Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

Family Manifesto {Buena Vida Designs}

Posted: June 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Blogging, Buena Vida Designs, Family, Family Manifesto, Giveaway, House Rules, La buena Vida, Letters, Stuff You Need, Subway Art, Urban Cabin, Word Art | 7 Comments »

I have been seeing a lot of people posting their family rules on their blogs lately and I’ve kind of been filing it away in my brain as something I need to get down on paper.  The other day I came across a blog that was doing a giveaway of personalized Family Manifestos and it again caught my eye because really, talk about simple personal art that has meaning.  For a family who’s kids are over the moon for letters, it seems natural to seek out artwork that features letters and words.  I bookmarked the blog because I figured I’d never win but they were cute and totally affordable ($5) so I would eventually get around to getting my own…one way or another.

Well, I WON!

Family Manifesto from la buena vida on etsy

Those words up there?  All mine. The rules of the house so to speak.  Some of them are said out loud often (there is no crying in baseball).  Some of them are simply understood (pray when you feel like it).  Some of them are things we are trying to instill in our boys even though they are very young (be nice to books).  I *really* had to keep myself from adding “Don’t Bite!” to my list of what I wanted on there.

You can get a Family Manifesto of your own to print by checking out Buena Vida Designs on Etsy.  Meredith is super great to work with and it really couldn’t be easier.

Thanks Meredith!

Disclosure: I won this piece of artwork from a giveaway hosted by La Buena Vida.  I’m sharing my honest opinion because it totally made my day!

 

 

 


Now I drive a Minivan.

Posted: June 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Out and About | Tags: cars, Day to Day, Family, Feelings, Grand Caravan, minivan, Mom card, Mom stuff, Montana, road trip, Saturn Vue, Stuff You Need, Virginia | 12 Comments »

In 2004 we bought a car. The second car we’d ever purchased together. The first we purchased on our terms, when we weren’t in desperate need of a car because ours had died. We saw a sale, we had a trade-in, we went and got ourselves a new car.

It was a Saturn Vue.

We loved that car.

It took us back and forth to Minnesota when we were moving from Missouri.

It took us east to Virginia, both before and after we had kids. The worst leg of a road trip ever was spent in it when we were stopped in traffic for an hour because of an accident heading into Louisville with no more water, no more bottles and two screaming 11 month olds who wanted to eat. The first thing we did when we found an exit was stop to get water and then stop to get beer for when we got to the hotel. It was the longest 60 minutes of my life.

We drove west to Montana with three kids and although the seating was a bit more cramped than it was when it was just the two of us, we still had room to add a few more things on our trip home.

It was the family car.

But, it died. Unexpectedly. And with gusto.

It didn’t just die, it died hard. And all at once.

So, we had to bite the bullet. We had to get another car. We had to look at…minivans.

Now, I am not necessarily a minivan person. I liked the Vue. It was compact but it fit everyone and all of our stuff, even if it was tight.

But, the siren song of the minivan is hard to deny.

More space! Smoother ride! A place for all of your kids and their friends! And did we mention SPACE?!

So we went looking.

We did some research and were priced out of our top 2 choices pretty quickly (Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey) our third choice was the Chrysler Town and Country and our 4th choice was the Dodge Grand Caravan.

We found a few we wanted to look at, nailed down the dealerships we were going to, pulled our Carfax reports and went on our way.

The one we really wanted, the one that looked so perfect on paper ended up being a dud. It only had seating for 6, all captains seats and there is no way our stroller would have fit in the back. Boo. I’m not sure how this is possible, it’s a minivan…where is all the space?

We looked at a few more and then finally found one we can live with. It has a few more miles than we originally wanted, but not too many more. It has the 3rd row bench seat and 4 captains chairs. It’s got the Stow & Go seating which is pretty cool. It’s got the doors that open automatically which wasn’t on my list but I guess is a plus. And, it was lower than our price range, so huge plus.

It has more space than the T&C, but seriously….unless I drop the seats into the floor I’m not seeing the extra cargo room (and if you do that you lose that under seat space, so it’s kind of a draw). Yes, it has more space in the passenger area. It will be a lot easier to ride in on long trips for sure. I’ll give it that. But, with three kids in carseats, I kind of have to have all my seats up. So where is all of this extra space?

Do I like the minivan we got? Yes. I think it will end up being a great car for us. I’m not knocking this purchase at all. I think it was necessary and I think we made some good decisions.

But, I’m feeling really underwhelmed.

I thought I was going to have this big a-ha moment of

“OMG I can’t believe we’ve lived without this for so long!

