Monday, July 28, 2014

WAHM Review (+Giveaway): Sweet Bobbins


Sweet Bobbins is run by two moms, Angela and Rene, who live on opposite sides of the United States!  And another really neat thing?  They are able to employ a few other stay at home mom's who are looking for a little extra income, or as they put it, a couple of hours of adult conversation.  I love when a business you created to benefit your own children ends up benefiting the lives of other children as well!  They are really doing this work-at-home mom thing the right way!

After some discussion, they sent me 6 of each size of their wipes in gender neutral prints.  They are marvelous!  I have another set of wipes and they are just plain white.  The ones I registered on Amazon for are as well...though the stitching around the edge may be colorful.  These are SO much more fun that that!  I love them!  Part of me wonders how I'll ever be able to use these to wipe Baby Girl's bum.  lol.

Can't even pic a favorite they are ALL so cute!!  ;)

5 Stars!

Here is the size comparison of the smaller size and the bigger size, as well as a comparison of their size vs. Gro Via wipes:

6x8 size vs. 8x8 size

Sweet Bobbins wipe (green) vs. GroVia wipe (white)

The quality is fabulous.  You can really tell that they want their products to last.  The stitching is beautiful and very well done.  I love being able to SEE quality!  :)

Can you say stitching is gorgeous??

5 Stars

And they are SO soft!  Like unbelievably!  One side is flannel and the other side is OBV.  If you are like me, you don't know what that means.  haha.  I had to look it up.  It is Organic Bamboo Velour.  Which sounds amazing!  And as far I can find, OBV wipes are not made by any major retailer (please let me know if you know differently).  This is so unique!  And an attribute I LOVE!  Anything organic for baby is awesome!  And bamboo is much more absorbent then usual fibers such as flannel or terry cloth.  I have no hesitations about using these on Sprout's bottom at all.  They are so much softer and thicker than the GroVia brand.  Check out that soft, OBV backing:

Fluffy, organic wonderfulness!

5 very soft and fluffy stars!
As far as price point goes, it is really difficult.  Since there isn't a major brand that carries OBV wipes, there isn't really a fair comparison (for this reason, I am not going to give a star rating).  A set of 12 GroVia wipes is somewhere between $10 and $12, depending on the retailer.  A set of 12 small wipes from Sweet Bobbins usually runs $15 and a set of 4 larger wipes (comparable to GroVia) usually runs $6.  So, yes, they are more expensive.  But I'm going to say the cost difference is probably worth it since the material is organic and bamboo.

The customer service I received from Sweet Bobbins was great!  She was prompt and timely.  And so very personable.  I love dealing with people that actually seem human, right??  ;)

5 Stars

Overall, I am genuinely impressed with these wipes.  SUPER excited that they are organic bamboo and oh so soft.  These will probably be my go to wipes!

5 Stars for that awesome OBV.  ;)

Some of the other items at Sweet Bobbins include...

And SO much more!!  I just love all of their fun prints.  Definitely a super fun shop!

To Buy:  Head on over to the Sweet Bobbins Etsy shop.  They have even given readers of Learning to Be 31 a coupon code for 10% off any purchase of $5 or more!  Just use code "learningtobe31" at checkout.  Thanks Angela & Rene!  Plus, they are currently having a mid-summer sale with lots of fun discounts!

To Win:  One lucky reader will win a set of 12 wipes from Sweet Bobbins!  Enter via the Giveaway Tool below:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Soap Nuts Liquid Detergent


You all know, if you follow this blog at all, that I am becoming more and more crunchy by the minute.  ;)

And I just can't help it!  The more I learn, the more I fall in love with the benefits of less chemicals and synthetic...junk...for lack of a better term.  

