Thursday, May 31, 2012

New Opportunities

I'm excited to say that I have something new on my plate!  I'll be working with Erica, the owner and blogger behind This Flourishing Life.  She writes about life, cooking, her experience as a mom, and a bunch of other stuff.  She was looking for a mom to do product reviews, and chose me out of several applicants to do reviews for her site!

Erica is super sweet, her blog is great, and I'm excited to work with her and take on something new!  I'll be reviewing lots of different products in the future, mostly baby gear, but I'm sure there will be some other stuff in there too.  So go check out her blog, leave her some comment love, and if you click on her "about" section you'll see my little bio!

I'll let you guys know when my first review is live on her blog.  It will be a really fun experience, and thanks to Erica for the opportunity!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Slightly Befuddled Wetbag and Changing Pad Review & Giveaway

Today I have some really beautiful stuff to review for you all, and some really beautiful stuff to give away!  Rebekah is the owner of Slightly Befuddled, and she sells wetbags, diaper stackers, purses, cosmetic bags, and more.  Everything in her shop is super colorful, and the fabric choices are gorgeous.  Do yourself a favor and look around her shop.  You won't be sorry.  I mean really.  Go now.  Buy something gorgeous.

Anywho, Rebekah started her shop because she had so much beautiful fabric lying around her house, that she just didn't know what to do with it all.  One of her friends suggested that she start making wetbags and diaper covers to sell on Etsy, and her shop was born!  Rebekah's mom cloth diapered her as a baby, and she plans on cloth diapering her own children, so her goal is to create beautiful and functional products that mamas all over will enjoy using on a daily basis.  Her philosophy is that being a mom is hard work, so she wants to bring as much beauty into daily chores and tasks as possible.  I think that is an excellent goal, and one she completely succeeds at.  Luckily for us, Rebekah has a wonderfully supportive husband who never complains when the dishes and laundry stack up while she works away in her sewing room!

Something I love about Rebekah's shop is that one of her favorite things to do is create custom orders.  If you check out her etsy shop you'll see a listing with all of the beautiful fabrics she has to choose from.  You can mix and match them, and Rebekah will create something totally unique for you.  I think I will be taking advantage of this soon, because who wouldn't want a wetbag that is exactly the colors and fabrics they love?  Not only that, but she is so friendly and helpful that your whole experience is bound to be great.

Rebekah sent me one of her small wetbags to review.  Now when I say "small" you're probably thinking of your little wetbags that hold one or two diapers.  This one comfortably fits three, possibly four plus wipes.  My first impression of the wetbag was literally "Wow!  It's so pretty!"  The fabric is so different, and although we've never met, I have to admit that it was almost as though Rebekah had some kind of insight into what I would like, because the fabric is totally my taste.  But I digress.

These photos just don't do the fabric justice.  Its sturdy, colorful, and so pretty.

I love her logo!  Too cute.

The second thing I noticed was how sturdy the bag was.  Rebekah makes her wetbags with ProCare lining, which is a waterproof material similar to rain-coat fabric.  It is thick, durable, and kept smells in the bag where they belong.  (Thank goodness for the stink-containing fabric.  My daughter has had some of the smelliest poops lately, and I am telling you, no lingering poop-smell was left in my diaper bag.  yay!)  I wasn't sure how this kind of fabric would stand up next to your typical PUL, but I really like it.  I've never had any wicking problems.  It seems like it can handle a lot of wear and tear, and you never need to worry about it de-laminating.  Major bonus.  I just had a wetbag de-laminate the other day, and it made me that much more of a fan of the ProCare lining.  The other great thing about this material is that you can just give it a good wipe-down if it's not really soiled and use it again... which is great if your laundry gets away from you and you find yourself with no clean wetbags and errands to run.

double-sewn ProCare lining and cute coordinated zipper

The bag also had cute little details that set it apart from your typical wetbag.  It had a colored zipper which coordinated to the bag's fabrics, and a handle that you can open and close with a snap.  It is really well made, and has quickly become my favorite bag.

Size comparison between the small and large wetbags

I honestly have nothing that I can say I'd change about this bag.  Except maybe that I only have one!  I plan on purchasing these for my friends when they have babies, even if they aren't cloth diapering.  They would be perfect for soiled outfits or wet swimsuits.  I think a good wetbag is something every mom should have in her diaper bag.  You can also check out her products here and here.

