Wednesday, May 30, 2012

WAHM Wednesday: Brie Brie Blooms

I still consider myself "new" to Arizona. But having a baby somehow made it easier to make friends! Suddenly, there was something we immediately had in common, something to talk about, someone to share/compare ideas with, and the list could go on. I wanted to immerse myself in activities and events to meet and learn from other moms. I found the Arizona Mom's Network through Facebook, and it was there that I heard about National Mom's Night Out. I had to go. I'm so glad I did, it was at Mom's Night Out that I had the pleasure of meeting my next featured WAHM business: Brie Brie Blooms. 


Heather, is a young, fun, and extremely creative mommy who makes (what I consider to be) a MUST-HAVE for Arizona summers. She created, makes, and sells the Car Seat Cooler Pad. Hmm, what is a car seat cooler pad? Well, it's just what you'd think it is. It's a fabric pad, that contains six 5x7 ice packs contained in velcro pockets. When you are out and about with your little one and the temperature starts creeping over 90 degrees, it gets rather warm and uncomfortable once that air shuts off. The car seat cooler pad goes in the car seat when you (and the baby) leave the car. The ice packs keep the seat and buckles cool, so when you come back and strap your baby in, no hot sweaty seat, and no blistering, burn-inducing metal buckles! Heather explains it all in her instructions that come with each one:

1. Keep cooler pad stashed in your freezer (yes, the whole thing fits!)

I purposely didn't crop the picture so you could get a size idea for how little space this takes  up!
2. Carry it in an insulated lunch bag when you go out (I use one of those thermal bags from the grocery store)

Nothing fancy, but fits perfectly!
3. Put it on your car seat when you leave the car parked


















4. Return to a nice cool seat
5. Remove cooler pad from car seat and strap in your happy child! 

**DO NOT SIT YOUR CHILD ON THE COOLER PAD**

These cooler pads are meant as "place holders" when your child is NOT in the seat. It is not safe to place your child on the cooler pad and strap them in. 

Heather graciously provided a Car Seat Cooler Pad for me to review and I must say I was a little skeptical at first. B is a super sweater, in a carrier, his stroller, his car seat, at home, the kid just sweats. Whenever we're out and about, and the car starts to heat up, I dread putting him in his car seat. I start the car to try and cool it down knowing full well it's going to take a bit to reach to the back seat. Not to mention he's still rear-facing so I can't place a vent directly on his seat to cool it down any quicker, so when I actually put him in the car seat, it's inevitably still hot. This leads to a (naturally) cranky baby who's hot and uncomfortable. I tried a "home-made" remedy of freezing a milk jug full of water and then placing that in the car seat when we were at the beach (this was during a family vacation to Florida). Yup, came back, the car seat was cool all right, and SOAKING wet! Seems the condensation from the thawing milk jug leaked all over the seat. Cue a (naturally) cranky baby who's now hot, uncomfortable, and soaking wet on his bum and back. I've seen other car seat coolers for sale, but they were so expensive that I didn't want to spend the money on something I wasn't convinced would work. I also could never find them on sale. Anywhere. It was just a few weeks later that I met Heather, I'm convinced it was fate. :) 

I followed the instructions to the letter. I froze the cooler pad, put it in my thermal bag and out the door we went. The first "test" was a play date at a pool. A couple solid  hours baking in the sun. (The car, not B :))It would be the perfect test.  I get out of the car, place the Car Seat Cooler Pad in the seat and cross my fingers. We came back a couple hours later, removed the pad, and wouldn't you know, NOT A DROP of condensation anywhere in the seat. Some of the ice-packs were still somewhat frozen! The seat itself was nice and cold, the metal, plastic and rubber on the buckles were equally cool! I put B in his carseat strapped him in and NOT A PEEP! I climbed int he front seat, started the car and the a/c and before we left the parking lot, he was asleep! I found myself actually feeling a little jealous of his carseat considering my seat was still quite toasty. Perhaps full-sized seat covers one day Heather? :) I've since tested this product for a full week. The results are continually the same. No wet seat, no cranky baby, no complaints! I've also been showing it off as much as I can and the reactions are generally the same. "What a great idea!", "I can't believe how thick the fabric is", "That makes so much sense!" 

