Saturday, June 29, 2013

I See Me! Personalized Preschooler Book

Welcome to the I See Me! Personalized Preschooler Book Giveaway!

 

Hosted by: Savory Savings

Sponsored by: I See Me!

I_see_Me_Logo
I do not know about your kids, but mine LOVE to see their name on products.  Shirts, purses, pencils - anything.  But what about a book?  And what if that book did not just use their name, but was all about your child?  I See Me! specializes in books for kids about kids!  Each book in their line up can be personalized about your special child - from birthdays to baptisms to starting school!  They have a book for everyone!  Krista over at Savory Savings recently received The Very Important Preschooler I See Me! book for her youngest daughter, to review.  Her daughter is in LOVE with this book - it does not just feature her name once - but many times and even becomes part of the decoration of the book (the banners in the backgrounds, chalkboards and more all feature her name!).  I_see_me_page

I remember when I was young, one of my aunts gave me a book about The Little Mermaid that featured my name in it. I thought that was the coolest thing ever and my mom or I STILL have that book somewhere! Kids love seeing their name on things. This would be a nice "just because" gift for a child, but would be especially nice for birthdays, Christmas, and other special occasions!

Do you have a special preschooler that would love to see his or her name in a book?  If so, enter the giveaway with the tool below as one lucky reader will receive The Very Important Preschooler exclusively personalized for their little reader!  This giveaway will run from June 29, 2013 through July 13, 2013 at 8 PM CST.  Open to US Residents only, ages 18 and older.
 
 
Savory Savings did not receive any compensation for this post.  Disclosure: I did receive the products for free and am sharing my opinion with you.  My opinion may differ from yours.  Savory Savings and Getting Green with Baby are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  Winner(s) will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours after the giveaway ends to respond before another winner is selected.  All entries will be verified. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

PediaOne Giveaway

PediaONE Giveaway Hosted by Pea of Sweetness

Sponsored by PediaOne

PediaOne
PediaONE® is an all natural oral rehydration solution specially formulated to effectively replace fluid, vitamins and minerals lost due to diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive sweating. PediaONE® was developed with several key improvements over other similar beverages on the market--the most notable being better taste. A better tasting product can encourage kids to drink the right amount of fluids, which is the first step in restoring and maintaining an electrolyte balance in the body. Unlike less balanced beverages such a water, juice, sports drinks or sugary soft drinks, PediaONE® gives vital minerals and nutrients without excess sugar and without compromising taste. PediaONE advantages:
  • All Natural - No artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners
  • Non-GMO Ingredients - No genetically modified ingredients; pesticide free
  • Special B & C Vitamin Blend - Added energy and immune function support
  • Zinc - Supplements zinc lost during diarrhea and vomiting, can help decrease the frequency, severity and the duration of illness
  • Calcium - Supports muscle function and nerve transmission
  • BPA-Free, PET Bottles - Packaged in highly recyclable bottles
  • Superior Taste - Encourages kids to drink the right amount of fluids for proper rehydration. When it tastes good...kids will drink it!
 It's always a good idea to think ahead: These will come in great during cold and flu season this year!

Visit Pea of Sweetness to read her full PediaONE review.
About the prize: One lucky winner will receive a sample kit featuring four 8oz 4-Packs!
About the giveaway: This giveaway begins on 6/28 and ends on 7/12 at 11:00pm (times are Central) and is open to US residents ages 18+. Please refer to the full terms and conditions in the Giveaway Tools.
  Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may be different than yours. Getting Green with Baby is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Baby Food Fridays Series - Infantino Squeeze Station & Pouches

           Awhile back I did a DIY Wednesday post on making baby food and many of you were interested in the Infantino Fresh Squeezed products I had used, so I thought I would share with you a little more about them. Their Fresh Squeezed line of baby food making products and accessories include the following:
-squeeze station
-reusable pouches
-one-time use pouches
-spoons that can be used with the one time use pouches
-steam and mush kit
-food processor
-mush bowl
-food masher
-funnel
-food mill
-fridge/freezer sleeve to store one time use pouches in
-lunch bag/cooler to keep bottles and pouches cool on the go
So far I have only tried the squeeze station and one-time use pouches, but I would love to try some of their other products, especially the reusable pouch/container! In this post I will share with you my experience with these products, how they work, and some tips on using them!

*Note: I have quite a few pictures of the squeeze station and pouches in my post on making baby food, so I have not included many in this one. If you’re interested in seeing the other pictures, follow the link HERE.