In my discovery of cloth diapers, I have stumbled across a ton of awesome "crunchy" products.  Along the way I heard of these things called soap nuts.  Weird right?  Soap nuts.  I had heard they were really good for a natural detergent for cloth diapers but I just left it at that.  The little bits I had picked up along the way were that they were natural (and usually organic - yeah!) and good for sensitive skin (awesome) but that you had to keep the nuts, yes actual nuts, in a bag in your washer.  Of course, that sounds like a pain to me.  Wouldn't they be a pain to find every time you washed clothes?  And then they only work for 'x' amount of washes so you have to have a good idea of how many times you have used them...

Didn't sound like something I wanted to deal with when there are so many other great cloth diaper detergents out there that are more convenient.

And then I discovered that they make soap nuts liquid!  No wash bags.  No counting the number of loads  they have been through.  And still all of the awesome qualities of soap nuts!  
Right out of the box!
While we're on the subject, what exactly are those awesome qualities?  What makes Green Virgin Products Soap Nuts Liquid stand out?
  • The cleaning power is equal to, if not better than, that of the toxin-filled leading brands.
  • It is completely, 100%, eco-friendly.
  • Extremely hypo-allergenic and can be used by people who can't use any other detergent!  This is a huge plus for us as Hubby and I are both allergic to a few brands of detergent, plus, I want the best detergent for Baby Girl's sensitive newborn skin!
  • The soap is extracted from the soap nuts without any chemical processes, only water!
  • Since it is a liquid, they had to add a preservative (or it would only last a couple of days).  Instead of using a preservative with a Skin-Deep rating of 3 (which isn't bad when the scale goes from the least toxic being 0 and the most toxic being 10), they continued to research until they combined 2 ingredients for a Skin-Deep rating of 1!  (Sidenote - You really should check out the Skin-Deep website...it is completely changing the way I approach our health regime.)
  • BONUS - They actually put their Skin Deep rating ON the bottle!  If every company did that we might really think differently about the products we buy...just sayin'.  ;)
  • It cleans better than the actual soap nuts and they out-cleaned competitors soap nuts liquid by 300%!  Isn't that crazy awesome!?!
  • The pump pre-measures the detergent so you just put 2-3 pumps in the wash depending on the type of machine you have.  Love that I don't have to measure!  :)
  • Now this is really neat - it makes a fantastic window cleaner!  Just dilute 50 parts water to 1 part soap nuts liquid.  How awesome is that?!?  They also say it makes a great counter-top cleaner and you can use it to wash your car!
So how did I like it?

First of all, I absolutely LOVE how earthy it smells.  It makes me feel really good about washing my clothes knowing that I'm not adding any icky chemicals to our daily lives.  And that smell just reminds me that all-natural and organic is possible!!

It cleaned our regular clothes just as good as the detergent I make myself.  Which is nice.  I always like having something else on hand when I get low on my homemade stuff.  Because, let's face it, sometimes I just don't feel like making more.  ;)  And, unfortunately, my homemade detergent is not cloth diaper friendly so I need to find something else anyways.  And this just might fit the bill!


Hubbies work clothes are another story.  I don't have to wash them often since they use a uniform company that cleans them on a weekly basis.  However, sometimes he doesn't make it into the office on the day of drop-off so I have to do a load every now and then.  My detergent doesn't always get all of the dirt out (if I add oxy-clean it does...but I usually forget).  I took a couple pictures of the dirt that did not come out of the first wash I did with my homemade detergent:



Ick.  Super annoyed MY detergent didn't work.  :P

Then I washed them with Soap Nuts Liquid.  And this is what every single pair of pants looked like after one wash:


Ta Da!

Really great results I think!

My only complaint is that the packaging for shipment was not that amazing.  The box was marked "fragile" but still ended up looking like this:


This is after I opened it.  However, I just used a knife around the edges - didn't make it any worse...

And left a nice dent in my bottle of detergent:



While this didn't affect the product, it was still a little bit frustrating.

Over all - I highly recommend this product and I'm strongly considering it as our go-to cloth diaper detergent.  But that final consensus won't be in until I actually have to wash some dirty diapers.  ;)  

I'll be sure to share an update when that time comes!  :)

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bump Update: 28 Weeks - 3rd Trimester!!!