Now, I know all of you don't have the 100+ degree temps that we have, and wonder about the Car Seat Cooler Pad in the "off-summer" months. Well, problem solved. Simply use microwaveable heat packs in place of ice packs and you will be able to keep the seat nice and toasty! The fabric itself is stain resistant and machine washable, which in my opinion, is an absolute necessity with anything relating to children, and the Car Seat Cooler Pad comes in 4 different patterns! You can see the Car Seat Cooler Pads here to pick out your favorite one. If you're local, Heather will work with you to schedule a pick up time rather than paying for shipping! SCORE :)

Be sure to thank her on facebook  for this great deal and check out her blog. She has tons of great DIY craft ideas as well! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Belated Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a great long weekend and Memorial Day! The majority of men in my family have been part of the military in some from or another and it's so great to have a day to celebrate that and remember those that gave their lives defending the freedoms that we sometimes take for granted. So, short and simple:

Thank you to all the servicemen and women past and present for doing something I could never do. And an equally big thank you to their families who share them with the world to protect us and our rights!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

WAHM Wednesday: Three Little Birds Design Company

Part of my initial blog focus was on local (budget-friendly) activities here in Phoenix. I soon realized that there are not only great activities around the valley, but great local business as well! 


I stumbled upon Three Little Birds Design Company (3LBDC) on Facebook. The more I looked into their company, the more I just had to try their products. This mom-owned small business began as a solution to the ever-present waste production of a small family on the go. Think about it, reusable shopping bags are becoming so common these days, it just makes sense to consider other reusable everyday bags. 3LBDC not only designs and produces reusable shopping bags but totes, lunch bags, sandwich bags and snack bags. What I love about this company and what makes them standout in the world of reusable bags to me, is the quality of their product. 3LBDC uses Certified Organic Cotton, grown and manufactured in the United States. They source U.S. produced materials and hand-dye the fabrics with low impact dyes. Yes, I said it. U.S. produced materials, organic cotton, AND hand-dyed fabrics.  Talk about sustainability! 

I had the opportunity to review one of their reusable sandwich bags. Being a SAHM, it's important to me to get out of the house. We do play dates, group meetings, run errands, you name it, we do it. Now that B is eating solids, having food on the go is a necessity. Since we do baby-led weaning, see here for a refresher, traveling with kid-snacks is a must. I loved the idea of this sandwich bag because of it's perceived versatility. 

Quick summary: Perception = reality in this case! 


How beautiful is this luxurious orange!
My first impressions of this bag were that it was so thick! I couldn't believe how sturdy this little bag was! The second thing I noticed was there was no liner-something that was present in the other reusable bags I owned. According to 3LBDC :

"Our products are made with 2 layers of high-quality densely woven cotton that keeps food fresh without the need for waterproof liners! Snacks and sandwiches of all types can be safely packed in our baggies (the only items we do not recommend are pears or strawberries). Our densely woven fabric also prevents outside leakage and absorbs any condensation from ice packs without exposing the interior contents to moisture"

The inner organic cotton lining
Whaaa? I had to try it out! I packed a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and mustard and set out on my day. Apart from a little lettuce water leakage (which stayed in the bag),the sandwich was perfect and the bag unharmed! The even better part, is these bags are totally machine washable! Any food residue, staining, "leakage" comes right out in the wash! (Washing instructions are included with each bag). One of my other favorite features of these bags compared to others I have purchased, is that they're sealed on 3 sides with a super heavy "velcro-like" closure on the 4th side. No folding a certain way, making sure the edges are tucked so nothing sneaks out, just simply stuff and seal! SO EASY!
Stuffed the bag with a sandwich AND an apple!

Testing the velcro-like closure. Not budging at all!
Overall, I love this product and can't wait to try more. Since my  transition to using less "throw-away" products, I've already noticed a slight dip in my grocery bill from not having to continue buying plastic baggies, but I feel like I'm doing my small part to help the environment with less waste.  With the summer coming up and plenty of road-trips, barbeques, beach days, reusable products are an absolute MUST for traveling!

