Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bitty Bumz review

Bitty Bumz Boutique is another etsy favorite of mine! Amanda is the genius behind these adorable diapers and she is amazingly talented. Just take a look at these little works of art~

Tell me those are not the cutest things you have seen! Perfect for the holidays! Bitty Bumz diapers are unique in that they are a one size fleece all in two. The shell is fleece with a snap in soaker on the inside. You can choose either a snap in contoured bamboo soaker, or a snap in petal soaker. I had the petal soaker and it was fabulous! These diapers fit pretty trim and are really squishy soft. They stretch great to get a perfect fit and are not bulky at all between the legs. And again, these are so so soft!! Not all diapers that claim to be "one size" really go the distance, but with these diapers I truly feel as if they could fit through potty training. There was still room to grow for EJ but I can also see it fitting much smaller babies with how trim it is. These diapers have a wonderful fit! Also, we only washed our diaper once and wore it for almost two hours. The insert was barely wet so I call that a success! It was super easy to snap in and snap out as well. You could definitely reuse this shell if you needed and either snap in a another soaker or even use a prefold trifolded. All in all fabulous diaper!

Now the fun part!!! One of you is going to win one of these fabulous diapers!
All you have to do is be a public follower of this blog via google friend connect, visit Bitty Bumz Boutique and leave a comment letting me know which one you want if you win! 

For additional entries (leave a separate comment for each)
1. Follow me on twitter
2. Tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link (can be done daily)
3. Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link
4. Have the cool cloth event button on your site!

Giveaway will end December 15th, 2010 at 12pm and winner will be announced December 16th, 2010 at 12pm. Good Luck!

Some fine print:
Now although I give this diaper 2 thumbs up, I do have to let you know I found out EJ is sensitive to fleece. Since wearing this diaper (and him having a reaction to it) we have tested several different fleece items on him and he broke out in blisters to all of them. Even his fleece blankets when rubbed on his skin directly cause a horrible rash. This is in no way related to Bitty Bumz diapers and I wish he wasn't reactive because his diaper is soooo cute! Fleece sensitivities are extremely rare but if your little one is also sensitive, please realize this diaper would not be for them.

Abby's Lane review and giveaway

Abby's Lane is a fabulous diaper shop owned by Stephanie. In her own words:

"Hello! Welcome to Abby's Lane, a unique boutique offering products to make your parenting experience enjoyable and a little closer to nature. I am Stephanie, owner and founder of Abby's Lane, which opened in September of 2004, we are currently located in Northern Virginia. My husband, Phillip, and I are proud parents to our 3 beautiful daughters and one little son.

Our cloth diaper journey began when Abby was 3 months old, Camille, Lucy and Sebastian have been cloth diapered from birth. I was a reluctant participant at first, I believed the myth that cloth diapering is messy, messy, and...well...messy! I assure you that is entirely false! Cloth diapering has been the most wonderful experience, and if my husband is an advocate, anyone can do it! The products I carry at Abby's Lane are carefully chosen to make your cloth diapering experience an easy and enjoyable one."

What I personally love most about Abby's Lane is Stephanie herself. Sure the free shipping on all orders is a huge plus as well as the vast selection of cute cloth diapers! But her customer service is what has made me the most loyal of customers.

First of all when I received my Blueberry diaper for review from her, it had a slight manufactures defect in the bamboo lining. I contacted Stephanie and told her and she responded within an hour. She paid my shipping to and from, and sent me a brand new diaper within three days. Fabulous! Although defects are rare in diapers, they can and will happen on occasion. Knowing you have someone backing you and who will always go above and beyond to correct any mistake (even in this case it was not her own!) shows what kind of company she has. Furthermore, she ships FAST. No waiting and waiting for your fluffy mail to arrive!

As if this wasn't enough, I have been emailing Stephanie for about a month now about some serious stink issues we have been having recently. She always responds right away and has given me lots and lots of great tips. She is patient and relentless in her pursue to make cloth enjoyable for everyone. Sure enough after trying almost everything, it was Stephanie who has helped me refine my wash routine and I am happy to say we have zero stink and zero rash. She has made all the difference for me.  That is the difference in a person who loves what they do! We have even talked on the phone and she is always willing to help! I don't know how she does it with four little ones!
Needless to say, Abby's Lane is by far one of the best companies I have had the privilege of working with.