            Admittedly, we never made baby food BEFORE we got the Infantino squeeze station and pouches, but they have made making it SO easy and much less of a daunting task as originally thought. The thought of having to mess with ice cube trays kind of bummed me out, so I was glad we saw these products before we had to try that out!
            The squeeze station is super easy to use, store, and clean…Ok. It’s just super easy! In layman’s terms, to use it you simply pop in your pouches in the 3 slots on the top rack, screw the tubes onto the opening of the pouches, and pour your baby food purees in the tubes. Make sure you fill your purees up to the top line so that your bag will be full. Next, take the plunger thing and push the food down into the bags. Once all of your pouches are full, unscrew the tubes and remove your pouches from the slots, screw their caps on, and label and date! It’s really that easy! It’s like having your own little production line at home. :D
            Now, I have a few tips relating to the plunger device. I have found that it works a little TOO well. Many times it creates such a tight seal that it pushes air down inside of the pouches. This is kind of annoying since you want them to be as full of FOOD as possible! My husband suggested this and it’s going to sound a little ridiculous, but it seems to work. Making sure you have the cap on tight, hold the pouch by the cap and swing it back and forth. The idea is to force all of the food down to the bottom of the pouch, so then you can take the cap back off and push the excess air out without spewing food in the process.
            Pulling the plunger back OUT of the tube once you’ve pushed all of the food in can sometimes cause some of the food to be sucked back up into the tube because again, the plunger’s suction works a little too well. Before you take it back out, just unscrew the tube from the pouch opening. Then you don’t have to worry about sucking any food back up into the tube and pushing air back in and yada yada yada. It also helps getting the plunger out if you wiggle it back and forth instead of trying to pull it straight out. That has worked better for me, at least.
            Another tip I would like to share is to use a spoon. I don’t know about you, but I can make an ungodly mess if I try pouring things from one container into another. Therefore, I use a large spoon to scoop the purees from the food processor and pour them into the tubes. So far this has worked nicely for me with everything but mangos and bananas. They were just too runny.
            I also like the squeeze station because it doesn’t take up much room in our already cluttered kitchen. Once everything has been washed and dried, of course, you just pop on the bottom tray, click the filling tubes to the pegs on the inside of it, and put the top tray in place. Voila! Tuck it away until the next time you need to make baby food.

            We chose (and like) the one-time use pouches for several reasons. First of all, while I really do hate being wasteful, we are cheap. You can get 50 of these pouches for a decent price. This also means being able to make larger batches up at a time, which I like. I don’t want to or plan on making baby food every week, so we do several different fruits and veggies at a time and freeze the majority of them and put one of each in the fridge. If I remember correctly, it’s ok to keep them in the freezer for about 3 months and 2-3 days in the fridge. I like being able to have a larger variety too because of the amount of disposable pouches you get per box. We have been making Myka’s baby food for a little over 2 months now, have made 4 batches of varying fruits and veggies, like I said, and just now ran out of pouches this last time.

             I will admit, we bought off brand spoons that attach to the disposable pouches, but it’s still a neat idea. We haven’t made pre-mixed blends of food for Myka yet so we still use a regular kid spoon and bowl. I can’t wait to try it out, though, since it will “cut out the middle man” and there won’t be nearly as many baby dishes to wash!
            If you would like to check out more of the Infantino Fresh Squeezed products or purchase some for yourself, click HERE.


*Getting Green with Baby was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own. I am not affiliated with Infantino in any way. I simply like their products discussed in this post and felt like sharing them with others. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Green Baby, Green Mama Giveaway Package


Green Baby, Green Mama Event

Organized by: Mom to Bed by 8 and Iowa Mom

This is such a great giveaway for expecting or new moms to enter! It includes everything to get you started in cloth diapering AND items to take care of both you and baby's bathing and health needs.
Prize Package Includes:

Bummis Organic Cotton Starter Kit

A value packed box of cloth diapering essentials with everything you need to start using cloth diapers now! You don’t need to be cloth diaper savvy in order to appreciate it - but if you are, you will really love our beautiful new boxed kit. Flushable liners and our step-by-step guide to no-fuss cloth diapering make it easy for you. No rinsing, no pins, no stuffing and no big deal to wash this cloth diaper system. The Infant size contains:
  • 24 infant size Organic Cotton Prefold diapers(4 x 8 x 4 layers thick)
  • 4 Super Whisper Wraps – small
  • 2 Super Brites – small
  • 3 rolls Bio-Soft liners – small
  • 5 reusable Fleece Liners
  • Fabulous Wet Bag – large (available exclusively in the Kit!)
  • User Guide
The Baby size contains:
  • 18 baby size Organic Cotton Prefold diapers (4 x 8 x 4 layers thick)
  • 2 Super Whisper Wraps – medium
  • 2 Super Brites – medium
  • 1 roll Bio-Soft liners – large
  • 5 reusable Fleece Liners
  • Fabulous Wet Bag– large (available exclusively in the Kit!)
  • User Guide

Earth Mama Angel Baby Birth & Baby Kit

Mama’s Birth & Baby Kit Full Size will get you set with full-size must-haves. Worry-free products to comfort mama and baby? That’s a big check! For mama:
  • New Mama Bottom Spray - 4oz
  • Mama Bottom Balm - 2oz
  • Organic Monthly Comfort Tea - 1 box
  • Natural Nipple Butter - 2oz
  • Cotton Tote Bag - 10'' x 12''
  • Postpartum Bath Herbs - 1 box
For baby:
  • Angel Baby Shampoo & Body Wash - 5.3oz
  • Angel Baby Oil - 4oz
  • Angel Baby Lotion - 4oz
  • Angel Baby Bottom Balm - 2oz
Thank you for visiting and entering to win this amazing prize package. Please take a moment to also visit our lovely co-hosts whom without them great things such as these would not be possible: Budget Earth, Mew Review and An Ordinary Housewife.

One lucky winner will a Bummis Organic Cotton Starter Kit & the Earth Mama Angel Baby Birth & Baby Kit!

