Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

2010 - It was a year of firsts.

First flutters and baby kicks

First time giving birth

First time becoming a mom

First daughter

First smiles

First laughs

First time rolling over

First time sitting up

First solid foods

First tooth

First true understanding of unconditional love

2010 - It was a fantastic and memorable year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Home Made Baby Food: Zucchini

I just made my first batch of fresh baby food. It was easy!
I cut up the zucchini into little pieces and put them in the steamer for 20 minutes. When the zucchini was done, I put it in the blender with a little bit of water and hit puree. Done! I need to get some ice cube trays to freeze the food in (each cube is approximately 1 oz which is just the right serving size) but for tonight, I used some breast milk bags. I made 3 oz servings so Baby Bee will just have to have zucchini for all 3 meals for a couple of days. =-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Birthday

At 3:01 this morning, I entered my thirty-seventh year.

When I was little, I looked forward to my birthday for the presents and the party. Then as I hit my young adult years, I looked forward to the phone calls, cards, and "Happy Birthday" wishes. As I neared thirty, I still appreciated birthday wishes but began to look forward to my birthdays less as I began to view them as markers of age. Now that I have a beautiful daughter of my own, my perception of birthdays has changed. For the first time, I truly valued a birthday for what it really is - a celebration of life regardless of presents, cards, or the number of candles on the cake. As a new mom, I can now fully appreciate the best gift given to me, the gift of life.

As the first day of my thirty-seventh year draws to an end, I am humbled and extremely appreciative of the gift my mom gave to me. Thank you, Mom, for life.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

6 months of BFAR

Baby Bee turned 6 months old yesterday so it also marked 6 months of breastfeeding. That's quite an accomplishment since I'm only producing enough milk for about 40% of her daily intake. I've definitely had my love/hate moments with BF but overall, I've really enjoyed it. I'm so glad I stuck it out and kept with it. She's not been sick once and is right on track developmentally. Here's to another 6 months!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

29 Days of Diapers!

Here's a great contest for 29 chances to win cloth diapers! The great thing about this giveaway is that it's a one step entry each day and is only open for 24 hours so winners are announced promptly. No need to wait for 2 weeks for the duration of the contest. Want to enter? Click on the 29 days of Diapers button on my sidebar!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Diapers: Feeding the Addiction


Okay. I've been dying to have some seasonal diapers, but I've kept myself in check. I just can't justify the money right now so I've promised myself I won't order any at this time. I didn't promise that I wouldn't try to WIN some though! This adorable Ooga Booga Christmas diaper from Nifty Nappy is exactly what I would love to see on Baby Bee's bum on Christmas morning. Thanks to the Mommy Times and Nifty Nappy for sponsoring the giveaway! Fingers (and toes) crossed!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Product Review: Libman Freedom Mop


Pleased

In the past, I had used a Swiffer Wet Jet and while I liked it and felt that it did a good job, it was also a rather expensive mop to use between the costs of the replacement cleaning pads and refill containers of the solution. I also felt bad about having to throw away the cleaning pads after each cleaning. Since I had already started using a microfiber cloths on the regular Swiffer, I had tried to do the same with the Wet Jet, but it didn't work. That's about the time I first saw the Libman Freedom Mop advertised. This is EXACTLY what I was looking for! There are NO batteries and the cleaning pads are reusable up to 50 washes. The container detaches easily so that I can fill it with whatever cleaning solution I want (I use 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar) and the microfiber cloth has little scrubbies on it to help break up stubborn spots. I just toss the dirty pad in with my cleaning cloths and pop on the extra one I purchased so that the mop is always ready to use. It's durable and well-made yet light weight so it's easy to carry around the house. I still use our surface steamer for "deep" cleaning, but the Libman Freedom Mop is the answer for quick daily touch-ups while still being environmentally and fiscally responsible. I would definitely recommend this product.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Birthday Bonanza Giveaway

It's not too early to start thinking about Baby Bee's first birthday, is it? I was looking through my usual sites where I enter giveaways and saw the Birthday Bonanza Giveaway sponsored by Celebrate Express over at Minnesota Momma's Must Haves. I fell in love with the Sweet-As-Can-Bee theme so I decided to enter to try and win a party pack. Even if I don't win, I will definitely consider this party pack for Baby Bee's party; the prices are very reasonable and there are lots of options for adding on extra supplies.

Another Giveaway Win!

