Friday, December 9, 2011


My husband surprised me with an early Christmas present! I got a Keurig Platnium. I have been using it for a month now and I love it!
I owned a regular coffee pot and single serve coffee pot. I liked the regular coffee pot for company because I could brew a whole pot. It did not work well otherwise. I couldn't ever get a good flavor. My coffee would either be too weak or too strong. The single serve one was awful. You added the amount of water you wanted and it would brew either one or two mugs or a caraffe. There isn't a warmer unit in the bottom, so the caraffe didn't hold heat long. The inside of this pot had a lot of nooks and cranies and it got nasty looking in there. I didn't know how to get them all cleaned out and knew that the water was hitting these spots before entering the cups, so I threw the whole thing out. YUCK!
The beauty of Kcups is that everything is premeasured and the Keurig does the work for you. Plus everyone can just make a cup of the flavor that they want in less than 5 minutes. You can also buy a filter and use any loose coffee or tea you have.
The Keurig Platnium has 5 cups sizes to choose from when brewing. They range from 3.25oz to 13.25oz. I am typically a 13.25ouncer. The first few times I used it I made smaller sizes, but I felt like it was a little wasteful. You can only use each Kcup one time no matter what size cup you choose. Well it's not that you can't, it's that you won't drink the following cup if you do. It ends up very watery. If I am making a cup for more than one person, and they want the same flavor, I will just brew it into a glass measuring cup and then portion it into coffee mugs.
I add creamer to my coffees because I don't like a strong coffee taste. I do prefer to use a stronger brew so the creamer doesn't overwhelm the coffee. I am keeping a log of the ones I like, love, and loathe. So far the only ones I loathe are the Columbian and House Brews I have tried. Even with a Creme Brulee creamer, they were horrible. My favorite flavor (so far) is Gloria Jean's Butter Toffee with Creme Brulee creamer. Tastes like it came from a coffee house. I am drinking a Chai Latte from Cafe Escapes today and it is wonderful without adding anything.
You can even brew teas and hot cocoa in your Keurig. My daughter and I use it to make hot chocolate all the time, but I haven't purchased any hot cocoa Kcups. We just scoop the hot chocolate into the mug and then use it to add the hot water. My daugher loves it! She gets to help and use Mommy's new machine, so it's fun for her. (Just make sure you remember to remove the last Kcup before brewing or there will be coffee in the cocoa.)
If I had to guess, I would say that it has already paid for itself. I am no longer going to the station for a cappucinno on a daily basis. I do occasionally head to Starbucks for a flavor I can't get for my Keurig yet. Starbucks is making Kcups now, but they don't come in the Holiday flavors yet.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cookie Exchange

I am getting ready to attend my first Cookie Exchange, so I want to know what kind of cookies you would take to a cookie exchange. I will post one recipe that I know I will use, but I am looking for another one to take as well. Please add your favorite cookie recipe in the comments and we can have our own online cookie exchange. This will be a great way for all of us to get some new ideas.
You will need to provide your email address to post a comment, but your email will not be posted. The name you enter will.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon When You Take the North "Poll"

Melissa & Doug want you to tell them which of their educational toys you think is the best! Just click on the image below to place your vote in the North "Poll!" You'll Get a Melissa & Doug 25% Off Coupon** to use at just for voting!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rust-Oleum Countertop and Cabinet Transformations

When we bought our 1988 home a few years ago, it was clear that no updating had ever been done on the kitchen. The laminate countertops had pieces missing and the cabinets had very little finish left. The cabinets were light wood and the counter top were a yellow-brown color with mock wood grain. This was a high contrast from the deep red paint on the walls.

We chose the Rust-Oleum products because they claimed a professional looking product for an affordable price. We chose Onyx for the counters and Cabernet for the cabinets. We did the counters first so we wouldn't mess up the finished cabinets. 
First you sand down the counters and wash until no dust is left. Then you paint them , spray with a wetting agent and cover with chips from a chip spreader. After it sets, you sand down the chips to a semi smooth finish, wash until no dust remains and then paint with a clear top coat. 
The kit comes with almost everything you need and wonderful instructions. I am very happy with the results as they are a thousand times better than what we started with. 
There are a few cons. The paint is not as thick as the video demonstration would have you believe and we had some trouble getting it to stick in some places. When we sanded down the chips, you could see counter top in spots where the paint didn't dry right. Some of the places added to the granite look, but I chose to cut other places out and I redid them with better results, however; there are two spots by the sink that look awful! Luckily, one is hidden under the dish drying rack. Another spot dried a little shinier than the rest. No one else seems to notice the spots until I point them out. Also, it was extremely messy and we are still finding the chips in drawers and cabinets. 

