special for us. However, I believe this would be an AWESOME feature for those early, exclusively breastfed poops!!

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I really like how different these diapers are. You’re not going to find a diaper similar to these and that’s really important in the cloth diapering world. These days, this diaper relates to that diaper and none of them are really unique. I don’t love every design that these diapers come in and the packages only option isn’t so buyer friendly. When you do divide the price between the items in the package, it’s an awesome deal. But you need to have that $150 to spend at that one time.

These diapers do hold a lot of pee and I believe that is greatly due to having two inserts. I have found these to be great during naptime, long car rides, running errands, etc. I also believe that this diaper would work just fine for a light wetter overnight. Here’s Bai with her classic pose for showing off her diaper:

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And now it’s time… GIVEAWAY ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

Click HERE to be taken to the Christmas Giveaway page for a chance to win a Glow Bug diaper!! 🙂

Please Note: I received this Glow Bug diaper for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

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Love with Food- A Monthly Subscription Box Review

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Love with Food is one of the many monthly subscription boxes that can introduce you to new foods conveniently. You can sign up for a specific plan that fits your needs. You can sign up for one month (1 box) or you can sign up for multiple months. (6 months/6 boxes, 12 months/12 boxes, etc.) I received the November box and this is what was in it:

  • Kukuruza Tuxedo Popcorn
  • Green & Black’s Organic Dark 70% Chocolate
  • Laura Secord Maple Fudge
  • Mighty Leaf Ginger Twist Tea
  • Eat Natural Almond, Apricot, and Yoghurt Bar
  • Dancing Deer Baking Co Rosemary Sea Salt Shortbread
  • Sensible Foods Sweet Corn Crunch
  • Arora Creations Indian Spice
  • Popchips Sweet Potato Chips

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And I def found a new favorite snack!! The Tuxedo popcorn was AMAZING and I absolutely loved the Sweet Potato Chips!! There was a great variety and I have been thinking about getting another box! If you REALLY like something, you can also purchase that item from their website. It really is a neat program. Even better? For every box they send, they donate a meal to a hungry child. So not only are you getting new and different snacks in the mail, you’re helping a good cause! Here’s How It Works direct from their website:

lwfI was very impressed with this box. I shared almost everything with the kids and hubby so I could see exactly how “family friendly” this box was. The kids enjoyed most of the different foods and hubby didn’t have a single complaint! Now, that’s pretty good! I highly recommended trying them. After all, who doesn’t love a little goodie in the mail?? 🙂

 

Please Note: I received this Love With Food box for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. The opinions are my own and they are 100% honest.

 

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Smart Mom Jewelry Review

I included this item in my last giveaway: The Thanksgiving Celebration Giveaway but was working on switching over the web host and changing a few things behind the scenes to better the blog. This delayed a lot of my product reviews so I’m finally catching back up! I had never heard of Mommy Teething Jewelry when my girls where actually teething. Baileigh still loves to chew on things so I figured I could get away with getting one and using it while baby wearing to keep her occupied a little bit longer. And I am so happy I did! I received this necklace:

teething necklace

It is a pendent necklace in the color jade. You can find more colors HERE. I love the fact that these don’t really look like a teething toy for a baby. These actually look like a necklace that any woman would buy. It’s just a plus that your baby can play with it and chew on it! Teething Bling is made with medical-grade, food-safe silicone. This makes it completely safe for your baby to put their mouths all over it, like they want to! This brand is FDA approved and goes through all kinds of testing to be certified in the US and Europe. They are the original teething jewelry makers.

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These are pictures with my nephew, Aaron. He loved the necklace!!

Baileigh loves to put things in her mouth even at 18 months old. She is still getting a few teeth so I think that does have a lot to do with it. I started wearing this necklace regularly when we would leave the house and if she would get fussy at the grocery store, I’d just lean over a little while she was in the cart and let her grab it and chew. I would be in a weird position, leaned over the cart, but it made her happy and it was easy to keep her calm. Sometimes, while babywearing, she gets a little antsy because she just wants to explore. Wearing this necklace has helped me keep her in the carry a little bit longer! That really has helped while out and about at different family functions, running errands, or a trip top the zoo. I think any mom that baby wears should have at least one mommy teething necklace. I loved this color especially because It really adds a small pop of color without being overwhelming to any outfit. You can certainly dress it down or dress it up. Thats also another positive thing for this particular type and style of necklace. It can be a fun casual piece of jewelery or, with the right outfit, it could look a little more dressed up.

So tell me: Do you have a Mommy Teething Necklace or Bracelet? And what do you think about it? Does your little one like it??

Please Note: I received this necklace from Smart Mom Jewelry for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was made. All opinions are my own and 100% honest!!

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