And I’m not.

Certainly I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Are they going to come take my Mom card now?


Friday Favorites {Kicky Pants}

Posted: June 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Bamboo Fabric, Boutique, Friday Favorites, Kicky Pants, Kids Clothes, Product Reviews, Retail, Stuff You Need, Sustainable Goods, Things I like | 3 Comments »

Kicky Pants has become one of those little indulgences that I seek out when shopping for baby and children’s clothes.  Their bamboo fabrics are softer than you can imagine and they just hug those squishy little baby bodies so perfectly.

Judah Loves his Kicky Pants

My first experience with Kicky Pants was with what I assumed was a set of pajamas but have since found out was actually a 2-piece outfit.  We still use them as pajamas at our house, they are just that comfy and cozy!  We’ve also got some jeans with some cute detailing on the back pockets.  They really stand up to the big boys and all of their climbing.

I’m sure by now most people are aware of the benefits of using bamboo in fabrics simply because it is such a sustainable crop, growing to almost it’s full size within 100 days.  But did you know that bamboo also has a unique anti-bacterial, anti-fungal property that helps the plants fight off pests and diseases without the use of fertilizers or pesticides?  That’s pretty important when we are talking about getting rid of those things in our environment.

Kicky Pants detail

Kicky Pants uses it’s own blend of 95% bamboo and 5% lycra which gives it more softness than any other line of bamboo clothing.  Because of this high percentage of bamboo, over time the clothing will take on a well-worn softness that contributes to the products overall uniqueness.

On the move with Kicky Pants

Kicky Pants is a family business owned and operated by Erin and Nick Clocke who have their hands in every part of the process.  All pieces are dyed at a low-impact reactive dye house so they have the least impact on the environment but still have the  best quality we have all come to expect.

In the Twin Cities area you can find Kicky Pants at these shops:

Baby Grand
1137 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 224-4414
Quince (mostly the Fall and Winter line)
850 Grand Ave
St. Paul, MN, 55105
(651) 225-9900

Edelweiss Baby
The Fountains of Arbor Lakes
11626 Fountains Drive North
Maple Grove, MN 55369
(763) 488-1616

And of course you can find Kicky Pants online at www.kickypants.com

Check them out and let me know what you think, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

Disclosure: I was provided an item to review by a PR company representing Kicky Pants.  All opinions are my own.


Review-a-palooza {The Natural Life Store}

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cloth Diapers | Tags: Blogging, Cloth Diapers, Flats Challenge, FTW, Mom stuff, Stuff You Need | 2 Comments »

The Natural Life Store Minnesota

When I first decided I was going to take the Flats and Handwashing Challenge I contacted a little cloth diaper company *kind of* local to me, The Natural Life Store, that I had recently come across (and fallen in love with) and asked if they were interested in helping sponsor me during the week.   Alicia, the owner, said Yes and I am so grateful she did.

I have never actually purchased a diaper or diaper accessory in a brick and mortar store.  It’s just always easier for me to find what I like, find someone with reasonable prices or an excellent sale and order online.  I think that is probably how most of us shop for cloth diapers and I think that’s why so many WAHM’s have been able to get into the cloth diapering business, either as retailers or manufacturers.  They even have do-it-yourself registries now so you can let your friends and family know exactly what you want and you can get your stash going before your baby arrives.  I kind of wish I had been on top of THAT before the boys were born!

What drew me to The Natural Life Store first was their great pricing which they topped off with a great sale (you can keep up to speed on the newest deals by signing up for their newsletter) and then followed up with fantastic customer service and shipping that made my head spin!  Those things will keep me coming back for more.

Another great thing about The Natural Life Store is their Diaper Exchange program.  How many of us have a diaper or two that never got a lot of use (those newborn Bum Genius I stocked up on come to mind) that we just haven’t gotten around to finding a new home for.  You can send them to The Natural Life Store and they will give you store credit for each diaper so you can buy something that is just what you are looking for (next size, different style etc.) and the diapers you don’t want/need will be sold on their Used but Usable page.  If the diapers you send do NOT meet their standards they will ship them back to you at your expense or you can donate them to someone who is in need of diapers.  Either way it’s a win.

It’s everything you want in a diaper store and you can see why I love to tell people about them and was so excited they were willing to help me out this past week.

As I mentioned in my wrap-up post, my biggest challenge was keeping everything I needed to wash by hand separate from the other cloth diapers that needed to be washed.