The cabinets also turned out great. I love them! The kit and instructions are great and it was easy to complete if you follow the instructions. First you use the inclosed deglosser to basically wash away the top coat. You then rinse the deglosser off and then begin the base coat. The base looks like a cross between a stain and paint. You put on two base coats following the grain of the wood. It is very important that you follow the grain exactly or your brush strokes will show when it dries. Also, make sure you don't stop in mid board and then come back to it or you can see the starting and stopping points. Thankfully, I learned this on the first coat and was able to hide my mistakes. The only part of the instructions I would skip is placing the doors on screws. This pulled the paint off of mine even though they had been dry for a couple days. 
Next you put on the decorative glaze and gently wipe it away. We read a lot of reviews that said "there wasn't enough glaze." I had more than enough. I made sure I didn't try to put it on thick like paint. I just lightly brushed it on and didn't press hard when wiping away. Make sure you pay attention to how you pressed when you got your desired results so you can make sure you do it exactly the same on each door and cabinet.  
After the glaze is dry, you put on a protective top coat. I was expecting this to be like a clear glaze, but it was more like runny glue. And it does run. The same rules apply when it comes to following the grain of the wood, but it's harder to do. The top coat runs and pools in places and you need to smooth them out right away or it won't dry clear. When you coat the doors, be very careful to wipe any drips that work their way around to the other side of the door. Since you have to do the back of the doors first, this will mean the drip will show on the front side of the door. Not good. 
Overall, I love the results. My kitchen looks so much better and everyone notices it right away. This is a great way to get a "new" kitchen without having to replace the actual cabinets or counter tops. Cheaper and less waste. 

On a side note, the painters tape pulled the paint off the wall, so now we have to paint on top of redoing the floors. The floors are so ugly!

Washing Cloth Diapers- All Free and Clear vs. Tide Free and Gentle

I have been using cloth diapers for over a year now. Before beginning, I did a lot of research on the types of detergent you had to use on them. Of course on most blogs and store sites, I saw a lot of info on Charlie's Soap and some other cloth diaper detergents that were costly and had a lot of reports of bad diaper rashes and needs for additional items to soak the diapers in or strip them. It was overwhelming trying to find something that worked and was affordable. I eventually saw a site that had lists of everyday detergent that were safe to use. They didn't say how well they worked, just whether or not it was "ok" to use it.
I found the detergent we currently use on all of our laundry, All Free and Clear, with a check under "yes." I decided to start there. I used it for 7 months with great results. I didn't have any trouble with odor and he didn't get any diaper rashes. I never had to strip the diapers for buildup or sunbleach them.
When Tide came out with a Free and Gentle version I decided to try it. It helped that it was on sale and I had a coupon. I instantly regretted it. The diapers began to stink like ammonia when he would pee and never really felt clean. I switched back to All and it fixed the problem in a couple washes.
I recommend All Free and Clear to everyone who is using, or thinking about using, cloth diapers. I am sure there are other good detergents out there, but this one is priced great and definitely gets the job done. The fact that you can use it on all of your laundry with great results is another huge plus.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mop, Mop, Mop. All Day Long

I spent most of the day today cleaning house. Not something I consider to be a "good time." I love having a clean house, but I don't love using a lot of chemicals to get it  that way. I had seen a lot of commercials advertising steam mops to clean and sanitize a natural way. I decided to ask Santa to get me one for Christmas. I know what you are saying, "Cleaning supplies for Christmas?!?" I say "If it makes my life easier, it's a gift."  Santa and I did a little research to decide which one would be the best and decided to get the H2O Mop Ultra. I am very happy with our choice.
Picture from
The H20 Mop Ultra has a lot of great features. You can use it as a mop, carpet steamer, and handheld steamer. A lot of the other steam mops came with a handheld steamer that was battery operated. The handheld on the H2O is part of the mop itself. You unhook the tank from the mop frame and it becomes a corded handheld. This makes it more powerful than the battery operated ones. Plus, you don't have to worry about replacing batteries all the time. The handheld is perfect for cleaning my showers and grout as well as sanitizing the carpet, toys, and furniture. There are also attachments you can purchase for these uses. I no longer have to spray everything down with bleach water. Everything is clean and safe and my house doesn't smell like chemicals or end up with bleach spots.
Mopping takes about half the time it used to. I don't have to fill a bucket with floor cleaning solution, dip, wring, mop, repeat.. anymore. You put the water in the tank with the included measuring cup and plug it in. It is ready in about 10 seconds. You pull the trigger once to start the steam and it continues to run until you pull it again. The steam breaks down any build-up in seconds and the washable cover wipes it away. I actually enjoy mopping now. It's just so easy! I even used it on the wall around the trash can today. It cleaned up all the little "misses" with ease and didn't hurt the paint.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

GroVia Hybrid Diaper Covers

My favorite Hybrid diaper covers are GroVia's. I currently have 4 One-Size covers. I have owls, airplanes, and trees. They are adorable! The legs and back are gusseted for fit, and the inside is lined so you can't see the PUL (Polyurethane laminate.) I find that these covers tend to stay dryer and do not smell like urine as quickly. This is especially nice since you can't just take a wet wipe to them like the PUL covers. They recommend that you change the cover every two changes, but I find that I can use one for most of the day if no BM waste gets on them. On days where he wets more than usual, I will change them more often.

