Monday, May 30, 2016

Making a Homestead: Chicken Madness!

            It's been awhile since I've done a homesteading update. To be honest, not a lot has been going on. We got everything planted. We don't have a tiller so we were lazy and just placed the seeds directly in the ground without "preparing it", so I'm not holding my breath too much. We're taking the "if it's meant to live, it will pop up" approach with our seeds this year. lol We'll get a tiller some day, I'm sure, but today is not that day.
            My main focus lately has been the chickens. I really liked chickens before, but I think I can safely say I have gone chicken crazy! I am finding out for myself what the term "chicken math" is all about. The struggle is real. To recap...
            We started out with 10 chickens: 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Barred Rocks, 2 Black Australorps, 2 Amerecuanas (aka Easter eggers), and 2 Silver-laced Wyandottes. One poor fellar or fellarette died a day or two after we got him or her. (One of the Easter eggers.) Three weekends ago I bought 2 White Brahmas and another Easter egger to replace the one that passed away. Yesterday, we bought 2 Silky Bantams and a Silver Hamburg. Are you still following? Our original 10 chicks turned into 15!
            I got the Brahmas because hubby talked me into it and I was feeling sorry for myself that weekend and chickens cheer me up. lol Plus, I like having pairs, hence the new Amerecuana. Our original intention of going to Rural King yesterday was to get more chicken feed and cat food. I even told John, "We should just not even go by the chickens, otherwise we're going to end up wanting some." His reply was, "But what if they have some on sale?" Yah. lol And that's how we ended up with the bantam Silkies (only $1 each) and the Silver Hamburg. In my defense, I had been wanting some bantams are Silkies are so ridiculous looking, I couldn't resist. Admittedly, I knew nothing about Silver Hamburgs, but they look really pretty when they're adults. :D
            If it's not already clear how obsessed I am, I have been taking about as many pictures of the chickens as I do my kids. lol So, I thought I would share my "chicken madness" in some pictures below.

            These are my two pretty girls. The one on the left is Yasmine, our Amerecuana from the first batch. (Yes, they all have names. Yes, we still plan on eating them eventually.) The one on the right is one of our Silver-laced Wyandottes, Lacey. They're both a little skittish still, but they're slowly coming around. ;)

            Here we have Bertha and Gladyss, our two Buffs, and Esmerelda, one of our Black Australorps, in the back. Bertha is our friendliest chicken of all and she is mine and Myka's bff. lol Esmerelda is the friendlier of the two Australorps. We think the other one may be a rooster.
            Perching on the right is Yasmine again, and Bertha and Esmerelda. I think that was the day they discovered, by watching me, they could sit up there. lol

            I'm very glad Myka likes the chickens, but she has a bad habit of getting up in their business!

            That's our bff Bertha I'm petting. How do you make friends with chickens? Treats. Lots and lots of treats. lol I used to bring them chickweed from the yard almost daily when they were still in their coop 24/7. It's free and they love it!

            This was the first day we tried to let them out. They were doing good...until our new cat, Trixie, chased them back inside. She hasn't been a problem since and I'm pretty sure Brutus could care less about them. I let him in the chicken coop for a short time this evening and I honestly think the only reason he comes near the chickens is because he wants me to pet him while I'm out there. lol

            Our much more successful first few days outside after the great cat scare of 2016. lol They're awesome little weed eaters and lawn mowers!

            Here is a more recent pic of my pretty Lacey girl on the left. Top right, Gladyss and Esmerelda photo bombing my picture of Yasmine. Can you see her puffy cheeks now? So fun! By the way, they are called Easter eggers because they can lay light blue, green, or even pinkish colored eggs! Bottom right is Esmerelda again. She is one of my favorite birds personality-wise. She still doesn't like to be petted, but she did perch on my hand one day while I was looking away and keeping an eye on Myka with the baby chicks. She scared the crap out of me!

            Here's good ole Bertha again recently. She was pecking my toes, the turd. Good thing I usually have boots on because she likes pecking at those too. lol

            Last, but not least, here are our newer chickies. We don't have names for them yet because I don't really have a feel for their personalities yet. ;) On the left are the two Brahmas and Amerecuana. Even though they other two are going to be huge in comparison and already obviously quite a bit larger, they are all buddies. We've tried putting the Brahmas in with the older girls and all three of them go into panic mode, trying to get back together. (We have the little ones "fenced in" in one corner.)
            Top right is the Silver Spangled Hamburg and bottom right is one of the Bantam Silkies. Look both up. The Hamburg is really pretty and the Silky is just a little ball of fluff!
            Well, there you have it. Told you I was nuts! In case you're wondering the other ones names (I'm sure you're not, but you're about to find out anyways) are, the Barred Rocks are Margaret and Julie, the other Silver-laced is Victoria, and the possible rooster Australorp is Australorpenegger (John came up with that one. I don't feel like explaining our crazy train of thought on that! lol).

