A very Sleepy Sophie rocking her Ebber-Deeber diaper!
As a mama of cloth-diapered babies, I have found that one of the bigger challenges in using cloth, other than night time diapering solutions, is how to keep my stash CLEAN and stink-free. Yes, we have had nasty ammonia issues in my house, and what was the culprit? Using the wrong detergent! I will not call out the company whose detergent failed to clean my diapers well in order to protect the guilty, but I will say this: If you cloth diaper, it is VERY important that you use the right detergent for your stash. Otherwise, you could end up with ammonia funk, diapers that don't come clean enough, or even the dreaded diaper rash caused by either detergent build-up or ammonia burns. Ouch! And no mama wants to see their babies' bottoms all red and irritated, especially while using cloth, since conventional diaper rash ointments are NOT cloth-friendly and can actually cause your diapers to repel rather than abosrb. Eeek! You know what THAT means, I'm sure... LEAKS GALORE!
So obviously, finding the right detergent for your household is paramount if you want to be successful in your cloth-diapering ventures. There are a number of variables that need to be considered. One of the biggest is what kind of water you have in your home. Do you have hard water? Soft? Somewhere in between? YES, this makes a difference! If your detergent is not formulated specifically for your water type, it may not be as effective as you'd like. Luckily, Rockin' Green has you covered there. They offer a cloth diaper and laundry detergent in 3 different formulations, unique to specific water types. They have Hard Rock for those with hard water, Classic Rock for those in between, and Soft Rock for those with soft water. Here's a handy map so you can figure out what kind of water YOU have:
I live in the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia, so according to the map, I should use either Classic Rock or Soft Rock. I have actually used all 3 formulations, and have had good results with each one. I found with the Soft Rock, I needed extra detergent to do the job. Hard Rock seemed to get the job done, as did Classic Rock. I should note that I have a pain-in-the-butt, cloth-diaper-hating front loading HE washing machine. Because of the water-saving nature of this machine, I often need to add a wet towel to my diaper loads so the washer "thinks" the load is heavier and therefore uses enough water for the rinse cycles. Yes, I actually have to come up with sneaky ways to fool my washing machine! What I wouldn't give for an old-fashioned, water-guzzling top-loader. C'est la vie.
I have had many problems over the past year of cloth diapering finding ways to get my diapers clean enough. Between having an HE washer and using detergents that gave my babies rashes, it has been a journey with a lot of trial and error. One of the only detergents I have always found to be effective, gentle, and reliable has been Rockin' Green. Rockin’ Green is free of dyes, enzymes, whiteners and brighteners. So you can rest assured that Rockin' Green detergents are safe for all diapers. The scented version does contain natural fragrances, so for those worried about warranty issues order either the soft rock version, or the classic or hard rock formula, unscented. I personally LOVE the scents that they offer. I especially love Mighty Mighty Marshmallow and Lavender Mint Revival. They have a ton of different scents, all with very fun names that music lovers like me can appreciate.
Rockin' Green is wonderful for cloth diapering, but it is also great for normal laundry, too! So if you have family members with sensitive skin issues, definitely give Rockin' Green a try. I have even used Rockin' Green on carpet stains! With 2 babies and a dog, we definitely have our share of accidents on the carpet and furniture. Rockin' Green has taken care of these stains gently and easily.
Are you new to cloth-diapering? Confused? The nice folks at Rockin' Green have a WONDERFUL FAQ's page that gives very in-depth, detailed instructions on how to use their detergents and launder your diapers. They even have specific cycle settings for a HUGE list of specific washing machines. They also have answers to many dilemmas, such as diaper stink, sensitive skin, as well as tips and tricks on how to get your diapers squeaky clean! When I first began using cloth, I actually bookmarked this page for easy reference, since there is so much great info there, all in plain English!
