Monday, March 2, 2015

Wet Bags Galore! (WAHM Review + Giveaway)

Who doesn't love wet bags?  It seems like we can never have enough.  Especially now that we are using more reusable items.  

We originally had 3 travel size wet bags for our cloth diapers that we used in the diaper bag.  Plus two hanging wet bags for our bathroom and two pail liners.  I was putting my facial rounds and nursing pads in with my diapers but thought it might be nice to have something smaller.

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
I received free product in exchange for an open & honest review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are my own.
  
Kara, after having her bundle of joy, discovered that there wasn't a lot of baby stuff out there to her liking.  So, instead of settling for something sub par, she decided to venture out and start making her own items.  With a love of crafting that she inherited from her great aunt, Kara went to work and made the bedding for her daughter's crib.  After some encouragement from people in her life, Kara decided to start selling the stuff she was making - a perfect opportunity to make some extra income while staying home with her baby girl (Birdie)!

Here is a pic of her and her beautiful family:


Absolutely adorable family aren't they?

This is the package I received from Kara:


wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
I was instantly in love with the colors when I opened the tissue paper!  And overjoyed to see a note - I love those personal touches!
Kara sent me two wet bags and two sets of nursing pads (new to the shop).  We hadn't actually discussed what she was going to send, so when I opened this I was super excited.  I needed small wet bags and at least another set of nursing pads!  She has no idea how perfect this was!  :)


wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
Cute flannel prints!  I absolutely love the monkeys - they are so cute!  (Even if no one will be seeing them....)

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
And the back is organic bamboo (love!) with a waterproof layer between.
These nursing pads are "light absorbency" and they worked splendidly for me throughout the day.  I could easily go the entire day without having to change them and they are oh-so-soft against my skin...which is a serious plus when it comes to reusable nursing pads!  I did try them overnight a few times.  On a normal night for me, they worked pretty well...I would say medium leakage.  But on a night were Aelah decided to sleep for an extra long stretch, they didn't quite make the cut.  But that's okay - because Kara also has heavier absorbency nursing pads!  I guarantee the heavier pads would work out great for the first few weeks of nursing and for overnight since the light absorbency pads almost did the trick!

The best part??  These nursing pads are wonderfully affordable, especially for the quality!  Each set is just $3!!  Given that she uses organic bamboo and they stay soft and work well...that price is extremely reasonable!!

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
I love, love, love bright colors so these wet bags are right up my alley!  Each is pictured with a nursing pad in the 2nd pic to give you an idea of size.
wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
These are made with two separate layers (instead of one) so there is less leakage (if any at all...)
The small wet bag is the one intended for use with her nursing pads.  It fits well in any purse or diaper bag.  And is super cute!  I actually use the smaller one for my reusable facial rounds in my bathroom (as seen in the pic below) and I threw the medium size wet bag in my diaper bag for nursing pads, burp cloths, and anything else that I don't want to throw in with dirty diapers.  ;)

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
It fits so well in my bathroom!

Kara has some other amazingly adorable items in her Etsy shop as well:

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
Car Seat Covers (photo courtesy of Birdies Bubble)
  
wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
My personal favorite - Toddler Tailgating Chairs!! (photo courtesy of Birdies Bubble)

wet bag, cloth diapering, reusable nursing pads, giveaway, review, wahm
Here is one in action!  Isn't Birdie adorable??

Kara's customer service was some of the best I have come across.  She has been so sweet from day 1!  She even gave me some great insight on dealing with colic....which has nothing to do with all of this.  hehe.

Be sure to follow Birdies Bubble on Facebook and add her to your favorites on Etsy.




So two awesome things.

1. Kara is offering not one, but TWO awesome discount codes (Expire March 31st):

  • One for free shipping: LTB31FS
  • If you purchase a Med. wet bag and two sets of nursing pads, use code LTB31 and you will get another two sets of nursing pads FREE! (Talk about a great gift idea....)
2. She has also decided to offer a GIVEAWAY! (Ends March 15)

There is a picture of a small wet bag and a set of nursing pads on the Birdies Bubble Facebook Page.  You must do 3 things to qualify for this giveaway:
  • Like Birdies Bubble
  • Comment on the picture with the code LTB31
  • Come back here leaving a comment telling me you did so
While you are on the Birdies Bubble page, tell Kara thank you for the discounts and giveaway and congratulate her on Baby #2!  She is expecting again!  (This is not required for the giveaway....just a nice gesture)

Let me know in the comments - what would you use these wet bags for?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aelah Grace: 4 Months

Hi there everybody!
So little Miss Aelah actually turned 4 months one week ago.  But I wanted to wait for her check up to get her weight and height! I know I say this every single time but she is growing way too fast.  Thankfully, now that we have adjusted *somewhat* to having a baby and the holidays are behind us, things have seemed to slow down just a little.  The first 3 months literally flew by like a whirlwind.  But the last month has been a little slower.  It has been nice.