Here's my shout out to Diane at gobabygoshop.com
I just won a cloth diapering advocacy tshirt for Baby Bee. It says "Does this cloth diaper make my butt look green?" Can't wait for her to get to wear it. Thanks, Diane!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Product Review: Fisher Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Kneeling Pad


Pleased


This pad is perfect for mommy or daddy knees while bathing baby. It has an anti-skid backing so that there's no slipping and sliding across the bathroom floor. It's just the right size and doesn't take up a lot of room. It's light weight enough to use the velcro strap on the back to hang from a towel bar or shower curtain rod in between uses.

Product Review: First Years Sure Comfort Bath Tub

Pleased

This tub is very practical. It is designed to sit on counter tops or straddle the kitchen sink. It doesn't fit our sink but that's not really a big deal to me. Now that Baby Bee is a bit older, I just set her tub in the bottom of our tub and kneel down on our kneeling pad. There is a compartment at the end of the tub large enough to keep shampoo/body wash bottles in during bath time.


This tub has a newborn sling that suspends baby above the tub making it easy to keep both hands free to bathe baby. The sling is netted so that water drips right through for rinsing purposes. After baby can balance a bit better, she promotes to the infant side (the taller back at the top of the picture). The angle of the hump in the middle of the tub elevates her legs slightly in order to help keep her leaning back. It would be nice if there were an anti-skid piece for under her bottom but I suppose one wasn't placed there in order to prevent any scratching on her delicate bum. The opposite end of the tub is for toddler use when baby can sit up on her own. We've yet to use that end but when we do, I'll update this review.


There are a couple of design elements I would change about this tub. First, where the legs are located, there are deep crevices on the inside floor of the tub but only on one end. Mildew loves those crevices from the trapped water after the tub is drained; they're narrow and difficult to clean. I don't understand why all four of the leg locations couldn't be flush to the inside bottom of the tub, or at least close to it, since two of them are. Secondly, the drain hole and plug sit a bit higher than the bottom of the tub making it difficult for all the water to drain out. I always have to flip the tub over to finish draining. Thirdly, I've not been able to hang this tub in between uses. With limited storage space, I had planned on hanging this on the wall in our laundry room alongside our laundry basket. The curved shape combined with the deep bottom makes it stand out away from the wall too far from the grasp of hooks.


Overall, this tub functions well and the couple of complaints I have are minor. Baby Bee is comfortable in it and really enjoys her bath time; I would recommend this tub to other moms.

Product Review: Prince Lionheart Warmies Cloth Wipes



Disappointed

I wanted to use cloth wipes since I was using cloth diapers anyway. It made sense to limit what we were throwing away and really, what was a few more things in the wash? I wish I had read the reviews on these first. I'm very glad that we only received one set instead of the two for which I had registered.


The first thing I noticed was that their care tag says to wash them on delicate. What? They're made to wipe up pee and poop and they're not sturdy enough for a regular wash cycle? I had planned to throw them in with the diapers so where's the convenience in having to do a separate load? These bamboo rayon wipes are very soft and seem to get softer with each wash. Unfortunately with each wash, they also seem to fall apart. Yep, even on the gentle cycle. So far, 3 of the 9 have come unraveled at the edges.


I found that the downside to them being so soft is that the fibers don't grab and trap the poop but rather just smear it around Baby Bee's bum. I quit using them on her bum and now just use them on her face for clean-ups between baths. I definitely would not recommend these wipes. See this blog entry for wipes we found that work well for us and our routine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Being Debt Free is Coming Closer

I was filling in some information on our Dave Ramsey budgeting software and if we really squeeze every penny and pay each month what we did this month, it is possible that exactly one year from now, we can be debt free! Our goal is 15 months (January 2012) but how exciting it would be to finish early!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lucky Streak

Well, I've been entering blog giveaways for about three weeks now and I've won three times.
Here's the list so far and my shout out to the ladies who make these giveaways possible:

GroVia Diaper
thanks to Nicki at nickisdiapers.com
Rockin Green Detergent
thanks to Kim at chubbycheeksthinks.com
Adiri Ultimate Nurser
thanks to Kim at chubbycheeksthinks.com

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trying Out the GroVia Today

We're finally getting to try our free GroVia diaper out today after 5-6 prep washes. So far, so good. The first thing I noticed was how easily this diaper went on. It has a super soft H&L waist - no scratching! I also noticed that since the whole waist piece is soft aplix rather than a sewn on strip, it looks nicer than some other systems which use aplix. It is extremely trim fitting for a one size diaper, even trimmer than my favorite Best Bottom diapers. After a couple of uses, I will write a full review and add it to my Adventures in Cloth Diapering page.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Diaper Related Winning!