Giveaway ends July 18th at 11:59pm, open US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Getting Green with Baby is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Quitting My Job

            As some of you may know, I have been working a part-time retail job on the weekends for the past 5 months. Well, this brief stint has come to an end. Although I’ve been dying to stay home with Myka again because I HATE having her with a sitter 3 days a week (Snark Side post coming soon on that!), I did not come to this decision lightly; mostly because I really like my boss. Honestly. No sarcasm here. I have one of the best, most fun bosses I’ve ever had or that anyone could ask for. For her sake, I was really trying to stick it out for at least the rest of the summer since that is our busy season, but multiple factors were making it more trouble than it’s worth to keep working.
             To be honest, I wanted a part-time job so I could get out of the house some while still being home with Myka the majority of the week. The extra money was nice too so we weren’t just living off of my husband’s paycheck to pay the bills. Originally, I (and my boss, for that matter) had planned and thought I was going to be working 4 days a week. However, she ended up basically being forced to hire another seasonal worker (did I mention I live in a tourist town?), so I’ve only been able/allowed to work 3 days. While I of course love being able to spend my husband’s weekends with him and an extra day with Myka during the week, literally almost half of my paycheck is going to the babysitter. John and I did the calculations several times and found that if we paid our babysitter just $10 more per week, she would be making MORE money than I am.
            Needless to say with that being said, that was one of the main reasons I decided to call it quits. While yes, I am still making a little extra money, in my opinion it’s just not worth it. I’d much rather be home raising our child instead of a stranger anyways. Speaking of strangers babysitting my child, that was THE big deciding factor. But, like I said, you will have to read about that on my Snark Side post when I get around to it. ;)
            How am I feeling about this decision? Two words: liberated and relieved. While I felt really bad at first for abandoning ship on my boss, I’m getting over it quickly because I know it’s what’s best for my family and I know she understands this as well. It also helps that she has been fortunate enough to find someone to replace me already. Lol I could not be more relieved, though, knowing that after this weekend I will no longer have to leave my baby with a stranger or worry about whether her diaper is being changed often enough or if/why she’s not taking more naps. The list goes on and on.

            Tell me: Have YOU (or your significant other) ever quit your job to stay home with your child(ren)? I’d love to hear your stories! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday


SF Organics Natural Fertilizer Giveaway

Welcome to the SF Organics Natural Fertilizer Giveaway!

 

Hosted by: Savory Savings

Sponsored by: SF Organics

SF_Organics_Logo
SF Organics is a company that cares about people AND the Earth!  With their 100% no-waste policy in their plants, they came up with an amazing way to use the fish offal from their fishing plant and now offer an amazing, live-product, organic fertilizer that is just waiting to spruce up your lawn!
SF_Organics_fertilizer
Krista from Savory Savings had a chance to review the SF Organics fertilizer - check out her results with just three applications!
Day One
SF_organics_Day1
Third Application
SF_organics_Week3
 
How would one of you like to win a starter pack from SF Organics?  Enter with the giveaway tool below!  This giveaway is open to US Residents only, ages 18 and older!
Savory Savings did not receive any compensation for this post.  Disclosure: I did receive the products for free and am sharing my opinion with you.  My opinion may differ from yours.  Savory Savings and Getting Green with Baby are not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.  We hereby release Facebook of any liability.  Winner(s) will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours after the giveaway ends to respond before another winner is selected.  All entries will be verified. 

Baby Blanket Music CD Giveaway



June 26-July 9

There is nothing more soothing for your little one than a beautiful lullaby, but lets face it, those lullaby's can get a bit repetitive. Baby Blanket Music features YOUR favorite artists/bands in a lullaby! Now you can hum along to songs that you love while you're rocking your precious little one to sleep.

Read the full review here!

My daughter LOVES music, so I would love to give one of these CDs a try! I love that there are some "classics" and not just pop music too!

Enter to WIN a Baby Blanket Music CD of your choice from Mommys Craft Obsession & Baby Blanket Music!


The Giveaway will close late on the evening of July 9th. The winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter which uses Random.org. The winner will be announced both on Rafflecopter as well as MCO’s Facebook. The winner will have their prize sent to them by Baby Blanket music, Mommys Craft Obsession and other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment. Must be 18 years and older. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google are in no way affiliated with this giveaway. No Purchase Necessary. US Only.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Baby Spring Float Activity Center Review & Giveaway


           With warm weather finally here, many of us are probably gearing up or already spending a lot of time in the water. Personally, I have loved being in the water for as long as I can remember, so I am on a mission to get my daughter acclimated to it early on. I can only hope she enjoys it as much as I do! With that being said, we needed some sort of float for our water baby and SwimWays was kind enough to send us one to try out!
 In case you're wondering, I didn't think my hubby would want his thigh in the picture and I'm terrible with photo editing. 

            The Baby Spring Float Activity Center has tons of great features. It comes in a convenient carrying bag which takes up very little space which, when you have small children, comes in handy since you’re more than likely bogged down with other bags! It also comes with a detachable sun canopy and inflatable octopus toy. Several toys are also included, such as a squeaky blowfish, bean filled starfish, foam toys, and more. These all float, of course, and can be attached to the legs of the octopus. The Baby Spring Float is suitable for children aged 9-24 months. (Myka is only 8 months and we’ve been using it for a few weeks with no problem. Use common sense and your best judgment!)