All of you local mama's have the chance to check out 3LBDC products in town at:
Cameo Candles, Bath & Gifts (Glendale, AZ)
Ecocentricity! (Phoenix, AZ)
Food Conspiracy Co-op (Tucson, AZ)
Phoenix Public Market (Saturdays 8am-1pm, Phoenix, AZ)

And all of you out-of-towners get some love too! 3LBDC is available in select shops in California and New Mexico AND online! Yes, online!

Because 3LBDC is so generous and fantastic, they are offering EVERYONE 15% off at their online store! Simply use the code Kloth2012 and start grabbing some deals! Also, be sure to "like" them on facebook to stay up to date on new products and colors!







**Thank you to 3LBDC for providing the product for review purposes. The experience and opinion is entirely my own and not influenced by 3LBDC**
 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sleep? What's that?

I want to preface this by saying I'm not complaining or ranting. I'm more rambling and trying to organize my thoughts! :) 

I'll be honest, B has never been a sleeper. In my belly, or out, the kid just doesn't want to sleep. Naps or nighttime, he doesn't discriminate. As an infant we relied heavily on baby-wearing and his infant swing. I was terrified of the day his swing motor died. We've run the gammut of medical issues that could be keeping him awake. Apart from eczema (which is ongoing, treated, and rarely flares anymore) and a slight case of reflux (medicated, and now outgrown), he's a perfectly healthy little boy. So then we look to "developmental" causes keeping him awake. It started with rolling, then scooting, then sitting, and now standing. When he would begin to practice these new tricks, he would wake himself up and then not be able to go back to sleep. Oh, and I seem to have forgotten the ever popular answer for all fussiness in babies "teething". He won't sleep at night? Oh, it must be teething...He's not napping well? Oh, it must be teething...He's fussy and just downright ornery? Oh, it must be teething...I get it, teething is not a walk in the park, but I struggle sometimes to believe it is the cause of every "issue" B seems to have. Maybe he's just having a bad day?

Once we ruled out any possible "causes" of his sleeplessness, then it all came back on Polish Prince and myself. Oh, he doesn't sleep through the night? You must be going in and getting him too much. Oh, he wants to eat twice at night? Well, if you didn't feed him every time he wouldn't need to eat that often. Wait, he naps how often? Well, he's napping too much/too long/not enough (depending on the day). Oh, you go in there every time he cries and pick him up? He needs to learn to self-soothe, let him cry a bit, he'll learn. He's just _______ (testing, using, training, manipulating...fill in the blank) you. *sigh* where does it end?

 I like to think that when people give advice it's with the best intentions, not with judgement. I also know that what works for one person doesn't work for everyone necessarily. This is why we don't "sleep train". I'm sure if we followed advice and just toughed it out for a few nights, B would eventually learn to put himself to sleep. And that works for some people, and I'm happy for them. But, for me, it's not something I'm interested in. And I'll leave it at that. When it comes to hot topics of parenting ( i.e. breastfeeding, discipline, eating habits, etc) sleeping is right up there. Everyone has an opinion, and I get that, but sometimes I don't want advice, I don't want opinions, I don't want to answer "Is he sleeping any better yet?". It's like when I was pregnant, clearly still VERY pregnant, yet people would come up and ask "Still have that baby in there?" I wanted so badly to say "Nope, had him a few months ago,just haven't dropped the weight yet." I like to celebrate victories, not dwell on current hurdles. When he does sleep through the night, believe me, I will be the first to shout it out! Probably in all capital letters on a social networking site somewhere :) But until then, it's a pretty fair assumption we were up a couple times last night. 

B has had victories when it comes to sleep. He now naps in his crib--pretty easily I might add (knock on wood), and is a generally happy baby. He's met, if not exceeded. his developmental milestones. He's crawling, climbing our stairs--supervised of course--eating, playing, babbling, everything you'd expect out of an 8 month old. He just doesn't sleep through the night. When I stepped back and realized all of this, I made the decision that I wasn't going to make his sleeping (or lack thereof) an issue anymore. If I don't see it as an issue, it's not an  issue. This works for us until the dreaded "So, how's he sleeping?" question comes up. I'm still working on an answer that doesn't lie to anyone. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to comment! :) Otherwise, I think I'll stick with "He's sleeping well, thanks!" Generic I know, but it's honest. He is sleeping well, just not in long stretches! So with that, I think I'm going to grab some caffeine this morning and get ready to attack the day :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Pirate Plunder Giveaway!