And I looooooove looking at the world upside down!

How am I Growing?

Well, our height seems to have slowed down for the time being.  She is 26ish inches long which puts her in the 98th percentile, which is still crazy!  But we were literally off the chart last time!  Her weight, on the other hand is climbing the charts, she is in the 78th percentile for weight at 15 lbs and 9oz and we used to be pretty average running between the 50th and 56th percentile.  I think all that is weight is in her chubby little thighs.  :P

And just a few days before she turned 4 months we moved into her 6-9 month clothes!!  She is just too long.  ;)

First day in her new wardrobe.
What's New?

She has become extremely aware of her surroundings.  She reaches for everything and plays with all of her toys (her favorite of which, is this awesome crinkle paper).  She discovered if she kicks the pole on her play mat that the toys move.  It is so neat to watch her process and try to do things.  She concentrates SO hard.  We can't help but giggle when she gets a little frustrated and her face gets red with effort. 

Laughing still isn't a regular thing but she laughs for real every once in awhile.  It melts my heart every single time.

She rolled from her belly to her back a couple of times.  Though I know its a fluke because she hates being stuck on her belly and can't figure out how to roll to her back.  She tries though!

And she is so much more jumpy now.  And if she is really scared her lip sticks waaaaaay out and then she starts to cry.  It is so cute and so sad.

How are we sleeping?

She sleeps just like her daddy - hands behind her head and elbows straight out.  Hopefully she breaks this habit before she has to share a bed with anyone.  :P

She sleeps better than I do.  But then, I've never really slept super well.  She has "regressed" a little bit...which is typical around 4 months.  But really it isn't regressing, she is developing.  She just now started having actual sleep cycles and her bone development is taking off right now which means she is much hungrier than she used to be.  I could start giving her cereal or rice at this point, and the doctor even recommended it today, but we decided before she was born that we would exclusively breastfeed until 6 months.  

There is some research that seems to indicate that early foods can lead to stomach issues later on in life because babies have what is called an "open gut" until 6 months.  Essentially, from what I understand, this means that the stomach and digestive system is more permeable than what ours is so that nutrients from breastmilk can get to the blood stream more quickly.  I'm not 100% convinced that early food could have a negative effect later in life.  BUT, I struggled with some severe stomach issues during my college years and ended up being diagnosed with gastroparesis.  Most cases are caused by an auto-immune disorder or diabetes.  But I fell into the small percentage of cases in which they aren't sure why or how it started.  Because of what I went through, I don't want to risk anything that might lead to her having tummy troubles.  Especially if she is already prone to them genetically which could be the case since they don't know where my stomach problems started.  

Since I know she is getting everything she needs in breast milk, I can deal with getting up a couple of times a night to feed her until we are ready to give her solids...especially since I don't sleep well anyways.  I feel like it's a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things and the right choice for us.

So if you see me walking around like a zombie, just pat me on the back and remind me that 6 months isn't all that far away.

However...teeth will certainly become a factor soon and who knows what that will do to her sleep patterns.  :P

And one more cute picture just for the fun of it:

Because who doesn't love a baby ninja??  ;)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Wool Diapers: Not as Scary or Difficult as You Might Think (WAHM Review + Giveaway)

If you have been in the cloth diapering community for awhile, you have probably heard of wool covers.  To be honest, I was intimidated by wool.  It requires a different wash routine and I just wasn't sure it was worth it.  And was it really able to keep pee in?  It's just cloth - no water proof/resistant layer to be found....


Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
I received free product in exchange for an open & honest review.  No other compensation was exchanged.  All opinions are my own.

I approached Kim at Patsycake Baby to do a review of her Clover Diaper:


Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Super neat right?

But then she asked me if I could review a wool cover and fitted instead because it was harder to find people willing to do so.  I was really nervous but thought it might be a great chance to try something new.  So I told her that I'd never used wool and I had no idea what I was doing but that I would definitely be willing to give it a try if she would like.  And so we're here today!  :)

But let's back  track a little bit and let me tell you a little bit about Kim and her family.  They live on a small family farm....in San Diego!  I never, in a million years would have thought of a farm when thinking of San Diego.  Pretty neat.  Patsycake Baby is run from the dining room table each morning while her two children collect eggs, feed the animals, and eat veggies straight out of the garden (yum!).  Kim is a firm believer in supporting local and small business so that's where she gets all of her materials!   Now doesn't that all just do your heart good?  ;)

Precious!