            So, have I convinced you to get backyard chickens yet? They're fun and a lot more entertaining than you would think. They're kind of like cats as far as the amount of care they require. As long as they have food and water they go about their merry way. Plus, you can actually get food from them eventually! Damn freeloading cats! What do you have to say for yourselves?! lol Until next time...

The Chicken Chick 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Guidecraft Grippies Builders Giveaway

Guidecraft Grippies Builders 20-Piece Set Giveaway! ($40 RV)

Sponsored By: Guidecraft

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive a: 

Guidecraft Grippies Builders 20-Piece Set ($40 RV)

Grippies Builders is the first STEM toy made for toddlers! Perfect for ages 18+ months old! 

Be sure to check out Love, Mrs. Mommy's review HERE!

Open To US  - Must be 18+ to enter 
Giveaway Dates ~ 5/27 12:00 AM EST through 6/10 11:59 PM EST
Good Luck!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received this toy at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a new winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fighting Your Inner Introvert for Your Kids' Sake - Part 2

            Hey folks! Thanks for joining me again today. If you missed Part 1, you can catch it here. Today I am going to be sharing my own struggles with parenting as an introvert and suggesting ideas on what we can do to get out of our occasional “funks”.
             I thought this would be as good a time as any to write about this subject because I've been having a particularly difficult week. I'm one of those weird INFJ's* who is introverted, but still kind of extroverted and wants to get out and do things, even though it wears me out in all aspects. So, most of the time I can overcome my introverted, antisocial side and force myself to get out more for the kids' (mainly my 3 year old's) sake, but lately the introvert monster has been winning.
             Maybe it's just the gloomy, rainy weather we've been having, but I have not been able to make myself do anything “fun” this week. Usually I look forward to getting out of the house, but not this week. I have just not felt like being around people in general.
             I've been meaning to go to a local babywearing group's playdate day for awhile and was so excited to go last week until I learned that they had changed the location due to primary voting day. This week, I had no desire to go even though I really probably should get some help with this mei tai I'm borrowing. That's a story for a different post, though. ;)
             I was also excited to go to the summer kick-off party for our playdate group this Saturday. But, I was already wanting someone to at least watch Myka one weekend soon so that hubby and I can actually spend some much needed alone time for our anniversary. (He is even more introverted than I am and we really do need the alone time!...Especially since a certain 3 year old is no longer taking naps. :/) But, since this is the only weekend for awhile that my mom will be able to watch her, I decided to drop her off for the weekend instead of going to the party since I'm already being antisocial Annie. I've not been this bad for awhile. So, I'm taking it as a sign that I truly need a break, so I don't feel quite as bad for skipping the playdate party festivities in return for Myka spending the weekend at Gigi and Papaw's.
             The one thing I have been making myself do is take Myka to the free story time and music and movement class in Bloomington. She really likes it and gets to interact with other kids AND run around and dance, so I've been making myself get over myself and go. She has no concept of time, really, and didn't even realize it when we missed a week because she was sick, but I would feel guilty if I didn't take her to at least that just because I don't like going. Why? Because I feel like “Billy No Friends”, as my British friend would say. I realize I could attempt to strike up conversations too, but no one ever talks to me and I usually end up feeding Ripley on the bench outside (at least it's an indoor mall) because 1) I'm weird about nursing in front of a bunch of people and 2) there's usually no room inside because everyone else crowds in and there's no room. No, no. That's ok. I don't want to watch my kid or anything. Sorry. I guess that's a whole other can of worms...
             So, what's an introverted parent to do? In my opinion, all the alone time and help you can get, the better! Try to make at least a little bit of time for JUST YOU each day, even if this means getting up extra early or staying up a little late. (I'm writing this at midnight and the solitude is making me feel much less stressed out, not going to lie!) A nice, hot shower all alone without kids interrupting is heavenly too. Pop in a movie and away you go! I've always enjoyed collecting my thoughts during this time, personally.
             A reliable babysitter is crucial, whether it be a family member or other trusted person. Trust is the key here, otherwise you'll just worry about your kids the whole time, and that kind of defeats the purpose of having a sitter and relaxing, right? Even after I stopped working at a regular job, I still very occasionally had a trusted sitter watch Myka when it was just her. Again, everyone needs alone time!
             MAKE YOURSELF DO THINGS FOR YOUR CHILDREN! If you don't, you'll probably regret it at some point. I am starting to dread Thursdays (aka dance class days) more and more each week, but I see how much Myka enjoys it, therefore I make myself go. Because as parents, it's not always (and usually not) about us: the kids come first and foremost. 