Welcome to Pirate Plunder! One of my blogging friends has an amazing giveaway that I want to share with you!! Her little man is turning one and she's celebrating by giving away some Loot for you AND your little one!


Two lucky winners will have a chance to win!


First Prize: Awesome Pirate Prize Pack (Appx value of $140):


  • $25 Gift Card to MyBabyClothes.com
  • 2 pairs of kids shoes from Shoeszoo 
  • One Diaper from Baby Babu
  • $25 Gift Card to Kranky Krab Children's Art
  • Wool Lamb Wreath from Bossy's Feltworks 
  • "Today a Reader" 10x8 print from nJoyArt



Second Prize: 
  • One Diaper from Baby Babu Diaper
  • One Pair of Shoes From ShoesZoo!


The First Prize is a fantastic bundle of goodies! Check out these great sponsors:


Baby Babu Cloth Diapers









Kranky Krab Children's Art + More








Bossy's Feltworks










nJoyArt










MyBabyClothes.com










ShoesZoo











With TWO chances to win you can't go wrong! Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter, there are plenty of extra entries but only the easy one is mandatory ;) Be sure and come back to tweet and share daily for even more entries! Giveaway ends May 27th at midnight EST. The winner will be notified via email and entries will be verified! Once the email has been sent you will have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway is open to US only, must be 18 or older to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Get the Goods Giveaway!

Piggy-backing off of my "Food for Thought" post, I thought it was time for another giveaway!! Get ready, because this one is GOOOOOOD! :)

It also makes a great "mango-masher" :)
I'm going to combine two products into one giveaway because to me, they seem to go together. B has been breastfed since day one. I was lucky, he was a natural, and I had the opportunity to stay at home with him. He never really took a bottle. When he did, we used--Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottles (after TONS of research) They were a great transition for my little B with their breastfeeding friendly design. When we started looking into sippy cups, Tommee Tippee was one of the brands I wanted to try. We had picked up a sippy cup with a straw, but I wanted B to learn how to "tip" a cup to get something out. To me, it seemed it may  help the transition to tipping a *real* cup to drink! Tommee Tippee was gracious enough to provide me with samples of their Li'l Sippee Spill Proof Trainer cup from their Explora line. Safety is my number one priority with anything I give to B. These cups are BPA and phlalate free as well as being dishwasher safe. A HUGE plus in my book! We've been playing with these cups for a while now. The age limit on them is 7-12 months. B started using it at about 6 months, and although the bulb-shaped bottom gets a little heavy when full he was still able to tip it, bang it, throw it, and not cause water to go everywhere! It did take him a few weeks of real practice to get the hang of tipping and sucking at the same time. He thought the spout was like a straw and would just try to suck on that while holding the cup. So much disappointment for a such a little guy! :) You will get your chance to win a pair of these sippy's but in case you don't win, Tommee Tippee is now available at Target and Target.com in addition to Babies 'R Us!

 What goes better with cups than dishes!! That's right, 2 giveaways in one!! This one from Talisha at Modern Mommy!! Check out my review of her store here and keep reading to check out one of her favorite (and one of my NEW favorite) products!


Testing out watermelon...no staining!
It seems everything in kid world is either wood or plastic. Baby/Kid dishes are generally no exception. I'm trying to swap out plastics for glass in my house (i.e. plastic food storage that is past it's prime) but I haven't really found an alternative for kid's dishes. After B so delicately dropped a glass plate while out to dinner, glass has not really been an option for us. Enter Zoe B Organics. Zoe B makes sustainable anti-plastic toys, cute hats, teethers, and dishes...yes, DISHES! They're called "Fantastic Anti-Plastic Dishes". Made from corn, they are  BPA and phlalate free AND dishwasher safe!! Did you skip over the "made from corn" part? This means they are 100% biodegradable! They feel just like plastic, clean just as easily, and are totally shatterproof when B decides to throw them on the ground! One look at these and I can see why Talisha was so excited about them! The giveaway set includes one plate, one bowl, and one cup. One lucky winner will get the set, but everyone else can pick there's up locally at Modern Mommy!

