Friday, June 28, 2013

Get Up and Move! Shaklee 180™ month 4 vlog

Time for another Shaklee 180™ video! This time I'm talking about something I think is often the most DREADED part of any weight lose routine - getting active.

This is a sponsored post as part of the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. I have received free products, online support and incentives for participating in the Shaklee Corporation blogger program. My opinions are my own. I am also a Shaklee Independent Distributor. 

People following the weight-loss portion of the Shaklee 180™ Program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Crib Sheets Featured and a Giveaway! (closed)

If you've checked out my Etsy shop in the past few months, you may have noticed a new addition to the  shop - fitted crib sheets. I've finally added a few more fabric choices to the mix that you should check out. What's more? Kaitlyn at Wifessionals is currently featuing my shop and reviewing one of those crib sheets!

Read the review, leave a comment if you feel so inclined, enter the GIVEAWAY, then head to the shop and use code WIFEY13 for 20% off your total order!

Edit: The giveaway goes live today at 12 MST

supporting small businesses
This is part of Kaitlyn's 50 Days Supporting Small Businesses series, so be sure to find some other small businesses to support too!

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Cloth Diapers for My Newborn

cloth diapering a newborn

Okay, so I don't have a newborn, or any prospects for one, but I've for some reason been giving this a lot of thought lately. As you may remember, I didn't use cloth diapers for G at all, and didn't start N in them until she was nearly a month old. I totally missed out on that adorable newborn cloth diaper squishiness. With so many friends and new acquaintances giving birth or about to, I've been thinking what I would be stocking up on if I were them. Although there are some affiliate links included, this is honestly and truly where I would put my money if I were expecting a baby right now.

But why buy newborn diapers when they'll only last a couple months? First of all, I have one size diapers. They did not work well for N when she was a newborn. She was tiny and they seemed huge. Resale for newborn diapers is really great because they generally stay in fantastic condition through multiple babies. Your initial investment will be far less than you would pay for 2-3 months of disposable diapers, but if you still don't want to make the investment, you can always rent and return for store credit. And besides, you definitely want something that fits well in that super-runny-bm newborn stage.

geffen baby newborn fitted cloth diaper
Geffen Baby newborn fitted 
I would choose fitted diapers with covers over all in ones. Geffen Baby recently got their fitteds in stock and they are amazing. N had the kind of mess that you can only imagine would be all over everything, and this diaper contained it all. It wasn't even on the cover. Amazing, right? Of course, this is no surprise considering I love everything Geffen Baby. Their newborn fitteds are $5.26 each, making the total $126.24 for a stash of 24 (which is the amount I, and many others, would recommend for a full stash). These fitteds are closure-less, which means they won't stay on by themselves. I'd get at least two Snappis or a few sets of pins. I would prefer the closure-less because you can get a more exact fit, and at this age you're not worrying about baby rolling around fighting diaper changes while you're trying to get the diaper on. If you think you'd feel more comfortable with some kind of included closures, Green Mountain Diapers offers their Workhorse Organic fitted in a newborn size and for only a few cents more - making your investment $132.
green mountain diapers workhorse organic newborn fitted
Green Mountain Diapers Workhorse™ Organic Fitted

Because this style of diaper is not waterproof (although they are very absorbent), you will need some kind of cover. Wool and fleece soakers (covers) are great options. Fleece covers are also very affordable and easy to make yourself. Just search for the Katrina pattern. (or click here for it). I love wool, but it can get spendy. For the purpose of this blog post, I would make a few fleece covers, but rely mostly on Thirsties Duo Wraps in size 1. These run about $12.50 each for solid colors. 4 covers total should be enough, but 6 would be a safer bet.
Thirsties Duo Wrap

Have you used newborn cloth diapers? What's your recommendation? Do you prefer fitteds, prefolds, or all-in-ones? And do you have any experience buying or selling them used?

