Friday, September 30, 2011

I Made My Biggest Mistake as a Cloth Diapering Mama Last Night

I'm not one to bash disposables, because, after all, the only reason we decided we would cloth diaper when Bug was born was to save money. I never anticipated it would be something I love :)
However, Bug came down with a bit of a nasty rash again, and I (in all of my recent gung-ho cleaning glory) found 2 disposable diapers that I thought would work much better with our Yes To Baby Carrots diaper cream than trying to dig out some liners and wash those with Dawn.
Well, it probably would have, if Bug wasn't one to grab and rip at his diaper in his sleep...
I woke up to a crying hungry baby at 4 am, who was naked, and covered in his own poop. The crib was covered, and the disposable was crammed between a couple slats. I was horrified.
I immediately ran a bath and washed him, and soaked him, and washed him some more. Swaddled him in a towel and made him a bottle. Needless to say he slept in my bed the remainder of the night...

Lesson learned: Next time I want to skip cloth, we use a snapping cover with a disposable insert!

Monday, September 26, 2011


We have a winner for the Tropical Traditions coconut oil giveaway!

Charis's Mum, congratulations! You will be receiving an email from me shortly :)

Thank you all for reading my blog, and please remember to enter the remaining open giveaways listed on the left.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Post: Staying Active As The Fall Approaches

Staying Active As The Fall Approaches
By Kathleen Thomas of Primrose Schools

 Children move from the moment of their birth. As they explore their world, they crawl, walk, run, and use their senses to understand their surroundings. As they grow into toddlerhood, they begin to develop motor skills and discover throwing and catching. Not only does physical activity encourage motor skill development, but children also learn social skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, sharing, and taking turns. 

Children of all ages require as much as 60 minutes of physical activity every day to develop healthy lifestyle habits and combat obesity. With obesity rates rising among children and adults, parents and caregivers wisely encourage regular physical activity. Active children grow up to be active adults. 

Be an active role model. Join in their activities as a participant rather than merely as an observer. As you play with your children, you model healthy habits and build relationships. In addition, use playtime to teach proper techniques and sportsmanship. Children do not magically learn how to play sports and it is nice to give them a head start before they enter,
day care and move on to kindergarten. They require guidance to learn new skills and learn to play nice. Cherish your children during playtime, and create a lifetime of memories and healthy habits.

Rather than demand perfection, accept your child’s skill level and amend the games rules to guarantee success. For young children, lower the basketball hoop or stand close to play catch. Gradually add more challenges as your child masters skills. With each successful milestone, your child grows more confident in their ability to succeed. You create a winning situation by boosting your child’s ability to persevere, and they want to practice and keep trying to improve.

Verbally encourage your children’s efforts during physical activities. Children who struggle with hand eye coordination or dexterity may not enjoy sports activities. Encouraging words show them the importance of doing their best no matter what skills they possess. 

Encourage fair play and kind conduct. Sports remain a highly competitive arena. Teach your child to respect the skill level and playing ability of other children and be intolerant of inappropriate behavior. Many coaches also display poor manners so guard your attitude while you coach, supervise, and play along. Remember the goal of having fun while being physically active rather then playing to win. 

Ensure safety. Choose wide, open spaces for activities. Before play begins, comb the area for litter, exposed tree roots, or other dangerous substances. Insist every child wears appropriate, well-fitting safety gear, including helmets, knee and elbow pads, or chest protection. Frequently check the equipment to ensure it meets safety regulations and includes no exposed edges or holes. Teach proper stretching exercise before play commences. Provide adult supervision at all times, and carry a First Aid kit.

Provide a variety of accurately sized equipment. Children and adults quickly grow bored with the same activities. Add variety by creating a toy tub in your home. Include balls of all sizes, jump ropes, bats, chalk, hoops, beanbags, bubbles, skates, ramps, balance boards, musical instruments, and other items your children enjoy. As your children grow, inspect their toys to verify they meet your children’s needs.

Stay active on any budget. Purchase sports equipment and expensive tennis shoes if your budget allows or find more affordable alternatives. Search for sports equipment at consignment stores or trade stores. Mix homemade bubbles with soap and water. Run through a rain shower or sprinkler in the lawn. Walk, bike, or run around your neighborhood. Draw hopscotch on the sidewalk. Turn on the music and make up dance moves. Practice gymnastic tricks. 

Enroll children in age-appropriate sports. In addition to physical exercise, organized sports teach children sportsmanship, teamwork, and a skill they can use for the rest of their lives. 

Any opportunity children take to exercise, play, and stay active creates a lifetime of benefits. Play with your children every day, and enjoy family activities that teach life skills, combat obesity, and give you time to bond and laugh as a family.

