Friday, December 25, 2009

IKEA Furniture in Nursery

Once my husband and I started our baby registry, we started seriously looking at furniture for the nursery. We LOVED everything at Babies R' Us but unfortunately had a tough swallow when we looked at the pricetag. They fit all the requirements we had: slats spaced appropriately (mmost are these days), side did not move up and down (this was before the big recall), sturdy, and could be conerted to a toddler bed and to add to all of that the would was very thick and would be perfect for our baby!! After realizing we could not pay $1500 for a bedroom set, we began to look elsewhere. Yard sales and consignment shops brought mismatched pieces; maybe I am a bit selfish, I wanted a matching furniture for the room...
This led me to look online at IKEA for their baby furniture and I came across some wonderful pieces! After a bit of coaxing, I finally got my husband to make the 1 1/2 trip with me (it's amazing what he will do if there is a geocache involved). Let me just say that I fell in LOVE with the store as soon as we entered; beautiful furniture for every room in the house. Then onto the children's section and I wanted to buy one of everything for our little one. We found the pieces that we liked and they also fit our criteria; even though they are simple, they are sleek and very sturdy. Calculating everything that we would get for the nursery, we knew it was a good deal when we could walk out of there and pay less than $900 for the essentials and more! We didn't buy them on the first trip but went back before Thanksgiving and picked it all up.

I want to share a little with you about each of the pieces-

~The bed base can be placed at two different heights.
~Converts into a toddler bed.
Not only do I love the price on this piece, but it looks so simple which reminds me how how laid back they are in other countries (exactly where this is made).

The toddler bed is also adorable, I'm not sure if we will use it as we plan on having more than one child.

~Solid wood, a hardwearing natural material.
~Drawer with drawer stop prevents the drawer from being extended fully and falling out.
We also bought the changing table for the top for an extra $40. This is easy to attach and when we are out of the diaper stage we can remove it and use the dresser. I can honestly say that with the changing table attached it is hard to get into the shelves or the top drawer as the changing table sticks out too far. However, I am really big on how things look and I really want everything to go together, I am willing to put up with the slight frustration in this case.
~Solid wood, a hardwearing natural material.
~Deep enough to hold adult size hangers.
~2 adjustable shelves and clothes rail: easy to adjust according to need.
This wardrobe will hold all of our little one's clothes for years to come!! It actually has 2 clothes rails, I might remove one though as it sat rather low. This will definitely need to be secureed to the wall as it is rather tall and am afraid it could possibly tip over.
~Solid wood, a hardwearing natural material.
~Drawer includes drawer stop.
This piece will sit right next to the changing table and hold the cloth diapers, wipe warmer, and possibly a nice lamp.
~Solid wood, a hardwearing natural material.
This will not hold any necessities, most likely just a baseball cap and some trinkets.
We have not finished painting the bedroom yet, but we had to get the furniture set up as the boxes were just witting on our bedroom floor. Imagine these pushed against the wall with everything ready for the little one to come home in April.
My husband did all of the woodwork in the room, a very nice look that is mature enough for the baby to grow with it.

What I love about IKEA is that you walk in and they have the rooms set up so you can really imagine all of this being used in your home. We wish we knew about IKEA earlier but swear we will go there whenever we redo a room in our house.
I absolutely loved all of the simple, wooden toys they sold at IKEA, here are a couple that I really want to get in the future.
~The small figures jump up and down when the toy rolls forward/backward.
I think of the modern 'popcorn popper' when I see this, but I love this so much more. It's not that I don't like noise; it has more to do with being an educator and understanding that children can learn without
~A soft stick helps prevent injury.
~Develops fine motor skills and logical thinking.
Not only is the price incredible, but this toy will allow your child to think with the unnecessary bells and whistles that the newer toys have.

I should mention that I love toys like this and it has nothing to do with the noise bothering me. It actually comes from being an educator and knowing that children can learn without the music and noise. Yes, it is good to learn to music and many things can be taught this way. However, these days many children cannot sit still without being entertained; I really want our child to be able to entertain himself learn at the same time!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

TurtleTurtle Winner

The winner of the TurtleTurtle
gift certificate is Emily B.
She said, 'I love the egg warmers (and the name is super cute!)
I'd get one in either grass green, or charcoal grey. '
She has been emailed and has 48 hours to respond,
otherwise another winner will be chosen.

Our Journey Home

We left for NY at 4pm yesterday and are currently in VA; we have moved 242 miles in 16 hours!!! I have lost count of the number of times we have been stopped in traffic; at one point we had the truck turned off for over 3 hours. We pulled into a rest area and a bunch of the tractor trailers went down into the 'car' section as their lot was quite full. We couldn't leave the parking lot for over an hour as there was a tractor trailer stuck near the 'car' exit, I was so frustrated that he didn't follow directions! They ended up closing the rest area and backing the cars out one at a time, we had a long wait as we were right behind the trailer...
Luckily, we are from the north so my husband has quite a bit of experience with the snow and we ppersonally have not had any problems. We also have 4 wheel drive, but even that doesn't matter when you are not moving.
One would think I could use this time to blog and enter different giveaways but I was so tired at one point that even that didn't matter... I have been sleeping on and off during the night but I have also been eating in between sleeps as the roads are very bumpy due to the ice and snow - pregnant woman with lots of bumps leads to queasiness and eating tends to help that. My husband actually looked at me with some disgust and said, "I don't think you should be eating if you don't feel good." Normally I would agree, but being pregnant brings on a whole ton of new things...
The GPS says we will be in a little after 5, uuummmm we had dinner plans with our parents around that time....and that is only if the traffic moves at regular speed!! Needless to say, this trip that normally takes 12 hours will take over 24 and I hate to ask to use the bathroom at this point...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Turn A New Leaf Review and Giveaway

I was taking a look on the Turn A New Leaf Inc Etsy shop and ran across some beautiful handmade items. When I contacted Tracey, she was willing to send me a couple of cloth diapers(not available for sale until after the New Year) if I placed an order with her store. There were two box sets that I wanted to try but I decided to go with the Pure Baby Gift Box which includes a 28" square hemp blanket and 10 8"x5" double layer wipes which retails for $20.