            There are several other features I found particularly useful as well, the first being that this float has a low center of gravity. To be honest, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was about this until the other day. My friend had a birthday/pool party for her little boy and we used one of the inflatable floats they had. While it was super cute because it looked like a tugboat, she was sitting up so high in it I was afraid she was going to either fall backward or to either side! I have no worries about this with the Baby Spring Float Activity Center. Besides the fact that it is convenient to be able to detach the sun canopy, when it is in use you can also snap it to the back of the float so that it is at an angle. This is great if you’re out swimming during the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not directly overhead. I also enjoy being able to remove the octopus toy because Myka has recently discovered the joys of splashing. Finally, we (my husband and I) were impressed with how sturdy this float is overall. It’s not made of the cheap plastic like most inflatable baby floats are. Unless you totally abuse the thing it should last you until your child is too big to use it, and even then you might be hard pressed to damage it in any way. 
 
            Now, how does it measure up as far as child approving? So far Myka really seems to enjoy it. In fact, most of the times we’ve been in the pool recently she seems to enjoy being in the float better than me holding her. For only being 8 months old, she is a very independent child most of the time. I think she enjoys it because she feels more secure while still being able to play with the octopus toy and move around how she wants. Plus I don’t think she really enjoys my “swimming lessons” I’ve been trying to do with her. :D 
video

            Do you have a little one who would enjoy one of these floats? If so, you can purchase one HERE or enter to win one in the giveaway below!
            One last thing. If you enjoyed this review and love spending time in the water with your little one, keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for a review and giveaway of a Mommy and Me Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy!


Getting Green with Baby was not compensated monetarily for this review. I received a Baby Spring Float Activity Center in exchange for an honest review of the product. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Furthermore, GGWB is not responsible for prize shipment. That is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. Please feel free to email me at AliciaOwen6814@yahoo.com if you have any questions or concerns about this giveaway.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Other Nifty Things I've Discovered at Work


            In case you missed my 2 part post on National Parks Kids Programs (which I highly recommend you check out HERE and HERE), I work for a bookstore in a national park. (At least until June 30th. Interesting post coming up on that!) The few short months that I have been working there, I have learned quite a bit about the park service, programs it offers, and also found some really neat products in our store! Since these 3 things I’m about to share didn’t really fit into my first two posts, I decided to dedicate one post just for them!
            First, there is Buddy Bison. Buddy is a cute little plush bean-filled toy. You can purchase him in national park gift shops or online HERE. What’s so cool about Buddy Bison? A few things, in my opinion. First of all, he is a great toy for kids, especially for traveling since he’s relatively small. That brings me to my next point: Kids can take Buddy with them to wildlife refuges and preserves and local, state, and national parks. Get a picture of them with Buddy while you’re there and you can either email (Buddy@buddybison.org) the picture or post it on Buddy’s Facebook page and your picture will be added to the map that shows where Buddy’s been across the U.S.! What kid wouldn’t love being famous? ;) Finally, proceeds from purchasing a Buddy Bison go to the Kids to Parks National Scholarship fund and help send underserved children to parks!

            Next up is the Passport to Your National Parks. These books are a GREAT souvenir keeper if you travel a lot and are really into the national park scene. The states are arranged by regions of the country. Each region has multiple pages where you can place either good ole rubber stamp and ink stamps or sticker “stamps”. Depending on how big/popular the park is, you may find anywhere between 1-5 (and maybe more) rubber stamps to choose from to stamp your book with. The books themselves are inexpensive and the stamps (other than the sticker ones) are free! These make really inexpensive souvenirs and there is a special stamp for each park that relates to it in some way. (I.e. one of ours has an old time bathtub on it because we are known for our bathhouses that use the thermal water from the hot springs.) Plus they don’t take up much space. ;)

            Last but not least is the Passport to Your National Parks app. It is available for iPhones and Androids. It is kind of like a virtual, technological version of the passport books, but you can also browse parks by state, find their entrance fees, trails, etc. This app can come in handy while you're on vacation since most people have smart phones nowadays and probably aren't near a computer! Plus it’s free!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Baby Food Fridays Series - NurturMe Review

            Ever since Myka started eating real food, baby food has been my new obsession. While my husband and I LOVE making our own baby food for her, it is not exactly feasible to take with us on the go since it needs to be refrigerated. That’s where NurturMe NurturMeals come in!
            So, how are NurturMeals different from regular baby food? Instead of using the traditional canning process, fruits and veggies are freeze dried or drum dried. Because of this, more nutrients are preserved. It also means a longer shelf life AND no refrigeration! NurturMeals are also USDA certified organic, kosher certified, gluten and GMO free, and their packages contain no BPA! Oh. And it’s made in the U.S.A. It doesn’t get much better than that!

            Since NurturMeals come in powder form from being freeze/drum dried, how do you prepare them? It’s easy! You can mix them with water, formula, or breast milk until you reach the desired consistency for your baby and even add them to toddlers’ food for a boost in nutrients. NurturMe’s website even includes a page with videos of recipe ideas for adding NurturMeals.