Kathleen is a Communications Coordinator for the Atlanta day care facility, a member of the AdvancED® accredited family of Primrose Schools (located in 16 states throughout the U.S.) and part of the network of day care preschools delivering progressive, early childhood, Balanced Learning® curriculum.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1,033 Reasons To Smile {book} Review and Giveaway

It's been one of those weeks where I really needed a reason to be happy or smile. Luckily, I now have 1,033 of them!

About the Author
Elizabeth Dutton is an expert in smiling, as she does so quite often. A Californian who has found refuge in the South, she has a couple degrees from a couple of schools, and writes constantly, which also makes her smile.

1,033 Reasons To Smile has to be the cutest book I've ever read. Every reason holds some kind of truth and made me giggle, if not outright chuckle. Don't believe me? Take a sneak peek at some of these:

No matter what you do, you are probably not as bad as Hitler. Smile! You aren't as terrible as a murderous dictator!
Parents meeting their kids at the school bus. All-American smile.
Seeing rolling papers in the kitchen drawer at your grandmother's house. Granny's a toker. Good for her.
 See what I mean? Who can't help but smile at these? And there's over a thousand more to read! This book is staying on my coffee table. And those of you who are subscribed to my Facebook page, beware of the random smiley quote.

I would highly recommend anyone to buy this book, but to make it a little more fun, the publisher has offered to give one away! Please remember to include your email address in each entry.

Entry Opportunities:
-Like 1,033 Reasons To Smile on Facebook and leave your name
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-Leave a comment for each open giveaway you've entered
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Giveaway is open to the US and Canada and will close on 10/9 at 11:59 pm CST

Disclaimer: I was provided with the item(s) specified in this blog post. I was not compensated in any way for writing a review nor was I obligated to provide a giveaway.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Confessions of a Catholic Cop WINNERS!

I'm sorry about this delay with choosing winners. Anyone who hasn't heard already via my Facebook page or my "Wordless Wednesday" post, J's semi burned to the ground Tuesday evening. We lost all of his trucking equipment, his tv, dvd player and dvds, his winter gear, steel toe boots, and the most frustrating at this point, all of his clothes but what he was wearing at the time (since he leaves no clothing home). I am still beside myself about the thought that if hadn't reacted so quickly, he would have died. Please excuse me while I try to collect myself over the next week or so. Now.. on to the winners :)

This giveaway was a bit of a flop I guess, as there were 5 winners but only 4 entrants. So, all of you who entered, have won. I'll be sending you all emails for your shipping info today and I'll forward your info to the publisher. Thank you for entering!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Week 9

Be thankful for each and every day.

These are photos J sent me last night. His semi sprung a fuel leak that shortest out the trucks computer and started the semi on fire. We lost everything he had there: tools, tv, dvd player, dvds, laptop, Carhart winter gear, new Red Wing steel toe boots, cb, Sirius radio, and the most irritating right now... ALL of his clothing but the shorts and tshirt he is wearing now. Insurance won't cover any personal property, only the truck itself. *sigh*

 My dad and I made a trip to North Dakota at 2:30am to pick him up. The only thing going through my head is "thank God he's alive."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Green Bumkin Toy Strap Review and Giveaway

Childhood Memory: Going to the market with my mom and younger brother, and she leaves my brothers favorite sippy cup on the roof of the car, and we leave. We realize it's gone, and turn around to drive back, shortly before we notice the shattered remains of the cup in the middle of the road. Fast Forward....

Ok, so I'm not so much worried about leaving anything on top of our car, but I do worry about Bug throwing things out of his stroller while we're out for walks or while we're camping. Toy strap? I worry no more!

Green Bumkin has nailed this toy strap to perfection. Or should I say, snapped? With 3 snap-adjustable sizes, I couldn't find a thing of Bug's that we would normally bring with us that could not be snapped securely in place with this toy strap. The adorable prints are just a major bonus! I received a toy strap in the Wildlife print.

I'm also very pleased with the construction of the strap. Every stitch looks so perfect, and the strap with all the snaps appears to be very durable. Bug gave it the "chew" test several times with no problem :)

You can purchase your very own toy strap like what has been shown here, wet bags, wipes, crayon rolls, pacifier straps, or reusable snack bags from Green Bumkin's Etsy shop. You can also connect with her on Facebook (PS- All her Facebook fans are eligible to receive 10% off their order with a code provided on her page!)
Amy, the mama of Green Bumkin, has offered one of you the chance to win a customized toy strap, by entering below. Please remember to leave your email address with each entry!

