Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mega Mesh Premium Magnetic Screen Door review

Since my family moved into our current house, we talked about wanting to put in a screen door where our sliding door is to make it easy to go in and out while cooking or hosting parties, but keeping bugs out.
The Mega Mesh Screen Door seemed like the perfect opportunity to get exactly that, only better.
I was so excited to open the packaging and set up my Mega Mesh Screen Door as soon as possible to get the most use out of it.

As soon as I was able to set Squirrel down, Moose and I opened the packaging and looked into how to get this baby all set up on the door.

The first snag I ran into was that I hadn't looked into how it was installed, so when I went to put it up at my sliding glass door I found that it couldn't stick down on one side. 
The problem with one side not being stuck down is that while the top was securely stuck down, it would gradually come unstuck and fall through out the day.

Once it started to fall, the two mesh sides no longer connected and the screen stayed open until you physically put it back together.

I loved the idea though, so decided to find a new place in the house for it.
After eliminating the 2 swinging doors that go outside, I decided to try it in the open doorway between the kitchen and living room. 
It worked perfect.

For the first few days, Moose thought it was a great toy. Running back and forth through it, testing out the magnets and hold on the walls.
Simon the cat was terrified of it and refused to go into the kitchen.
After a week, Moose still thought it was fun to run through, but thought it was fun to drive all of his trucks through now as well.
Simon realized that it wasn't scary and decided to spend his days attacking the bottom and trying to climb it.
I'm proud to say that it managed to hold up pretty well to the torture.
Only one bottom velcro strip wouldn't stay together when child and cat decided to abuse it.
It not only held up well to the abuse, but it did a great job at keeping out the bugs!

My only real complaint was that while the screen and velcro managed to stay attached to the wall through the abuse, when I went to take it down briefly part of the velcro strips on the side that hadn't been previously attached to anything came off of the wall.
Not a huge deal, just a little irritating since I'll have to reattach it and hope it will stay.

Reguardless of the one down side, I have seriously thought about getting a couple of screens to put at the bedroom doorways to keep bugs out of them too.

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pure Shea Butter Review

I am one of those people who has extremely dry skin. It's honestly a curse. 
In the summer, it's bad. In the winter, it's worse.
The biggest problem I have run into is finding products that moisturize, I am comfortable having around the kids, and help keep my skin not only hydrated, but soft.
On top of those requirements, I can't really afford to pay out the nose for products that will be gone in a week due to needing to be applied every few hours.
I've always heard good things about shea butter, so when I saw a post to try and review shea butter, I jumped at the chance.

The shea butter I tried comes from the company Cleopatra's Choice and was purchased through amazon (I will link where you can buy later).
Cleopatra's Choice shea butter is 100% natural, organic shea butter made with the finest hand selected nuts from shea trees in Ghana.
The one I got is an ivory colored African shea butter. I arrived in the tub and is very solid, so no worrying about it melting and having to deal with nasty messes.
I'll admit, the fact that it has stayed solid has been really nice since Moose has tried to get into it a few times and I don't have to worry about him making a huge mess all over the floor.
I started using the shea butter on my arms a couple of days after I received it and noticed that my arms stayed softer longer than they do with any other processed lotion.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any good pictures that could show how dry my skin was before vs. how soft it is now. 
Maybe in the winter, I'll stop using it for a week or so and see if I can document a difference.
This last weekend, I got a pretty good sunburn and started using the shea butter on that as well. In just a couple of days I've already noticed a difference.
My skin doesn't feel hot to the touch any more and the redness is beginning to go away already.
My next experiment will be to try it out on the stretch marks my boys have graced me with. 
I plan on documenting if there is any difference for a month to give the shea butter plenty of time to help repair the skin damage.

Those are just a few of the things I plan to use my shea butter for. Other great uses for pure shea butter are: natural relief from dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, stretch marks during pregnancy, hair care and more.
It is so amazing for your skin due to it containing Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Vitamin F. It doesn't clog pores, so you can literally use it anywhere with out worry and is highly moisturizing and long lasting.

For the amazing price of just $19, you can get a one pound, resealable tub of shea butter.
Yes, you read that right. a one pound tub.
And it's completely resealable so you don't have to worry about it trying out.