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Intro to Minimalist Running & Skora Base Initial Review

A few years back, a friend recommended I read "Born to Run." I never had the opportunity to read it (although it's waiting for me on my Kindle as we speak... so maybe I will have read it by the time you read this?), but the idea is that our bodies were made to run. This isn't really a new concept, but the words "minimalist running", "barefoot running", and "natural running" have been growing over the past few years. So what about all the stability running shoes with the 2" heels? I'll admit I own them, and I run in them. The cushioning is marvelous. But... are we meant to run like that? Seriously - that heel drop creates an unnatural running posture, right? (Think, stilettos, right?) Proponents of minimalist running argue that all this great new technology is actually getting in the way of our running and causing more issues and injuries for runner than we may realize. Because we aren't using our muscles the way they were meant to be used while running, they're getting weak and we're losing the ability to "stabalize" our running on our own. And really, there doesn't seem to be any solid information on why pronating (or over-pronating) is actually a bad thing.
Saucony "stabality" shoe vs SKORA zero heel drop
stability shoe vs zero heel drop

I'm not a medical or scientific expert in any of this, but I do know that the arguments make sense to me. Why else does running barefoot in sand help with shin splints? It's the building up of lesser-used muscles. There is an awesome new running shoe company located right here in the Portland area that seems to be at the forefront of all this.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kitchen Science: Babbabox Review

Back in December I shared the experience G and I had with Babbabox. Recently, they overhauled the packages they offer allowing for some more affordable options. Jessica (the creator and CEO of BabbaCo) reached out and offered up the opportunity to do a review on one of their new packages. I wish I could explain to you how G's eyes lit up when I told him we'd be getting another Babbabox!

This time the theme was Kitchen Science. They sent us a preview video before shipping the actual package and G was so excited, he had to watch it over and over. Kitchen Science is everything we, as adults, may imagine it to be. My husband was actually pretty excited when I told him the theme - anticipating the vinegar and baking soda volcano. We were not disappointed!

What we got is one of the more "scaled down" options. Compared to our last box, there was no book, no app, and no "mom" gift. While we certainly appreciated those things, this box was so packed full of fun activities, G didn't even miss them! The kids put their aprons on, and we totally got into it.
Kitchen Science Babbabox by BabbaCo

Monday, June 17, 2013

bumGenius Freetime Review

Recently, I told you about my fun trip to the Cotton Babies $1 Sale. My original plan had been to stock up completely on Elementals. The deals were so good, though, I decided to take a leap of faith and try out the bumGenius Freetime. (I was able to get three for the price of one brand new.) I've written before that I highly dislike microfiber or any other synthetic material for absorption because it tends to hold on to the smell - not getting as clean as cotton.
cloth diaper review

I wasn't sure how I would like the split soakers, but it  has never been an issue, either with fit or with spraying. In fact the design truly does help get the soakers thoroughly clean because I have never had an issue with them smelling. Also, because I don't have the space to line dry anymore, everything goes into the dryer (on low) and these dry significantly faster than my beloved Elementals.
yes, this is N exploring the diaper pail.

The absorbency is great. In fact, because of the stay-dry liner, I even try to reserve these for naps. One tip for fit that I learned from a friend on twitter is to be sure you keep baby's bottom on the back flap - with the front flap underneath. It seems minor and not like it should make a difference, but it really, REALLY does.
it's just something she does

Overall, I really like the Freetime. I would definitely recommend it as a great all in one (also one-sized). It's absorbent and super trim. I just wish I had bought more!

Have you tried any new diapers lately? Any new favorites? Have you tried anything lately you were sure you wouldn't like? How did it turn out for you?

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Friday, June 14, 2013

A Mom Runs This Town: Staying Fit While Pregnant (guest post)

Today's post is by awesome mom and runner Emma from A Mom Runs This Town. Be sure to check out her blog when you're done here!


Not only does someone Down Under like me, but an awesome mom is actually letting me take over her blog for a day!

Mary Ann is all about natural parenting, which I love and, DUH, cloth diapers.  She even has her own Etsy store!  I'm a natural eating fanatic, but have to admit, Gentry wears Pampers (sorry Mary Ann!).  I already wear a gas mask for those.

Mary Ann asked me to write a post about staying fit through pregnancy and beyond.

Before I begin- DISCLAIMER- I have always been a workout fanatic.  Starting in middle school, I don't think I've ever taken more than a week off from doing something active.  That's just the way I was raised.  And, if you remember my funny induction post, I had a VERY easy pregnancy.
staying fit while pregnant
This was about 5 months and 7 months.
Because of these two factors, working out didn't change too much for those 10 months, besides the usual pregnancy modifications.  Of course I was tired, had a sore back, just wanted to sit around and eat peanut butter sandwiches all day, but I knew this was the ONE time I could control and influence everything happening to my child...


to lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle for her.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Still Hear(ing): an update on N's hearing loss

In the midst of my PRO Compression giveaway, I met a blogger named April who also has children with various degrees of hearing loss. In talking to her, I realized it's been a very long time since I've done any type of update on N's hearing and our experience with audiologists and Early Intervention.