Can I just say that there are a million things to consider when having a baby??  lol.  Seriously though.  And what is super frustrating is that the more educated I become, the more choices and decisions present themselves.  I don't feel like I can make so many decisions in just the 3 months that we have left (less than that really).  But I am confident that all will work out well.  God is watching over all 3 of us and has our best interest at heart.  He is all we need.

Belly!!!

Can't believe how much she is growing!
Growing, growing, growing!  Just 4 weeks ago I was NOT this big.  hehe.  Can't wait to see 4 more weeks.....


This week, baby is the size of a: Either one of my apps is ahead or the other is behind because one said cauliflower last week and the other said cauliflower this week.  Hmmmm....

Next appointment: Just had an appointment today.  Now that we are in our 3rd trimester, we go every two weeks instead of four.  So only two more weeks until I hear the pitter-patter of that precious little heart!


Total Weight Gain/Loss:  Slowly but surely.  No concerns from the doc so all is good!


Exercise: Walking and painting for the most part.  And we've started my Bradley Method exercises...which are basically just tailoring things I already do, like sitting or bending over.  Hoping to have a post all about this soon so I won't go into too much detail here.  :)

Maternity Clothes:  I still have those lucky couple pair of shorts (stretch material) that fit.  But other than that - maternity it is.  I've even started wearing maternity tops just so they aren't too short.  :P  

Sleep: Going well.  The only thing I can complain about is that if I wake up, even for a half of a second, I have to go to the bathroom.  There is no "holding it" until I fall back asleep these days.  If I have to go, I have to go.  This makes for about 4 or 5 trips to the bathroom every night (if not more).  Fun!  But the good news is I don't seem to have any trouble falling back asleep so that's nice.

Food Cravings/Aversions: Nope.


Movement: Oh boy!  Depends on the day but yesterday was insane!  Pretty sure it was because of the sugar drink for my glucose test...but wow!  If I was sitting, she was moving...everywhere!

What I Miss: Being able to fall back asleep without having to get up and go.  ;)


What I'm Loving: Preparing Sprout's room. Now that the paint is on the walls I feel like it is her room now.  And I just got a few bags of clothes from a friend and LOVED going through all those little outfits.  Can't wait to get them taken care of in their proper spots.  :)      


What I'm Looking Forward To: Being able to share this little one's name with the world...which won't be until her Birthday, but I am so in love with our name choice.  It is beautiful - meaning and all!    


Best Moment This Week: Sitting and feeling her move during lunch yesterday.  It was so unreal how much she was moving and how much I could feel.  What a miracle!


Milestones: THIRD TRIMESTER!!!!  Need I say more??


Goals: Get caught up in our garden with weeding and fertilizing (organically of course).  Finish painting boards for the ceiling in our room and Baby Girl's room.  Touch up nursery trim.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Baby Stuff: Dear Baby Girl

Dear Baby Girl,

I realized recently, that I hadn't written since we found out you existed.  I had hoped to write so much more often but preparing for you has taken a bit more time than your Daddy and I ever anticipated. 

You have become the world to us.  Not a day goes by without talking about how you are doing.  Your Daddy loves to talk to you and he always feels to see if you are moving around.  Though you tend to be a bit picky about when that is.  The other night he kept talking and talking to you because he just wanted to feel a little nudge before we went to sleep.  But then you went and kicked him right in the face!  haha!  We figured you just wanted him to be quiet so you could sleep too.  :)

We both also worry about you all the time.  We want to be sure you are okay - but when we can't see you, sometimes that's hard.  Shortly after we found out about you, we had quite a big scare that something might be really wrong.  Obviously everything turned out alright, but there isn't a weird pain that goes by without me wondering if it might be an issue with you.  And anytime I say "ouch" or get sick, your Daddy instantly wants to know if it has to do with you.  But I know that God has you in His hands already, even before you were in my tummy.  So when I get a little anxious because I haven't felt you move almost all day or if I have some weird pain or symptom, I just start praying.  Worry isn't going to change a thing.  But prayer will.  Of that I am sure.