Mandatory Entry:
-Visit Green Bumkin and tell me what fabric and which snap color you would choose if you win!

Additional Entries:
-Follow Baby and the Chi's via Google Friend Connect, leave a comment with your GFC name
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Daily Entries:
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Giveaway is open to both US and Canada, and will close on 10/2 at 11:59pm CST

Disclaimer: I received the item(s) shown without compensation for writing this review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review or host a giveaway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cotton Babies: New Prints, Colors, and Diapers!

I saw this video this morning (it was officially announced yesterday) and had to share! BumGenius and Flips are our favorites here, and cannot wait to order a few of all of these!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/11: Remembering, and "Happy Birthday!"

 I remember where I was on September 11th, but I still am a little foggy about the exact events that took place. I was in high school, and my teachers basically sheltered us from what was happening. All tv's were turned off, no one said a word. Until the end of the day, my history teacher decided to let us watch the news, and I remember staring at the tv in disbelief.

J started talking today as well, about his memories of September 11th. It was his 17th birthday. Him and his family were in Destin Beach, FL on vacation for his birthday, when they saw the Trade Center fall on the news that morning. His memories fall short after that, because this was also the last birthday he was able to spend with his mother, before she passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Today brings a lot of sadness and memories for all, but I'm doing my best to bring Jer the best birthday he could have today, as his birthday birthday with his son. So while I dry my eyes and turn the screen a little further from J before he realizes I'm writing about him, I just want to say, "Happy Birthday Jared!"

Thank you all for be such fantastic readers. I'd love for you to share a memory of this day on this post as well.

Muir Botanicals All Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner Review and Discount

Since I found out I was pregnant a last year I have been making more conscious choices about what enters our home for cleaning, cooking and otherwise. I was contacted by Katie from Muir Botanicals and was very excited to see what she had to offer.  I was pleasantly surprised to see not only a vast selection of lotions, supplements, soaps and specialty items for both pregnant and postpartum women, but was quickly drawn to a tab that read "Green Cleaning."

I received a bottle of All-Purpose Disinfecting Cleaner that I was subconsciously hoping would replace my unhealthy addiction to Lysol Disinfecting Wipes.
This Disinfectant Cleaner is great for any area of your home! Use it to degrease your kitchen, shine your floors, kill mold and disinfect your bathroom.
Made with antimicrobial herbs this spray will kill bacteria in you home, keeping you and your family safe and healthy!
For hard to clean areas, combine Disinfectant Cleaner with baking soda to create a paste. Simply scrub on, wipe off, and enjoy the fresh, natural scent of a clean home! If you've been a follower of my blog for some time now, you probably have heard me talk about my kitchen, and it's serious lack of size. I would give anything to have a house again, but that time will come soon enough (I hope!).

Please excuse the mess, but I think you get the idea...

In any event, I needed something a little more challenging than a "smaller than a bathroom" size kitchen to show how proud I am of this particular "green cleaner." So, I chose Bug's high chair. More specifically, the tray, after I forgot about it after supper and it sat with food hardening overnight! Talk about a nightmare.

Any parent or care-giver of children knows what this means, and can probably agree that this is a great test, so I sprayed down the tray and let it sit for probably 30 seconds (yeah, waaayyy to short of an attention span for a mommy, I know!) and tried to wipe. Would you believe with just a damp cloth I was able to effortlessly wipe this tray clean?

Well you should! And what's better? The lingering scent of essential oils (including cloves!) is left in the air.
I spent the next couple weeks using this cleaner on everything in the apartment, and noticed a couple more products for sale on The Hook Up page on Facebook. I then purchased Window Cleaner and Wood Polish to try from Muir Botanicals as well. I tried them both out with nothing less than amazing results the day they arrived in the mail. I was unable to provide adequete pictures for use of the window cleaner, but I need to share my Wood Polish results with you!

Here is my "garage sale" coffee table. The left half has been wiped down with the polish, the right side has not. See the difference?

Here's my "after" photo:

I have already ordered more of the All-Purpose Disinfectant Cleaner as well!

I want to add, before anyone starts asking, that Katie is indeed a certified herbalist. She has studied and tested all her products to perfection, and I've already been recommending her products to family and friends.

You can try out any Muir Botanicals product yourself in Katie's Etsy shop, by purchasing them HERE, and connect with her on Facebook or her blog. Katie has generously offered a 10% code for her shop to all of you fabulous readers, which is also available for use on health consultations and special orders! If you would like to contact her about either of those, you can contact her via email at
The 10% off code is TENPERCENT

Disclaimer: I was only provided with the item(s) specified in this review. I was not compensated in any way to write a positive review.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil Review and Giveaway

About Tropical Traditions:
(Directly from Tropical Traditions:)
The founders of Tropical Traditions are Brian and Marianita Shilhavy.

