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Thursday, May 26, 2011

NNM NEWS: Upcoming GIVEAWAY & Contest

* Watch tomorrow for the Blissful Booty Cloth Diaper review & GIVEAWAY * 


photo from BBCD website


* DADS ROCK Father's Day Giveaway * 
DEADLINE FOR DONATIONS is Friday June 3rd, 2011




Contest will benefit One Simple Wish and drawing will be on Father's Day Sunday June 19th at 5pm EST

Please contact me via email at mymackey@gmail.com if you have an item or service you would like to donate. 

* A HUGE Thank you to those who have sponsored gifts already *




Last NEWS item: I'm also compiling some guest posts for an upcoming RealMamas Segment, and would love to hear from YOU. An existing blog is totally ok, but not necessary. If interested, please email me and feel free to write anything about how YOU feel about motherhood. Thanks in advance for your contributions!

Instinctual Mamas Post: The Joy of Making Your Own Baby Food






Be sure also to follow Instinctual Mama's via GFC, and find them and 'like' them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter- and let them know NNM sent you! <3 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Make your OWN Snack Taxi!

So this weekend I was visiting my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Gorham, Maine. Although it became colder than expected (I know, shocker for the State of Maine) we still enjoyed some barbecued food, beer, and good company! It was a GREAT way to spend a Saturday night.

My SIL is a NaturalMama as well, and is constantly suprising me with new ways to become more Green! This weekend, I was completely inspired (and jealous) of her kitchen shelving housing perfectly lined Mason Jars filled with all her pantry necessities. Not only that, but her cabinets were now also full of the varying sizes, to accomodate drinking, snack packing, and food saving.



As we discussed my new obsession with Mason Jars, I explained my other wish list item, the Snack Taxi. "Taking dry snacks and sandwiches would be so much easier if I just had a Snack Taxi!" So with what did my SIL respond? "Let's make one!"

photo by Snack Taxi brand


Out came her sewing machine, along with her endless energy and creativity, and within a short 30 minutes, we had my son's first 'snack taxi':

our version of the sandwich 'snack taxi'

complete with snap and coordinating interior fabric :)

ADORABLE, Green, washable, and practical!

The moral of the post is not just to brag that I have a creative, and eternally 'green' sister-in-law :), but also to hopefully inspire you to use the same creativity when some items on your wish list might remain seemingly out of reach.

What items are on your wish list?

Looking for an XL gDiaper? Then check out ThriftyArmyWife

After Bedtime by ThriftyArmyWife is an Etsy shop where you will find the missing link on your gDiaper stash- size XL!



 When I was potty training my toddler, I had to switch to pull ups because the Large size (up to 35lb) gDiaper was too small for him! Since he was trained during the day and it was just for the overnight, typically if he had an accident at all, it was always just urine- so a cloth diaper would have been perfect! And since I knew he would be trained shortly, I didn't want to invest in a bunch of different, new brands of cloth diapers since I was so familiar and comfortable with the gDiaper.

Additionally, baby A being just 7-8 months at the time, and wearing exclusively gDiapers (although now we have added several Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers to our stash), we knew she could grow into the larger gDiapers we might purchase for my toddler.

But after a post I made on the gDiaper Facebook page about the need for an XL size, ThriftyArmyWife contacted me and said she made her own XL "gDiapers" that even fit the cloth and disposable gInserts! Woot Woot! :)

large gCloth insert next to XL ThriftyArmyWife diaper

gCloth insert IN the ThriftyArmyWife diaper


So she agreed to send me one to try for the blog. Here are the stats she requested as feedback, and my view on her XL "gDiaper":


So, my child stats:

* male
* 43 pounds
* 3.5 yrs old
* 39 inches tall (I hope I got that right lol)

my little Spiderman modeling the rear view of the XL ThriftyArmyWife diaper with the gCloth insert

Front view
So, overall, very satisfied! The diaper definitely holds the gCloth and gDisposable Inserts just fine. I did find the cloth inserts fit better than the disposable (size m/l). The absorbency was great, identical to the gDiaper brand name. 

The only down side to the diaper was that, as you can see, it still fit similar to a Speedo on my little (or not so little) Spiderman. It certainly was a better fit than the large gDiaper, but still not as big as my kid really would need! hahaha, thankfully since this trial, he has potty trained overnight, which could also explain why no cloth diapers are big enough for him!


My cute XL ThriftyArmyWife diaper will NO DOUBT be sticking around for baby A's bum to grow into! And I can't wait to get some of her adorable prints NOW available from her Etsy store! Be sure to check her out at After Bedtime, or email her at thriftyarmywife@gmail.com. 