You can also sign up for their 52 Weeks Of Clean newsletter! Every week, you'll receive helpful cleaning tips, cloth diapering answers, and much, much more. Another reason I LOVE Rockin' Green is their customer service. If you ever have any questions or cloth-diapering dilemmas, you can shoot them an e-mail and they will do their best to answer your questions and offer solutions. At Rockin' Green, they truly are experts of the art of CLEAN.
I have always had wonderful experiences using Rockin' Green detergents. I used another brand for awhile because it was on sale, and had nasty ammonia funk issues, and Sophie got a nasty rash out of the ordeal. I solved this problem using Rockin' Green's new product, Funk Rock, an ammonia bouncer, and I switched right back to their detergents. Lesson learned.
I highly recommend Rockin' Green to anyone who cloth-diapers or has family with sensitive skin issues. Plus, they use only biodegradable, eco-friendly ingredients. Even their scents are 100% natural! This is much better for the earth, as well as for baby's cute little booty! Did I mention that Rockin' Green is also a PTPA Award Winner? That speaks volumes right there as to the excellence of their products.
Are you interested in giving Rockin' Green a spin? (No pun intended,lol)
You can buy Rockin' Green detergents on their website. They also have a handy list of retailers so you can find Rockin' Green near you!
One VERY lucky follower will have the chance to win a FULL-SIZED 45/90 load bag of Rockin' Green in their choice of scent and formulation!
HOW TO ENTER:
I am going to use comment entries on this one, as I am still undecided on whether or not to ONLY use google doc entry forms. While some like the forms, others do not. I'm still on the fence!
Please complete the MANDATORY entry first. No extra entries will count unless this is done. Also, please leave a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win!
This giveaway will be open until 11:59PM EST on May 14,2011. I will select a winner using random.org, and the winner will be announced here and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before I have to choose a new winner. Thanks for entering, and good luck!
***Disclosure: I received sample products to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and my opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way. Your opinions may differ. ***
My happy baby boy~ He WAS talking up a storm until I pulled the camera out. I DID get a ton of smiles, though! I love this little guy!
So if things around here have been a bit quiet over the past couple of days, there is good reason. Today marks Day 3 of being 100% caffeine free. That's right. I have quit my horrid soda addiction. (Or is it Pop? I am from Ohio where they call it pop, but have lived in the south long enough to call it soda,lol) As anyone who knows me in real life can attest, you would NEVER see me without Dr. Pepper. Never. Not even at 5:00 AM. I was drinking soda like it was water. As a matter of fact, soda was ALL I was drinking. No water...No milk...No juice...Just SODA. Which is admittedly absolutely horrible for my health.
I was watching a TV show the other night with Dan that had to do with peoples' unhealthy addictions and the consequences it can have on one's overall well-being, and it kind of scared me! There was one man who has been eating nothing but pizza for something like 20 years, and he was actually developing an intolerance to the lactose in the cheese and it was making him really sick. Luckily, I can EASILY get all-pizza'ed-out. We have pizza maybe once a month, and that's more than enough for me.
But there was also a woman who at 25 was on the fast track to diabetes because of her soda consumption. Various medical tests and blood work confirmed she was pre-diabetic, all because of something that she drinks like crazy. Well, this definitely hit home for me. I have had a MAJOR soda and caffeine addiction since I was a teen. It started out with Mountain Dew and has graduated to Dr. Pepper. I quit the Mountain Dew when I gave up soda a few years ago. It lasted for about 3 months. Now, if I even TASTE the Dew, I will vomit.
So 3 days ago, I decided to STOP drinking soda. Period. At least for a little while. I have to kick the caffeine addiction first and foremost. After I have made it a week or so without the Dr. Pepper, I MIGHT consider trying diet sodas that are caffeine free. In the meantime, I am fooling my body. I am drinking the carbonated flavored waters that I find at my local WalMart. They're actually really good, and have 0 sugars, 0 calories, 0 sodium, and 0 caffeine. And they're still fizzy! I cannot stomach just plain water. It just won't work. If I drink plain water, I feel ucky...Baby steps, lol...I plan to start drinking plain old H20 at some point soon, but for now, I am just focused on getting past the monkey on my back that is soda. This sparkling water tastes and acts enough like soda that I have not been having too many cravings.