I just won a bag of Rockin' Green Detergent from Chubby Cheeks Thinks! I began using this detergent about a week and a half ago and after rockin' an overnight soak, it took care of the detergent buildup causing a terrible ammonia smell as soon as the dipes got wet. I had been reading how much people loved RnG so I was willing to try it. After using it just that one time and having the smell in the dipes completely eliminated, I have switched my station to Rockin' Green! I'm super excited that I didn't have to buy the next bag.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Breastfeeding Giveaway Pack

I just found this giveaway for breastfeeding moms! It's a My Brestfriend pillow, an inflatable travel feeding pillow, fenugreek (as a post-surgery mom I NEED that), a nursing stool, and a nursing cover. Its the ULTIMATE BF kit! I love the idea of the travel nursing pillow; I was just talking to someone the other day about inflatable pillows. If I had that, I could keep it in my diaper bag all the time. I've registered to win cloth diapers but THIS is the giveaway I REALLY want to win!

First Consignment Purchase

I've never shopped in a consignment store before now, but I must say, I'll be a frequent shopper at Bellys Babies and Beyond. We're taking a trip to the mountains this fall and Baby Bee needed some warm clothes in her current size since all of the warmer clothes we were given are 6-9 months and up. I was able to find exactly what she needed for a great deal.

I purchased:
5 long-sleeved onesies
3 hooded sweaters
3 pairs of pants
2 hats (one was still in the package)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of overalls

all for $34.11! Most of the items were in the $2.00 range and one of the hats was only $0.50! The store was very clean and the owners are very particular about what items they accept to sell. I will definitely use my frequent shopper points card.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pop-Up Cloth Wipes Video

While I don't store my wipes this way, this video shows how to fold cloth wipes in order to reuse a pop-up disposable wipes container. I thought it was helpful.

Fabulous Formula Find

I got a super hot deal on formula today! Publix had Enfamil Lipil on their discontinued shelf. This was the first Lipil that we were using as breastfeeding supplementation and then had trouble finding it, not realizing that it had been discontinued. Anyway, Publix marked what they had as 2 for $25.59 (25 oz can) and 2 for $13.39 (13 oz can). They only had one of the 25 oz cans but 4 of the smaller cans. On top of the special price, I had $21 in Enfamil checks. I got all of this formula for $18.58 and since we only have to use a couple of ounces at a time, it should keep us from having to buy more formula for quite awhile!

I Won!!


I just won a GroVia AI2 diaper from Nicki's Diapers! I'm excited about adding to our stash. Looks like I have a new review to write soon!

Cloth Wipes and Dipes at Home and On the Go

At Home
I thought I would share our changing station setup and organization. Most CD families use cloth wipes as well to save money and to be environmentally responsible. Even when I'm out for the day, I use cloth wipes and just throw them in the wet bag with the soiled diaper.

The top compartment of the changing table has just enough room for two canvas bins. One has burp rags and bibs. This one has all of my cloth wipes. As I do laundry, I always put the clean wipes at the bottom of the stack so as to help with rotation and equal use to prevent wear and tear.
The rolled wipes on the left are Reusable Warmies from Prince Lionheart. I registered for them with the intent of using the warmer, but I never did. They're very soft but also fall apart very easily so when these are gone (and I've already had three fall apart on me in as many months), they won't be replaced.

In the middle are my Imagine flannel wipes from Nicki's Diapers. They are very soft and gentle and fold in half to fit in travel wipe cases perfectly. I actually ordered two sets, one for Baby Bee and one for me to wash my face. When they arrived, they were so cute that I changed my mind because I didn't want them to get mascara stains all over them, so I still use my stash of white (and inexpensive) terry washcloths since they can be bleached if needed.

On the right are Kissas Awesome Knit Terry Wipes from Kissaluvs. I generally use these thick wipes on her poopy bottom; they do a great job grabbing all of the mess. They also fold in half to fit in wipe cases but since they're thicker, not as many fit.

As far as wetting the cloths, I keep a squirt bottle hanging on the edge of the station with water and some Johnson & Johnsons Baby Wash in it. Just a couple of squirts onto the cloth seems to be enough.