             Do you struggle with being a “mom hermit”? What do you do to try to get over it?

*Check out either of these websites if you would like to learn more about the Myers-Briggs personality test and/or find out what your personality type is!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This Week in Photos-5/25/16

            Hey folks! It's been a long time since I've done one of these posts because, well, I've been pretty busy since having Ripley and just haven't had time for it! Let's give it another go starting this week...

            I've been dying to try more new diapers and covers out lately, but alas. We're not made of money. I did, however, buy a couple of "seconds" Osocozy prefolds from our local diaper store to try out. Sadly, this is the first "real" prefold I have ever had. Again, we've always used the cheap Gerber ones. I can't believe how much thicker, nicer, and more absorbent these bad boys are!

            Little Bit turned 4 months old last week! Time is going by too fast. With Myka, I couldn't wait for her to get older. With Ripley, I kind of want her to stay little forever. :(

            Yesterday we checked out a new play area at one of the parks in Bloomington. Other than only having ONE bench for adults to sit on (really, parks and rec?), it was nice and I love the idea of it being like the beach. In case it's not obvious, it's all sand! There was a lot more to do than I expected and shovels and the like are provided too. (Although we did bring a shovel and a bunch of trucks from home. Naturally, she was sooo excited to play with her trucks and she played with the big one for like 15 seconds once we got there.) Although it was still quite warm, I liked that it was shaded too!
            That's it for now. Until next time!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fighting Your Inner Introvert for Your Kids' Sake

             The world is full of all types of different people. Some of those people are introverts, some are not. I'm here to tell you that becoming a parent does not magically make you an extrovert, as nice as that would be some days. As some of you are probably already aware, it can be really challenging sometimes being an introverted parent, and I'm here to talk about my own struggles and what it's like.
             If you have no idea what I'm talking about, introverts are people who tend to like to reflect inwardly and spend more time alone than others to think. This doesn't mean we're antisocial, necessarily. We just need more alone time to recharge our batteries, so to speak. Extroverts thrive off of being around others, whereas being around large groups (or even small ones for long lengths of time) wears introverts out and can be mentally and physically exhausting.
             So, now that we're on the same page, what does any of this have to do with parenting? A lot, actually. Parenting can be exhausting enough for obvious reasons, but throw in an introverted personality and it can feel down right impossible some days. Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to throw a pity party for us. I just feel like it's something that should be talked about more because I have a feeling that it's a big reason for “parent guilt” in some.
             Parent guilt is something that we, as parents, will all deal with at some point in our parenting careers and, if we don't, we're probably doing something wrong. Lol I think introverted parents deal with it more than others. Why? Because we just can't constantly pay attention to our kids and/or interact with them constantly. This is obviously true of most parents, especially those with multiple children, but I think you understand what I'm trying to say here. It is just too physically, mentally, and emotionally tiring, as much as we may want to.
             That's not to say we're bad parents. We try our best and I wouldn't say we're neglectful by any means...but if we can't find ways to recharge and have at least a little bit of down time for ourselves throughout the day, or even have someone else watch the kids occasionally, we burn out quickly. That's when we start getting cranky, tired, and withdrawn.
             Stay tuned for part two where I share about my own experience and feelings about being an introverted parent and ideas on what we can do to battle it for our kids' sake!
 photo ThisMommasMeanderingMondays_zps5366bef9.jpg

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 7: Overall Experience

I missed you, ya crappy S.O.B.!