I already had a large enough stash of other inserts, so I did not feel the need to buy any GroVia cloth inserts for these covers. I typically use the covers over my Flip inserts or use them with the GroVia disposable inserts. These disposable inserts are my favorite of all the brands. The legs of the disposable inserts are gusseted in order to hold in waste. The front and back has an adhesive so they STAY IN PLACE!!! They are also extremely absorbent. I have even used them overnight. I usually put a Flip insert under the GroVia disposable just in case he sleeps longer than usual. Note that you do not want to use the adhesive on a PUL cover as it will not be easy to remove. I still use them in the other covers, I just leave the tabs on the adhesive ends so they don't stick down. When we went out of town for 5 days, I took 50 GroVia disposable inserts and 7 covers (GroVia and Flip.) We made it through all 5 days and nights with covers and inserts to spare.

GroVia bioliners are also a product I love. You get a lot for your money and they are a must if you don't want to spend a ton of time removing BM waste from your cloth liners.

I like this brand so much that I have added their button to my blog page. You can see it to the right. They have some great sales and bundle deals coming up, so you should check them out and check often.

Check out my earlier post if you need definitions for the terms used here.


I had been seeing a lot of adds for a site called Ebates. It is a shopping website that allows you to purchase from many stores and receive cash back. The stores include Target, Barnes and Noble, Home Depot, Staples, Sears, JCpenney, GAP, etc... I was skeptical to say the least. I finally decided to try it out when I was looking for ink for my printer. I signed up and looked through all the stores on their site to figure out which store had the best deal. Just to be safe I also researched the sites without going through Ebates to make sure it didn't automatically change the price. They were all exactly the same.  I found 123injets had the best prices and Ebates had codes for coupons for an additional amount off and free shipping on orders over $50. My total came to around $55. A few weeks later I received a check for $8.94 from Ebates. How easy is that?! Almost all the stores I order from are on Ebates. I love this site now and will continue to shop through them. I always check out the coupon section before I start to order too. Just to make sure I get the best deal possible.
If you order online I would highly recommend you begin using Ebates, in order to start getting your checks in the mail.
*This post is my own opinion based on my experience with this site. Ebates did not commission this review.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Tabatha F. You are the winner of the Scentsy Plug-in and 3 scent bars. You have 48 hours to claim your prize or another winner will be chosen.

True Random Number Generator  4Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Scentsy Review and Giveaway!!! CLOSED

Like most people, I love scented candles. Well I love the smell. I don't love the uneven melt patterns, digging the wick out of the wax or having the wick burn away completely, or the fact that it never smells as good when it's burning as it does cold in the jar. There's also the constant worry of making sure you never leave one unattended and burning your house down. Open flame=safety issues. This is where Scentsy comes in.

The first time I was invited to a Scentsy party I had no idea what it was. I was thinking "Essential oils?" maybe. No it is so much better! Scentsy systems consist of warmers and scented wax bars. The warmers are similar to the tealight wax warmers without the tealight. The warmer contains a small lightbulb that heats the tray and melts the wax. Filling the room with your favorite scents. There is no flame and the bars are paraffin wax so they will not burn skin. I know from experience that it not only doesn't burn, but also cleans up easily. Whoops!

The scented bars are awesome. The hardest part is narrowing down which scents you want to buy. They have everything; cologne/perfume, fruity, baked goods, nature... You get to be in charge of how little or how much scent is released by varying the amount of the bar you place in the warmer. I have an open floor plan in my living area. If I want the smell to fill the kitchen, dining room, and living room I will use a whole bar of a lighter scent or half a bar of stronger one. If I want the scent to remain in one room like the bathroom or bedroom, I will use a plug-in warmer and place 1 to 2 squares in the tray. I also do this in the kitchen if I only want to have a light scent that doesn't carry to the other rooms.

Since buying my first Scentsy system (midsize warmer and three bars) I have added countless bars, two full size warmers, another midsize warmer, 2 plug-ins, 2 Scentsy Buddies for my kids, car freshners, and a room spray. I love these things!

And now the giveaway!!!
Briley Giamalva-Independent Scentsy consultant is providing a Groovy Brown plug-in warmer and 3 Scent bars (Sugar Cookie, Luna, and Clean Breeze) for one luckily reader.

To Enter:
1) "Like" Briley's Facebook page and leave a message on her wall saying I sent you, AND "like" my facebook page. Then leave a comment here with your facebook name.
Bonus entries:
1) Share this giveaway on facebook or twitter and make it viewable to everyone (click the masterlock under your status and change it to everyone) then leave a seperate comment here with a link to the post.
2) Visit​e, then come back here and leave a comment telling me which product you are most interested in.
3) Follow me via Google reader and leave a comment here saying you did so. The link is on the right side of my page.
4) Sign up for email updates and leave a comment here saying you did so.
*Make sure you leave a seperate comment for each entry.
 Winner will be chosen via random drawing on August 21st, 2011.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ice Cold Crack-To Go