Here is the super cute package that Kim sent:

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Simple but cute!  Love it!
And these are the treasures that awaited me:
Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
A Deluxe One Size Organic Sherpa Fitted Diaper

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
A Custom Wool Crochet Diaper Soaker Cover

So adorable, right?  I told Kim that we liked earth tones and all things natural and this is what she came up with!  I love it!

She automatically sent me instructions on how to care for my wool cover.  And I was extremely thankful - that was what I was most worried about!  Her blog has fantastic instructions for lanolizing and washing the cover.  It even includes pictures for each step.  You can find that post here.

It really is very easy.  If you have ever hand-washed anything you will be great at this!  And if you haven't hand-washed a single thing, Kim's instructions make this super simple.  In a nut shell, it goes like this: swish, rinse, swish, swish, soak, rinse, roll, and lay flat.  Just as easy as it sounds.  Yes, I'll have to refer back to the instructions the first few times, but it really is easy!

But why go through the extra steps?  Because you don't have to do it that often!!  If the wool is damp, you just let it dry between uses.  If it gets soiled, you wash it really quickly with a little bit of gentle soap.  And you only have to lanolize about once every other month!!  

The absorbency is so very worth.  This cover, along with the sherpa fitted have made it to our overnight collection.  And that is quite the accomplishment with my heavy wetting little lady.  We have been able to use this set about 8-10 times.  And it has only leaked twice, once when I didn't make sure that the fitted was tucked into the cover on her back.  And the second time, which was barely a leak, she slept extra long...about 14 hours. We usually only go 10-12 hours without a diaper change overnight.

Here they are in action:


Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Note the fold-down rise...that was also a first for us and another thing I love!

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Cute little bum!
  
And the other features that I really love:


Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
The fitted has an extra layer on the inside...which helps with absorbency and dry time!

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
The insert snaps in and is wide enough to cover the other snaps so that they never touch the baby!  And don't forget the softness of sherpa - definite plus! 

I am most definitely going to be getting myself some more fitteds and wool covers when the budget allows!!  Patsycake Baby has made me a big believer!

Check out some of the other awesome products that they carry:


Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Diaper Dust!  A safer, natural alternative to Baby Powder

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Organic Terry Bibs

Cloth Diaper, Wool, Natural Living, Organic, Reusable, Baby Gift, Baby, Patsycake Baby, Review, WAHM, Small Business
Birch Wood & Organic Cotton Teethers - we have one like this and it is one of Aelah's favorites!

Liking what you see?  Be sure to follow Patsycake Baby on your favorite social media:


Want to give wool a try?  Kim has graciously offered to host a giveaway!  One reader will win a crocheted wool cover!

Faith Through Generations, It Starts with Me : The Truth

This study almost brought me to tears.  For so many reasons.  I could blame it on hormones or the classical music playing in the background.  But, in reality, I know it was the Holy Spirit.  There are just some things that genuinely strike my heart more deeply than others.

Did you know that back before the printed word, history was passed down, primarily, through word of mouth?  It makes sense, but it definitely isn't something I pause to consider very often.  In fact, in Old Testament times, "oral tradition was the principal means of preserving national history" (Expositor's Commentary, emphasis added).

Psalm 78:5-8

5 For He established a testimony in Jacob
And appointed a law in Israel,
Which He commanded our fathers
That they should teach them to their children
6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
7 That they should put their confidence in God
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments,
8And not be like their fathers,
A stubborn and rebellious generation,
A generation that did not prepare its heart
And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

It is a beautiful passage of Scripture isn't it?  Our faith, the law, commands, and works of our God are to be passed down from generation to generation.  Why?  So that we would not be like our fathers (or ancestors) and be stubborn, rebellious. lacking a faithful spirit and a good heart.

Think about that for a second.  If we did this right.  If we taught our children the laws and commands, told them of the wondrous works of our Lord, and lived like we believed them all (with true faith) then the effects would be multiplying!!  

Our children would learn from us and their children from them and so on and so forth....

Each and everyone of them would be instilled with faithful spirit and righteous heart!  I pray every single day that I am able to instill these things in my daughter.  That when she grows older and has to make a choice between the world's way and God's way, that she won't even have to think twice.

As I read this passage, a lot of things came to mind....but the question that really got me thinking, the one that brought tears to my eyes was this: Am I capable of teaching my daughter the way she should go?  For Proverbs 22:6 states: Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Can I do that?  Only by God's strength and wisdom.  But how do I rely on that strength and wisdom, where do I find it?  His Word and Prayer.  They have to be a daily part of our lives.  Without them, we are lost.  And if we are lost, how do we show others the way?  