Brian W. Shilhavy, BA, MA
Brian earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible/Greek from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, and his Master of Arts degree in linguistics from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is currently the CEO of Tropical Traditions, Inc., and the Editor of Health Impact News.

Marianita Jader Shilhavy, BS, CND (Certified Nutritionist/Dietician in the Philippines) earned her bachelor of science degree in nutrition in Manila. Understanding the nutrition of Filipino foods, Marianita worked for over eight years as a hospital dietician and nutritional counselor in the Philippines.

In 1998 Brian  and Marianita returned to the Philippines with their three children and renovated Marianita's old family farmhouse. By this time the coconut industry was severely depressed due to the negative U.S. campaigns against tropical oils in the 1980s and 1990s. Coconut farmers could no longer support their families on the income generated from harvesting coconuts.

What I Recieved: Tropical Traditions sent me a 32 ounce jar of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. (Taken from Tropical Traditions website:)
This Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is a truly unrefined coconut oil. This coconut oil is made on Mt. Banahaw and surrounding areas from organic coconuts. Coconuts are used fresh (within 24-48 hours of harvest) from small family farms on Mt. Banahaw and other rural places in Quezon Province, the coconut capital of the Philippines. Only the highest quality coconuts are hand-picked from each harvest. The volcanic soil of Mt. Banahaw makes these organic coconuts some of the most nutritionally rich coconuts in the world! Testing done in independent laboratories reveals higher levels of phenolic antioxidants than other coconut oils. The fresh coconut meat is shredded (wet milled), and then cold-pressed using the water from inside the coconuts to make coconut milk. The milk is then allowed to sit for about half a day, while the oil naturally separates from the heavier water. The oil is then filtered from the curds (coconut solids). No chemical or high-heat treatment is used, and this oil contains no trans fatty acids. We do NOT mass produce this oil. It is made by families who are coconut farmers using old-fashioned traditional methods that have been used in the Philippines for hundreds of years. Our coconut trees and family producers are certified organic according to strict USDA standards. The families who produce the oil are also trained according to GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) standards and re-certified each year. This high-grade Virgin Coconut Oil has a long shelf life due to the high antioxidant properties. The Gold Label Standard is our highest standard for Virgin Coconut Oil.
My Review: My first "meal" I cooked with the coconut oil was breakfast, specifically hashbrowns (with previously made and frozen pancakes). I added about 3 tablespoons to my 12" cast iron skillet and after it heated up, I added about 3 cups of shredded potatoes. The smell was wonderful, and I thought the hashbrowns browned up nicely. However, when it came down to eating, we noticed a few things right away. While we both thought the coconut smelled good lingering in the hashbrowns, J said it made them taste too different, and I ended up making him new ones with olive oil. I ate mine just fine, and the hint of coconut was nice with the pancakes too. I did notice an oily feeling in my mouth though, and I think this is because the coconut oil is thicker than olive oil or vegetable oil. I spent a better part of the day feeling like I swallowed a gallon of oil, and quickly decided that the next round of cooking would need much less oil than I usually used. I learned my lesson and went on to try making egg rolls using the Tropical Traditions coconut oil. I use my own recipe which includes a whole chicken (boiled or baked), peanut butter, cabbage, bean sprouts, and use soy sauce, teriyaki, or Worcestershire sauce to taste. I boiled the chicken, and then heated 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet, and added the cabbage bean sprouts, and the cooked (and shredded) chicken. The delicious smell of coconut filled our apartment once again, and it was a beautiful accent to the smell of the egg roll filling. I pulled out another skillet, heated up one cup of coconut oil and used this to fry the egg rolls once they were wrapped. And let me tell you, they were a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!! Even J said they were the best I've ever made.

Tropical Traditions dedicates an entire portion of their website to recipes you can use their coconut products with, absolutely free!