The Casey's General Store by my house has Ice Cold to Go coffee. I'm pretty sure it's made with crack. I am addicted! I actually crave them. Since I am a SAHM(stay at home mom) who watches other children, I can't just jump in the car and get one plus my habit is getting a little costly. In order to save money, and stop my hands from shaking, I decided to try and make it myself. I had a coupon for $1.50 off Starbucks VIA and decided I would use that. That is until I got to the store and saw that they cost as much per serving as the premade crack version at Casey's. I then looked at Nescafe Taster's Choice Vanilla single serve packets. $3.74 for 20. Even my crack (remember I am talking about coffee not actual crack) withdrawn mind can see that the Nescafe is a much better deal.
Ok, so I have my Nescafe and some Coffee Mate Natural Bliss caramel creamer and I begin trying to make my own yummy iced coffee. First I made it per the directions for a hot coffee. I prepared 6oz of hot water and added the packet. I tasted it without the creamer first, just for fun. I actually liked it and could taste the vanilla. I then added the creamer to taste and followed by adding ice. I ended up with a watered down version of what I wanted.
Day 2. Really need my fix. I am going to try again. This time I prepare 4oz of hot water and add the packet to that. Then I add 2 icecubes (about 2oz of water) in order to get to the 6oz it suggests. This along with the creamer cools the coffee down so when I add more ice it doesn't water it down. Success! It is super yummy. Now, obviously, it's not as good as Casey's since I don't have an abundance of (or any) crack lying around and I don't add any extra sugar, however; I am happy with my replacement most days and treat myself to a real one at least once a week. You didn't expect me to quit cold turkey did you?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Econobum Cloth Diapers

Photo from
Econobums are made by the same company as the Flip diapers. After trying, and liking, the Flips I wanted to increase my stash. I wanted to see if I could find covers that would work with the Flip inserts (my favorites) but didn't have the flaps and were cheaper. As I mentioned in my Flip review, I don't like the flaps. I went to my local cloth diaper store and spoke with the owner about my options. I came across the Econobums and noticed they looked similar to the Flip covers. They were a lot cheaper and one cover came with 3 pre-folds. I bought two covers with pre-folds and another Flip insert. These quickly became my go-to cover and went back to buy another. The cover works just like the Flip cover, but without the flaps. They are made of the same material, but only one layer instead of two, and work with all the inserts, including the disposable ones. I don't have any trouble with leaks. You can wipe them out with a wet wipe if they are damp and they are dry in a couple minutes. They only come in white, but you can get different colored edging.
The pre-folds are very thick and absorbent. They have pre sewn lines to show you were to fold them and can be folded in different directions depending on the size you need. You can use them with pins or Snappi's or just lay them flat in the cover like an insert. I still prefer the Flip inserts and use them more often than the pre-folds. The inserts are easier since there is no folding involved, plus they are trimmer and more absorbent.
You can buy a kit from Econobum that claims it will get you from birth to potty training for only $100. If you have the money upfront that would be a great deal.

Friday, July 22, 2011


When my facebook page hits 50 "like"s the giveaways will start. We are so close! Please share this with your friends.
50 =Scentsy Plug-in warmer and 3 scent bars. If you haven't tried Scentsy before, you will love it!
100 =Bag of Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Detergent
200 =Posh Pumpkins Cloth Diaper. See my review and check them out on facebook.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer

My husband is in the sheet metal industry and comes home covered in metal dust. That mixed with soap leads to a really nasty shower. The metal dust sticks to the shower floor and turns it black. It also gets on the tile and grout. I have tried a lot of cleaners (mostly natural) and have had a hard time making it look very clean even with scrubbing on my hands and knees for over an hour. I know that S. C. Johnson claims to use more earth friendly products, so yesterday I decided to try Scrubbing Bubbles Mega Shower Foamer since he and the kids would be out for the day.
At first I couldn't get the spray to foam, but once I did it started cleaning right away. I saw some of the metal dust begin to run down the wall without any scrubbing. I let the product sit for 3 minutes, as the directions state, and then used a shower brush to scrub the residue. The effort I had to put in was very minimal and the shower is cleaner than it has been in awhile. It even cleared the soap scum off the shower doors. I was very impressed with the results. Unfortunately, I used the entire bottle in one use since it didn't foam right away. I really needed a little more on the floor of the shower, but it still removed most of the black staining.
The fumes from this cleaner were minimal compared to other chemical cleaners. I did not feel over powered by them.
The bottle also states that it will continue to work for four days. I did notice that the floor looked even better after my shower this morning.

Eco – Friendly Activities for the Summer

This is a guest post from a blog I follow.  Lots of great ideas. Let me know if you try any of them and feel free to include pictures :)
Eco – Friendly Activities for the Summer

By Melanie Melugin of Going Green with Noah

Summer is here and you either have kids that are not yet in school…..or kids that are out of school.

Trying to find great eco friendly activities for them to do?

Here are some ideas for a wide variety of ages of children.

  1. Make a Homemade Bird Feeder

Once you finish your milk, whether it be a carton or a gallon, rinse it out and save it to make a homemade birdfeeder!