So far, I have been doing well. I have not had ANY soda at all in 72 hours. (Any friends in real life know this is HUGE for me!) I have even spontaneously dropped 5lbs in the past 3 days, and have had no change in my diet other than the elimination of soda. I am thrilled to say that instead of my scale being STUCK around 147-150, I am now barely 142lbs. I guess that's no big surprise, considering the fact that a 2 liter of soda has around 1000 calories! (Yes, I was drinking that much in a day, sometimes more!) So apparently cutting out all the empty calories and sugars has gotten me past my plateau as far as my weight loss efforts go. (Knock on wood!)
The part that really, really stinks is the physical withdrawl. I am SOOOOO tired that I can barely move half the time, and I have had a POUNDING headache for the past 3 days. I know that this will pass, but it doesn't make things easy on me right now. I'm going to stick it out and fight it. But for the next few days, I may not be able to post as much as I'd like, because looking at the screen of my laptop literally hurts right now. I will still try to do at least one post per day, but until the physical PAIN aspect of being caffeine free wears off, I don't know that I can manage 3 or 4 posts per day. Please bear with me! I have some awesome reviews and giveaways scheduled in the very near future. If I seem cranky over the next few days, please know that it's because I am breaking my caffeine dependence once and for all!
Did you ever struggle with an addiction? What did you do to overcome it? I would love to hear about it and get some pointr
One of the most common childhood fears is the fear of the dark. You can imagine, for a little one in a big, big world, even the smallest noise can be mistaken for those creepy (imaginary) creatures that go bump in the night. With monsters that reside under the beds of unsuspecting small children and the Boogey Man hiding in a dark closet, it's no wonder that bed time can be a very stressful time not only for children, but for the parents who love them, too.
My 11 year old is still afraid of the dark and refuses to sleep with his light off. (Shh...Don't tell anyone!) My toddler also hates being in the dark. That's right, Little Miss Fearless herself does not like the dark. At all. So when I first heard about the Twilight Ladybug in pink by the nice folks at cloud b, I couldn't wait to test it out for myself. If you haven't heard of cloud b before, they specialize in amazing products that help children get to sleep by creating a soothing, comfortable, HAPPY environment for a child to drift off to. They have TONS of life-saving products for parents, like a complete sleep system for the smallest of babies, to sleep sheep and friends for kids of any age! They also have a mimicking monkey that is ADORABLE and can play customized voice recordings so your child is soothed by the voices of his or her parents as they fall asleep. They even have the cutest puppy, the Lavender Lab, which is infused with lavender, which is a top aromatherapy solution for sleep issues, to help soothe your child and send them off to dreamland.
Check out this video highlighting all the awesome features of their Twilight Ladybug!
How cool is that? I love how the Twilight Ladybug projects actual constellations onto the walls and ceiling, perfectly mimicking a starry night sky. I received the Twilight Ladybug in pink. It is a soft, plush toy with a harder, plastic shell. This shell has little star and moon "cut-outs" that make the night sky illuminate on the walls creating a truly magical effect. There are also 3 different color settings: Ruby Red, Emerald Green, and Sapphire Blue that can be changed with the push of a button. We love the blue stars, since they are a very lovely color. To me, the blue looks more purple, but this may just be in reaction to the pink of the ladybug's shell.
The cloud b Twilight Ladybug also comes with a constellation guide to help you and your children identify different constellations that are projected onto their bedroom walls and ceilings! This is a wonderful addition, because it provides a fun, relaxing, and educational bedtime activity for parents to share with their children. This is a perfect activity for after story time, but before the child is ready to pass out for the night. It can be done in the darkness of the room with only the gentle light and stars of the Twilight Ladybug illuminating its soothing glow. Your child can be lulled to sleep while locating the Big Dipper or Orion's Belt, or several other constellations that have been replicated in the shell of this wonderful night time companion. It even has a 45 minute sleep timer so it will automatically shut off after your children have fallen fast asleep.