 Blueberry diapers have long been considered one of the best. With there generous one size sizing and their luxurious minky outer, they left little room for improvement. That was of course, unless your little one was sensitive to polyester! Almost all pockets out right now have a fleece or a microsuede lining on the inside. EJ has never been able to wear these diapers with out getting a rash and therefore although I wanted a blueberry for my own, I never could get one. Until now ;)
Blueberry now makes a bamboo pocket, with the inner lining made of a bamboo/organic cotton blend! So of course I had to try it and I have to say I am impressed! The outside minky of the diaper is buttery soft, like a velvet. I love having something this soft for EJ to wear. The inner is super silky soft as well. Plus the great thing about this diaper is it is a pocket, so you can customize the absorbency. We love this diaper for outings, or for when we need a quick change. EJ has worn it over night but I prefer my fitteds and wool for that. All in all  this is the greatest pocket I have tried. Natural fibers, great absorbency, snap closure, and so stinking cute. Also EJ is 21 months and 25 pounds. This diaper fits him great and we can even wear it on the medium setting. He wont be out growing this any time soon! I imagine it would be a bit bulky on a small baby, but for my toddler the fit is wonderful. You simply must try this diaper!

                                                             How cute is this cow print??

So the best part of all this? Abby's Lane has generously offered to give away a $10 store credit to her shop! I can think of about 100 different things I would want that $10 for! Maybe you have been looking at a new diaper, some new detergent, or maybe a diaper sprayer? Now you will have an excuse to splurge :)
All you have to do is be a public follower of this blog and visit Abby's Lane and leave a comment letting me know what item you would purchase with your gift certificate!

For extra entries: (leave a separate comment for each of the following)
1.Follow Abby's Lane on Twitter
2. Follow me on twitter
3. Like Abby's Lane on facebook
4. Tweet about the giveaway and leave me the link (can be done daily)
5. Blog about this giveaway and leave me the link
6. Have the "cool cloth" button on your blog

Giveaway will end December 31, 2010 at 12pm. Winner will be posted on January 2, 2010 at 12pm. Good luck!

Monday, November 29, 2010

let the cool cloth event begin!!!!

Are y'all excited???? You should be!! Starting tomorrow I will be hosting reviews/giveaways everyday during the cool cloth event! Diapers, discount codes, wool covers, detergent, you name it!

I love cloth diapering and I am so thrilled to share it with you! Here we go! See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 15, 2010

perfection is

Cold weather, warm snuggles, good food, and fun crafts. And all of this with two little boys whom I love more than life.







Yep, that's perfection.