           I first came across NurturMeals in a subscription box. It was right around the time we were introducing solid foods to Myka, so it was great timing! The first “flavor” we tried was the Plump Peas and I’ll be honest, she was less than thrilled. However, I think she just wasn’t used to real food yet. Ever since the second time she tried them she has absolutely LOVED them. I mean, she gobbles them up! She has even had peas that I made and packaged for her and doesn’t even like them as well as her NurturMeal peas which, hey, that’s fine with me. I’m just glad she likes peas! These are one of her favorite foods right now, which I’m sure you can tell by the picture below. :D

            NurturMe was kind enough to send the following products for Myka and I to try. (Yes, I try them too!) Here’s how they stacked up:
            -Plump Peas: Like I said, she LOVES these and it is her favorite veggie by              far!
-Squash, Banana, & Green Kale: Much to my surprise, she really seemed to like this. Myka is usually iffy when it comes to new foods, but she ate this pretty well the first time, which makes me a happy mama since kale is a superfood.
-Crisp Apples: She was a little unsure of this the first bite or so since they were so much sweeter than the ones she’s used to, but she gobbled them up like she normally does anything with apples in it!
-Protein-packed Quinoa: I’m not going to lie. Myka was less than enthused about this. She’s usually not crazy about most foods when she first tries them, though, like I said. I’m hoping she likes it better next time. I might try to spice it up a bit.
-Sweet Potatoes, Oatmeal, and Bananas: I could tell this wasn't her favorite, but she still ate it. She had never had oatmeal before, so the whole consistency factor might have been part of it. 
 
The surprisingly well received kale blend. See? Looks just like a normal puree once you mix it with your liquid of choice!
           
            I love everything about NurturMeals, but my favorite thing is that I can take them with me while I’m out. I have been trying to go for walks at least several times a week because 1) They help me clear my head and feel less cooped up on my days off work and 2) So I can pretend like I’m going to get back into shape. With NurtureMeals I don’t have to worry about extra food spoiling while it’s not being refrigerated and as long as I have some water with me and a bowl and spoon, I can mix them up quickly. I know what you’re thinking. What if I don’t have a place to rinse the bowl and spoon out before I stick it back in the diaper bag, right? I can always just take a plastic bag and stick it in there and wash it when I get home! And yes, I have used these while I wasn’t home. Just last week we took my husband lunch at work and Myka gobbled up her peas as usual. :)
            I also like taking these to the babysitter’s sometimes. I was lazy about feeding Myka real food at first and would sometimes skip several days in a row, especially if I took her to the sitter’s. Now I am making sure she eats real food at least once a day and NurturMeals are a convenient way to make sure she is still eating real food while I’m not around!
            We also received a sample of the Caribbean Crop flavored Yum-a-roo’s, which are a healthy snack for older babies and toddlers. The fruits and veggies in these are also quick dried, but left in small pieces, so that they dissolve into soft bites that are easy for children with new teeth! Since Myka isn’t old enough for these (or have any teeth, for that matter), I decided to give them a try. They’re really tasty! I love that it has natural sweetness from the fruit, but still has veggies too for extra nutrients. The pieces are small enough for little hands to grab easily too. I also like that the pouches are re-sealable in case your little muncher doesn’t finish them all in one go.

NurturMeals and Yum-a-roo’s come in several other flavors and can be purchased at a very reasonable price on NurturMe’s website HERE. You can also find them on Walmart, Target, Meijer’s, and many, many other websites. I also encourage you to check out their page on becoming an Nmoms+Dads ambassador HERE.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

National Parks Kids Programs (That Adults Can Be Involved In Too!) Part 2

            I love this next program I’m going to tell you about because it’s not only great for people who already live active lifestyles, but gives incentives for those of us who are a little more sedentary than we would like to get out and move! In fact, the name of the program is “Let’s Move Outside.” It was originally created by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to end childhood obesity.
            The “Let’s Move Outside” program, as you can imagine, is aimed to get children and families moving outdoors to improve health. Its goal, as stated on its website, “…is to get kids active so they see the physical activity they need not as a chore but as a fun way to explore our country.” Their website has plenty of resources and tips on where and how to get active and healthy eating as well.
            How do national parks play into this program? I’ll tell you! Like the Junior Ranger program booklets you can pick up at parks, you can grab a walking record for the Let’s Move Outside program. I can’t attest for other parks, but at ours we have separate ones for kids and adults. (I’m kicking myself now for not grabbing one of the kids ones to show you guys!) Either way, you write down the date, what trail you walked/hiked, start/end time, and HOW LONG it took you altogether.
            So what’s the big deal about recording how long you go for walks in the park? You get “free swag” as my ranger friend likes to say, once you’ve completed so many hours. For example, once you’ve reached 5 hours of hiking you will receive a free water bottle. After 10 hours you will get a free baseball cap! After that you receive free items at 25, 50, 100, 200, and 400 hours. That’s a lot of walking! All you have to do is fill out your walking record and let a park ranger (or volunteer, perhaps) look over it and they will give you free stuff! Not a bad deal, right? 
           I will tell you that not as many parks participate in this as the Junior Ranger program. The ones that do are many of the larger, nature-based parks, with plenty of hiking trails, which makes sense. If you’re planning a family vacation to any national parks this summer, click HERE for a list of parks by state that participate in the Let’s Move Outside program. 

I'm also kicking myself for not thinking to start this when I first started getting out and walking. I would be so much closer to my 25 hour prize! 