Here is Sophie enjoying her Twilight Ladybug. She is just completely in awe of this toy! She loves staring at the stars, and even tries to reach out and "grab" them! We have been putting this to bed with her, and it does seem to help lull her to sleep gently and quickly. Even my 3 month old was in awe, just staring at the ceiling and at the ladybug's friendly glow.
The place where this has proven to be the most useful has been with my 11 year old. We had him try it for one night, even though he protested due to the fact that it's pink. He is very interested in all things space or science related, so he did think it was very cool to be able to have the night sky accurately shown on his walls. He did make it to sleep that night with the help of the Twilight Ladybug, and didn't need to turn his light on at all that night. When he fell asleep, he stayed asleep. I am seriously considering getting him the Twilight Turtle, which is the same concept of its Ladybug cousin, but in a more masculine looking sea-turtle design.
Overall, we LOVE this product. I would highly recommend cloud b products for your child's night time routine. Especially those little ones who may have a hard time getting to sleep due to fear of the dark. I am looking forward to trying more of their wonderful products!
You can buy cloud b products on their website's online store
Visit their store locator to find the nearest retailer of cloud b products to you!
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and my opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
My favorite uncle, who is currently serving his country in Afghanistan, hanging out with "the BIG guy", General Petraeus. If you're the praying type, please remember to pray for the safe return of our troops who are stationed overseas. Luckily, my uncle is in a very safe location and will not see combat, (knock on wood) but a lot of other soldiers are not that fortunate. If you know and love a US Service member, be sure to thank them for the sacrifices they and their families make in order to protect and defend our freedoms as Americans.
If you're a mom, I am sure you're familiar with 4Moms, the company that creates amazing and revolutionary infant products, such as the MamaRoo, (Which I have and LOVE, by the way!) and their newest innovation that is sure to rock the world of baby gear, the Origami Stroller! This company pays attention to detail, and strives to provide products that are convenient, user-friendly, and of the highest quality. They even add cutting edge technology that is not often standard in many baby gear items. Did you know that you can actually plug an mp3 player into the MamaRoo and play music for your baby? How cool is that?! The MamaRoo also has several distinct motions that actually mimic the way a mother would rock her child, because rather than having just a generic swinging motion, it is designed to move the way YOU do. I know that the Car Ride motion especially has been a life saver in my house with my now 3 month old son. For the longest time, he would not sit ANYWHERE calmly. I HAD to be holding him 24/7. Now that we have the MamaRoo, this mama can finally successfully do things that I had once taken for granted, like doing dishes or showering! Xander LOVES the MamaRoo! Oh, and FYI another MAJOR selling point of the MamaRoo is that it has a PLUG! Yes, you can plug this baby in rather than burn through batteries like crazy like you would with a conventional swing. What can I say? I LOVE this product, and I love all the exciting innovations brought to us by 4Moms!
Any friends in real life with babies are more than welcome to come over and "test drive" my MamaRoo, by the way. This is so unique and so different than any other baby swing or seat I have found. Once you try it, you'll want one of your own! They are well-worth the investment....especially if you value a shower, a pee-pee break, or the ability to change your shirt after getting spit-up on.
Also, you can become a 4Moms Insider! It's fast, easy, and free to sign up. By being an Insider, you will have all of the latest product buzz before the rest of the world, and you can even earn points that can be redeemed for HUGE discounts on their products. (Including the MamaRoo!) I have been an Insider for about a year now, and I have really enjoyed being one of the "cool kids" over at 4Moms. They have fun surveys, product testing opportunities, (upcoming opportunities for Origami Stroller Testers! Woot!) and even the chance to win a TON of great prizes. I actually won my MamaRoo from 4Moms, just for being an Insider and participating in one of their many fun contests.