There are many claims regarding the health effects of coconut oil, however I did not feel like I was eating any healthier. I do know, that using coconut oil while cooking is a great way to add a little extra flavor, and I honestly feel that food seemed to cook better when I used this versus the olive oil I usually use. I know I won't make a permanent switch to coconut oil over the oils we usually use for cooking, but I feel that I will always have some on hand for certain meals that would definitely benefit from a hint of coconut and could use a little healthier method of cooking (vs lard or cooking oil). Try It For Yourself: You can purchase your own Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil HERE, or you can win your own 32 ounce jar below!
Mandatory Entries:
(Please leave your email address with each entry)
  • Follow Baby and the Chi's via Google Friend Connect, and leave your GFC username
  • Like Tropical Traditions on Facebook OR Follow @Troptraditions on Twitter, leave your username (you may choose to do both, for one entry each, but one or the other is required)
Additional Entries:
  • Sign up for Tropical Traditions Sales Newsletter, leave a comment telling me you signed up
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This giveaway is open to both the US and Canada, and ends 9/25 at 11:59pm CST Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mother-ease AIO Review

About Mother-ease Cloth Diapers:
Did you know that Mother-ease has been manufacturing quality cloth diapers since 1991? That's 20 years of satisfied customers and long-lasting products! Did you also know that Mother-ease is the inventor of the One-Size diaper? A product that quickly became common terminology for a type of diaper? It's true! An added bonus? Mother-ease Cloth Diapers uses 100% green power to manufacture their products!

We manufacturer all our cloth diapers and diaper covers from start to finish in our factory in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. This is the only way high quality standards can be controlled and enforced.

What I Received: 
I had my choice of cloth-diapering system, and chose to review their all-in-one diaper system, which included a Mother-ease All-In-One diaper with a Sandy's Absorbent Liner. The AIO features an super-soft knit cotton terry inside, backed with waterproof polyurethane. Another incredible feature, shown in other Mother-ease Cloth Diapers, is their Air-Flow side venting system. The fabric surrounding the side-snaps stretches and moves with your baby to allow air movement (Without leaking! Tested by our newly crawling young man!) throughout your baby's diaper.

Photo Courtesy of Mother-ease 

The Mother-ease AIO comes in 3 sizes: Small (10-20 pounds, absorbs 11 oz.), Large (20-35 pounds, absorbs 12 oz.) and X-Large (35-45 pounds, absorbs 13 oz.). The Sandy's Absorbent Liner we recieved comes in small (5"x12", absorbs 6 oz.) and large(5.5"x14", absorbs 7 oz.), and comes in your choice of unbleached cotton, white cotton, bamboo, organic cotton and stay-dry on cotton. I chose a large AIO since Bug weighs exactly 20 pounds right now, and a white cotton liner (given the choice of either white or unbleached).

Photo Courtesy of Mother-ease

My Review:
Now first of all, I'd like to talk to you about my first impression of the size of this diaper. Out of the package, it looked huge. I thought I made a mistake and the small would have fit a lot longer that 20 pounds, but alas, things are not always what they seem at first glance.
While the diaper did look big on Buggie, it fit him perfectly. It's not bulky, but "poofy" for lack of better terminology. If he sits down or is crawling around, the air is pushed out of the diaper and it looks much better. Also, for a fairly average and long boy there are no leg gaps that I noticed, which is great considering he just barely fits the minimum size for this diaper.

Because the diaper and liner are all white cotton, I ran them though a hot wash with other clothes and called it good. I was not too concerned about anything else really hanging around in the diaper after one full hot wash.

With the thought of 19 oz of absorbency on my mind, I immediately tested this sucker out (with the liner of course) around Bug's nap-time. Around noon I put him in the diaper, gave him a bottle, then moved him to his crib after he was finished. I expected his usual 2-3 hour nap, however, we got a real work-out right from the beginning! Bug did not take his usual nap, but an extra-long teething nap which lasted almost 6 hours. Yes, 6 hours. I picked Bug up out of his crib, felt him, felt his sheet, then thought about how amazed I really felt.
I was sold. Yeah, sure, we have a night-time solution that works great for us, but who wants to bulk up a tiny baby when you can get the same results with a single diaper?

Since then I have used this diaper for both regular day-time and over-night use with amazing results. The AIO and Sandy's liner are a perfect pair in my book. I look forward to some cooler weather and seeing how well it fits underneath Bug's pants though, and giving that "bulky" look the true test. Though I'm sure that will thin out and look almost perfect once Bug is a little bigger and fills out more of the diaper as well.

You can purchase your own AIO, or any other Mother-ease, Sandy's or Wizard cloth diapering product directly from Mother-ease. PS- They ship internationally as well! Just look under the "Shopping" tab =)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Zookies and Changing Diapers: WINNERS!

For thier choice of a diaper cover or reusable snack bags, the Zookies giveaway winner is:

For an Eco-Friendly tattoo and their choice of OS Rumparooz or Fuzzibunz diaper, the Changing Diapers giveaway winner is:

Ladies, you will both be recieving emails from me shortly. Please remember to respond within 48 hours or will have to draw new winners. 
Thank you everyone for entering, and please remember to check out the left sidebar for more open giveaways, and more to open during the week!