Basic Materials: Milk carton, string, bird seed
Difficulty: Very easy
Another option is to make a FULL milk carton Bird Feeder:

What you'll need:
  • Empty quart sized cardboard milk carton
  • Scissors
  • String or cord
  • Hole punch or pencil
  • Bird seed
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How to make it:
  1. Cut a hole in the bird feeder – it should be big enough so a bird could come and sit and eat the feed, but not too big or the carton will become unstable. (See photo.)
  2. Cut a hole using the hole punch in the top of the milk carton and put a string through the hole. Alternatively, you can poke a hole on either side of the flap at the top of the carton by poking a pencil through the top. (See photo.)
  3. Tie a knot in the string. (See photo.)
  4. Fill the carton with bird seed until it reaches the top of the hole. (See photo.)
  5. Hang the cart on a tree branch and watch the birds enjoy their snack! (See photo.)
  • A quart size carton works perfect as it isn't too large and holds a decent amount of food.
  • You may choose to decorate the outside of the carton but keep in mind that it will be outside in the elements and decorations may wash off in the rain. Also, you wouldn't want the birds pecking at flaking paint!

Check your bird feeder regularly and refill as needed.

(Courtesy of

  1. Make your Own Paper

Don't throw away those old newspapers and magazines!
Recycle your own paper products to make your own paper at home!
A messy, but simple, project, this is great to do with or without kiddos

Here's how:

Supplies Needed:
Paper from your recycle bin
Large bowl
Brownie pan
Acrylic paint
Mesh screen

Tear your paper into small pieces and place them in your bowl. Squares about 1 inch by 1 inch are fine. Add hot water and soak your paper for about 30 minutes.

Have and adult help you pour your paper-and-water mixture into your blender. Blend the paper until it becomes thick and pulpy.

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Pour the mixture back into the bowl and take it to your protected work space.

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Choose a color for your paper. I decided to make mine blue. Add paint to the pulp and mix with your hands until the pulp is the color you wish your paper to be. Keep in mind that the paper with look lighter after it dries.

Move a few handfuls of the pulp into your brownie pan. Cover with more water.

Cut a piece of screen slightly larger than you want your sheets of paper. You want to use a sturdy piece of screen. I choose a flexible piece of screen and it was difficult to keep the pulp on the screen.

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Dip the screen into the mixture and cover with a thin layer of pulp. Allow the water to drain through the screen, then move your screen to a towel. Flip the screen so the pulp is directly on the towel and the screen is facing up. Fold your towel over the screen and let it soak up some of the water.

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Remove the screen and repeat.

Your paper will need to dry for about a day.

Finally, cut the paper to the size you want, or leave the edges unfinished. You may wish to decorate your paper with a stamp at the top or bottom. Be sure to leave enough room to write on it.

  1. Make Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leather

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  • Strawberries
  • Water
  • Lemon juice 
  • Sugar (if needed)

**4 cups of fruit yield about one sheet of fruit leather


Preheat the oven to the lowest setting or 120 degrees...the lowest my oven would go was 170 degrees.

Rinse the berries and cut of the green tops.  Cut the berries into quarters if they are large berries.

If the berries are sweet you will not need to add much sugar, but if they are tart you will need to add a bit more.

Place the berries in a covered saucepan on medium heat.  Pour in 1/2 c. water for every 4 cups of fruit.  Bring the berries to a simmer and let them cook down for 10-15 minutes until the fruit is soft.

Use a potato masher to mash the fruit that is left in the pan until fairly smooth.  (Or wait for the mixture to cool a bit and put it in your food processor or blender.)  If you kiddos are sensetive to the seeds, you could strain the mixture through cheesecloth to remove the strawberry seeds.

Add sugar 1 tsp. at a time until desired sweetness and lemon juice to taste  I added 1/2 c. sugar and the juice from 1/2 of a lemon to give it some real zing.

Simmer fruit until sugar is completely disolved and the mixture has thickened (about 5 or 10 minutes more).

Spray a baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the lined baking sheet until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick or so.

Bake in the low temperature oven for as long as it takes for the puree to dry out (between 8 and 12 hours) and not be sticky to the touch...ours took 6.5 hours since it was at a higher temp.

Let the fruit leather cool.  Then as you take the leather up, tightly roll it, plastic wrap and all as you would do cinnamon rolls.

Then cut the leather into desired widths.

Store the homemade "fruit roll ups" in airtight containers or plastic baggies.


Parents – Stay at Home whenever possible!

I’m one that is a busy bee, but think about the amount of emissions that we emit when we are driving from place to place.

Find activities at home, whether it be building blocks, planting an herb garden (in the shade to beat the heat), or even having a playdate with neighbors. Keep the car turned off, be creative with your children, while helping the environment at the same time.

5) Visit the Library

If you do need to get out of the house, take your child to the local library. Many have story times that range from birth and up. Noah and I attend each Thursday morning to the toddler time and he LOVES it. Then take time to search books and read to your child!

In addition to these great ideas, here are a list of resources that I use for additional ideas and inspiration to keep my little one active and entertained!

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Melanie operates the blog Going Green with Noah. She is a stay at home mom with a 19-month-old son and expecting a baby girl in August. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Posh Pumpkins AIO Cloth Diaper Review + Giveaway

I received a Posh Pumpkins AIO (all in one) to review. This is my only AIO diaper and I wish I had a whole stash of them. I love this diaper! It is so trim and cute, and the color is bright and cheery. The outside of the diaper is as soft as the inside, so it doesn't look like plastic.