What you could win- large wetbag and changing pad set.

back view of the bag

The changing pad folds and snaps shut

Rebekah's business card- easily one of the coolest I've seen!

Do you want one yet?  Rebekah has generously given a large wetbag and matching changing pad to give to one lucky reader.  The changing pad is padded, and has fabric on one side and ProCare material on the other.  It is nice and large- it's easily twice the size of the changing pad that will have come with your diaper bag.  It's big enough that if you put it fabric side up, you could use it as a tummy-time or play mat for your baby.  This is a great prize pack, and all you have to do to enter is use the rafflecopter form below!  This giveaway is open to US residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

disclosure-  I was given this product to test and review, but am NEVER compensated financially.  All of the views and opinions expressed are my own, and your experience may differ.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Things I've Learned- Three Month Edition

Eisley is three months old!  I can't believe how fast she's growing, and how quickly time is flying by!  My baby is chattering all the time, trying to sit up on her own, and totally proficient at holding her head up!  She smiles all the time, still loves to be on the changing table, and wants to look around her more and more.  She's getting to be more and more fun!

So, in keeping with my monthly tradition-  here are some things I've learned this month.

1.  This is a big one.  Going back to work sucks.  A whole lot.  Even if you are lucky enough to take 3 months off with your baby, you will realize how short that amount of time really is.  She will still need you for everything, and you will probably cry, or come very close to it, on your drive to your first day of work.  You may come to the conclusion I've come to- moms of young babies were not meant to go back to work so soon.  It's the hardest thing to leave your baby.

2.  On a lighter note-  you will probably find that your life now revolves largely around bodily fluids.  Spit up, pee, poop... they will become your intimate companions.  They will make you laugh, cry, and probably gag.  You will know more about poop after 3 months than you ever wanted to.

3.  If you have a fussy baby like I do, you probably still hesitate to take the baby out.  Heck, you may even be subsisting on rice and cereal because you're afraid to bring your little screamer to the store.  You've probably learned by now that she'll scream the minute you get in line to checkout.  And you'll have a full basket.  Oh joy.

4.  A cute baby is like a magnet.  You go out with them, and you could make friends with pretty much anyone.  Even the biggest grouch can't resist an adorable baby.  All eyes will be on the little one, and random strangers will constantly talk to you.  It will make you think-  with a cute baby in tow- you could rule the world!  BWAHAHAHAAAAA!  ok.  Maybe that's going a little far.  You could maybe get out of a speeding ticket or something...

5.  When your baby giggles for the first time you will feel like time stops, and your whole body is filling with light.  It's almost a spiritual experience.  It's amazing.  It really is.

6.  When your baby first giggles, they will do it only once.  You will make the dumbest faces and noises to try to get them to do it again, and they won't.  They know who holds all the power.  They may be babies, but they aren't dumb.

7.  By now at least one person will have asked you when you're going to have another baby.  You will wonder if aliens have abducted them and tampered with their brain.  Another baby!?  You still haven't slept more than 5 or six hours at a time yet!

8.  It's really hard not to be that parent that brags about how awesome their baby is all the time.  But those parents are obnoxious.  You will try to keep your mouth shut.  And you will fail more often than you'd like.  Eventually you will come to terms with this.  I mean, come on, your kid IS awesome!

9.  If you are cloth diapering your baby, chances are pretty darn good that you spend waaay too much time looking at, drooling over, and buying new adorable fluffy diapers for your babe.  Occasionally you will remember that the purpose of these cute little diapers are to contain poop.  Smelly smelly poop.  You will probably continue to look at, drool over, and buy new diapers anyway.

10.  When your baby was first born, you probably thought to yourself that you wished they could stay that little forever.  When they turned one month, you thought it again.  By now you've probably realized that you'll think this every month.  Because every month brings so much new wonder and love and joy that you can't imagine it will get any better... but it always does.  It seems impossible, but it gets better every single day.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hen and Chicken Cloth Diaper Review and Giveaway!

Welcome to my very first review and giveaway!  I'm really excited to spotlight a couple of awesome Work At Home Moms in the next month!  Our first review is of Hen and Chicken Cloth.  Hen and Chicken Cloth is run by Heather, a work at home mom, military wife, seamstress, and sweet sweet woman!  She is also a busy woman!  She runs several etsy shops, including Heather's Custom Sewing where she sells aprons and kid's gear, and MicroMops where she sells hand-made green cleaning products like re-useable swiffer wet and dry pads, cloth "un-paper towels", dryer balls, and other awesome stuff.