Each of these items is extremely soft and are the perfect addition for our upcoming bundle of joy!! Everything is high quality, I can tell Tracey takes great pride in all of her work. I have never owned anything made of hemp and wish I had found items long ago, I have been tempted to take these cloths and use them on my face!! I am also thinking that this blanket will be used in a lot of pictures and we will probably bring the baby home from the hospital in it.

The cloth diapers that were sent are size 1, newborn - 15 pounds, and are made of 100% certified hemp and will retail for $20.

I have taken the following information from Tracey's blog site, Wildflower Mama Designs.
"This size 1 AIO hemp diaper is designed to lessen drying time and “no stuffing needed”.
My New AIO hemp diaper has a Pul outer layer with a full layer of hemp terry hidden inside. A hemp fleece layer is added with the softest side touching babies bottom. NO sewn in layers lessen your drying time and helps moms who would rather air dry their diapers. A 3 layer hemp doubler, slightly contoured, snaps into place for added absorbency. Simply snap the doubler into place and you have 5 organic hemp layers in total.
This size 1 AIO hemp diaper fits newborn to 15 pounds. For newborns, unsnap the 3 layer doubler and fold over the front using the inside snaps to fit snug around babies belly."

This is the first cloth diaper in my collection and I am very impressed with the quality. Our baby will not be born until April, so right now I am basing my review on my impressions. The elastic around the legs looks like it will be secure around by baby's legs but not too tight. The hemp feels so soft, so much better than disposable diapers. With the insert I feel that we won't have leaks going on in our house! The outer PUL is a soft cream color so it will work for either gender, this is good sice we don't know what we are having. The snaps are very secure and do not seem to pull on the fabric as I snap and unsnap and the sewing around the edge is very nicely done.
Tracey will be getting her size 2 diaper, 15-35+ pounds on her Etsy site at the beginning of the new year, she will also be adding a few differernt outer layer PUL fabrics so you will have choices!!
I am loving all of the products I have received and can't wiat for this little one to get here so I can use them all (I will wait and use the wipes on the baby).
Tracey's Etsy shop is currently closed so she can enjoy her Christmas, she will reopen on January 4th at which point these cloth diapers will be for sale. In the meantime, you can head over to her shop and sign up for an email to be notified when she reopens.
The other item that I thought about getting is meant for new moms (yes, we need to think about ourselves too) and includes 3 pair of hemp breast pads, calming tea, and soothing nipple tea bags, valued at over $40. I was reading her blog the other day and saw that she is giving a box away!!! Yes, if you head on over to her blog you can enter to win!! Hurry though, the contest ends on December 20th.
All of the items are made in British Columbia, Canada and shipped in recycled boxes. Tracey was wonderful to work with and I was very excited to receive these products and get to feel the hemp and see the quality of her work.

Tracey has been very generous to send one of the diapers for a Caching Family reader!! I currently have the diaper but will keep this open to United States and Canadian residents.
****Mandatory Entry****
If you would like to win this cloth diaper, tell me why you chose to cloth diaper.
Be sure to include your email adress in all of your entries.
If you are a winner and your email address is not present, I will draw for another winner.
This contest will end Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm. A winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email.
****Extra Entries****
~Subscribe to me via email
~Grab my button
~Grab my 'Welcome Baby, Shower' button (before the giveaways started)
~Following me
~Email others about my blog and this contest(cc
~Tell me how you found my site
~Blog about this contest (3 entries)

Thanks for looking and have a wonderful holiday!

Udder Covers Review and Discount Code

Udder Covers for nursing mothers sells some of the most important things a nursing mother needs - nursing covers, breast pads, and nursing bracelets. You can order just the nursing pads, the Udder Cover, or the set of three and save some money.
At the beginning of my pregnancy I received an email offering a FREE Udder Cover, all I had to do was pay shipping and handling. However, there was a rumor out in cyberspace (more about that later) and since we were tight on money, so I decided to put off on ordering.
When I looked around for the rumor, I found that people had ordered with their credit cards and shortly after had fraudulent charges added as well. A good frind of mine, from the Life More Simply blog was curious and did some research on the company (click here to read more( and found it all to be false.
I was bummed because I had missed the opportunity to get a free nursing cover... That was when I contacted Udder Covers and they were very generous to send me the Jones gift set for review.
Jones nursing cover

The nursing cover with a pack of breast pads, and a milk band bracelet.
The lady I worked with was absolutely wonderful! I received my gift set very quickly, unfortunately I have not had a chance to use it as the baby is not due until April. I can still tell you what I think about each item though!
Jones nursing cover (retails for $32.00):
Our rigid neckline gives you direct eye contact with baby.
Our fabrics are made of 100% breathable cotton.
Stainless steel d-rings allow fully adjustable neckline.
Machine washable (made with 100% cotton).
The nursing cover measures 33" wide by 23" long with a 23" adjustable neckline. I chose the 'Jones' style as we do not know what we are having and I truly feel that it will work well for either gender. When I received the cover, the front neckline had a bend in it making it look more like a slight 'V-shape' and I was a little bummed about that. However, now that I have had it out of the package for a while the bend is gone, leaving a very nice opening to peek at my little one. I feel confident that if this nursing cover gets stuffed in the diaper bag the 'stiff strip' won't get ruined!! I have worn this around the house a few times and it is very comfortable to wear while sitting or standing and I will look like a super chic momma when I feed my baby outside of the house!