I was a little concerned at first because it only has two snaps for height adjustment, but so far that is working out just fine. My little one is on the highest adjustment on his other one size diapers, but he still has one to go in these.
I have not experienced any leaks with this diaper during day time use and as you can tell from the pictures, he is a mover. He was doing circles around me while I was trying to get shots of the diaper. Even with all the ups and downs, twists and turns, we still didn't have any leaks.
I know after reading this you are going to want one of these diapers too. Luckily, Posh Pumpkins have offered up a diaper for one lucky reader. So share this with your friends because when I reach 200 "likes" on my facebook page, we will have a Posh Pumpkins diaper giveaway!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Flip Cloth Diaper Review

After the gdiaper failure, I went back to the store and asked for advice on purchasing other AI2 diapers. The girl working recommended the Flip AI2s. I purchased a kit containing two covers and 6 Stay-dry inserts.  Here is the website description of the Flip system.

The Flip™ Diaper System is a flexible, hybrid cloth diapering system that provides options for every occasion. The one-size cover and three choices in absorbent inserts make diapering your baby less expensive, easy and perfect for where-ever, when-ever.
1. TOSS the used insert in your diaper pail
2. CHOOSE the best insert for the occasion: Stay-Dry, Organic or Disposable
3. REUSE the cover
A Flip diaper cover used with a Stay-Dry Insert is perfect for overnight & anytime use. Made of 3 ultra-absorbent layers of microfiber and a smooth stay-dry suede cloth that wicks moisture from your baby’s bum. Flip Stay-Dry Inserts work to keep your baby drier, longer.

Flip diagramFlip diagram

Here is my review.

The Flip Stay-Dry inserts are by far my favorite inserts (pictured below.) They are a great length for front to back coverage and they are one size, so you don't have to buy new ones every time your baby grows. They have pre-sewn lines so you know where to fold them for each size. The inserts work with every waterproof cover I tried. They are trim and very absorbent! The disposable inserts are cheaper than the gdiaper ones, but other than that are exactly the same.
The covers come in a small variety of colors and are one size for 8-35lbs. Definitely a money saver. They are quick drying so you can wash them off and they are dry before the next change. You can also wipe them out with a wipe during each change in order to remove any urine that is inside and they are dry within a minute or two. 
My only issue with the Flip Diaper is the flaps that you tuck the inserts under. Since they are on top of the insert they tend to get soiled quickly. If your child has a BM, it will definitely get on the back flap and the front flap gets wet with urine. Since the material is the same as the outer material it is more absorbent and therefore keeps the moisture against the babies skin. I just didn't tuck the inserts under the flaps to eliminate the problem, and found the diapers also fit better that way.
For overnight coverage, I use a Stay-Dry insert and a disposable insert. The Stay-dry absorbs anything that gets through the disposable and we haven't had any leaks. 
Flip Stay-Dry InsertStay-dry insert

Friday, July 8, 2011

Gdiaper review

When I originally decided to cloth diaper I chose the gdiaper system because I loved the idea of a diaper that could use cloth as well as a biodegradable insert. I also wanted a cover that could be reused so I didn't have to purchase as many diapers. This was the only AI2 diaper I had heard of. I started with two small covers, 4 snap in liners, 6 cloth inserts, and two packs of the biodegradable inserts. The diapers are very cute and trim, but I couldn't get them to stop leaking.
The biodegradable inserts are flat and thin. The breastmilk poop just slides right off and onto the snap in liner and typically out of the liner onto the cover. This meant I had to change the cover each time, which is what I was trying to avoid in the first place. They were very absorbent, but not enough for overnight coverage.
The cloth inserts are much shorter than other brands and didn't give the front to back coverage needed. My son was of average height and a little below in weight, so it wasn't an issue of a large baby. I even tried using the medium/large inserts and they still leaked. They were not very absorbent even after going through all the prep work. The liners and snaps also left marks on my sons skin. You could see the imprints from the snaps and red puckered skin from the elastic around the liner.
I spoke with some other users and retailers for support and they said they had the same problems with the diapers. The retailer also informed me that he has heard the same from several other customers.
I do have to say that the gdiaper company has great customer service. They encourage their customers to contact them with any questions or concerns and have a great facebook community to discuss your gdiapers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cloth Diaper Terminology

I am currently working on a cloth diaper review and thought it would be a good idea to first offer up a rundown of the different types of diapers and how they work.

AIO-All in One. These basically work like a disposable diaper without the waste. It has all the absorbent material built in and a waterproof outer shell. You just put a diaper on, then when it is soiled, you take the whole thing off and put a new one on. The whole diaper goes in the diaper pail to be washed later. You will want to dump any BM (bowel movement) waste in the toilet before placing the diaper in the pail. You will need enough of these to get through all your diaper changes as most of them are line dry only and need plenty of time to dry. You will want to wash the first half of the days changes in the afternoon so they are ready for the next day.