In just about 3 months we will meet you.  I can't believe it is so soon!  We want to be the best parents we can for you.  I keep praying that God will show me how to raise you to be a Godly woman who stands firm in her values and beliefs.  I'm already praying that someday you will find a man like your Daddy - someone who respects you, who treasures you, who makes you laugh...but most importantly, someone who has a foundation in Christ and will lead you as he should.  I pray that you will be a world-changer, that you will have a passion God has placed in your life that is unstoppable.


There are so many things I want to shield you from, so many things I wish you would never have to deal with.  But I know life won't always be a piece of cake for you, no matter what I do.  I just want you to know that your Daddy and I will always, always be here for you!  We will pick you up when you fall, dry the tears that escape, encourage you always, and pray for your continually.  You are never alone.  Not ever.




Love,

Mommy & Daddy

Monday, July 21, 2014

WAHM Review (+Giveaway): Pink Pixie Diapers


I am beyond excited to introduce you all to Tara from Pink Pixie Diapers and Savannah's Inspiration!  Working with her has been an immeasurably pleasant experience and I highly recommend her product.  But we'll get to that later.  Let's get to know her a little more:

Tara is a momma to four kiddos!  Her oldest is a girl, at 14.  Then two boys at 9 and 5.  And her youngest is also a girl - she just celebrated her 3rd birthday!

It seems that her youngest little one inspired Tara quite a bit.  After seeing quite a few adorable things, Tara put her crafty side to work and started making her own accessories! So many people loved them and wanted their own that her store, Savannah's Inspiration, was born.  And I love what she had to say about this business: "I have always tried to keep my costs down because being a mom of 4 I know that I don't have 20 bucks to spend on a headband."

The small clip is only $1.50 and the large is just $3.50.  And they are SO adorable!


This is one of my favorite items from her shop!  Definitely on my list of things to get for Baby Girl!  ;)  And at only $4, you just can't beat the adorable factor!

Again, after her youngest, Tara tried her hand at making cloth diapers.  Mostly, as she puts it, "to feed her addiction."  After some trial and error, her cloth diaper brand, Pink Pixie, was ready to launch!  The awesome part?  She really tries to keep her diapers as modestly priced as she can as well!  She focuses on AI2's (all in twos) because she believes they are the easiest option - no need for a cover and no pockets to stuff!  

Here are some of my favorite diapers from her shop:

Because who doesn't love the Avengers??


Or furry little woodland creatures!?  ;)

For my review, I simply told her what size I preferred and if I wanted boy, girl, or gender neutral.  As you all know, I am having a girl.  But in order to prepare for our hypothetical next child, I've been trying to play it safe and get gender neutral diapers.  So that's what I told her.  :)

And this is what she sent:


I was ecstatic! I always say I was meant to be a 50's girl - poodle skirts, diners, etc.  Love it all!  So this was right up my alley.  I absolutely love it!

5 Stars

Now if you will notice, the front and back seem to be opposite.  At least, that's what I thought at first.  Tara makes side-snapping diapers.  And this is the first one I've ever seen in person.  Apparently, the fit is supposed to be a bit better.  AND, as your kiddos get bigger it is supposedly more difficult for them to remove than front-snapping.  The two snaps you see on the back are actually for the insert!  That way it stays in place.  LOVE that feature!

See what I mean?

LOOOOOVE this feature!

This is extremely Daddy and Grandma friendly.  If Baby Girl is wet, you just get a new insert.  No folding or stuffing, just snapping (which almost guarantees proper placement).  If the rest of the diaper gets wet or soiled, you just change the diaper.  Really wishing my entire stash was this way!  :)

5 Stars

I also love the fleece on the inside.  It is super soft and I know it will wick away wetness from Sprout's skin.