100% Cotton Breast Pads (10 pair for $32.95) :
Product Benefits:
Leaking milk and moisture is drawn away from skin by 5 layers of absorbent cotton fabric Machine-washable and reusable
Soft layers conform to breast shape for a natural look under clothing
Product Features:
100% Cotton
5 Ply
Even though I am not currently breastfeeding, I felt the only fair way to review these was to wear them. They are extremely comfortable, have no roughness to them, and have the added benefit of some extra warmth. Once April comes around I know I will grab these pads from the drawer often!
Milk Bands nursing bracelet:
Milk Bands™ breastfeeding bracelet keeps track of what side you nurse from, what time and how long all on one wrist!
Years ago people wore a safety pin on their bra to show which side they last nursed on, now some people write every feeding down. Personally, I don't have time for either. I will be able to wear this bracelet on one wrist and know when I last fed and on which side; all I'll have to do is turn it inside out to show the side and move the sliders to show how long the feeding lasted or what time it was at. I am already having 'pregnancy brain' so I know this will come in handy when I have one more person to worry about!
Milk Bands started in 2005 and recently started carrying the covers and pads, all products are made overseas. You will notice some items are currently on backorder, looks to me like a lot of people are picking these up for the amazing price.
Since the economy is so weak, Udder Covers is offering this product for FREE, you'll simply have to pay shipping and handling!!! They say this offer will last until the economy turns around, but I would suggest ordering sooner than later so you can make sure to take advantage of this opportunity. I tried it yesterday and was able to put the promotional code in successfully so you shouldn't have a problem; you can actually order anyhting from their site and save $32 (the price of one Udder Cover). You will still have to pay S&H which is $8.95 for the cover. Place your order and type '1free' in the promotional code box, make sure you do not add any spaces.
I truly feel that this is a wonderful deal and just might pick them up for my pregnant friends.
I am curious to know if you place an order; leave me a comment with the design you chose.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wooldins Review and Giveaway

I was recently in contact with Carolyn of Wooldins online Etsy shop concerning a review and giveaway. She was very generous and willing to send me to cloth wipes, one to review and one to give away. Carolyn makes a variety of items and uses 100% organic bamboo, flannel, and cotton fleece to make most of her items. I was very interested in her items as she has such adorable materials and I plan on cloth diapering and wiping, and breast feeding - many of her items fit into these categories. Check out some of her products:

7"x7" double sided flannel wipe
Retail: 8 for $8.00
Looks so soft for my baby's bottom!

4.5" double layer organic bamboo nursing pads
Retail: $4.50/pair
I know that nobody really sees these, but the design would make me feel more feminine during such an interesting time!
Organic bamboo velour fitted diaper
Retail: $21.95
Perfect because one size fits all!!
Carolyn also makes menstrual pads, diaper covers, baby blankets, and children's underwear - all from her home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her online shop, Wooldins, is very successful - she has 100% positive feedback and supplies to international business customers.

I received two wipes from Wooldins, one bamboo and one fleece/flannel. I was definitely surprised to open the envelope and see the following wipes:

Double layer cotton fleece with flannel in pink stripe
Bamboo wipe with brown serged edge

These wipes didn't seem right to me (neither was actually square and the stitching around the bamboo wipe had a small gap) so I contacted Carolyn and she was able to clear up that she sent me seconds (Whew!! I had a hard time believing these came from her shop) and she would never send these to a paying customer. She also said that she has been teaching her 12 year old daughter to sew and these were probably from that pile. Either way, I still feel that these wipes would feel great on my baby's bottom and will definitely add these to my stash! Hearing how wonderful her cloth diapers are, I might be purchasing some before my little one comes in April!
Carolyn is being very gracious and will send a couple of wipes from her online store to a CachingFamily reader!!
****Mandatory Entry****
If you would like to win these cloths, head on over to her Etsy site
and tell me what your favorite item is.
Be sure to include your email adress in all of your entries.
If you are a winner and your email address is not present, I will draw for another winner.
This contest will end Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 12:59 pm. A winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email.
****Extra Entries****
~Subscribe to me via email
~Grab my button
~Grab my 'Welcome Baby, Shower' button (before the giveaways started)
~Following me
~Email others about my blog and this contest
~Tell me how you found my site
~Blog about this contest (3 entries)

Thanks for looking and good luck!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

TurtleTurtle Review and Giveaway

Kelley of TurtleTurtle recently sent me an egg warmer and a nursing cover to review and I have been wearing the egg warmer nonstop!
TurtleTurtle is as Etsy shop that you muct check out for yourself!
If you have never had a chance to wear a belly band I suggest you find one quickly as they are SO comfortable and can be worn over anything. Although this is still a belly band, I think it is so cute that they are called egg warmers at TurtleTurtle, this is such an appropriate name!
Wearing an egg warmer allows you to:
  • wear your non-maternity clothes a little bit longer as you can cover up the unbuttoned, partially unzipped pants
  • cover your 'just-a-bit-too-big' maternity clothes
  • have the layered look even if you are not pregnant

Here are a couple of pictures from the TurtleTurtle site showing the egg warmer.