Friday, June 14, 2013

National Parks Kids Programs (That Adults Can Be Involved In Too!) Part 1

           While this may sound like a sponsored post, I assure you it is not. The company I’m currently employed by works closely with national parks. In fact, they run most, if not all, of the gift shops you will find in national parks from the east coast of the United States to Kansas! They donate their profits made from sales back to the park system. Pretty cool, huh? To get to my point, though, since I work IN the national park here in Hot Springs, I have learned about some neat programs the national parks have in place for children. Now that vacation season is upon us and some of you may be visiting national parks, I thought I would share some information on these programs.
            The Junior Ranger program is tailored towards children ages 4-12, although each park varies slightly. For example, our park’s program is geared towards 6-12 year olds, Great Smoky Mountains towards 5-12 year olds, and I have seen at least one park whose program is suitable for ages 4-12. Upon first glance this might not seem like that much of an age difference, but think about how different a 6 year old is than a 4 year old in their development…and attention span, for that matter! While there is an age suggestion, children of any age may participate. (At least at our park.)
            What exactly IS the Junior Ranger program? It is a program to get children involved and interact with the park they are visiting by completing an activity booklet during their visit. While the activities in the booklet are made to be fun for kids, they are also educational! One of the great things about this is that, from my experience, most of the kids seem to thoroughly enjoy completing the Junior Ranger program. It is the first thing that some kids (and parents) seek out as soon as they walk into our visitor center.
            My favorite thing about this program is that children who either complete the entire booklet or a certain number of sections in it (again, dependent upon park) will get sworn in by a park ranger (It’s like a mini-ceremony. No joke. It’s the cutest thing ever. Be sure to have your camera!) AND receive either a Junior Ranger’s badge or patch.
While not all national parks, historic sites, monuments, etc. have a program, MANY do. Just be sure to look around or ask someone working in the visitor’s center wherever you go if they participate and have the Junior Rangers booklets. From my understanding the booklets are free most places, but I’ve seen at least one that charges a small fee. Also, I have found that some parks offer special summer Junior Ranger programs led by interpretive rangers, so be sure to ask about those too!
Be sure to check out some of the links at the end of this post for some other interesting facts about our national parks system and what parks participate in the Junior Ranger program. Also, please visit part 2 of this post on the “Let’s Move Outside” program!


Park systems nomenclature:
Number of parks, battlefields, monuments, etc. and listings of each by state: http://www.nps.gov/news/upload/CLASSLST-401_updated-03-27-13.pdf
List of parks, battlefields, monuments, etc. that offer Junior Ranger programs:
http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm

Baby Food Fridays Series - The Great Solid Food Debate

            As many of you may already know, there is quite the debate in the parenting community over when it is safe to start feeding your baby solid foods. I found out the hard way several months ago that some people get pretty riled up about this topic. From my experience, there seems to be three main groups people fall into, though everyone is different, of course.
            The first group are those who start feeding their baby solid foods around 4 months of age. While some parents do this simply because they feel their child is ready, there are some doctors who still recommend this age to start baby on oatmeal, rice cereal, etc. Some people, however, argue that babies’ digestive systems are not fully developed yet by this point and therefore shouldn’t be eating anything other than formula and/or breast milk.
            The second group consists of parents who start feeding their baby “real” food around 6 months of age. Many people feel that their children’s sensitive tummies are developed well enough by this point to handle solid food. From my personal experience, this seems to be the most common “group”. Most of the websites and books I have looked at on what and when to start feeding baby solid food have 6 months as a jumping off point. Does this mean it’s the correct, appropriate age? Not necessarily. We’ll go more into that in a minute.
            Finally, parents who wait until their children are around 9 months of age make up the third group. Again, just from my experience, these tend to be “crunchier” mamas. If you’re not sure what crunchy means in this instance, check out this link. Most crunchy moms are more concerned about exclusively breast-feeding and baby led weaning, hence not giving their children real food until they are older babies. Even then, a lot of them like to cut up regular food into small pieces and let baby eat it that way instead of making purees like most parents are accustomed to nowadays.
            If you’re anything like me as a first time mom, you enjoy researching baby-related topics, such as this. However, it can also become extremely overwhelming with the amount of information that is available on the internet. This may seem kind of obvious or stupid, but keep a few things in mind. Remember, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true! While websites with forums, such as babycenter, can be great for connecting with other like-minded parents and gaining helpful tips, everyone is different. What works for one person with his/her children may not work for you!
            Also, while I’m not telling you to blatantly disregard your pediatrician’s suggestions, just because he/she is a doctor doesn’t always mean they know what’s best for your child. You alone know that. Use common sense. Trust your instincts. If you ever have any doubts or concerns, DISCUSS it with your doctor. In my opinion, all babies should not be “prescribed” the same set age for beginning solid foods. Some babies are ready sooner than others.  
            In case you’re wondering what group I fall into, the answer is somewhere between the first and second. It’s funny looking back a few years ago when I babysat a couple of young boys and think about how I felt about the then 6 month old eating solid food. At the time I thought, “He seems way too young to be eating solid food!” Fast forward 3 years later and my now 8 month old daughter has been eating solid food for several months. Funny how your attitudes and opinions chance when it’s your OWN child, isn’t it?
            Being the overly paranoid first time mom that I was/am, I followed our pediatrician’s suggestion and started trying to feed Myka whole grain rice cereal around the time she was 4 months old. As it turns out, I had confused her general curiosity for her being curious in my food, which is said to be a sign babies are ready to try solid food. I thought she was ready to eat! (Wishful thinking.) So, we would try a few times per week, some weeks not at all, until she was about 6 months old. Basically, the opportunity was there for her, but we didn’t force her to eat it.
            As of today, Myka has tried all kinds of fruits and veggies, even beets! (Some people would probably argue that she’s still too young for those, too.) Just like anyone, she has her favorites, ones she will tolerate, and ones that, if she could speak, would probably tell me she never wants to eat ever again. I still try to get her to eat some of the ones she doesn’t care for as much every now and then, but I don’t force her to eat all of it. Maybe just a few bites. ;) I just hope she isn’t as picky of an eater as I am and that us feeding her healthy food will rub off on us as well!
            I’m curious: Where do YOU stand in the debate? Are you a hardcore believer in waiting until 9 months to feed your child real food, or do you fall somewhere in between groups? Did you puree food for your little ones or did you wait until they were able to eat tiny, bite-sized, finger food? Did you follow the “normal routine” as far as introducing veggies first, then fruits, etc. or did you perhaps feed meat to your baby as one of their first foods? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below! (Remember: Every parent is different and every child is different. Let’s be civilized about this discussion, please. Thanks!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Baby Food Fridays Series - Cooking Methods