5 Stars

The quality of this diaper is phenomenal.  In fact, I might rate it the best of my stash.  It feels like a better diaper!  With a lot of my other diapers (most name brand) I feel like I'm going to rip them when I snap and unsnap.  This diaper is solid and I'm not afraid to unsnap it.  I really think it will last a very long time!  To see a little bit of the quality, I demonstrated sizing in the photos below.  The diaper stood on its own!  Pretty awesome!  She sent me a Medium, which should fit from 12 lbs to about 22 lbs.  

Largest
Smallest
5 Stars

To test absorbency, I added water a tablespoon at a time (starting with 3).  I understand that water isn't urine and that urine can behave differently.  But this should still give you a pretty good idea of how absorbent a diaper has the potential of being.  Compared to the other brands that I tested (Applecheeks, Nicki's Diapers, Glow Bug, Blueberry, and WAHM brand), my Pink Pixie diaper did splendidly!  It wasn't the best, coming in at 8 tablespoons, but only 2 diapers beat it - Glow Bug and Blueberry (both tying at first place with 10 tablespoons).  I was pretty pleased with this.  I do plan to retest this particular area once Baby Girl arrives.  I will include those results in my update series!  :)

4 Stars - only because she wasn't #1

Her price point, for mediums and up, I think, is pretty good.  Every other major brand that sells a similar diaper (AI2's with snap-in inserts) sells just the diaper, no insert, for a few dollars cheaper.  The inserts run anywhere from $4 to $18 - making every one of those brands more expensive than Tara's!  And her quality is just as good, if not better than those comparable diapers!  The really neat part, her price point for newborn diapers, especially at this quality, cannot be beat!  Plus, you have the satisfaction of knowing you are buying a product that is not only Made in the USA, but it also going to support a hard-working mama!

5 Stars

My favorite thing about working with Tara?  Her customer service was phenomenal!  She was tremendously easy to work with and went above and beyond!  She handled everything quickly and efficiently, answered all of my questions, was super encouraging, and shipping was tremendously quick (none of this 7-14 days stuff).  I also love that she includes washing instructions and details about how the side-snapping process works.

5 Stars.  Can I give more than 5??  Like 10??  Seriously.  She was wonderful to work with!

Overall I give this diaper 5 Stars!  Between ease of use, quality, the price, and Tara's customer service this is a great diaper to have in your stash.

5 Stars - Easy!

To Buy: Click this link and head on over to her Etsy shop: Savannah's Inspiration (and Pink Pixie Diapers)

To Win: One lucky winner will receive TWO diapers of Tara's choosing.  You get to pick boy, girl, or gender neutral.  I love surprises!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bump Update: 27 Weeks!

Sometimes I have moments when I realize how crunchy I am becoming.  And the closer we get to Baby time, the more and more those moments appear.

I guess this stems from last nights pre-natal class.  She was talking about pain medications and c-sections and this was her introduction: "Most girls get epidurals.  And those who say they aren't going to, usually do anyhow."  And then she went on to say how very few women actually have un-medicated births.

How encouraging is that!?!  It really set a bad tone for the rest of the night.  I just don't understand why they don't encourage natural birthing more.  There would be less complications and cesareans that way (but also less money for the hospital and staff...hmmmmm.....).  Our bodies are designed to do this!  We are capable!  But if everyone is telling you that it's next to impossible, why would you think otherwise?  

I am extremely grateful that I started researching natural birth as soon as we found out we were expecting (and probably a little before).  I'm also tremendously grateful for the two books on the Bradley method that friends of ours let us borrow.  We have learned so much about what I am capable of and allowing my bodies natural instincts to kick in.  

The more I read about any medication, the more I don't want a single drop.  It is a slippery slope that is hard to stop.  Start medicine A and it is much more likely you will need medicine B and with the combination, the likelihood of a C-Section is almost doubled, if not tripled.  And at 1 in 3 births ending in a cesarean already, I'd rather not up my chances.  