You can find Cleopatra's Choice shea butter here on amazon to buy some for yourself: Cleaoparta's Choice Shea Butter on amazon

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Learning to listen and not to yell

I read a fantastic post on facebook the other day from a mom who wrote about being frustrated with how her daughter was acting and treating others in the family, but rather than yelling st her about it, she took a step back, responded to the situation calmly and respectfully. 
There was no big blow up, no yelling fight.
Instead, it was all handled in a calm manner, her daughter took a moment, and eventually changed her attitude.
It struck a chord with me since lately I felt overwhelmed every night.
During the day, Moose would choose to act out. Sometimes due to boredom, sometimes out of jealousy, sometimes because he is 2 years old and that's just what 2 year olds do at times.
I was good at remaining calm early in the day, if I wasn't over tired, but as he continued to push the limits, my patience would start to disappear. 
Before I knew it, I was yelling.
And once the yelling started, that's all that happened for the rest of the day. 
I would yell, he would yell, I would yell back, and Squirrel would start crying which would only aggravate the situation further.
I knew that I needed to change something. Going to bed frustrated every night wasn't healthy.
Waking up that way was even worse.
I looked into things I could do with Moose to help him feel more loved, to help him feel included, to make sure he knew that he still had his place in this family, that he wasn't being replaced. 
I looked into why 2 year olds were destructive, why they acted out and what I could do about it.
I talked to other parents, vented to my mom, tried to get ideas besides "stay consistent" since that little piece of advice just wasn't working.
At the moment I read that post, I decided to think about the way that I was acting, about the example that I was setting by yelling rather than talking to him calmly and giving him respect. 
I realized that I yelled a lot. Way more than any person should ever yell at their child. And I decided that I needed to change first.
I couldn't expect my small child to change his attitude and how he reacted to things when I set a constant bad example for him.
How unfair I had been.
Things needed to change, and that change would start with me.

My experiment began yesterday.
For the first time in almost 11 weeks I didn't yell at Moose once.
Not once.
He still had a couple of temper tantrums, but rather than take it personally and let it get to me, I walked away when I felt frustrated.
We got through the hiccups in our day and were still happy after.
I actually ended my day in a good mood. Not stressed, not frustrated, not on the verge of tears.
I felt good.

Today was day two of the experiment and we added in a new challenge: getting daddy in on the program.
I managed to handle myself and kept from yelling, which was a lot harder on 4 hours of sleep. I'm proud that I am keeping it up s early in the day. It does seem to be helping Moose to not hear the yelling all of the time.
I know that it will be a long process to break us out of our bad habits, but it is a process that I am willing to do to make our household healthier, make our relationships healthier, and teach my boys a better way to respond to their frustrations.

If you would like to read the post, you can find it here courtesy of Jessica of Beyond Moi:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It doesn't get better than life with a Lillebaby Complete carrier

I've mentioned my love for cloth diapers before, but I don't believe that I have talked about my love for baby carriers.
I would seriously be a hoarder of baby carriers if I were rich. 
There are so many styles, brands, cute patterns, beautiful colors. 
It's like Pokemon, I want to catch them all.
Since I'm not rich, I've settled for only having 4 carriers, 3 SSC (soft structured carriers) and one ring sling.

One of them is a super cheap $20 baby carrier that I bought at Walmart long before I ever had kids.
I used it with my dolls when I was younger and those babies in health class.
When Moose came along, we found that it was easy and comfortable while he was younger, but as he got bigger it be came more uncomfortable to wear him.
So we upgraded to an ergonomic carrier by Infantino.

We were so excited to be doing something right by having an ergonomic carrier, until we went to put his little 4 month old self into it and found out that he wasn't quite big enough yet. 
Once he did fit, it was nice, Much more comfortable than my cheap little $20 carrier. As he got closer to 20lbs this carrier too began to get more uncomfortable.
Then one day I won a giveaway for a Lillebaby Complete.
The. Best. Win. Ever.

I'm not kidding when I say that either.
Lillebaby makes fantastic carriers with a million incredible features that allow you to carry your child from 7lbs to 45lbs all in the same carrier, without ever having to buy any extras.
The padded straps are super comfortable, much better than anything else I have ever tried, the lumbar support is absolutely amazing. I haven't had back pain while baby or toddler wearing since. The head support is great for little babies and the hood is perfect for a little extra breast feeding cover, to keep sun off of your child's head, or as a hood at nap time. I love that it has a built in seat belt as well to help keep even the smallest peanuts safe in the carrier.

At the newborn stage, you have the seat all the way wide, roll up a blanket, have the baby "sit" on the blanket like a seat and the seat belt them in.
It really is that simple.

Once they start getting a little bigger, you can make the seat smaller for little legs to hang out, or for forward facing (once they can hold their head up properly).

Once they get big enough to sit on the seat at it's widest, you can make it wide again to keep them in an ergonomic seating position.

Since I've had issues with other carriers hurting my back with Moose once he started getting big, I decided to try it out with him now at 35-36 pounds. It worked out pretty well.
 Don't mind that we both look a little uncomfortable, I put him in it quickly to take a picture so I didn't have the lumbar support attached or his clothes fixed from picking him up.
As you can see though, it is perfectly capable of holding a 38 1/2 inch, 36 pound 2 year old!