I organize the changing table drawers as follows:

In the first drawer is everything for our Best Bottom system which is our primary system. The inserts are the two stacks on the left and the doublers are in the middle. The fleece liners that I use from time to time are in the small pink basket. Just like the cloth wipes, as I reload the drawer, the clean inserts go on the bottom of the stack. I keep the covers snapped up on the smallest snap so that they take up the least room in the drawer.
The second drawer has all the Kissaluvs, doublers and covers. The gDiapers are also in this drawer. When Baby Bee outgrows the small size gs, they will be put away and not replaced with mediums. We just don't use them enough to make it worth buying the next size. On the right are the Rumparooz OS pockets and 6r soakers and the Marvel OS AIO from Kissaluvs.

On The Go
For cloth diapering on the go, I pack one of my small wetbags from Planet Wise for dirty diapers and wipes. Kissaluvs Fleece Fitted diapers have become my on the go diapers because they're very absorbent and do an excellent job at containing even runny messes. I put a fresh one on Baby Bee just before we leave the house and pack one for each hour I anticipate we'll be gone, plus one extra diaper.

At my shower, I received some very thin and small washcloths (not sure of the manufacturer) and they are the perfect size for the wipe case. They're so thin that I can fold them in squares and fit two stacks of four wipes in the case. The wipes we use at home will fit but this way, I can get more in the case and I can keep it packed all the time and reload it when doing laundry without worrying about forgetting to fill it with wipes. For wetting the wipes, I keep a 4 oz. bottle of Kissaluvs Lotion Potion Spray in the bag all the time. It's the perfect size for the bag and I don't have to worry about accidentally leaving it at home.

For long weekends and trips, I found biodegradable wipes from Walgreens that work well. They have a pleasant fragrance and don't seem to cause any problems with Baby Bee's skin. The GroVia Biodegradable Soaker Pads work great in the Best Bottom covers. The pads have sticky tabs on the back to hold them in place on the inside of the cover and they're gusseted so they do a good job containing messes. Plus, they break down in 50-150 days instead of 500 years so I feel that I'm still being environmentally responsible while not having to pack tons of supplies for cloth diapering.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Day in the Middle

I mentioned over on Live, Laugh, Love, Lactate that I'm in the middle.

Right now, it's not a good place to be.

It's been one of those days. Actually, it's been a few of those days.

Discouraging.

I work so hard to get my supply up and after several weeks on the galactagouges, I'm still not seeing an increase in my supply. I'm taking about 20 capsules of herbs 3x a day and no visible results yet?!?

Exhausting.

I just get so tired of the routine sometimes. It takes me much longer to complete a feeding session than it does for most BF moms and FF moms. I nurse for 20 minutes and then feed her supplemented BM and formula and then pump. By the time I'm done, it's at least 45 minutes. Then I have to clean bottles and pump parts and before I know it, her internal timer goes off and we do it all over again. Ugh.

Frustrating.

Sometimes I get so frustrated because I think to myself, "I'm already cleaning bottles so I might as well be a full-time FF mom, right?" and "Where's the 'saving' benefit of BF when I still have to lug around bottles and formula when we're out and about, not to mention the pump if we're gone for the day?" And, as a BFAR mom, BF is not more economical than FF right now because I'm still buying formula (though not nearly as much as a full-time supply) and tons of galactagoues to try to keep my supply.

And then I remember.....


it's not about me.

Rewarding.

It's about my beautiful daughter. And if that's the routine I have to have in order to give her even just a few drops for a strong immune system, then it's worth it. I try to focus on the positives. Every little drop of gold is good for her. We have lots of skin-to-skin time together. I feel like we have a "secret" that no one else can be a part of since I'm the only one who can feed her. Heck, BF forces me to keep up my water intake so there's another positive. Not to mention, I have lost all of my pregnancy weight and then some since I'm spending so much time nursing her instead of snacking.

No, the middle isn't always a great place to be, but right now, it is.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Lots of Firsts in the Past Week


Baby Bee is really growing and growing! In the last week, she has started rolling over, knocking over her blocks, and imitating "boat lips" when we do it. And she smiles...all the time! Every time she smiles at me, my heart just bursts with joy and pride. She's such an amazing little wonder!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Grocery Savings

Another shopping trip to Publix yields big savings in the Bee Hive!