Friday, November 12, 2010

update and some pictures

Well for starters EJ is now 21 months old! Bitter sweet! I love that he is growing and changing, but just can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that he is almost two years old. How is it possible that my baby is almost two?
He had his regular hematology appointment yesterday. His ANC was the highest it has ever been and our Dr believes he is on the cusp of growing out of his neutropenia! We are hoping for a complete recovery by this time next year! Can you believe that? This a answered prayer in a most amazing way.
In other news, he did lose some weight (more on that in a moment) and weighs 25 lbs even and is 32 inches long. Still my small fry :)
EJ has been referred to speech therapy though, for two reasons. They believe he has a language/speech delay and he has some eating, swallowing, and chewing issues. The speech delay I am not too sure about. He has about 25 words he can say. Most he can say pretty clearly. He does mumble "baby talk" most of the time with these words mixed in but I think that is pretty normal? The thing they are concerned about is the fact that he doesn't group any words together. He has never made a phrase such as "ball please" etc. So we will see what the speech therapist say.
The eating issues I totally agree with. EJ has had food issues his whole life. His current problems are that he doesn't eat and when he does he wont swallow. If it is something he really likes (like grapes) he will put it in his mouth then spit it out. Grab another bite it and then spit it out. He does this with the majority of his food. Or the other extreme is that he will swallow it whole. I don't know if he just don't know how to chew or if it is a texture thing. I am not sure but I am hopeful they will help up work it out. He needs to gain weight! I can handle picky but this is just a whole different level. Anyways...
He is a super sweet, active, playful, creative, and energetic little guy. I just love him to pieces and am thankful everyday he is mine.
Austin is doing great and I had a moment yesterday that made me burst with pride! Yall know we are homeschooling and he started reading a little over a month ago. All along when he wants to write a letter or a word he asks me how to spell it. Yesterday for Veterans day (his favorite holiday as he lives and breathes everything military and wants to be a marine) he made a picture. On it he wrote "US ORME". Do you get it? o-r-m-e spells army! He wrote his first word all by himself! I could not be any prouder of him. He continues to blow me away every single day.
Soccer has ended and he is looking forward to next season already. We displayed his trophy in his room and he is beyond proud he was able to score a goal that final game. I just could not be more proud of either of my boys.
In some random news, the foliage here is peaking and is gorgeous. Fall is such a beautiful season. I was driving around yesterday just admiring God's beauty. I think it really reflects on who He is.

Oh and also, the gnats are just about gone. Thank goodness. I have regained some sanity and am feeling much better. Finley still does not sleep at all. Up every morning by at least 4am. Adam did take him though for two whole days so I could sleep. It is amazing what difference sleep makes. Thank you Adam!
Yesterday we went to the park and had a picnic and it was wonderful. The weather was amazing at 74 degrees and we enjoyed it so much. Austin caught a little fish out of the lake with a net and that just made his day! They played on the playground, and we had a nice walk. I love the outdoors. Today it is storming (another cold front coming through) and I am glad we got to enjoy that yesterday.
One final thing. My "cool cloth" event will be starting soon and I will have a lot of reviews and giveaways planned. I can't wait to dive into cloth diapering and share it with you!
(the sun was in our eyes something awful, that's why Austin's arm is up and we are all squinting)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

recipe wednesday- lemon ricotta cookies

Umm I can not tell you how much I love these cookies! One of my favorite for sure! So light and moist, they are perfect!

Here is my recipe:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
10 oz whole milk ricotta
5-6 oz plain yogurt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon zested or 1 teaspoon oil of lemon

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon zested or 1/4 teaspoon oil of lemon

combine flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl combine butter and sugar-beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time-beating until incorporated. Add ricotta, yogurt, lemon juice, and zest. Beat. Stir in dry ingredients.

Drop the batter (2 tablespoons per cookie) onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for maybe 15 minutes. You want to bake them only until the very under edge has some browning. That is it. With this cookie it is better to under bake a bit than over bake so be careful! Let cool and then glaze :)
*Note-I usually set my oven to 350 so I make sure not to over bake. You want these to be super moist!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

beauty is a beast (the most random post ever)

So in an effort for a little self improvement, I decided to give myself a pedicure. It had been a long time to say the least. Well my friends, want to see what a pedicure gone wrong looks like? here ya go.
Yes that is blood. Nice. It took four hours for it to stop bleeding.
Beauty is a beast, ya know?

Speaking of beasts, we have a gnat problem. It would be funny but it is driving me crazy. Big fat gnats, flying around taunting me all day long. I kill at least 10 a day but they keep coming back. We have never had bug issues here. Ever. Not flies, roaches, spiders. Nothing. But now we have gnats. Big fat gnats.

On a slightly less neurotic topic, have you seen the new releases from Anthropologie? (swoon) I love them.

And that is all. I told you it was random. What do you expect when I wake up at 4 every morning. Why do I wake up at 4 you ask?
Finley. does. not. sleep.
He wakes up at four every morning and will yowl until you wake up too. He has food, water, clean litter, and a snuggly bed with a heating pad. He wants someone to keep him company. So a toddler that wakes we up multiple times every night and a kitten that wakes me for the day way before I should ever be up. Win win if you ask me!
If you have any tips please let me know. I'm desperate. As if a crazy random post like this doesn't scream "help me" enough on its own.