By being an insider, YOU can also help design the latest products! The folks at 4Moms often look for Insider feedback when designing their products. For example, they recently decided to offer new colors and fabrics for their best-selling MamaRoo, and they gave their Insiders the chance to vote for which colors and patterns they would like to see in the future. After all, these products truly are made 4Moms, with moms in mind!
Something BRAND NEW over at 4Moms is their new Baby Guessing Game. The Baby Guessing Game is an easy and free game that lets the friends and family of parents-to-be predict the new baby’s arrival. If you're expecting or know someone who is, invite your friends to guess the baby’s gender, arrival date, and birth weight. Once the baby is born, enter the baby's info to find out whose guess was most accurate, and they're the lucky winner! Winners and game hosts earn 4moms Insider Points, which can be redeemed for discounts on 4moms products (like the mamaRoo): the more guesses in your game, the more points you get! Setting up a game is quick, easy, and free at www.4moms.com/insider/baby_guessing_game.
I checked the game out for myself, and it looks like so much fun! I wish I knew someone who was currently pregnant so I could start a game of my own! Don't worry...I am not going to start wishing I was pregnant again. 2 babies in the past 16 months is MORE than enough for me,lol. But I wish this had been around a year ago. It would have been so much fun to play this while I was pregnant with my little Xan-Man.
So definitely shoot on over and become a 4Moms Insider. The ladies there are super-sweet and the site has so much to offer, between the BEST sneak peeks of new products to all the contests and giveaways, 4Moms is a wonderful community to be a part of!
Tell them Brandy at Newly Crunchy Mama Of 3 sent you!
If you're the wife of a "manly man", or as I like to call my hubby, a DORK, you probably just looked at the shirt at the left and let out the tiniest chuckle. Yes, people actually WATCH MacGyver. Okay. Maybe not people... Maybe just MY husband. And that would be person, singular. Regardless, check out this W.W.M.D. T-shirt shirt I received for review from the super nice folks at NachoMamaTees! I just knew my husband would love this, since he is a self-proclaimed dork and MacGyver afficianado, and he probably thinks he could match the skills of the man himself, by constructing some sort of terrorist stopping bomb, therefore saving the world with nothing more than a toothpick, a battery, saran wrap, and an old Richard Simmons DVD at his disposal. I let him believe these delusions because it keeps him amused, and I like a happy hubby! Do I really think he's as crafty as Mac? No. But that can be our little secret!
I love this shirt as well as the other 80's T-Shirts found at NachoMamaTees! They have such a huge variety of these retro styled shirts. I actually felt a little old as the memories hit me while browsing their secection. So WHAT if I remember what a Flux Capacitor is, and if I have in fact suffered death from dysentery while trucking along down the Oregon Trail...Maybe I'd love to do the Truffle Shuffle on my way to Wally World! Maybe I AM just old now....What can I say, I was a child of the 1980's. Either way, I am totally in love with the cute tees at NachoMamaTees. This one looks great on my husband and is made of a heavier, very durable cotton knit. It is not the super-soft brushed cotton that I prefer to get, but it's not scratchy or rough upon the skin. We found that it actually softened up quite a bit after washing and using softener. The best part is, this shirt is made to LAST. That way, while my silly hubby is trying to mimic the moves of the master, his shirt will likely survive whatever mess he gets himself into when he tries to build an escape raft out of duct tape, tissue paper, cheez whiz and a peanut. So when all else fails, ask yourself this:
What would MacGyver Do?
I'll tell you exactly what he would do...He would mosey on over to NachoMamaTees and check out all the funny shirts they have to offer! There are hundreds of designs to choose from! (Even if some of them DO make you feel just a little old,lol.) They even have a neat selection of "Winning T-Shirts" to celebrate our favorite bi-polar drug addicted celebrity! Oops, did I say Bi-Polar? I meant Bi-Winning!
Check them out, though. They literally have something to tickle anyone's fancy...Even the most testosterone-fueled, tool-obsessed, video-game loving man-child in your life! GREAT gifts for Father's Day!