Be sure to let her know NNM sent you! What's your favorite diaper in her shop?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

DADS ROCK: Father's Day Giveaway to Benefit One Simple Wish


COMING SOON: 

I am in the process of collecting donations which will be used as *giveaways* for a Father's Day contest to benefit One Simple Wish.




If you have any items or services you would like to donate, please contact me at mymackey@gmail.com. Items must be available to all US and Canada residents. Please let me know if your item or service can me made available to International residents as well. 


Contests will close Saturday June 18th at 12am EST and WINNERS will be announced via Facebook and here on the blog on Father's Day- Sunday June 19th by 12pm EST. 

Keep your eye on the blog and our Facebook page to make sure you get in on the 
Dad Rocks Father's Day Giveaway
* teasers for secured prizes will begin via FB and Twitter  beginning June 1st, 2011.

Going Green: Trendy vs Necessity?

Reusable items are cool right? Saving the Earth is the 'in' thing to do. You pay more for the word 'organic', and items like Kleen Kanteens, reusable coffee cups, and cloth diapers are hip and trendy. So what about your house? Do you re use things because it's 'cool', or out of necessity?

Our house, along with many others due to the economy I'm sure, re use out of necessity. There are days, like today, where I am unable to go to work because I can't afford car repairs.
* There are days I have trouble getting back and forth to work because I don't have the gas.
* My husband has ran out of gas on the side of the highway trying to get to work.
* We use cloth diapers so that I don't run into having to re use disposable diapers (yes, some moms do this out of necessity and it can cause severe diaper rash, etc.).
* I've had to put groceries back because I didn't have enough cash.
Etc, etc.




So yesterday, I read Managing your Money: Do you have Goals? by The Happiest Mom and was relieved to find that I was not the only one naive enough to believe that when our income went up, our problems would go away. Because when I went back to work (at our most desperate financial point), and Hubby got a new job that paid a bit more- we seemed even further in the hole! How is this possible?

Well now daycare and gas cost more, and the inevitable withholding of 1st weeks pay for both of us sunk us even further behind and we are now (after about 4 months) just STARTING to catch up.

So why am I sharing this? Because after reading Happiest Mom's post- I feel, more than ever, that it is SO important to have financial (and general) goals. We, as a family, only have had one financial goal the past year: survive.

It clearly has not been a specific enough goal, because sometimes I feel like we are barely hanging on.


Happiest Mom lists her financial goals using the following template, and has asked others to do the same. I figured now would be a good time for me to determine some specific goals for our family.

So, here I go (although I'll be starting a whole lot smaller than Happiest Mom) :) -

Goal: Start to build an emergency fund.

More specifically: Put $50 away every two weeks (each pay period) for the next 6 months, then go up to $50 every week for an additional 6 months. Then, re assess the amount based on income.

Why: Having any kind of savings at this point would help us when we need car repairs, health care costs, heating costs, or unexpected utilities.

Look, shiny! alert: To do this, it means we MUST have our other bills PAID in full and on time, otherwise there is no 'extra' to store away. So by building an emergency fund, we must be honest with our necessary expenses as well, like rent, food, electric, etc.

But it’s worth it because: We will no longer have to bug family members and friends for money when unexpected expenses arise, and just the day to day stability/financial security will relieve an immense amount of stress from myself, my husband, and our relationship. We can start to focus on each other again instead of always discussing how we are going to pay our bills!

Having a goal is important, but writing it down is the key! I'll continue to share my journey so you can hold me accountable for these financial goals I have put in place. Feel free to take the first step and share your goals (financial or otherwise) below! :) 

Your turn. Any big or small goals you want to share?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

When NEWS Hits Home

Boy found DEAD in South Berwick, Maine. It's all over the news, and it's my home.

The local news stations describe the boy as being 4 or 5, he still had all of his baby teeth, found dead on Saturday on a dirt road here in South Berwick. The dirt road is less than 1 mile from my home. This poor little boy, that not only is now dead, but no one knows WHO he is! I'm not sure which is more disturbing.

Maine State Police have checked all the missing people reports in Maine, NH, and Massachusetts. Nothing. NO ONE is missing their little boy?!

Updates have been flooding the Internet and local news stations, but with nothing that has proved fruitful. The kiddos and I walked downtown tonight regardless of the cool, rainy weather to join dozens of others there to light candles in front of Town Hall for little John Doe.