I have yet to try out the hip carry position, but can't wait to try it in a few months when Squirrel gets a bit bigger and can hold his head up regularly.

Lillebaby carriers come in the Complete, Airflow, or the new All Seasons carrier and in lots of great colors. Prices range from $115- $149

If you want to check out Lillebaby more, you can find them here at their website: Lillebaby

I was in no way compensated for my review, nor was I asked to write one. I brag about this product all of the time and thought it would be the perfect way to get word out better. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Share The Love: Cloth Diaper Donation program

I have an immense love for cloth diapers.
It started the minute that I received our first package of them in the mail when Moose was only 8 months old. The cute patterns, the fluffy-ness, knowing that potentially harmful chemicals were no longer against my precious boy's bum and best of all, we would be saving money.
Since that first day, by stash has grown a little through giveaways and then baby showers for my little Squirrel.
Unfortunately for us, the diapers we originally bought for Moose are beginning to fall apart after 2 years of daily use so we would need more to get us through potty training with Moose and then the next 2 years with Squirrel. 
Knowing what I do now, I didn't want to buy a whole new stash of "Chinese cheapies" aka inexpensive diapers that are made and sent from China, most of these do not follow US labor regulations and are not the best quality. And we didn't have the money to buy a whole new stash.
I began the search for a way to keep Squirrel in cloth.

In my search, I came across Share the Love.
Share the Love is a cloth diaper donation program through Cotton Babies (the makers of BumGenius, Flip, and more) where families that are low income and part of the WIC program can borrow diapers for free for the length of time that their children are in diapers. 
The requirements are that you are part of the WIC program,
have at least one child in diapers,
write a short essay about what being able to participate in the program will do for you and how you will be able to help others in the community and spread the word,
live within 40 (or 45 I don't remember) miles of one of the diaper donation sites,
and fill out the form.
Within a few weeks you should hear back from one of the people in charge of the diaper donation site that you applied for letting you know if you were approved and if so, you can make arrangements to pick up some diapers.
For the boys, we were given a nice stash of natural fiber fitteds, flip covers and flip inserts to borrow.
It has helped out a ton already.

The great thing about the program is that they also accept donations of old diapers, so when you are done with your stash, they accept diapers that are in usable condition to loan out to other families.
My hope is that when we finish cloth diapering Squirrel, at least a few of my diapers will be in good enough condition that I can donate back to the program to help another family out.

If you are interested in checking out the Share the Love program, you can find them here: Share the Love website

Experiences with acid reflux and breast feeding

Since Squirrel was tiny, I told my husband that I thought that Squirrel might have acid reflux. He would do a strange gagging type thing but nothing ever came up and spit up often. After taking him in for his 2 month appointment, the doctor became concerned that he isn't gaining weight like they would like him to, diagnosed him with possible acid reflux, and put him on medication to help him gain weight.
Since getting the diagnosis, he is getting medication twice a day and I have to make sure that he is eating at least ever 3 hours for 20-30 minutes at a time.
It has been exhausting to say the least.
Today was a particularly bad day, which prompted me to start writing about our struggles through our hopefully long breast feeding adventure.

Due to his reflux, Squirrel will have days where he prefers to be kept in an upright, almost standing position all day. Those days I usually carry him everywhere in one of my 2 front pack baby carriers. He eats there, sleeps there, is cuddled and it allows him to keep most of his stomach acid where it belongs. 
Today was one of those days where he had to be held up right all of the time. 
The bad thing is that after a bit, he tends to get mad that he is in a carrier and just wants to be held. But he must be held the way he wants to be held, or face his wrath.

To help his stomach issues, I have taken dairy out of my diet and if the medication and increased nursing sessions aren't helping him gain weight, I plan on doing a bigger elimination diet to try and find out a way to nurse him until at least a year and cause him as little discomfort as I possibly can.

Our first weight check appointment is on Friday and I can say that I am a nervous wreck already. To feel like your body could be failing to do one of the few things it is designed to do is absolutely devastating.
So if you have any extra good thoughts, throw a few our way on Friday. We'll need them.

Here were Squirrel's preferred ways to eat today. Poor guy got upset if I had him in any other position.

Welcome Little Squirrel, birth story and official announcement

*Warning: this post contains a full birth story, so it does get a little graphic*
On May 30, 2014 my husband, big brother Moose and I welcomed little Squirrel into the world weighing 8 pounds 15.5oz and 19.5 inches of absolute perfection.