One lucky winner will get BOTH gifts! One set of sippy cups from Tommee Tippee and one set of dishes by Zoe B from Modern Mommy! Be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway





*This is not a paid posting. Thank you to Tommee Tippee and Modern Mommy for providing the products for review and giveaway*

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Modern Mommy Indeed!

One of Phoenix's little gems is Modern Mommy Boutique, a mommy boutique in the East Valley. This cute store is unlike anywhere else in the valley--in my opinion. Started by a mother, this store caters to moms, and I'm not talking like the Motherhood section in Macy's. This store has everything from baby clothes and accessories, to diaper bags, to the most beautiful selection of nursing bras around. Yes, I did just use "beautiful" and "nursing bras" in the same sentence. There is so much to talk about, I'm going to warn you if my thoughts seem scattered! :) 

First, and foremost, I found out about this store when I was about 6 months pregnant. I had decided I was going to give breastfeeding a try and didn't want to commit to purchasing a pump. I called around to a couple hospitals and other baby stores, and Modern Mommy was always recommended for renting hospital-grade pumps. They carry Ameda and Medela pumps, including my personal favorite, the Medela Symphony. Not only do they offer daily rates, but weekly and monthly rentals! Perfect for any situation! This store is so breastfeeding friendly they offer a weekly breastfeeding support group (led by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant {IBCLC}) and monthly nursing classes! I've read that one of the biggest reasons women stop nursing is lack of support. How fantastic to have access to a resource like this after being discharged from the hospital! 

My next "brush" with Modern Mommy was in a mom's group I attend weekly. A woman was asking about comfortable nursing bras. After having worked at Victoria's Secret in college, I knew how many people wear the wrong size bra--nursing or not. Pregnancy does all sorts of crazy things to one's body and trying to keep track of your size is a nightmare! Not to mention some bras come in S, M, L, and XL. I personally am not a fan of this sizing for anything above the waist that's not pajamas. Let's face it, things just fit differently up there! She was referred to Modern Mommy with the phrase "Just go. You'll see what I mean" When you go to Modern Mommy, not only will you find a fantastic selection of nursing apparel, but you'll find nursing lingerie. YES! LINGERIE! Colors, and lace, and patterns in sizes from 32A-48K! Just because you're pregnant or nursing doesn't succumb you to a life of white, black, or nude. There's nothing wrong with a little lingerie here and there to give you some extra sass when your body goes up and down and your hormones are out of whack. While you're looking at the fantastic selection, a certified bra fitter (on staff) will help you find the best fit and style for you. I know it doesn't sound like much, but to a new mom, feeling like someone actually "gets" what you want and how you're feeling is the greatest gift!

As a new mom, there is so much information about what's best for you and for your baby. It can be so overwhelming trying to narrow it all done. Big box stores can add to this confusion by offering anything and everything under the sun. Going to a boutique gives you a more personal touch. Talisha, the fabulous owner, hand-picks the products she carries and truly stands behind them. She has a few cloth diapers, an array of baby carriers and will teach you how to wear them and work with you to find what works best for you. There are infant toys, not just your everyday run of the mill plastic blocks, but developmental toys! She chooses to carry products that are not only "must-haves" but organic, renewable, and sustainable whenever possible. There's something to be said about a small business owner that not only cares about her customers, but about the environment as well. One conversation with Talisha will let you know she's not environmentally conscious because it's "trendy" but because she truly believes in the preservation of valuable resources and providing her customers with the same products she would provide her own family.

While this store does have a baby/child component, it's truly a store for moms. A place where moms can be heard, understood, valued, and treated like friends. A place where you're not a number on a receipt, your child is not "a future consumer" but someone who deserves the best at the best price. Not to mention the confidence boost that inevitably comes after buying "a little something" that makes you feel sassy after just having a baby. If as a new mom you do nothing else for yourself, do this, go to Modern Mommy, check it out, see what they have to offer, and indulge a little (not in the price; in the experience! )

Sorry to non-local mommy's on this one. There is not a "shop online" component...yet. A little birdie told me one is in the plans, so keep your fingers crossed for an online shop by the end of the year!



**This review is of my own personal opinion and experience. I have not been compensated in any way for this review**