As we were getting ready to leave, my almost 4 year old said "mama, where are we going?" I replied, "to light candles for a little boy who's missing his parents" My little Spiderman pondered a moment, and then said "I could use my superpowers to help him find his parents, but I think he's already Home"

Yes, I had goosebumps.....

.... toddlers don't always make sense, no my son doesn't really have superpowers, and yes I capitalized 'Home' on my own based on how I heard it; but it just seemed so fitting that it literally gave me chills.

And yes, I suppose little John Doe is already Home.



Another vigil will be held tomorrow night, in honor of the little boy and in hopes that he is identified, at the First Federated Parish Church, also in South Berwick, at 7pm. All are welcome.

The point of this blog post is to help get the word out there about this little boy, again in hopes that he can be identified and that someone can find his family. And also, to remind everyone to hug their little ones a bit tighter tonight....

Has there been a time when the news has hit home for you?





Sunday, May 15, 2011

Too Beautiful for Earth: Heaven's Newest Angel Baby

Some say they are too beautiful for this Earth, others say they are so special God hand picks them as his Angels... however you phrase it, Heaven has it's newest Angel Baby... mine. 


The Doctor said I had been "struck by lightening twice"- I have now conceived twice while on the pill. And I get it, with so many women who struggle with infertility out there, how is it that someone like me conceives TWICE on the pill? I have no idea. First time I can chalk it up to perhaps imperfect compliance, this time-  I have no explanation. Nonetheless, it happened.

So just as anyone who thought they were being "safe" that finds out they're pregnant would do, I freaked. I had a complete and utter panic attack. I have a nine month old, I'm still on medication for PPD (the label for which says it can cause birth defects), I've been taking the pill, and drinking alcohol! EEK! So I go to the Doctor, who draws some blood... assures me I'm probably early enough where it won't matter... and talks me down of my stress-cliff. I go home more self assured and semi- ready to try and explain this to my husband.

Needless to say, by the next day the thoughts have sunk in and we're ready to dig in our heels and make our growing family fit into our tiny apartment, and even spent well into the night before chatting about names and the other idle chit chat that goes along with the beginning stages of pregnancy.

That's when we got the call.

I would need my bloodwork rechecked the following day at my OBGYN's office. When my OB called, the conversation started with "I am so sorry..."

What?! You're sorry about what???....

My HCG levels had dropped, and I was told if I hadn't already, I was having a miscarriage.


"This is not a viable pregnancy."  What does that even mean? Simple translation: Your baby is dead. Now I get it, to some this seems dramatic- especially for someone who was probably only 6- 8 weeks pregnant. But my baby's heart was beating. My baby was alive, and is now dead. 

The few family members we had told have attempted to console us with the ever popular "something just wasn't right", or "your body just wasn't ready", or "everything happens for a reason"- and while I can appreciate all of that, it still means my baby is gone.  And what makes me feel the worst, is that s/he was so tiny at such an early gestation.... I get a lump in my throat even just THINKING about typing this... that s/he probably got.... gulp..... flushed down the toilet.

I, for all intents and purposes, could have flushed my baby down the toilet.

This devastates me most of all.


But the biggest lesson I have learned from all of this, is that miscarriage is such a silent and lonely struggle. You don't tell anyone because you don't want people to think you're just seeking pity, but then everyone around you is going on with their daily lives, talking about the night out with friend A, or their trip to the bar with friend B, and you were just told your baby is dead. And no one ever knew your baby even existed.

How do you get support? Who do you talk to? You're certainly not going to go around asking 'hey, have you had a miscarriage? I just did and I'm not sure what to do next'.

I have at least found the following links which have either brought some peace/support to me, or I feel could help others:

My Forever Child: Memorial Jewelry

We Were Gonna Have a Baby, but we Had an Angel Instead

Bethany's Baby from Bethany's blog

And I have found much needed solace in my husband, and in our Church. And tonight, as I rocked my baby A to sleep, I held her a little tighter, kissed her forehead a bit longer, drew in a deeper breath of her warm baby smell, waited for her own breathing to even, and then laid her down and watched.... and then did what I haven't done in ... well, I think my whole life... I prayed. I prayed to whoever this God is, that my other babies stay safe. And that I wanted to thank Him SO much for the blessings I DO have in my life. My two existing, healthy, happy babies... my wonderful husband.. my beautiful step daughter... my family.... my friends...

and then I asked Him, pretty please, if He could just take tonight, to rock my baby to sleep...