AI2/Hybrid-All in 2. These diapers consist of a shell (outer cover) and an insert. You can use them with cloth or with a biodegradable/flushable/compostable insert. The disposable inserts are very handy for when you are on the go and don't want to carry around dirty cloth diapers with you. Which ever you choose, you place the insert inside the shell and put it on your baby like a regular diaper. Most cloth diaper covers have snaps or velcro for closure.

Pocket Diapers-These look like the AIOs, but they have a pocket between the cover and liner where you can stuff inserts to increase their absorbency. You need to remove the insert before washing.

Cover/Shell-A waterproof outer shell that covers the absorbent cloth. There is no absorbent material sewn in.

Insert-A rectangular piece of cloth that lays inside the cover or is placed in the pocket.

Disposable insert-These diapers can be thrown away and will break down in a landfill (if they find their way out of the plastic bag they were thrown in :) They can be flushed if you have good plumbing. You do have to tear them open, dump the insides into the toilet, break it up with something, flush it, and then do the same for the outer part. Or they can be thrown into your compost bin if they are only wet with urine.

Tri-fold-Like the cloth diapers of old. These are what most people call burp cloths these days. You fold them into thirds, fan out the back corner, and place it under baby's bottom. Fold the rest up over the front of your baby and fan out the front corners. Place the back corners over the front ones and secure with diaper pins or a Snapi. A Snapi is a closure device that is a rubber T with teeth at each end. You place the top of the T across the corners and then the bottom of the T down the front. This securely holds the diaper closed without any pokey pins. After the diaper is secured you will place a cover over the top. You can also just tri-fold these diapers and lay them flat inside a cover like an insert, but this makes for a bulkier diaper.

Bioliners-These are a must! You will save so much time, energy, and detergent if you use these!!! Bioliners are what I like to call "poop catchers." They look like a big dryer sheet. You just lay them on top of the insert or diaper so they are between your baby's bottom and the cloth. When your child has a BM (works better for more solid ones) the majority of it stays on this liner. When you change your baby you just take the bioliner to the bathroom and dump the BM in the toilet then throw the liner away. I rarely have to rinse my diapers before washing thanks to these amazing little guys.

There are other types of cloth diapers and a few different materials. This post will give you an idea of the types of diapers that are in my upcoming review. Let me know if you have any questions or if any of this is confusing.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pore Strip

Love the results you get from a pore strip, but don't like the cost? Try using white craft glue! You just spread the glue in a thin later over your blackheads and let it dry. When it is completely dry, just peel it off from one side to the other. Wallah! Beautiful results.

(Thanks "The Doctors")

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

HAPPYBABY Organic Baby Food

You may have seen baby food in pouches recently. Happybaby is one brand of pouch baby food that you can buy. Here's how they work. The fruit and vegetable pouches have a straw in the top. You can squeeze the food out onto a spoon to feed your infant. When your child gets older and can drink through a straw, they are able to suck the food straight from the pouch. Just like a smoothie! The meat varieties do not have a straw and require spoon feeding.

Here is a short version of the pros and cons, followed by a more detailed review.

1. Organic and No GEIs
2. Convenient and great for travel
3. Cheapest of the 3 brands I have seen
4. Delicious
5. Many contain Salba (a super grain)
6. BPA free packaging and recyclable lids

1. Cost more than jar baby food
2. Limited flavor varieties and almost all are a combination of fruits and/or vegetables.

I love the ease and convenience of these pouches. You don't have to pack bowls or worry about feeding from the jar. If they don't finish the food, you just replace the cap and refrigerate. When they are able to feed themselves from the pouch it gets even easier. You don't need spoons or bowls and they can even eat in the car or where ever you go.

The prices (at my Target) range from $1.09 to $1.29ea. This is cheaper than the Happybaby website and BabiesRus. I am willing to pay the extra money for the convenience, health benefits, and quality of this brand.  I wish they had more individual flavors since I want my children to eat fresh vegetables when they get older and not require fruit to be mixed with them. For instance; I have only been able to find one green vegetable pouch and it was green beans, pears, and peas. I would love an option for only green beans, only peas, etc. I have also only been able to find 2 meat varieties in the store. One with chicken and another with turkey. Since the flavors are limited, I buy other organic jar brands to make up for anything that is missing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Emergen-C Drink Mix

One word, AWFUL! I couldn't even finish it. It tasted like I crushed up a Flintstone Vitamin and dissolved it in water. I only tried the Very Berry. I haven't gotten up enough nerve to try the Orange one.
I was really dissapointed. Hopefully they can improve on the taste soon.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mineral Fushion Brush-On Sun Denfense SPF 30

I recently won a full size sample of Mineral Fushion Brush-On Sun Defense. This is a mineral based, translucent powder sunblock. You just click the button to dispense powder onto the built in brush and brush it on your face. Pretty simple.
Mineral Fusion uses natural ingredients that, according to their website, "offer flawless coverage while giving you the benefits of UV and antioxidant protection. All of our products are noncomedogenic and provide moisture balancing benefits, allowing the skin to function normally. mineral fusion™ is your solution for skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and hyperpigmentation, providing healing and calming benefits."
I will admit that I was a little skeptical about using a powder sunblock, but I am loving this product. My skin looks great and I haven't had any sunburns. The reason I would choose this product over SPF lotions is that you don't get the greasy effect of the lotions. You can apply make-up right on top and it stays on! This makes it a lot easier to apply sunscreen every day like you should.
To encourage others to use sunscreen like they should, I am giving away a $3 off Mineral Fusion coupon to a reader. Just leave a comment on this post, and a random post will be chosen on June 27th to win the coupon. Score additional entries for each way you follow my blog (facebook, google reader, email) just leave a seperate comment for each one. Share this with your friends so they can enter too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Zone Perfect Sweet and Salty Bars