That's a lot of sewing!  Heather has two sons, and her husband is in the Army National Guard, and will be deploying in a few months, so this mama has a lot on her plate.  I don't know how she finds the time to make all of her awesome products, but it's definitely impressive!  She's been sewing since she was a little girl, and has known for a long time that it's what she wants to do.  Check out her blog... you'll see tons of her beautiful work, and you can get to know Heather a little better!

Heather sent me one of her adorable All in Ones to review.  My first impression was that this diaper is stinkin cute!  Cute and very well made.  Every seam is straight and perfect, and it is so trim!  I wish I had some disposables on hand so that I can show you how trim it is.  It's really not much thicker than a disposable.  Her AIO's have a cotton decorative outer, hidden layer of PUL, and flannel lining over a built in soaker.  They are sized diapers, which I like because it gets you a better, less bulky fit.  I honestly have a lot of one sized diapers, but my favorites are my 2-sized and sized diapers.  they are just so much more trim under my daughter's clothes!

The diaper fit Eisley really well, and man did she look cute in it.  I actually put it on and couldn't bring myself to put clothes on her and cover it up.  It has the perfect rise to it... not too high and not too low, and   it has hook and loop closures, so it's very daddy friendly.  The leg openings fit her well, but if she was too much skinnier they may have been a tad loose.  I had no problems with them though, and they contained my daughter's often-explosive poops really well.  (Is that TMI?  Oh well....)

I had no leaks with this diaper, but I did have some wicking onto the outer cotton fabric, which is pretty typical of this style of diaper (and by that I just mean any diaper that has hidden PUL and a non-waterproof material over it almost always wicks some of the moisture onto the top layer of the diaper.  Most moms know that it will happen, but love the cute-factor of a decorative diaper, so it's just something to keep in mind).  I don't foresee this being an issue as summer is coming up, and this diaper definitely will be worn on it's own on hot days.  It's really just perfect for running (or crawling) around outside in.

The only real "drawbacks" to this diaper, if you can even call them that, is that the flannel lining was a bit exposed by the legs because of the way the elastic was sewn in them.  It's not sewn onto the top layer of cotton fabric, so the cotton does pull at it a bit.  I didn't notice any real wetness in that area, but if you've got a super-soaker you may.

This diaper is also not super-duper absorbent, so while it was just fine for a couple of hours for my daughter, I think you'd probably need to lay an additional insert inside if you've got a heavy wetter.  Once again, that seems to be the case with most AIO's, so I really don't see this as a drawback.

Ultimately, I really like this diaper.  It's so cute, so trim, and perfect for summer-wear.  Heather is also such a sweet woman, and a real pleasure to work with.  I also love supporting work at home moms.  The quality you get with that is just wonderful.  She has some really cute AIO's and fitted diapers in her shop, as well as covers and nursing pads.  So go check her shop out, because one lucky reader is going to win their choice of an AIO or fitted diaper!  Enter using the rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*disclaimer-  I was given this product to review, but was not compensated.  All opinions are my own, and your experience may differ from what you read here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

An Ode to my Momma

Last night was a rough one in our house.  My little girl went down for the night around 8:30, woke up around 12:30, and then was up just about every hour and a half after that.  Oi.  She usually sleeps better than that, so I really can't complain... but it doesn't help me feel any less of a zombie during the day.

Now instead of woe-is-me-ing, all this lack of sleep and has got me thinking about how much I appreciate my mom, and the new level of understanding and gratitude I feel for her now that I have a baby of my own.  So in the spirit of Mothers Day I give you an ode to my momma.

Oh momma, dear momma you've done oh so much
you've loved us and fed us and hugged us a bunch
you bandaged our boo-boos and kissed scraped up knees
you managed to handle five kids with some ease.

I know that you gave up your life for us kids
your dreams and ambitions you held at arms-width
you traded your freedom for spit up and poop
for diapers and bottles and no sleep to boot.

And how we repaid you, I think of with grief
loud screaming and crying and fighting with Refe
we picked on our sisters and pulled at their hair
and left giant messes around everywhere.

Now that I'm a mother I finally see
the mountain of ways that you showed love to me
you nurtured, encouraged, always cheered me on
my dreams you helped flourish, and made fear be gone.

 I want you to know that I love you so much
you made me the woman I am, and as such,
I hope that my daughter will one day agree
her grandma has made a good mommy of me.

I love you mom!  Happy early Mothers Day!