I got mine in the mail just in time to go out to dinner for my father-in-law's birthday. I came home from work and just had to get my jeans back out of the 'non-wearable' bin and was so excited to be able to wear them again!!! The material wasn't sticky, itchy, or too hot; the material is light enough to 'breath' but thick enough to provide you with a little extra warmth. There is only one seam and I must honestly say it is very nicely constructed. I had no problems with the egg warmer, in fact I felt adorable with the layered look going on!

I also like to wear this with my maternity pants because it is cute and it covers those not so cute stretchy pants. Again, this is completely versatile and will make any wearer warm and happy.

Kelley only uses 100% organic cotton jersey knit for her egg warmers and they are available in a variety of colors. They are available in sizes XS through XL and meausure 8" tall. It is machine wash/dry with the only rule being not to use bleach. I have washed this once and the next time I wore it, it was just like new! Kelley started making these when a family member was pregnant, didn't want to wear maternity clothes too early, and didn't want to spend a ton of money on a store bought belly band. Making one lead to making hundreds....
TurtleTurtle also sells nursing covers, she generously sent me one of these as well. Honestly, I have not used this yet as I am still pregnant but have great plans to use it in April!!! So I can't tell you how well it works for nursing, I can say that it is totally cute and any mother would want one of these! I do have two different nursing covers and this is the only one with an adjustable neck strap (using a D-ring) which is perfect as no two of us are exactly the same. Also, it has a 'pop out see me space' so you can watch your baby as you are nursing. I find this truly amazing as she has simply sewn it into the top and it has just the perfect curve so my baby and I can see each other and continue to bond. My favorite part about this feature was that when Kelley packaged it she didn't create a fold in the curved material so it looks absolutely perfect! These are made of 100% cotton fabric and are machine wash/dry, again don't use bleach on these.
I can tell that Kelley truly enjoys what she does and takes pride in all of her work. All of the seams were perfect, this includes all pieces of thread trimmed. Being a mom herself, shwore realizes what moms of the world want. Not only was she generous enough to send me these items, she wanted to make sure I was truly happy with the egg warmer so she sent two, told me to try them both on to see which had the better fit and included the packaging to send the other one back to her. She literally send the package to me the day after I emailed her, that is what I call service.
I definitely want to work with her in the future. She has a very interesting Asian style carrier called a Hawley Sack which she made when she needed more than a front pack or a sling with her young son, I am thinking of ordering one as my husband and I do a lot of hiking and this would the perfect carrier! Again showing her generosity, she has the pattern for this on her personal blog.
You can buy any of these items at her TurtleTurtle shop, the egg warmers retail for $20, the nursing covers for $15 and the Hawley Sack sells for $67. These are all extrememly reasonable prices, especially considering the quality and effort Kelley provides to satisfy her customers.
Kelley was wonderful to work with and one of you will have a chance to see for yourself as she is giving one reader a $30 gift certificate for TurtleTurtle.
****Mandatory Entry****
If you would like to win this gift certificate you must first
head on over to TurtleTurtle and tell me how
you would spend your gift certificate.
Be sure to include your email adress in all of your entries.
If you are a winner and your email address is not present, I will draw for another winner.

This contest will end Saturday, December 19, 2009 at midnight. A winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via email.

****Extra Entries****
~Subscribe to me via email
~Grab my button
~Grab my 'Welcome Baby, Shower' button (before the giveaways started)
~Following me
~Email others about my blog and this contest
~Tell me how you found my site
~Blog about this contest (3 entries)
Thanks for looking and good luck!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Doulas Birth Partner

Ever since I was young I have planned on having only my husband in the delivery room with me. Not only are we quiet people, but I feel that this will be another great time for the two of us to bond as I rely on him for so much.My plans changed last week when I was looking at our hospital website (Lexington Medical Center) and found that they offer doulas for all of the laboring moms. I had only heard of doulas once before, when I was in college a professor had told us her daughter-in-law used one; I assumed this was something that only wealthy people used. Knowing that the hospital offers these for all women and for free I decided to do some research.
The word doula come from ancient Greek and means 'women helping women'. According to the brochure from the hospital, "these women have been trained to help guide you through the pain and stress that accompanies labor and delivery by providing emotional support, physical comfort measures and informational support. They are skilled in working with you, your physician/midwife and your nurse to provide support during the journey of birth, helping to create the birthing team. If you elect to use a doula in your birthing experience, she can suggest ways for family members to be involved in childbirth and help new dads ease into their roles of coach and father. Her presence does not take the place of family involvement but rather complements it. She will be as involved as you want or need her to be. Your doula will remain with you throughout labor and delivery, regardless of time or shift changes, caring for you with everything from soothing tired muscles to helping you breastfeed your baby. The doula will also visit you the next day, providing additional support, breastfeeding assistance and information."
You typically meet with a doula a couple of times before elivery to go over your birthing plans and meet a week or so after the baby is born. However, since these are provided by the hospital, you only see them during your time there.
So far this sounds great to me!! To have one consistent person, besides my husband, with me thoughout labor and to have them focus on us. Many times the people in the room are excited about seeing the baby and not about making sure mom and dad are content, this is what I really need. I will take a cpoy of my birth plan for her to review and will be comfortable knowing that she will communicate all of my requests to the doctors and nurses. For example, I want a medication free delivery, want my husband to stay with the baby when it leaves the room after birth, and do not want the little one to have a pacifier - the doula will make sure all of this is taken care of while I am exhausted and cannot yet get off the delivery bed.