Enter The Natural Baby Company Pail liner.  (How I’ve made it 2+ years cloth diapering without a pail liner is beyond me.)  For the challenge I kept it in the bathroom, either on the floor or in the tub depending on whether or not it was bath night.  It’s a nice accessory that doesn’t take up a lot of space.  according to The Natural Baby Company, it holds about 3 days worth of diapers.  I washed every night, so I haven’t tested that out quite yet, but it is very roomy.  I never came across any leaks or wicking or smell issues.  It has a nice long heavy duty cord to pull it shut or hang it up with.

Now that the challenge is over, I had Yogi Dad wash out the diaper pail and we are going to see how it fares being used as an actual pail liner.  I have a feeling I won’t be disappointed.  Also noteworthy was the little jig I did when I realized I wasn’t going to have to wash out the diaper pail every time I did a load of diapers.  That right there is totally worth getting one!

The other item I was provided with was a bag of Charlie’s Soap.  I have used quite a few different detergents over the past two years, but I had never tried Charlie’s.  The directions call for a tablespoon of Charlies to be added to each load of laundry.  Because I was only going to be washing 6 or so diapers at a time I thought I could figure out some way to have the soap ready to spray right on each diaper when I was ready to wash.

I first started by diluting the soap powder in a 12oz spray bottle but after 2 nights found that my $.99 spray bottle was a piece of junk so I switched to a peri-bottle I had left-over from when Judah was born.  If I had a soiled diaper I gave it a little squirt before it went into the pail liner, otherwise I just gave each diaper a good long squirt after they had their first rinse.

My diapers came out clean every time.  Considering I was doing all of the washing, rinsing and wringing by hand, I think that’s a pretty good endorsement.

I’m sure I could have completed this challenge successfully without these items but it sure made my life easier!

I’ve got to give a big thanks to The Natural Life Store for their contributions to my successful week.  If you are on the hunt for a great retailer, give them a try, they won’t disappoint!

Disclosure:  I was provided two products to use and review from the Natural Life Store.  All opinions on the products and The Natural Life Store are honest and my own.

Flats Challenge (half-way point check-in)

Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Cloth Diapers | Tags: #Judahthetank, Cloth Diapers, Flats Challenge, FTW, Kids, Lincolnton and Wy, Stuff You Need | No Comments »

Four days into the Flats and Handwashing Challenge and I think we are cruising along pretty well here. After the first night where my flats didn’t dry I was able to figure out a solution and we’ve had dry flats every morning since.

Washing is going well and is as easy and quick as washing a sinkful of dishes. I’m not sure there is anything that washes as clean as a flat to be honest, it’s a breeze! Then again, I have a baby who only poops every second or third day, so I’ve had it pretty easy compared to some people I think.

We definitely have a night wetter on our hands as opposed to a day wetter. At most changes I’d have to say the diapers are fairly dry, they are wet, but not all the way through and no where near soaking. I do find that cotton absorbs quite a bit.

We did have one slip-up on night number two when Judah was asleep before we had changed him into a nighttime diaper. I was going to double up on flats instead of pre-folds and he was in a single flat. He woke up soaking from head to toe around 3am, not a happy camper! We haven’t made that mistake since.

I’ve been playing around with different covers, Thirsties, Flips and wonder Wraps are obviously the easiest to wash because they are PUL but I’ve also tried a gDiaper which has worked great and dries pretty well overnight.

So, nothing I can point to that would derail this process at this point. It’s nice to know that if I was without a washer and a dryer I could get by with the basics. I know these flats are going to stay in the stash from now on!




Kicky Pants Half Off!

Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: Affiliate Links, Blogging, Day to Day, Friday Favorites, FTW, Kids, Product Reviews, Stuff You Need | 1 Comment »

Kicky Pants Bamboo

I had to share because I am a HUGE fan of Kicky Pants clothes for kids and I *just* saw this sale.  I’ve actually got a review post coming for Kicky Pants in the next few weeks, but that will have to wait.

Kicky Pants are all Bamboo fabrics, my favorite being the Bamboo Viscose pajamas, they are darling.  And soft.  And slinky and soft and cuddly and I think I’m wasting all of my adjectives on this post and did I say SOFT?

Anyways! 

Kicky Pants!

Half Off!

At Hautelook

 

hautelook logo


Friday Favorites {Tea Collection} Giveaway Ends 5-27

Posted: May 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Reviews and Giveaways | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blogging, Day to Day, Family, Friday Favorites, Kids, Kids Clothes, Lincoln, Lincolnton and Wy, Mom stuff, Stuff You Need, Tea Collection, Wyatt | 114 Comments »

I have a confession to make.