            Many people have the same question when it comes to making homemade baby food: How do I cook it? The answer is so simple you’ll probably think, “Duh! That makes sense!” once you see it. The truth is, there is nothing special about how you cook food to make baby food. You can cook baby food in many of the same ways you cook your own. You’ll obviously want to avoid deep frying and grilling methods, but other than that you can use just about any method you want! There are 4 main ways that people choose to cook their children’s food.
            One of the best methods you can use is steaming. Why is it one of the best? The longer and more water food is sitting it and being exposed to higher temperatures results in greater loss of nutrients. Therefore, since it takes relatively little time to steam food and it is not being submerged in water, it is best to steam food for baby. If you’re worried about the little amount of nutrients that ARE lost to the steam, you can always add a little bit of the water back in when you go to puree your fruits and veggies.

            Steaming is super easy! (I’m not a big fan of cooking so, sadly, I had never steamed anything before. Don’t let it intimidate you!) All you need is a medium to large sized pot, a steamer basket, or metal colander. Fill the pot with water to just below where the fruits or veggies will be sitting in the colander or steamer basket. You can either place your food items in the steamer basket and then place all of it in the pot, or you can put your steamer basket in first, then add your food. Once everything is in place, put a well fitting lid on your pot and turn your heat up to medium to high. You will want your food to be soft and tender, but don’t overcook it as this can lead to loss of nutrients and make your food soggy.
You’ll obviously want to make sure your food is diced up so that it cooks more evenly and quickly. Some people like to leave skins on fruits for added nutrient value, but that is solely up to you. I would suggest taking them off for younger babies since they won’t be able to digest them completely anyways.
Baking is also a great option for cooking baby’s food. I like this method because most fruits and veggies you can just cut in half and lay face down on a baking sheet, stick it in the oven for roughly 20 minutes to an hour (everything varies), and get something else accomplished while they’re roasting! Baking is said to be the best method for keep food flavorful and that it can actually enhance to flavor in some produce. Baking times and preparation will vary for different fruits and veggies, not to mention everyone’s oven behaves differently! My best suggestion is to play with times and temperatures. 350 degrees Fahrenheit is always a good starting off point. Keep in mind, fruits that are already on the soft side, such as bananas and pears, are not going to take as much time. Again, leaving the skins on is your choice. Don’t forget you can always add spices to baby’s food too! Tell me baked cinnamon bananas don’t sound good to you!

Boiling fruits and veggies is one of the less desirable methods to cook with. Why? Much of the nutrient content can be leached out into the water while being heated. So, if you do want/have to boil, be sure to do it with as little water as possible. While this isn’t a great method, remember you can always add a little bit of water back for pureeing, which will add some of the nutrients back. You will definitely want to slice and dice fruits and veggies before boiling for the same reasons as steaming: the pieces cook more evenly and quicker. Cook times will vary according to produce and volume, but make sure you cook it until it’s nice and soft so it blends easily!

Last, and my least favorite method, is the microwave. I suppose if you just want to make something small and quick, this would be an ok option. There are some major drawbacks, though. Some produce loses its nutrient content faster than others if cooked in the microwave. Be cautious of food cooking unevenly too if you use this method. It’s very important safety-wise that food be cooked thoroughly for babies! The biggest advantage of using the microwave is that it is quick. You will still need to slice, dice, and peel your produce along with possibly having a little water for it to cook in. Again, you can always use some of the leftover water to puree with.

Regardless of what method you choose, cooking and making baby food is not as daunting and time consuming as it may seem. Remember, you can make as much or as little as you like, simple or fancy, or quick or prolonged. You cook for the rest of your family, so why not your baby? It’s a very rewarding experience knowing exactly what is going into your child’s tummy!

            

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Baby's Own Room Gift Certificate Giveaway

babyroomlogo
Sponsored by: Baby's Own Room
Special Thanks to Our AWESOME Co-hosts
This giveaway is part of the Bloom Into Baby Event.
Baby's Own Room sells bedding and room decor for Babies, Toddlers, Kids, and Teens. They sell a variety of different brands, including, but not limited to: Sweet Jojo Designs, One Grace Place and Whistle & Wink. Baby's Own Room has low prices and offers FREE shipping on every order, no minimums! Twin, Full/Queen sets are always 10% OFF no coupon code required.  