Friday, May 13, 2011

NNM NEWS: Guest Post & Reader comments

NurturingtheNaturalMama had our first official guest post, published May 12, 2011, compliments of Mama Eve: Your Natural Parenting Resource


So, if you haven't already, go check out my Top 10 Baby Registry Must Haves. Let me know what your top 10 would be! 
And, of course, visit Mama Eve on Facebook and Twitter and let her know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you! 


And in response to my recent post on my unfortunate miscarriage, Too Beautiful for Earth: Heaven's Newest Angel Baby, a reader sent me the poem below. I had seen this poem before, but it was just so beautiful that someone would send this to me in a private email. I wanted to share this poem with everyone, even though the reader wanted to remain anonymous (but thank you so much :) ) 

Lullabies
Daddy please don`t look so sad,
Mommy please don`t cry.
I am in the arms of Jesus
and He sings me lullabies.
Please do not try to question God,
don`t think He is unkind.
Don`t think He sent me to you and that
He changed His mind.
You see, I am special
and I`m needed up above.
I`m the special child you gave Him,
the product of your love.
I`ll always be there with you.
So watch the sky at night.
Find the brightest star that`s gleaming.
That`s my halo`s brilliant light.
So Daddy please don`t look so sad.
Mommy please don`t cry.
I am in the arms of Jesus.
And He sings me lullabies.
~Author Unknown

* This post was featured in a Tweet today from NursingBling and her #Newborn Daily: http://paper.li/tag/newborn

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Little Spiderman & What Mothers Day Means to Me

I'm not joking when I say I live with Spiderman :)




And no, this was not Halloween. Just a normal night in my home :) 

Mother's Day 

I hope all my mamas enjoyed their Mother's Day. Mine was spent surrounded by family and friends, enjoying a few hours at the mall with my stepdaughter and hubby and BFF while my parents watched the kiddos, followed by a night by the fire with my parents and hubby, and ending with a delicious brunch put on by myself and my siblings! My sister, aka The Economical Eater, blogged about some of our fabulous food in her recent Mother's Day post- so be sure to check it out! (Plus, her Blackberry Ginger Muffins were amazing!) 

Anyways, we got to enjoy some much needed family time, and outdoor time- which can be hard to come by here in New England this time of year! So it was overall fabulous. 

my hubby working on the yard and clearing out the pool

my little Spiderman and baby A playing with his Batman Cave

still playing :)

our dog "helping" with the yard work :)


Spending time with your family is of the utmost importance any day of the week, and you should not need a special occasion or special day to remember to take those times and hold them close, cherish them. But especially when times are difficult, and parents are working, or just busy with the day to day chaos of raising children and providing for a family, we sometimes forget to pay attention, and savor the quiet moments of play time, or your spouse's hand resting on your shoulder in the car, or your dog sitting at your feet. These are the moments that make everyday, but especially Mother's Day, special. 

Happy Mother's Day! 









Newest additions to our Stash :)

Our cloth diaper stash consists only of gDiapers, thanks to a dear friend who donated the majority of her stash to us since her kids are older. Recently though, thanks to fellow mommy bloggers and mama followers, I have come to further explore this exciting (yes, my life is so ridiculously boring that I find cloth diapering exciting) world of cloth diapers! :)




 For Easter, after my post about Simplifying Holidays, my parents and in laws were at a loss as to what to get my kids without adding to the "crap" in our house. But I must say, they both did VERY well this year! The in laws surprised the kids with a recordable book (to which you can hear "Amma" reading a story to my little Spiderman- SO cute) and some mini boxes of raisins instead of filling a basket full of chocolate and peeps! YAY!

My parents provided the kids both with their very own Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers (of course a week prior- literally- my son finally decided to potty train himself for the overnight- YAY! but that means baby A will end up with his BBCD lol) So not only are these diapers ADORABLE, and you can pick your own snap color, but they are SO comfy! Well, I wouldn't know that first hand, but the fabric is exceptional! and Baby A seems to LOVE hers! I also love the way they fit- Baby A is now about 16 pounds and the medium size fits her like a glove! No leaks, no red marks around her thighs, and barely any cloth-diaper-booty :) Love it!


baby A modeling the fab fit of her new Blissful Booty Cloth Diaper!

and still a great fit, even when climbing stairs! lol

this one shows you how cute they look with the adorable snaps, and her new Kicky Pants T shirt :)

her adorable Navy blue snaps and the signature BBCD tag

attempted close up of her BBCD from the front :) 

 And since we have developed this new love for Blissful Booty, we checked out their website again and immediately fell in love with their wipe water concentrate and can't wait to receive our Milk & Honey scented bottle soon! Be sure to check out all their incredible cloth diapering accessories!