I like to dress my boys in comfy clothes every day.  Comfy as in, if they could get away with head to toe knit from birth to age 5, I think I’d be a happy Mom.  Even better if we could get away with PJ’s 24 hours a day!  I know.  It’s so unacceptable.  There is just something about putting those skinny little limbs into stiff jeans and miniature copies of outfits you’d find on an adult.  Yes, the effect is adorable, but I just think they must on some level be…uncomfortable.

Because of this, I have a lot of your run of the mill brands hanging out in our drawers…Carters, Target, Gymboree and Gap…you get the picture.  In my 2+ years of mothering boys I have come across a few brands that fit my comfort requirements and ratchet up the style a bit.

Enter Tea Collection.

Tea Collection is a San Francisco based clothing company that’s designs are distinctly inspired by their travels around the globe.  They have style in spades and cottons to drool over. My first introduction to Tea came with an end of season layette sale and some undeniably cute sleepersthat I considered the boys “good” pajamas (mostly because of their modern styling and colors).  They were still itty bitty mind you, modern colors automatically kicked the 24-hour pajama-fest up a notch!

Each season the collections change based on Tea’s latest journy.  Their current destination is Catalonia, Spain.  I was recently given the opportunity to review this newest collection.

My Little Citizens of the World

Sunday in Tea Collection

I am so impressed with the boys clothes.  The colors and patterns were spot on and the fabrics as comfy as ever.

Tea Collection Barcelona Tee

Tea Collection el Masnou Tee

Tea Collection Playa Plaid Shirt

I suppose now I just need to find a little girl to spoil….who do I know that fits that bill?

Tea Collection is available on their website
or if you are local to Minneapolis, you can find Tea Collection at
one of the Midwest Destination Stores
Pacifier
310 East Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Tea Collection is going to offer one of my lovely readers the opportunity to get their hands on a $50 Tea Collection giftcard!

Required Entry:
– Visit Tea Collection and tell me what you would spend your $50 on if you are the winner

Extra Entires:
– Follow me on GFC
– Follow me on Twitter
– Follow Tea Collection on Twitter
– “Like” Tea Collectionon Facebook
– “Like” The Slacker Momon Facebook
– Tweet this: Hey! @TheSlackrMom is having a giveaway! $50 to Tea Collection ends May 27th! http://wp.me/p14Qs6-4E (Pls RT)

This giveaway will end May 27th at 10pm, the winner will be drawn by Random.org.  I will contact the winner by email, if I do not get a response within 48 hours a new winner will be drawn.  Open to US residents only.

Disclosure: I was provided clothing from Tea Collection to write this review, some of which is pictured here.  All opinions are my own.


BFBH Week 19: Birth Control

Posted: May 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Mom stuff, Nursing in Public, Stuff You Need | 4 Comments »

 This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog hop hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by The Slacker Mom and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. This hop runs every Thursday and Friday and features a different topic pertaining to breastfeeding each week. Please feel free to link up a post that pertains to the weeks topic and remember to leave comments! (We all love comments!)

I already covered my stance on using breastfeeding as birth control here.  (Spoiler alert!  I don’t trust it and am not going to tempt fate.).  And really, that only goes for the first 6 months anyways, so eventually, everyone has to make a choice.  Prevent…or not?  And if prevention is the goal…what are you going to do about it?

There are a few different options, some more conducive to breastfeeding than others. 

First off, “combination contraceptives” (progesterone and estrogen) are pretty much out until at least 6 months.  This includes the ring, the patch and the monthly shot as well as any combination pills.  Estrogen has been linked to low milk supply.  All of the hormonal birth control I have ever been on falls under this and I already have supply issues, so you’re right if you already guessed that this is not my first choice!  So, until your baby is well established with solids and you are probably wandering down the weaning path anyways…steer clear.

The better option would be the Progesterone only Pill aka the “mini” pill…Depo, some IUD’s and the progesterone implant’s work here too.  Even these have their downside, milk composition is not the same and some women do have supply issues, although not as many.

(Both estrogen and progesterone are deemed safe for breastfeeding mothers.)

And of course, good old fashioned condoms.  We’re all adults here, right?  No need to blush as the cashier rings you up or the pharmacist grabs your preferred brand from behind the counter!  Added bonus?  No side effects!

I’m not big on hormonal birth control for myself.  That is very…limiting.  But, the side effects I get from hormonal birth control (turning absolutely crazy) are something I for one, would reather skip.  Just a personal preference.  Also see: Supply Issues!