Benefits of Doula Services
National studies have shown:

~reduce cesarean deliveries
~reduce the need for medication
~shorten the length of labor
~fewer forcep deliveries
~reduced use of vacuum extraction
~reduced maternal bleeding following birth
~enhance self confidence of the mother-to-be
~mothers have higher regard and increased sensitivity toward babies
~reduced incidence of post-partum depression
~fathers report greaeter satisfaction with the birth and more comfort with supporting their wives appropriately

Education of a Doula
While trying to find what a doula needs to do for certification, I was amazed to see that there are no set requirements!!! If you want to be certified through Doulas of North America you need to attend a workshop, read 5 books from a required reading last, purchase a birth doula certification packet, attend a childbirth education class, and provide a series of paperwork. After 3 years a doula needs to recertify. To be certified through Childbirth International you need to read a comprehensive set of study guides, support 2 women through lobor, read 3 books, complete a survey, and complete 2 assignments. After this you are certified for life. Surprising, yes!! But keep in mind that these ladies are not doing anything medical, they are simply a support system.
With all of this information I definitely plan on having a doula present at my first birth. I like that I choose how much they help, but know they will support me in my choices.
All information comes from Lexington Medical Center,,,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Leg Cramps

As we entered week 19 I got my normal pregnancy update and this time it focused on leg cramps. My first thoughts were, "I got them about a week ago, I didn't realize they went along with the baby!"
Although they do not know for sure what causes these leg cramps, there are several theories:
  • fatigue from carrying around extra weight
  • blood vessels in the legs being compressed
  • excess of phosphorus or shortage of calcium or magnesium in your diet
  • dehydration
  • hormones!!!!

At first I didn't think too much of it as I have had them in the past. I made sure to drink a lot of water and bought bananas; I had always been told leg cramps were caused by a lack of potassium. After that one night and my 'solution' the cramps didn't come back. A few weeks later I had them again but I also realized that I had run out of bananas so I went back to my cure and didn't have them again.

Now, I am not saying that bananas are the cure, here are some suggestions that I found online:

  • straighten your leg and flex your ankle toward your nose (I usually forget which way I should flex and go the wrong way causing even more pain)
  • stretch your legs before going to bed
  • put your legs up as often as you can during the day
  • avoid standing or sitting with your legs crossed for long periods of time
  • stand on a cold surface
  • drink enough during the day
  • exercise each day
  • gently massage your legs during the cramp
  • take a warm bath before bedtime
  • avoid getting too tired
  • sleep on your left side

I was talking to a friend and she had also heard about putting a bar of soap under your bed sheet; my first thought was "That sounds crazy!" Thank goodness I hadn't needed to go that far, if I ate a banana a day I wasn't having a problem.

I did look the tip up though as I was curious to know more. Sure enough, most websites that talk about leg cramps suggested the bar of soap trick. I decided to keep this information the the back of my head as I just might need it one day. Go figure, 4 nights ago I had leg cramps again and I had been consistent with the bananas!! After 2 nights with no relief I decided to put a bar of soap under the fitted bed sheet, if nothing else the bed would smell clean!! I woke up the next morning and was amazed that I hadn't had a cramp!! I tried it again last night; I have a head cold and was up most of the night, if I felt soreness in my leg I would locate the bar of soap and lay my leg on it for immediate relief!!

I am very amazed by all of this, who would think soap would take the serious cramp away?

Still curious, I looked up the reasons for soap relieving cramps, here is what I found: "Most leg cramp maladies can be associated with dehydration and depletion of potassium. Gator-ade has sodium chloride, which replenishes lost potassium, as well as rehydrates. Amazingly enough, most bar soaps also contain sodium chloride. During sleep, it is absorbed through the skin from the bar of soap."

So, I am here to tell you it works but I have found a difficulty with it. The bar of soap moves around under the sheets and I have to locate it as I need it. Also, one bar of soap isn't big enough for 2 legs!! I have thought about cutting an ace bandage in 2 and wrapping a bar of soap on each leg; I I continue to have problems I just might!!

I am curious if anybody else has had a problem with leg cramps during pregnancy and what you found to be helpful.

Help with information for this blog comes from,,, and

Monday, November 16, 2009

Upcoming Giveaways

I finally feel like my hard work is paying off!! Starting in early December I will be posting reviews on baby items that have been sent to me. I have a discount code and should have a couple of giveaways by that point. There are some WONDERFUL people out there who have offered to send items and are also willing to send an extra item for a giveaway.
I am so excited to share these items with you and have some really great people to brag about. Grab the 'Welcome Baby, Shower!' button by the beginning of December and you'll have an extra entry in each of the giveaways.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Leapstart Learning Gym Review

I am a big fan of the Leapstart / Leap Frog family of products as everything is geared toward educating our children. Being a teacher, this is a big concern of mine!! Babysitting most of my highschool/college life I was able to play with many of these toys myself and feel that most of them are worth their money and can truly help a child get a headstart.
My husband and I recently purchased the Leapstart Learning Gym for our little one to use once he/she is born. This gym plays music, has lights, and speaks foreign languages to the child. This is not tacky like so many of the sound/light toys that are on the market today, in fact I actually enjoyed the music. The foreign language is not overpowering either; there are just a few words and it gives your child a chance to hear the different phonemes used around the world.

The activities help develop fine motor skills and encourage baby to bat, reach and explore. For the youngest child you have the mobile in primary colors which easily attract the child's eye.

For the lie-down infant, the gym is truly a multi-sensory learning experience, with twinkling lights, 10 minutes of instrumental melodies from around the world, and a colorful, motorized mobile to fascinate baby.