Who wouldn't love to snaz up their kid's room with some of these super cute bedding sets? This is a great giveaway if your child is outgrowing their baby bed or perhaps they're getting too cool for Sponge Bob and the like to be not so proudly displayed on their bed. 
babyownroomdecodot-tod-full
One lucky reader will win a $75 Baby's Own Room Gift Certificate.
This giveaway is open to the United States only.
This giveaway will begin 12:00am EST 6/6/2013 and end 11:59pm EST 6/27/2013.
All entries will be verified.
Good luck and thank you for entering!
Don't stop now! Enter some more Bloom Into Baby Giveaways! Disclosure: This giveaway is not associated with, affiliated with, endorsed by, sponsored by, or connected to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media platform in any way. Social media outlets are in no way responsible for sponsor prize fulfillment. The sponsor alone is responsible for fulfilling the aforementioned prize. This blog did not receive compensation for posting this giveaway. Your information will not be shared with anyone without your explicit consent. This giveaway event is hosted by Darci from Everything Mommyhood. You can contact Darci at everythingmommyhood@gmail.com with any questions, concerns, or to your company featured on an Everything Mommyhoood.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

A rare picture of the elusive writer behind Getting Green with Baby (me) and my sleepy little hiker. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Go With Me Chair Giveaway

         
            Many of us have probably seen the child sized, portable, fold up chairs for sale in stores, but have you even seen the Go With Me Chair? Made by Kelsyus, these chairs are suitable for children ages 3 months to 6 years and consist of three main stages: sitting, standing, and big kid. For the sitting stage there is a 5-point harness included to keep your little wiggle worm secure. If your child is just learning to stand there are leg holes under the seat flap and a foot bag to keep your child’s feet clean and away from hazardous things if used outside. Last, for the big kid stage, the 5-point harness can be removed and the foot bag rolled up and secured with Velcro tabs. Not only is the Go With Me Chair versatile, it also includes a cup holder, carrying bag with handles, a removable tray for toys and snacks, AND a removable sun shade! This chair has come in SO handy for us, indoors and out!

            If you would like to read Getting Green with Baby's full review of the Go With Me Chair, click HERE. If you would like to purchase one for yourself and see what other great products Kelsyus offers, click HERE.

            Getting Green with Baby has teamed up with Kelsyus to give one lucky reader a Go With Me Chair of their own! Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!

            I’d also like to thank Kelsyus for sponsoring this giveaway and my wonderful co-host, The Stuff of Success!


Getting Green with Baby and all promoting blogs were not compensated monetarily to participate in this giveaway. Getting Green with Baby received a Go With Me Chair in return for an honest review. All opinions expressed here and in the review are her own.. This giveaway is in no way affiliated with Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. The sponsor is solely responsible for prize shipment. No purchase necessary. If you have any questions, please contact Alicia from Getting Green with Baby at AliciaOwen6814@yahoo.com.    

Saturday, June 1, 2013

2 Red Hens Giveaway - MCO's B-Day Bash Event

We're celebrating MCO's first blog-birthday with MCO's Birthday Bash are so glad that you could join us for this event! If you've missed the giveaways up until now, be sure to click on the photo below to enter to win some amazing prizes from Strollers to Cookware!

Click on the image below to be redirected to a list of open giveaways.



MCO's Birthday Bash is continuing their celebration with an amazing giveaway for a Rooster Diaper Bag by 2 Red Hens Studio!

Expecting a baby soon or know someone who is? These diaper bags would make a great gift, especially for the stylish mom who doesn't want something that screams "diaper bag" upon first glance. 

Photo Credits: 2 Red Hens Studio


2 Red Hens Studio formed in 2004 and based in Denver, Colorado, started off in Lori Holliday's home studio built by her husband. Today, her designs can be found online and in hundreds of boutiques all over the country. A cancer survivor, Lori lives her life by the words "nothing is done until it's overdone," and "we can do better," and this concept can be seen in her special vintage chic products for moms and children. 


2 Red Hens Studio makes an array of hand-crafted products for moms, but their most popular diaper bag is the Rooster Diaper Bag. The Rooster Diaper Bag is offered in five different gorgeous prints designed to fit your individual style! These artfully designed diaper bags provide all the style and sass you had before baby and all the needed functionality for when your little one arrives. 

The Rooster Diaper Bag features:
From 2 Red Hens Website

  • Interior zipper pocket, bottle holder, and 2 elastic pockets
  • Convertible stroller straps
  • Attached key fob
  • Magnetic snap and button closure for easy access
  • Choose from five vintage-inspired patterns:  
    • Peacock Mum (Seen in photo above), Owl Dots, Grey Damask, Pink Lemonade (seen in photo below), and Chevron Stripes
  • Extra-long polka dot changing pad included






Photo Credit: 2 Red Hens Studio


To see a full review of 2 Red Hens Rooster Diaper Bag, use this link


To Purchase: Visit the 2 Red Hens website and pick yours up for $50! 

To Win: Mommys Craft Obsession and 2 Red Hens are giving away one Rooster Diaper Bag! Enter the Rafflecopter below, all entries are optional with exception of your address and color/print choice, which is necessary for product shipment if you are the winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Giveaway will close late on the evening of June 15th. The winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter which uses Random.org. The winner will be announced both on Rafflecopter as well as MCO’s Facebook. The winner will have their prize sent to them by 2 Red Hens. Mommys Craft Obsession and other participating bloggers are not responsible for prize shipment. Must be 18 years and older. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google are in no way affiliated with this giveaway. No Purchase Necessary. US Only.

*Mommys Craft Obsession, including myself, Getting Green with Baby, and other participating bloggers have not received compensation (monetary nor product) to promote this giveaway.