We should know the Lords laws & commands, as well as His wondrous miracles, so well that if we had to pass on this history orally we could do so without distorting or forgetting the truth. Our ancestors had no other choice.  They learned and memorized.  They didn't write the Word on a piece of paper, but on their hearts!

In order to train my daughter in the way she should go, I must write His Word on my heart.  I need to spend time in His word and in prayer daily.  Kids learn by what they see, not what they hear.  Setting the right example is key to teaching generations after me the way they should go.

It starts with me.





Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chicken Marsala Recipe & Garlic Press Review

We absolutely love to use fresh garlic!  It tastes so much better than the "minced garlic" you buy in a jar.  And it doesn't have all that added nastiness.  But I hate peeling and chopping it.  It is so hard to get the fine peel off of garlic, hard to chop it small enough for my liking, and it makes my hands stink!!

Because of that I am so glad I got the chance to review the Garlic Press & Peeler set from Alpha Grillers.  They are super easy to use!  And I don't have to touch the garlic near as much!  

Looks delightfully delicious doesn't it?

The packaging the set came in is super nice and high quality:

I loved the satin that the press was resting in.  I actually thought it might be a bag for storage...but it was not...

I didn't know what to expect for a garlic peeler....but it certainly wasn't this:

Food-Grade Silicon

The press is visibly high quality: 

Made from solid, high quality stainless steel that is highly resistant to rusting.

My favorite feature is that the "grate" piece pops out for easy cleaning!

Definitely a feature that doesn't come standard on every garlic press.

In order to show you how awesome this set really is, I decided to share one of our favorite recipes:

Looks delicious right?

First, you will want to gather up all of your ingredients:

I forgot that we had mushrooms when I took this pic....they are definitely a nice addition!

1. Pound chicken with a meat mallet.  Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and flour.  Shake off excess.

2. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a skillet.  Place chicken in and cook through.

The flour does not have to cover the chicken as you can see here...just a nice dusting....
3. Meanwhile, cook pasta.

4. While the chicken and pasta are cooking, heat oil in another skillet and add vegetables (we use a yellow/orange/red pepper, mushrooms, and garlic.  However, you can add whatever you really feel like here.  We have used carrots and onions in the past with success.

There are the mushrooms I forgot before...
Let's PAUSE her for a moment so I can show you how I used the garlic press and peeler.

Since this recipe called for minced/crushed garlic, it wasn't necessary to peel the cloves before placing them in the press.  BUT, I was anxious to give the peeler a try since I had never even heard of a garlic peeler before, let alone used one.

You simply place a whole clove, peel and all inside the tube.

Then roll it back and forth on the counter top with a bit of pressure.  The e-mail Alpha Grillers sends after your purchase says that it may take some practice.  

This is the result of my first attempt...

And this was after I got the hang of it....which really didn't take all that long.  No peels in sight!
It does make a little bit of a mess...but I'll take the mess over smelly hands any day!

After the garlic was peeled, the press was easy peasy:

You can press one clove at a time...
...or multiple.

And it turns out wonderfully either way...

Yum!

Okay....back to the recipe:

5. After the chicken is cooking, add thyme and Marsala to the skillet (we add Marsala depending on how many people are eating...a quarter to a half a cup for each person).  Cook for 30 seconds and then remove chicken:

We always stick the chicken in with the veggies for a bit...

6. Back to the Marsala...scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

7. Plate!  Pasta first, then veggies and chicken and pour sauce over top.  

8. Eat up!  Yummmmmmmmm!

**The garlic press and peeler were excellent tools for this dish and for any other recipe using garlic!!  They even send you an e-book with 50 recipes using crushed or sliced garlic!  It is wonderful!  You can get one here for under $20!**

Abbreviated Recipe:

Ingredients
  • 2 Med. Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Coconut Oil (olive or vegetable oil can be substituted)
  • 1 Medium Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
  • Sliced Mushrooms
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Hot cooked linguine, spaghetti, or angel hair
1. Pound chicken with a meat mallet.  Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and flour.  Shake off excess.

2. Heat a bit of coconut oil in a skillet.  Place chicken in and cook through.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta.

4. While the chicken and pasta are cooking, heat oil in another skillet and add vegetables (we use a yellow/orange/red pepper, mushrooms, and garlic.  However, you can add whatever you really feel like here.  We have used carrots and onions in the past with success)

5. After the chicken has finished cooking, add thyme and Marsala to the skillet (we add additional Marsala depending on how many people are eating...a quarter to a half a cup for each person).  Cook for 30 seconds and then remove chicken:

6. Back to the Marsala...scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

7. Plate!  Pasta first, then veggies and chicken and pour sauce over top.  

What is your favorite recipe to cook with garlic?