As your baby grows, the gym transforms to a sit-up activity center that introduces animal names, colors, numbers 1-5 and opposites. Activities also introduce "hello" and counting 1-5 in five languages (English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese).

On the back of the toy the parent has the option to set it for lay down or sit up, this will then set the sounds to be used in that mode. You also have the option to change the volume - if the baby is falling asleep you can walk over and turn it down without turning it off and completely startling the little one.
We recently had some friends over so I got this toy out and their 9-month old completely enjoyed playing with and reaching for everything!!
I cannot wait for our little one to come along; I know the Leapstart Learning Gym will provide us with hours of quality time...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Welcome Baby, Shower!

My family will be hosting a baby shower for me in December and I want to review and giveaway items that are baby shower appropriate. I received my 1st item for review yesterday and am so excited about it that I would LOVE to post my review today!!!! I would like to start the reviews in the middle of December and post one each day until the shower. If you or anybody you know is interested in having a product reviewed let me know and we'll get it on here!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Saving Money

Today's economy has called for some significant changes in most American households, ours included. Looking at ways to save money, my husband and I are considering doing the following:

*Dropping our home phone and using just our cell phones (I have heard that we can choose 5 non-Verizon phones to call anytime for free, I need to look into this).

*Dropping our internet and using only the Verizon air card. We currently have wireless at home and the air card for when we are on the road. We never get close to the minutes on our air card and we have come to rely on the ability to get online anywhere so it makes sense to keep the air card over the home internet.

*Let go of our HBO. Before I moved in my husband used to watch a couple of shows on HBO but there is currently nothing that interests us, we find ourselves searching for something on HBO just to use it.

My husband also reminded me that we could use other stores' ads when we shop at WalMart and they will match the price. I double checked at customer service for their policy and am also listing it here for you -
Price matching
Our goal is always to be the low price leader in every community where we operate. Our customers trust us to have every day low prices ... there's no need for "special sales."

Our unbeatable promise:
Store managers make the final decision in always taking care of our customers, but we do have guidelines for matching our competition.
~We do honor "Preferred Shopping Card" advertised prices. Must be like items, be advertised and require a competitor's shopping card, for the discount to apply.
~We do not honor advertisements that require a purchase in order to receive the advertised price or free product.
~We do not honor "Buy One / Get One Free" advertisements.
~We do not honor double or triple coupons or percent off advertisements.
~We do not honor other retailers' "Misprinted" advertised prices.
~We do not honor Internet Pricing.
~We do not honor competitor advertisements from outside of the store's or Club's local trade territory.

I have been price matching for 2 weeks now and cannot believe some of the deals I have received!! This week one of the competitors had 'lean ground beef' on sale for $0.99/lb. so I took it to WalMart and their lean ground beef was the 93/7. This meat normally retailed for $18.86 for a 5.5 pound package and we paid $5.44 for this package!!! I bought two that night and went back today, the last day of the sale, and got two more!!

Another store had eggs at $0.88/dozen. I eat eggs each morning and normally buy 2 flats (5 dozen) at a time. This week I bought them by the individual dozen and saved over $1.00.

We also stocked up on butternut squash that was on sale for $0.88/lb. and normally retailed for $1.56/lb. at WalMart. We bought a couple more today as they will last for a considerable time in the fridge.

My favorite deal of the week was definitely the ground beef!! I typically don't eat beef as it is harder for the body to break down but turkey has been a complete turn-off this pregnancy so we decided to try this, it was so delicious!! Anyways, I divided it into 12 oz. servings (6 oz. for each of us) and froze it to use in the future. I ended up with 30 double-servings of protein for under $22.00 and I know it will go a long way...

My other thought for saving money is to look for free activities in your area. We have a lot of state parks and this time of year is perfect for hiking! They typically do charge about $2 to get in but we bought a yearly park pass and now we don't have to worry about this charge each time. This weekend we are going to a local park and will pick up some geocaches while we are out...

We also have a zoo pass and can get into our local zoo and about 50 others in the United States for free. We have definitely gotten our money out of this pass, I think I have visited 3 different zoos this year!

Also, look for a discount movie theater, we have one here and we pay $2.00 per person to watch a movie. Granted, these are now new releases; they are typically movies that have been in the theaters and are ready to move on. But if you are looking for an enjoyable and inexpensive date night this is the way to go!

These are just some ways that we are saving money, what ideas do you have?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Boon Frog Pod Review

The Frog Pod is designed to scoop up the children's bath toys, then allows all of the water to drain out, and stores them until the next bath time! Who doesn't love an all-in-one accessory that not only functions properly but is absolutely adorable?

Not only will this make bathtime with our little one fun, but I won't have to worry about mold and mildew building up on the toys. It will also grow with my child- it is cute for a baby and I think a toddler or young child will be very excited to use the frog's back to scoop up their toys. Now for the fun mommy feature - it holds a few bottles of soap, shapmpoo, etc. between the frog's eyes and your shower wall.
Cleaning this frog is a snap as you are already in the bathwater-simply run the soapy washcloth over it once a week. I would also feel completely comfortable putting the two smaller pieces into the dishwasher if it needed to be cleaned. It would be fine to put the body in, but it is rather large so I prefer to wash it by hand.

According to the Boon website this frog can hold between 5-20 pounds depending on how it is secured to your wall. You have four options - suction cups which hold about 5lbs, the adhesive strip and the silicone adhesive strip each hold about 10lbs, and securing it with screws will allow it to hold up to 20lbs!! I personally have the suction cups but have had a problem with it falling so I will be investing in the mounting bracket with the adhesive strips.