So, no hormones for me!

What do you tell your OB or midwife at that 6 week appointment when the question is first popped?  Pill?  IUD?  Not preventing?  (I’ve been down that road!)  What are the kids doing these days?


I have an Announcement!

Posted: May 6th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Sponsored Posts | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blogging, Day to Day, Family, Family Photos, Free Stuff, Friday Favorites, FTW, Giveaway, Goals, Kids, Mom stuff, Review, Slacker Mom Says, Stuff You Need | 1 Comment »

I am kind of in love with Shutterfly.  (Did you hear they bought Tiny Prints?  (I kind of love Tiny Prints too.))

shutterfly logo

via google images

Is that so wrong?

Here’s the deal.
They make photo books easy.
They make sharing photos easy.
They make ordering photos easy.
And maybe my favorite of all…they have beautiful and fun and just all around lovely announcements…for any occasion. I just ordered Moving announcements last week!

Really, the only thing that could make me happier would be them addressing and mailing my Christmas cards when the time comes because I totally predicted it here. (I did NOT in fact get those Christmas Cards mailed. I still have them! I have been giving them to the appropriate people as I see them…but gosh if I just turned into a useless pile of Mom mush about a week before Christmas last year…)

Moving on!

Spring is a time of renewal…the leaves are unfurling into the breeze, flowers are popping through the ground, people are popping allergy meds like they are Tic-Tacs, baby animals are being born, maybe a few human babies are being born. They’ve got something for that. For the human babies. Or I suppose if you want to announce the birth of your pet lamb they can help you with that as well. That might be weird…

Then, of course there is Mother’s Day (it’s in two days folks…please tell me you’ve already thought about this) and then Father’s Day is right around the corner (June 19th) and then before you know it we’re headed into the 4th of July (When we should be adding a new baby to our family. A human baby. No, it’s not mine.) and then it’s almost August and I just might have to order some 1st Birthday invites for the birthday of the biggest, blondest baby boy I know. Seriously, he doesn’t have his own Twitter hashtag (#Judahthetank) for nothing!

My head is spinning just thinking about all of this. Anyone want to take over my family calendar and make sure I get everyone’s Birthday cards out on time? Achille’s Heel indeed.

If you have a blog you can registerfor a chance to get 50 free cards from Shutterfly. Not too shabby.

Who’s with me?


Breastfeeding Blog Hop Week 18: Nursing Clothes

Posted: May 5th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Breastfeeding | Tags: #Judahthetank, Blog Hop, Breastfeeding, Kids, Mom stuff, Nursing in Public, SAHM, Stuff You Need | 11 Comments »

This post is part of the Breastfeeding Blog hop hosted by Life with Levi and co-hosted by The Slacker Mom and Diary of a Devil Dog Wife. This hop runs every Thursday and Friday and features a different topic pertaining to breastfeeding each week. Please feel free to link up a post that pertains to the weeks topic and remember to leave comments! (We all love comments!)

Nursing Clothes….I kind of skimp in this arena. My nursing bras are nothing special that I had my Mom pick up for me when I got home from the hospital with the twins and other than a few pairs of PJ’s with easy access, I’ve kind of stuck with my nursing tanks as my only nursing specific apparel.

Even those aren’t top of the line.

I have two brands…Old Navy and Gilligan and O’Malley.

Hands down my favorite tanks are my GOM’s- from Target. The Old Navy tanks don’t have a hook at the top of the bra- it’s just unhooking the strap, so if you unhook the strap to nurse you have to hunt around behind you to rehook and it’s just not very convenient. The GOM’s have the standard “nursing” hooks at the top of the bra…I’m really technical here!

All of my tanks, regardless of hooks and straps were great while I was still pregnant- they have a nice length to them that covered my belly- they make great layering tops.

If I ever do this again, I’d probably invest in some really good bras…I hear Bravado makes some great ones and I’d really love a Yummie Tummie nursing tank but they are a bit spendy for me. Target it is!

Because I don’t wear clothes specifically for nursing I am always on the hunt for something that is easy to pull up or down. If worse comes to worse I just wear a tank and take off my shirt if it’s really not going to work for nursing. Now that we are moving into summer I might just pick up a few more nursing tanks and just call it a day.

I have some nursing covers that round out the nursing friendly collection, but Judah is not a fan…so they mostly sit at the bottom of the diaper bag!

So what do you do? Make your wardrobe work for you? Buy a new wardrobe that revolves around nursing apparel? Spend your days (like me) in a nursing tank and yoga pants?