I have tried several soy bars in the past and many of them ended up in the trash. I can't get used to the flavor. Last night; however, I received a free Sweet and Salty Zone Perfect bar in the mail. I ate it for breakfast this morning and loved it. It had cashews and pretzels in it! Not only did it taste great, it filled me up. I wasn't as hungry at lunch time as I usually am. I would definitely recommend these to people looking for a healthy option.
Right now you can get a free one for yourself and a friend on their facebook page.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hevea Pacifiers

I was in the market for a pacifier that my son would use in order to encourage some self soothing. He was and is very dependent upon me to soothe him and would often try to nurse in order to soothe or go to sleep. I definitely do not want to teach my children to eat in order to calm down when they are upset. We all know that natural and organic products are the way to go when it comes to our children. Unfortunately they are not always easy to find, especially when it comes to pacifiers. So I bought all the regular brands and tried them out. He not only wouldn't take them, but would scream hysterically if one was ever placed in his mouth. It was harder to calm him down from the pacifier than from what had originally upset him. When I received a natural rubber pacifier to review from Hevea, I was anxious to try it out. The one I received had a bulb shaped nipple which is unlike any I have seen. I sterilized it per the instructions and pulled on all the pieces to make sure there were no cracks or defects. I determined it to be in good shape, but it still had the strong "new rubber" smell. I laid it near my son's face while he was nursing so he could get used to the smell. When I offered it to him the first time he didn't scream. Huge success! He even tried to keep it in his mouth. My son is tongue tied (meaning the frenulum under his tongue goes all the way to the tip, preventing him from lifting it very high) so when he would try to suck on the pacifier the bulb would re-inflate and it would shoot out of his mouth. I emailed the company about this and asked if they had any advice for me. They immediately sent me out their orthodontic style pacifier to try. How's that for customer service?! He liked this pacifier and was able to keep it in his mouth a little better. He is still not a pacifier baby, but he does like to use the Hevea pacifiers when he is happy (don't dare offer him any type if he is upset!) He also loves to turn them around and use the handle as a teether.
Here is the product description given by their company;
The Hevea pacifier is made of 100% pure natural rubber from the rubber tree Hevea brasiliensis.
  • 100% natural rubber latex
  • Hygienic one piece design – no joints, cracks or edges
  • Soft material and ergonomic shape – soft and gentle against baby’s face
  • Doesn’t leave marks, prevents vacuum around the mouth
  • Sustainably produced
  • Recycled and biodegradable packaging materials
  • Meets EU standard EN1400, US regulations CPSIA & AUS regulation AS 2432-1991
  • No PVC, no BPA, no phthalates, no artificial colors
The company also sells teethers, lanyards, and travel bags.
Update: We had my sons tongue clipped after I originally posted this on my previous blog. What a huge improvement. He was able to nurse easier which eased his frustration (and no more intense pain for me) and he began to use his pacifiers more often.
Also, the company recently added bath toys to their available products. They are SO CUTE! I can't wait to get them all!
Check them out at and on facebook!/heveausa.

Nook Color

I received a Nook Color for Christmas in 2010. I had done a lot of research on ereaders for other people who were looking for them and really like the features the Nook Color offered, as it could be used for more than just reading.
As a mother, I loved the "Read to Me" feature that allows my children to have great Children's Literature read to them even when I am unable to. My two year old was easily able to find her books and flip through the pages using this feature. She loves it. Recently they advertised that the books will become more interactive, but I do not have any of these books yet.
The device is wifi accessible so I am able to download books directly from the device and they are ready immediately. I can also check facebook and twitter, upload quotes and suggestions directly to my profiles, and it now has an email option. I have not yet used the email feature.
Recently apps became available and I am excited about being able to use it more like a tablet. I hope the quantity of apps available grows quickly. We downloaded "The Going to Bed Book" app by Sandra Boynton. It is so much fun! You can make the characters move, turn on water, pop bubbles, write in the steam on the bathroom mirror, etc...
The "Lend Me" feature was another selling point for me, although I have yet to use it. I think this is a great idea, but many of the books I would like to read are not available to lend. Right now they mostly consist of informative books like books about gardening or teaching rather than books by famous authors. If you have a library card to a library that has ebooks, you can check them out directly to your device for a two week period. Again, I am having trouble finding the books I am interested in reading available from libraries at this time.
This is the only ereader I have used, and would like to review other brands in the future. I am very interested in the Kindle as a simple reading only option. You would not be distracted by the other features embedded. It looks like it would be great for outdoors as it is not back lit, but not good for reading in bed when your spouse is asleep.