And the last addition as of late, to our cloth diapering stash is the one we WON from Instinctual Mamas Momtrepeneurs, Giveaways, and More FB page from Two Hip Peas in a Pod! YAY! Check out baby A modeling her new Dr Seuss Diaper;

The Dr Seuss Diaper from Two Hip Peas in a Pod


omg it is SO cute!

tee hee! Fuzzy butt! :)

So, be sure to check out Two Hip Peas in a Pod on Facebook, and find Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers on Facebook and Twitter and let them know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you! <3

And of course, you can always find your gDiapers products at www.diapers.com. And that is also where I scored baby A's latest Kicky Pants organic T shirt in Natural.  Their links are below, and let them know NNM sent ya :)

* find gDiapers on Facebook and Twitter
* find diapers.com on Facebook and Twitter
* find Kicky Pants on Facebook and Twitter

What's YOUR favorite cloth diaper??


Monday, May 2, 2011

Unsure How to Feel about this day in History

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.  -Unknown
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
So, Osama Bin Laden was killed  yesterday by US Navy Seals. I should be happy, right? This person who orchestrated so much death and destruction, and perpetuated so much hate and loathing. But I can't bring myself to get 'excited' about someone else's death. 

I was all about (and again, not trying to start a riot here), but I was all about the war when it began. I wanted revenge for September 11th, and for once in my life, felt at one with my Country. I loved (obviously in a weird, unfortunate way) that all the flags lined EVERY street, and people in America were, for once, standing TOGETHER. And it seemed, even if only for a fleeting moment; that we all wanted the same thing. 

Now it seems we all want the same thing again, but are just unsure how to get there. And inevitably, in a country of this magnitude, certainly we can't AGREE on how to get there. Nor will we ever I'm afraid. 

But we all want peace. 
Just as I will forever remember where I was and what I was doing that day of September 11th, 2001- I will always remember where I was and what I was doing this day. This day that our tragedy was finally 'avenged'.

But Al Queda is still out there. There is no rest for our troops. They are still fighting and dying for our Freedom. Their families are still Home, here, alone. We must not forget that. And we must remember, regardless of if we agree HOW to get there, that all of our soldiers are fighting for our Freedom, and Peace.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Surf

Here are my highlights from this week! Feel free to share yours below in the comments so I can keep up with what you are checking out <3

The Sparkle Mama

I loved her recent post about Changes and New Chapters. We are, along with the majority of America, in the throws of financial chaos right now. We are trying to keep food on the table, and a roof over our heads, and the majority of our 'green' alternatives are out of necessity to save cash! I loved her real, nitty gritty description of their troubles, yet how they remain a solid family unit. For better or worse right? :) I'm with ya Sparkle Mama! <3


Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers

One of my new FAVES! I love their wipe water concentrate their scents are incredible! They also have an incredible selection of cloth diapers and other cloth diapering accessories. We just got our 1st BBCD as an Easter gift and can't WAIT to try it out! 


I just recently discovered though, that they also have a blog, and their first Welcome post is an amazing insight as to how this WAHM business was born. I am always happy to support WAHMs, but especially when the product ends up being so fantabulous! :)

photo credit: BlissfulBooty.com

Job Description: Mommy

Spring has SPRUNG! And I loved her recent post on Camping with a Toddler. We do a lot of camping as a family as well, and also have an infant and a toddler, so while our toddler is used to camping, we're not sure what this summer will bring with the infant involved :) . But we are always prepared with sand toys, bubbles are a GREAT idea, make sure you have plenty of healthy SNACKS and water, and my personal FAVE: Avon Skin So Soft Insect Repellent and Sunscreen in a cool color-disappearing lotion. LOVE IT!! <3


Last but not least, my little tid bit of the week:




Cloth diapering has been quite the adventure for us. We use a combination of the disposable and cloth inserts for the g diapers, and have JUST added the Blissful Booty Cloth Diapers to our stash! Lately, to save money, we have been using more of the cloth inserts. However, they are beginning to STINK. And I mean, really stink- like to the point where I think she has a poopy diaper, and it's really just the smell of the pee in her cloth insert... GROSS (I know, probably TMI, but too bad!) haha :)

So I posted on the g diaper Facebook page my gripe, and SO many moms responded back with that I should immediately use Rockin Green Cloth Diaper Detergent. So I just want you all to know, I JUST placed my order for my very own Smashing Watermelons Rockin Green Detergent over at diapers.com and it should be here Tuesday. I'll let you know how it all turns out!

What cloth diaper detergent do you use?