No surprise, I have become a huge advocate for Early Intervention (EI). If your child qualifies - engage them! If you suspect any type of developmental delays - seek them out! Unlike the testing you might have to endure to diagnose a health issue, my kids actually had fun at N's evaluation. At the very least, your kids get a playdate with a group of education professionals who LOVE kids, and you get the opportunity to speak with real adults!

We were very fortunate that the ladies in the EI offices up here, and the ladies we worked with before the move were fantastic in making the transition smooth and relatively seamless for us.
infant toddler hearing aids

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Take on the CottonBabies $1 Sale

From the time I first heard of the Cotton Babies $1 Sale, I've been wanting to go. With only 3 retail locations in the world (2 of which are in St. Louis, Missouri), only the few and fortunate get the opportunity to actually attend. Of all the misfortunes of our most recent move, there is the HUGE upside that we are now near the Vancouver store. The last sale was MONTHS ago, but I'm just finally getting around to sharing my experience.

This is not a sponsored post - just a review of my hugely exciting to me as a cloth diapering parent shopping trip where I spent my own money. However, affiliate links may be included which would benefit myself and this blog if you choose to purchase anything through them. 

peaking in through the window, waiting for the sale to start

I bought a ticket the day they went on sale and happily arrived at their door an hour early. (I feel I should note that while I was near the front of the line, I was not the first in line.) If you follow me on Twitter, you already know my husband came along. I should say right here that although my husband would have you believe he was the only man in attendance he was, in fact, not.

Contrary to what some or a lot of people might believe the $1 sale does not mean that all the diapers only cost $1. All sale items (and I'm talking about the super-only-for-the-$1-sale items) are used or seconds. "Seconds" are second quality, brand new items from the manufacturer. These are all Cotton Babies lines: bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum. Our goal for this venture was to stock up on All-In-Ones, so that's all I really talk about here. For the record, though, they had everything from Flip original organic inserts to 4.0 newborn inserts, Flip and Econobum covers, Freetimes, and Elementals.

Before the sale, all the diapers are individually sorted based on style (all-in-one, pocket, cover, insert) and condition. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Father's Day eMeals Dessert Recipe

Remember back in April when I shared with you that I am now an eMeals blogger? Our family has really been enjoying all the great recipes we've been able to take advantage of, and I am enjoying the added ease in my weekly meal planning. Well they have a pretty awesome offer going on right now in honor of Father's Day.
eMeals Father's Day menu

If you sign up now for an eMeals account, you not only get an extra special Father's Day meal plan, you can also get 15% off the cost when you use the discount code DADS.

And now I get to share with you the delicious Father's Day dessert recipe!
½ cup milk
4 cups vanilla ice cream
3 store bought or homemade brownies, chopped
Caramel or hot fudge topping (optional)

1. Place milk in a blender.
2. Add ice cream; blend until smooth.
3. Add half of brownies to blender; pulse until brownies are blended.
4. Spoon into glasses; drizzle with desired topping.
5. Top milkshakes with remaining brownies.

Yum, right? Please let me know if you try it out or sign up for your own subscription, and let me know how you like it! Father's Day is only about a week away, do you have anything fun planned?

Disclosure: As an eMeals blogger, I have been given a complimentary year long subscription to their meal planning program to use and review. As always, all opinions are my own, and I wouldn't write about it if I didn't think it was something worth your time as well as my own. 

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Speed Training for the Novice (aka Me)

After my notorious 7+ mile run back in March, I made a hard decision. It is more important to me to work on speed than endurance and distance. Realistically, these things should go hand in hand. For me, for this decision, I have my kids in mind. Right now, I'm fortunate enough that my kids get to stay home and play with (ie get doted on) by my parents anytime I'm out on a run. Considering I'd ideally like to go run 3-6 day a week, I don't like to devote too much time on my runs, taking my time away from my kids. My resolve: if I can't run the distance in an hour or less, than I do not run that distance. (Obviously, this does not include actual races.) It's not worth it for me. I don't want to be complacent in my running, though. I'm not happy with the idea of limiting my miles and my progression as a runner. So what do I do? I train to run faster.