Sale items
Newman's Own honey mustard dressing on sale
$1.00 off plus $.75 coupon = $1.94
Newman's Own balsamic salad dressing on sale
$1.00 off plus $.75 coupon = $1.94


BOGO deals

Fig Newtons 2 packs for$3.89
Nilla Wafers 2 packs for $3.89
Coles Garlic Toast 2 loaves for $2.79
Hearts of Romaine salads 4 bags for $7.38


Power Buys
Crispix Cereal
BOGO 2/$3.99 -$1.00 coupon = 2 boxes for $2.99

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
BOGO 2/$3.99-$1.00 coupon = 2 boxes for $2.99

Raisin Bran Cereal
BOGO 2/$3.99-$1.00 coupon = 2 boxes for $2.99

Campbell's Select soup
BOGO 2/$2.30 - $1.00 coupon = 2 cans for $1.39

A freebie today! There was a sign on the shredded cheese that said 2 for $4.00 but when I got to the register, it rang up as $3.19 instead. The cashier went to verify and realized that a sign had been left on from last week's ad after the overnight restock and sign switches last night. The store policy is not to honor the advertised price but instead give the customer the item for FREE. So, there's another $3.19 in savings from today!

Total savings today: $47.06

Monday, August 23, 2010

The First Day of "School"

While Daddy and all my teacher friends went back to school today, Baby Bee and I spent our day like this:

4:00 am nursing, pumping

5:30 Baby Bee back to bed while Mama Bee:
  • put out meat for dinner
  • ran dishwasher
  • packed Daddy's lunch
  • dried a load of diapers
  • started load #1 of baby clothes
  • worked on the budget
  • ate breakfast
  • showered
  • dusted master bedroom

8:45 nursing, pumping

9:15 playtime together
  • tummy time
  • mat time
  • reading
  • picture for daddy

10:30 bath

11:00 nursing, pumping

11:30 nap for Baby Bee while Mama Bee:
  • ate lunch
  • dried load #1 of baby clothes
  • started load #2
  • unloaded dishwasher
12:30 awake time
  • singing and rhyming
  • practice holding keys
  • reading
1:15 nap time for Baby Bee while Mama Bee
  • folded and put away laundry load #1
  • made dinner
  • cleaned up kitchen
2:15 nursing, pumping

3:00 Sleepy Wrap while Mama made the salad for dinner

3:45-6:30
  • Walgreens
  • chiropractor
  • nursing
  • handbell rehearsal

6:45 dinner with Daddy
7:15 Mama cleaned up the dinner dishes while Daddy loved on Baby Bee
7:30 nursing, pumping
8:15 quiet time
9:00 bed


No wonder I'm so tired each day! I've worked much harder as a stay home mom than I have in the classroom. But it's also so much more rewarding!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Shopping Really is a Pleasure

I love BOGO at Publix! Baby Bee and I went shopping today for next week's menu based on the new weekly ad. There were also several items that we use regularly that were BOGO that we stocked up on even though we weren't quite in need just yet. BOGO for a box of 32 dishwasher tablets makes it so I won't have to buy more for months since I already had an unopened box still under the sink and we only use the dishwasher every other day. Mr. B's favorite brand of coffee was also BOGO so we stocked up on that as well.

Today's best power buy deals:
  • 2 Lysol kitchen cleaners at BOGO plus $1.00 coupon = $1.69 or $0.85 each
  • 2 Lysol bathroom cleaners at BOGO plus $1.00 coupon = $2.69 or $1.35 each
  • 2 Frosted Mini Wheats at BOGO plus $1.00 coupon =$3.29 or $1.65 per box
  • Fiber One bars 2 for $4.00 plus $0.50 coupon = $3.50 or $1.75 per box (that's $0.18 per bar!)
The breakdown:
~BOGO savings $39.19
~2 for x savings $12. 35
~coupons $7.50
Total savings $59.04

Saturday, August 14, 2010

3 AM: Feeding and...Cleaning?

If you have a diaper sprayer attached to the toilet, here's a tip.

Make sure the valve is completely off after using the sprayer. Otherwise, you might get up for a 3 AM feeding and when you go to wash your hands, stand in a puddle of water. Just one more thing you wanna do at 3 AM, huh?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Adventures in Cloth Diapering Update

The Kissaluvs order arrived yesterday afternoon. They are being prepped and hopefully by this afternoon, I can have Baby Bee try one out.

Monday, August 9, 2010

1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, feeding

You know you're a breastfeeding mom when you don't count your days in hours anymore but in feeding sessions.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

There's a First Time for Everything

And that includes blogging.

I have been toying with the idea of creating a blog for quite awhile. Now that I'm a mom, it seems to be the perfect place to share some of those moments from our daily family life. It's not fancy or extraordinary, but what it looks like doesn't matter. What is says, however, does.

This is our life.