If at all possible, Baby Girl will come into this world naturally and Mama will be medication free!  
Yes, yes, I know I need to be prepared for anything.  We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.  And, in the end, she will be here and we will all be happy!  :)

And now I have the extra motivation of proving that nurse wrong!  Un-medicated birth is possible!  And completely natural!  haha.  But, really, we are choosing a natural birth because we feel it is what's best for the start of our little family, for me, and most importantly, for her.

Love that little bump!

Hubby always manages to get the best faces of me.....seriously.....

I can really tell a difference, but these pics don't show it.  :(  However, it is a bit higher and more round and you can definitely see that!


This week, baby is the size of an: Cucumber or Cauliflower - as far as length and weight are concerned.  

Next appointment: One week from today!


Total Weight Gain/Loss: I think I am officially back to my pre-preggo weight.  Which is really good news!  I've been trying to eat more protein the last few days so hopefully that will help.  The doctor's haven't been concerned but I just don't feel like I'm gaining enough.  And when I checked my protein intake it was pathetic....to say the least. 


Exercise: Always depends on the weather.  But with VBS this week and me helping with the music, I have been moving quite a bit!  ;)

Maternity Clothes:  Definitely more often.  Won't be much longer and I won't get away with regular shorts/pants.  

Sleep: Pretty good lately.  May have to get a body pillow soon.

Food Cravings/Aversions: Not really anything this week.


Movement: Not quite as consistent.  But much less subtle.  haha.  She kicked Daddy in the face the other night.  It was amusing.  He was just trying to talk her into moving a little before we went to bed.  I think it was her way of telling him to buzz off, she's trying to sleep!  ;)

What I Miss: Dippy Eggs.  Boosting my protein means more eggs.  And I usually like mine over medium - a little runny for toast dipping, but mostly cooked through....but for Sprout's safety they have to be cooked the whole way.


What I'm Loving: How much she is growing.  My belly is noticeably larger.  And that is so fun!  And she is still a little lopsided.  lol.      


What I'm Looking Forward To: Doc appointments more often.  Every 2 weeks after this next appointment!  :)  


Best Moment This Week: Probably when she kicked Hubby's face.  tehe.


Milestones: She is able to recognize my voice!  It's about time!  ;)  But, more exciting, this is the LAST WEEK OF MY 2nd TRIMESTER!!!


Goals: I may be able to paint the nursery!  We got the walls done!  Now we just have to paint the trim.  Still have blog reviews to do and I still have plenty of organizing and rearranging left.  But things are coming together! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

House Project: Vanity Hardware Makeover




So awhile back when I showed you how I antiqued our bathroom cupboards, I noted in the post that I would also show you how I redid the hardware.  Finally getting around to that!  

Unfortunately, I didn't get a before pic.  Just envision black hardware with splotches of white paint, blue paint, and maybe a little cream paint....which may or may not have been my fault.

Yes, I did paint them a little bit while painting the cabinets cream.  But to be fair - they already had paint on them!  ;)

I wanted to see if we could get away with just cleaning the paint off so I looked to the internet for a solution.  Turns out all I needed was rubbing alcohol!  


I love finding easy fixes like this!


I let the handles and hinges soak for quite awhile (at least an hour).



Here they are soaking.  Like watching water boil....

And then started to rub/scrub them off.  At first, I panicked, because even the black was coming off.  But I loved the antiquey gold that was underneath.  However, in the end not all of the black was able to come off and Hubby really disliked it.  It was the wrong kind of "old."  lol. 


Not quite right...

But anywho...

In the end we got this Forged Hammered Chestnut Spray Paint  that had a bronze feel to it and went to town.  



Pretty awesome stuff!!

It worked out perfectly because we could then match the metal towel racks in the room with the vanity hardware.  And I LOVE how they look with the turquoise walls!  :)

The handles that started it all!
Don't you love the way it all goes together???  :D
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you ever used spray paint for a quick fix??