This frog comes in three pieces: the wall mount, the frog's body (sits securly on the wall mount), and the basket which is actually the frog's back (this sits securly on the body).
Okay I'll be honest, I didn't find this product on my own...I saw it on another blog and thought it was absolutely adorable!! Here is mine in the bathroom that the baby will eventually be bathed in.

If you have a minute, head on over to the Boon website and check out the frog and their other great products. I love the fact that everything is so modern and adorable!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Baby Update

We went back to the doctor today for our 16 week checkup. Everything is going well although I know I gained way too much weight. The doctor said it was okay this time, he gets really concerned during the 2nd half of the pregnancy as that is when most of it goes to the baby, causing a big and unhealthy baby.
Knowing that I do not have an excuse (I have my energy back) I made myself go to the gym tonight and went for a 45 minute walk when I got home. The hardest part has been the food but we got home and I made turkey meatballs and put them on the grill with some vegetables. It was a delicious meal and I will have the healthy leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
The doctor also listened to the heartbeat and said it was beating in the 150's but he had a hard time getting an exact number as it kept kicking, he was happy as the baby is healthy and moving!! I can only imagine how it is going to be when I feel all of these kicks....
We go back in four weeks at which time we will get the big ultrasound, we will get a copy of it on DVD to share with our family and friends. As quickly as the days and weeks go by I know the ultrasound day will be here before we know it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Reading to Our Children

Reading aloud is such an important aspect in teaching children to read. As children hear words and see them they begin to associate the 'picture' of the word with what they are hearing, they will eventually begin to associate the different sounds with the letters.
How many of you have ever read to a young child and had the light up because they could 'read it' to you? Imagine how many of the hundreds of times that you read the book you frustrated because you read it so many times before... Each and every one of those times your child was picking up bits and pieces of the book and over time he/she was able to recite it to you. Yes, children can repeat a story long before they can actually read, this is one important reason you should consider reading to your child at least once a day.
Reading is dear to my heart; not only enjoying books myself but reading them to a variety of children. I started babysitting when I was 12 and took a variety of books to read to them each time. During college I started collecting my own books and now have over 1,700!! Honestly, I have lost count and no longer put them into my computer - there are just too many!! I pick them up at yard sales, thrift stores, Scholastic orders, and new from book stores. I rarely get them from book stores as they are expensive and since many of my books go to my classroom they get a lot of wear and tear. I would rather pay a cheaper price and not feel bad if something happens to them.
Recently, my quest for books has changed - I am now looking for board books, soft books, and books geared toward young children (such as Goodnight Moon). I have recently acquired The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and illustrated by Beth Krommes. The fact that this book is a Caldecott Medal Winner and has simple text I was quickly drawn to it, this is one that I plan on reading to my little one very soon.
The one thing I struggle with it: when should you start reading aloud to your child? I had always said I would start as soon as I knew I was pregnant. However, once I was pregnant it seemed silly for me to read when the baby couldn't even hear me. I did read one book, Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney in which a little rabbit keeps telling the big rabbit how much love he has but the big rabbit always comes back loving it more. I like to think that the little baby truly loved the book but am not sure it heaerd a word. Maybe now at 16 weeks would be a better time to try...
Either way I am comforted in knowing that my baby hears me read to my students 5 days a week and heaers me talk all of the time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Dieting is not an option when you are pregnant; however, you should definitely be aware of what you are putting in your body.

In February my husband and I joined a gym, started with a personal trainer, and started a strict eating plan. We were doing so well and didn't cheat for 5 weeks!!! Within a few short months I had lost 30 pounds and my husband had lost 40 and then we hit a plateau...this was followed by cheating more often as we weren't seeing continued success and were getting discouraged.

Anyways, enough of my rambling!! I met with my doctor in July and he was impressed with my weight loss and recommended I continue with the eating plan when I got pregnant as I really wouldn't need too much more. He also suggested that I not lift heavy weights, instead I should up the repetitions.

Shortly after meeting with the docter we found out we were pregnant, that was followed by serious aversions to all of the healthy foods!! Yep, turkey burgers and salads were out and cheese, peanut butter, and whole wheat pasta were in! I was also eating more often because if I didn't then I began to have a very undesirable feeling in my stomach...

Shortly after this I started back to work (I am a teacher) and everybody had this idea that since I was pregnant I could eat as much as I wanted of anything I wanted. Now, I knew this was wrong as I had already talked to the doctor and he told me to continue on my current plan. So many people would say to eat as I was pregnant, one girl actually said, "Girl, you are pregnant - I want to make you something, what do you want?" I explained that I was trying to eat healthy and that I was okay without anything.

Now keep in mind, I do not always eat healthy and I wish I was better than I am. I have good days and bad days but am hoping to have more of the good days!!! I was talking to a great friend of mine who has a little girl (read her blog at and she helped put things into perspective for me. She told me how much easier life will be to get the baby weight off if I put less on. She reminded me how important healthy eating is and told me this one piece of advice that has really stuck- "You can have a scoop of ice cream, just don't go back for a second." When I am not dieting I have a specific mentality and go back to my old eating habits in which I eat whatever I want and since we haven't been on plan (foods don't sound good) I am often eating poorly. However, after talking to this dear friend I have began to do better, I have started salads again and am enjoying a variety of fruits and lean meats. Now I just need to get over the snacking when I come home from work and as I am cooking dinner.