I don't have a coach or running partner to push me consistently (but that would be nice). Instead, I have a 2 part plan of approach. First: interval training. You may remember my Runtastic app I shared with you back in February. I finally figured out how to use some of the more advanced features a couple months back. Hence, the start of intervals for me. I generally like to do the half hour workout (which actually adds up to just over half an hour, if we're being honest).
Runtastic app half hour interval routine

I've found having that obnoxious, robotic voice saying "Try to speed up" when I think I've hit my wall actually gets me to push myself harder. I focus on form and stride. Hint: Running faster does not just mean moving your feet faster. Lengthening your stride can actually be more effective and efficient. At the end of a long run, when I'm tired and really dragging, I often realize I've basically cut my stride in half. A small adjustment can make a noticeable difference to your speed.

The second part of my pseudo training is running hills. Lucky me, I live on one huge hill, so I have to run up one at some point no matter which direction I choose. However, there is one particularly steep hill just over a mile from my house I try to avoid. That's the one that's really going to improve my speed, strength, and endurance. I generally can only force myself to run so far up it (it is STEEP), then I walk until I get to a point I can run again. As hard as it is to run (or even walk) up, I actually hate running down it more. I'm always afraid I'll lose control, lose my footing, and roll down the whole thing. Working this hill has already made me a better runner, though. I've slowly been able to increase the distance I'm able to run up the hill. It's definitely a case where the saying is true, "It doesn't get easier, you get better."
running hills inspiration

I still love going on "easy" runs, but it's been rewarding to incorporate these workouts into my routine. What are some things you add to your runs to mix things up? Do you have a running partner? How would I find one that is not my husband for those rare times I actually want someone to run with? Also, any other suggestions to help me run faster?

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

One Million Free Treats (Treat Greeting Cards)

You may remember my post in January talking about the company Treat. They contacted me recently asking me to share their latest promotion. Treat greeting cards are awesome because they can be fully customized for any occasion. Right now, you have the opportunity to try them out FOR FREE, if you hurry.

Be the first million to grab your free Treat card!
Treat Greeting Cards

All you have to do is head over to Treat no later than June 17, and use the code TRT57DAZD8 to claim one of the million free cards! 

And now for the legal stuff: 
Offer expires 6/17/2013 (11:59 P.M. PT).  Offer is good for one (1) free greeting card using the code TRT57DAZD8  at checkout.  Postage may apply.  Customer must be a first-time Treat customer.   Offer is valid for one-time redemption per billing address.  Cannot be redeemed for cash or combined with other offers, discounts, promotions or credits.  Offer is not applicable to previously placed orders.  Offer is only valid on www.treat.com and does not apply to purchases made from the Treat Cards for iPhone app.  Offer is not applicable to Treat Card Club, gifts, or third party or partner websites.

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Disclosure: This was a sponsored post, I was compensated for writing and publishing it. However, I only write about companies I honestly believe are worth your time and mine. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Beginning My 4th Month on Shaklee 180™

I've been on the Shaklee 180™ program a full three months now. I think it might be okay to share a progress photo here. I figured taking a photo now will either get me excited over the difference in my appearance, or frustrate me that I haven't done enough. Either way, I knew it would motivate me to work even harder this month. Plus, mid-way seems to be a good time to evaluate my progress overall, doesn't it? 

I've still got a ways to go, but not too bad, right? And now, as always, here are my numbers from the beginning of the program:

Weight: 170lbs
Bust: 41"
Waist: 36"
Hips: 43"
Arms: left: 14"
          right: 14"

And here are my current numbers:
Weight: 155lbs
Bust: 38"
Waist: 32"
Hips: 40"
Arms: left: 13"
          right: 13"

I lost 5lbs and only 2 inches this past month. You'd think it would be discouraging, but, like I said in my last vlog, I'm actually starting to see the difference for myself - which has been SUPER encouraging for me. It's one thing to see the numbers on the scale slowly eeking downward, it's apparently a whole other beast to actually see your waistline slimming down in the mirror.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Diapers for Daddies Giveaway! (closed)

I'm super excited to be taking part in this giveaway hosted by Cheerful Homemaker and Cloth Diaper Revival! We know that dads love cloth diapers as much as we do! In honor of Father's Day, we're giving away 6 bumGenius Freetimes and 1 Hip Dad t-shirt to one lucky winner! I actually have a review of the Freetime coming up soon, and *spoiler* you're going to want to enter this giveaway.

June 3rd-17th
6 bumGenius Freetimes
1 Hip Dad t-shirt
Open to US only

To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Disclosure: I received no form of compensation for this post.  This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook and/or bumGenius. This blog is not responsible for prize fulfillment.
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