Pregnancy was "easy" in the sense that nothing major went wrong and since I had been through it before, I knew what to expect.
In my eyes, however, it was far from easy.
We found out that we were expecting a new little peanut in September of 2013, only 2 short months after my breast feeding journey with Moose ended. I was lucky to only have some slight nausea at night for the first 3 weeks after we saw those 2 pink lines. Unfortunately, at the 8 week mark the dreaded morning sickness set in and to be able to properly care for Moose I ended up on prescription nausea medication for the next 10 weeks.

At 18 weeks we found out that our new little bundle was going to be another boy.
We were all ecstatic!
Despite lingering nausea that lasted until about half way though the third trimester, everything checked out perfect. Squirrel was right on track to arrive on his June 5th due date.
May 24th we ended up in Labor and delivery due to contractions that were getting closer together. We were sent home about 4 hours later with no progress made. I spent a solid week before and a week after in false labor.

I woke up the morning of May 29th having intense, yet inconsistent contractions. I timed them through out the day, but thought nothing of it due to the previous two weeks of false labor. Around 11pm that night I decided to head to bed just in case he decided to show up the next day.
Sleep was hard to come by since I was woken up with each contraction. And at 2am I woke up feeling wetness and the urge to pee. Unfortunately, what I thought was my water breaking turned out to be a lot of blood, followed by a clot type thing about the size of a golf ball and even more blood. It looked like a slaughterhouse in my bathroom.
Moose woke up right as my husband went to get him, we grabbed all of our stuff, dropped him off down the road with his grandparents and sped to the hospital.
I think the funniest thing through it all was how calm and serene I was through it all. Once we were on our way to the hospital I felt completely relaxed and at ease.
We arrived at the hospital, checked in, and were taken directly to a labor and delivery room where I was told to immediately strip down and put on a gown to be checked and hooked up to monitors. I was at a nice 8cm with contractions 2 minutes apart. We decided to bypass medication for as long as I was handling labor well. Everything was pretty relaxing until the doctor came in and offered to break my water.
If you have never given birth before, or had an epidural and didn't experience contractions with a broken water, that is when things got real.
After a bit, I was to 9.5cm and the attending nurse decided that it would be a good idea to do some practice pushes while she helped get rid of the last little lip of cervix. Unfortunately, after ever push, I got such intense pain to my right hip, it felt like someone was trying to break it. After several tries to keep breathing through the pain, I gave in and asked for an intrathecal so that I could focus on getting Squirrel out and not on the pain that came after each pushing session.
Once the intrathecal took full effect, we decided to have me sit up and labor down to help make things easier. It worked a little too well and Squirrel was crowning before I was able to finish my first practice push. The doctor came in, and in 6 short pushes and a cord removed from his neck, Squirrel was born.

He was such a chubby little guy and absolutely perfect in every way.
I was surprised how different he looked from his brother and despite being almost bald, he looked more like me than Moose had.

 One of his first pictures, just after being cleaned up

Meeting big brother Moose

Chubby little love bug

1 month old

2 months old

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Shandali Travel Towel Review

Have you ever gone to the gym or the pool and wished that you had a smaller towel that not only helped you dry off fast, but did't stay wet, dripping everywhere hours after use?
 Maybe you've been caught trying to run to your car in the middle of an unexpected rainstorm only to find that you had nothing to help dry yourself off. 
 No matter the situation, if you have ever found yourself wishing you had a great travel towel that could not only help you dry off quickly, but dried out quickly rather than leaving a watery mess everywhere, then the Shandali Travel Towel is for you.

The Shandali Travel Towel is made of 100% microfiber which makes it ultra-absorbet and dries ten times faster than a normal cotton towel. 
How amazing is that?

It is incredibly light weight and comes with an attached loop for hooking onto just about anything for an active lifestyle.
 It folds up nice and small to fit into small spaces to save room in your bag for other important things, and because it is so lightweight, you won't even notice you are carrying it.

Washing is easy. 
It doesn't bleed so you can throw it in the wash with your regular laundry and then just use the convenient hook to hang dry. 

 The first time I used my travel towel, my 2 year old "Moose" was out playing in his pool. 
When he finished I realized that I had forgotten to grab his regular bath towel so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try the travel towel.
 I was not only able to get him dryer faster than with his regular towel, but I was able to get him more dry. 
No more wet little foot prints trailing through my house and no more dripping mess through my laundry room! 
I was so pleased that it saved me from having to clean the usual water mess off of the floor. 
It fit great in my diaper bag as well, which is filled to the brim with cloth diapers and changes of clothes for two children.

 The Shandi Travel Towel comes in two sizes, and three great colors so no matter your lifestyle, it can find a place in your home. 

The Shandali Travel Towel is an exclusive to and comes with a hassle-free, 100% satisfaction, 30 day money back guarantee. 
So if, for any reason, you are not satisfied, you can get a full refund. You can purchase a Shandali Travel Towel or 5 for your home through this link here: 

 I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.