Sometimes my body craves specific foods and as I have been told, this is your body's way of getting nutrients it needs. Let me leave you with this - If you are craving chocolate milk try to get over it, but if you are craving orange juice you might want to stop and pick some up!! That's what I did this week!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Enjoying a Trifecta

A trifecta is simply getting 3 First-to-Finds (FTFs) in geocaching in one day. Well, it really isn't too simple as there are a couple of factors involved:

* There must be at least 3 new caches in your area in one day and they must be in driving distance of each other to get them all in 24 hours.

* You must be the first to Ground Zero (GZ, otherwise known as the place the cache is hidden) and make the find before anybody else. Many times, if there are many people looking for it they will share an FTF and of course, this still counts!

If you plan on getting an FTF there are a few ways to give yourself the one up:

* Have all new caches sent as a text message to your cell phone.

* Have an Internet source available to you at all times (blackberry, iPhone, Verizon air card).

* Have a job where you can leave at anytime or no job at all.

So, today we had planned on meeting a group of friends to look for a cache that had been out for over a week and nobody had found, my husband and I had been out a few times and really didn't care to go back as we were looking for a micro in the middle of a bamboo forest. So, we met 13 other people there and searched for close to 1/2 an hour before somebody found the sneaky little cache!! Come to find out, my husband had been searching in the area seconds earlier and had made the cache visible for the next person who walked over!! Anyways, this was out 1st FTF of the day.

We headed out to cache with the group and split off after a few to grab some that we didn't have. While we were out 4 new caches came as text messages!!! One of these was ours so we couldn't go but the other part of the group could. We decided we would try for the others, you can't get an FTF if you don't try!! I happened to have the Internet on, thanks to our Verizon air card, and looked the new caches up immediately - two of these were close to our house and we were nowhere near there, go figure!! Anyways, I called the other part of the group to give them the coordinates as well, and we were on our way... We got there and my husband and the other cacher had the cache in hand before I even got out of the truck!! Being friends with the others we decided to wait for them to sign the log and then we could all share FTF; however, after a couple of minutes a different cacher pulled up so we had to sign the log... From there, my husband and the cacher we had been with headed to another new cache while I went home to get lunch ready and he called to say I could log it as an FTF!! WooHoo, we had another trifecta!!

I say another as this was actually the third time we got three new caches in one day. The first this happened for us was on August 25th; after an appointment we grabbed a land cache that nobody had gotten all day and then got two different water caches grabbing the last one just before the park closed!! On September 1st my husband was able to get 3 more but these were all during my work hours so I was not with him.

We are fortunate (when it come to FTF hunts) that my husband owns his own business and as long as there is not a ton of work piled up he can leave as he pleases.

He is currently on another FTF hunt (I stayed home as I was on the phone when the text came in); if he gets this would the day be considered a quadfecta?

Using the Basal Method to Conceive

When trying to conceive, there are many methods you can use to find the days you ovulate. My husband and I, actually it was just me, chose to use the basal method as it seemed easy and I could start it right away. I was so excited that instead of ordering one I saw online, I looked at Wal-Mart and bought the one they sold. My husband didn't feel we needed to use this, he thought we would be fine just trying for a baby as this was our first month.
We ended up with the Mabis Healthcare Digital Basal Thermometer and I began using it the next morning. The thermometer came with charts so we could track my temperature for 12 months; after taking my temperature I recorded it on the chart and was ready to begin my day. Of course, the chart is meant to be started at the beginning of your menstrual cycle (1st day of your period) and you record everyday until you don't need it anymore but I wanted to get an idea of what my temperature was so I would know when it spiked.
The theory of the basal thermometer is that your basal temperature, your temperature at rest, rises slightly when you are ovulating. And as we all know, you need to have egg/sperm contact when you are ovulating if you want to conceive. When you chart your temperature daily you will begin to see a pattern and over a few months time you will know which day of your cycle you are ovulating. As my doctor told me - you need to actually have intercourse before you ovulate in order for the sperm to meet the egg. By taking your temperature each day, you will know when you are ovulating so you can time everything correctly. He also told me that we should start trying about 3-4 days before ovulation and have intercourse every other day for 7-10 days.
Every other day? Doesn't everybody assume that the more you try for the baby, the better your chances? Well, my doctor's theory is that the man's sperm won't have the levels (of hormones and such) that it needs to make a baby.
Taking your temperature is very easy. You need to make sure you take it before you get out of bed each morning, this will ensure your body is completely at rest. You should take it before going to the bathroom or getting a drink; it is best to keep it by your bed so it is ready for the morning.
My husband and I were very fortunate and didn't have to take my temperature for more than a month as we found out we are expecting a baby!!!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Beginning

I follow a lot of blogs and have always considered starting my own but was unsure if I would have the time or creativity - and would anybody follow me? Well, it is time to find out.
My husband and I have been married just over a year and the day after our 1st anniversary we found out we were pregnant!!! We are currently 12 1/2 weeks along and due on April 6, 2010. We have each always wanted children but decided to wait a year after marriage to begin trying. This was a great idea as it gave us a chance to bond and for me to get a year of teaching under my belt.
We look forward to the birth of our little one but in the meantime we continue to enjoy our lives to the fullest. We LOVE to geocache - my husband lives and breathes it - and have recently found our 1,000th cache. We also enjoy getting our kayaks out; life is perfect when we can kayak our way to a geocache!! We plan to continue these activities after the baby is born, but there will be a few more limitations!!
My husband and I plan to use cloth diapers with the little one as well as cloth wipes and other natural products. We are currently getting the nursery ready, this will take a little while as we are sanding the walls as they are all textured and then need to decide on the paint and other options.
I hope you enjoy reading this and feel free to leave me comments.