Monday, November 8, 2010

clean and green-baking soda (the good, the bad, the ugly)

Can you guess what this little cutie and I have in common?
We both have horrible hair issues.

Hair is never something I have loved about myself. Limp, baby fine, and with a tendency for dryness, I have never really liked my hair. Then there are my "baby hairs" that choose to stick out of my head like lightning rods at all the right moments. Yep, my hair and I are best friends.

So when I heard about the baking soda epidemic going around and how fabulous it was, I had to try it out. Not only was replacing your shampoo and conditioner with baking soda super green, it also saves you some green. Hair care products can get expensive especially when you use designer products. Or Head and Shoulders. Just sayin.

Anyways, everyone I knew who tried it had rave reviews. Their hair was moisturized, soft, silky, clean, and chemical free. Some said it gave new life to their dull ugly hair. Well, sign me up please!! Maybe I too could be a no poo convert.

So, I tried it.

Before I share my results, I wanted to talk about baking soda and how great it is.
I use it all the time in various ways. To clean with (it acts as a fab scrubbing agent that is also totally safe for small children and the environment), I use it to bake with (obviously), you can use it added to your toothpaste to help whiten your teeth (just dip a tooth brush, with toothpaste already on it, right into some baking soda), and it can even be for you hair as a great clarifying booster.

When I used it as a booster to my shampoo I was blown away by how great it was. I added about a teaspoon to my regular amount of shampoo and mixed together to make my paste. I had simply brought a little cup into the shower and just dumped it into my hand with the shampoo. I then washed as usual and then conditioned really well as baking soda can be drying. The results were amazing! My hair was so soft, like baby soft. It made me think even more about these ladies (and men) who had replaced their shampoo with it completely. If a little was this great, surely a lot would be even better!! My oh my how this thought gets me into trouble every time!

So back to my results. For me it was horrible. I'm just going to be honest here. Not everything that works for some will work for you.
I did it several times, using different formulas in hopes to make it work.
My hair had never felt more dry. Well once, when I spent 12 hours at the salon getting my almost black hair bleached to platinum. That dry. It felt like straw and was horrid. My scalp itched beyond belief and also broke out. I even tried a vinegar rinse as suggested to help condition and it did nothing but made me smell like a pickle all day.
I wanted to love it. I really did. Unfortunately, I am just now starting to get my hair back to normal. There is A LOT of deep conditioning going on at my house.

I have pretty healthy hair despite it lacking movie star quality, but it takes a lot of conditioner to make it that way. Perhaps if you have naturally healthy hair and don't have to use conditioner every shower, then this could be perfect for you. Just be careful. Baking soda, I still love you and all your great uses, but my hair is just not one of them.

I want to go green and do my part. And I do every day. I am slowly converting all areas of our life to be more eco conscious. But at the same time it has to work for us.

So I suppose there is no miracle cure for my hair after all. But that's okay! Duck hair is totally going to become the next trend. Just wait and see.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

picture overload

Well I was determined to get some "Christmas card" quality pictures today of the boys together. Together... Ha! Although it didn't turn out quite like I was hoping I still got some good shots! The bad side is that I think my camera needs some repair work. It is not focusing like it use to at all and it having a really hard time in lower light such as this morning. Manual focus helps, but is near impossible to manually focus with two very active boys. Maybe it is time to get ole faithful a check up.
So here are the pictures from today. I may need to repeat the shoot a bit later, but what do you think? Are there any winners?


grabbing the falling leaves




I think this is the biggest contender, but Austin looks so sad in this...

I love this picture, but it is so blurry. darn camera.





poor thing has inherited my chapped lip gene. No matter how much chap stick we wear, we always have dragon lips.


blurry but how could I NOT post this picture!

I see you too buddy :)

leaf fights are the best!

crusty nose at all, man I love this little boy

So what do you think?

Don't forget about my petsmart/visa giveaway! Don't miss out, enter here
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