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% my own and have not been influenced in any way.***
We had a wonderful time visiting with family on Easter. The food was great and the company even better. The drive was pleasant and picturesque, as it always is in the mountains. The only bad part was.....Xander. Yup. Rather than be the HAPPY baby he is 99.99999% of the time, he decided he was going to scream. Frantically. THE WHOLE TIME. I don't know if it was the fact that he was woken up super early and he was just tired, or maybe the fact that he has never been around that many people all at once. But whichever the case may be, I know one thing for sure: He was NOT happy! And he wasn't hungry or wet. So I am definitely thinking simply pooped with some over-stimulation. But nonetheless, we had a great day.
Sophie loved running around in the grass and was wearing her adorable 100% organic cotton petal dress in watermelon/sky from Happy Green Bee clothing. Isn't she cute? I love their bright and cheerful eco-friendly fashion options for our little ones!
After that, we just came home and relaxed. I think we actually all took a nice afternoon nap, since none of us are used to being up that early on a normal basis. We also ate leftover ham and other Easter goodies!
What did you and your family do for Easter? I'd love to hear about it!
I don't know HOW Jennifer over at Mom Spotted does it, but she always has the most amazing reviews and giveaways. I am in total awe of her as a blogger, and hope I can someday grow to the level that she's at. Heck, half of that level would be nice, too! :)
Anyway, Mom Spotted and Little Tikes have teamed up to bring us an awesome giveaway for this Little Tikes 2-in1 Garden Cart and Wheelbarrow. How adorable is THAT?! My Sophie-Monster NEEDS this! I can just see her toddling around through the grass pimping her cute little garden cart!
And Jennifer is over there hanging out at Mom Spotted just giving one away to some lucky mama! I am entering, will you? If I know you in real life. you can always enter and have it shipped to Sophie if you win,lol... Enter HERE
She also has an active giveaway for a Step 2 Gather & Grill Playhouse! I am totally jealous, by the way. My babies would absolutely love to have one of these. This is seriously the Rolls Royce of play houses, complete with a functional kitchen and the added ambience of a fire roaring in the fireplace. They even throw in the ketchup and mustard for free! What more could you possibly ask for in a play house? I soooo want one, and I am entering for my chance to win. With a toddler and another baby just 12 months behind her, I could definitely get years of good use out of this. You can enter HERE
Speaking of Rolls Royces of the baby product world, Mom Spotted also has a current giveaway for a Britax Roundabout 55 Next Generation Convertible Car Seat! I am so excited to have a chance to win one of these! With 2 babies, I definitely need another car seat for when Xander outgrows his infant carrier car seat. And if you're a mom and haven't been hiding under a rock, you know as well as I do that Britax products are the absolute BEST on the market. They have superior safety ratings and are user-friendly and come in a HUGE variety of fabric choices. My favorite is the Cowmooflage! I am not the lucky owner of Britax...YET. I hope to be at some point, because their wonderful car seats land at the top of my Baby Product Wish List. I'm heading over to enter, and you can, too, by going HERE
Aren't these giveaways FANTASTIC? I love Mom Spotted! Not only because she always has the best giveaways, but because her reviews, vlogs, and general ramblings are a lot of fun, too. You should definitely add Mom Spotted to your feed or subscriptions. And Jennifer, if you happen to read this, you should totally tell the nice folks over at Little Tikes, Step 2, and Britax that you know of a blogger who would give their left arm to work with them!
Now that everything has settled after the Easter holiday, I have 2 winners I need to announce!
The winner of my Simple Green giveaway is: Adalia!
And the winner of my Teething Bling giveaway is: Shawna E.!
These are perfect examples of why extra entries pay off! Both ladies took advantage of pretty much all the extra entry possibilities, and random.org worked in their favor!
I am e-mailing you both now, and you have 48 hours to get back to me before I have to draw a new winner.
Thanks to everyone who entered! I currently have over 10 active giveaways, mostly with easier entry forms, so feel free to check them out for your chance to win more great products, including flowers that will arrive in time for Mother's Day!
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
Links We Love :