             Hey folks! It is day 7 (and the final day!) of the 2016 Flats and Handwashing Challenge!Hallelujah! Today I'll be taking about my overall exerience with the challenge, such as what I learned, would I do it, etc.
             As far as my experience, I really hated the handwashing. In fact, I disliked it so much that I will probably not participate in the challenge next year. Is it hard? No. Is it a pain in the ass? Very much so. Compared to what I read on how everyone else washed their diapers, I half-assed mine and still thought it was a pain.
             Speaking of which, I did something similar as far as the washing routine goes the second time I did a load, but it somehow went a little faster. Maybe it was because I was trying to hurry and trying not to get distracted so I could get them up soon enough to dry outside on the line. Either way, it was still more time consuming that I care for. I'll talk more about that in a minute.
             So far, (I'm cheating and writing this on Friday), I haven't had any issues with rashes and the diapers smell clean after they're washed and dried...but I noticed that after little miss peed on them they smelled...funny. Not like ammonia or anything, just, funny. Like dirty water or dish water. Not exactly the same, but that's the best comparison I can think of. If they do end up giving her a rash for some reason, I figure that gives me an excuse to quit the challenge early. :D (God forbid I clean the diapers better. :P)
             Like I said at the beginning of the week, I expected the handwashing part to be the real challenge, but good God. I've been reading other people on the Facebook group talk about how they don't think it's that bad or time consuming and some actually find it therapeutic...Really? Ok, ok. I'll stop complaining so much.
             For the handwashing part alone, no, I don't think this is a viable option for those who do not have access to or are able to afford a washer or dryer. It's just too time consuming. Chances are, if you're living somewhere without a washer/dryer or can't afford one, you and/or your significant other are probably working your ass off to make ends meet and the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day is wash diapers. I hate to make assumptions, but there it is. Who wants to wash diapers when you can be spending quality time with your kids, whom you may have only seen briefly all day? I realize how expensive the laundromat is nowadays, but I think I would still rather spend my money to do my laundry there and be able to spend time with my kid while doing so.
             Using the flats themsevles, though, is still a totally viable option, in my opinion. They're not hard to use, they're cheap, and they're easy to clean (and even quicker to dry!).
             So, as much as I don't mind most manual labor type things, I learned that I'm a whiny bitch when it comes to taking my washer and dryer for granted. (P.s. I totally cheated and still used the dryer for my fitteds that I used at night. :P) I still love my flats and will continue using them. Hopefully I'll even be able to try some quality ones out in the near future, even though the Gerber cheapies work just fine!
             How did your Flats and Handwashing Challenge go? Did you miss your washer too, or did it not bother you? Did you miss using other diapers during the challenge that you normally use?

Update: I totally cheated Sunday. I washed all the diapers in the washer because I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and air dry them. I plain and simple just did not have time to hand wash them!
Thinking Outside The Pot

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Crunchy Father's Day Giveaway

     We often talk about Crunchy Moms, but what about Crunchy Dads? Does that special man in your life love many of the same things that make Moms crunchy? Does Dad love the benefits of babywearing and wear baby in the carrier too? Does he enjoy cloth diapering as well? If you answered yes, then your baby may have a Crunchy Dad! Eating well, wearing baby, cloth diapers and loving a Green parenting lifestyle are for both parents. It's why I'm proud to have this giveaway focused on prizes just for Dad! Companies included have products that are great for Dad, baby and the environment. Check them out:

     Father's Day is quickly approaching! Looking for some Prizes for the Green Dad in your life? Here are some great prizes. The "Real Men Wear Babies" T-shirt from FreeSoul Designs features a burly man wearing his sweet little one in a baby carrier. Every Mom knows what makes baby happy...makes Dad happy. He may even have his own carrier in his favorite print and a few babywearing selfies on his phone. Free Soul Designs thought of every body type and this shirt goes all the way from Small - 3XXX and are also available in long sleeve.
     Geffen Baby has some of the most absorbent prefolds and boosters on the market! Made in the USA with their unique 60% Hemp 40% Organic Cotton, these diapers are both eco-friendly and a great addition to a Crunchy Dad's stash. Made in the USA these products also help our carbon footprint by not requiring transport from a country overseas to the USA. Included in this prize package is a Fleece Prefold and pack of 3 Super Absorbers in the winner's choice of size. You can find them at my affiliates Geffen Baby and Diaper Junction.

     What Father's Day Giveaway is complete without a Custom Embroidered Darth Vader Fleece Diaper Cover? Monkee Bumz is a WAHM shop offering IMO some of the most adorable custom embroidered fleece cloth diaper covers available! In addition to diaper covers, this shop based out of VA has hooded towels, gifts and children's clothing. Find her etsy shop full of really great products and make sure to "heart" it to see new items as they arrive!. 

     Being a Dad is hard work. Luckily, Garden of Life (my favorite place for prenatals) also makes Men's vitamins! With Organic, Vegan, Raw, Non GMO, Gluten-Free and Soy-Free products, there is something for everyone. The winner will receive both a MyKind Men's Once Daily Multivitamin -and- a Dr. Formulated Probiotic. Find their products right on their website or on my affiliate and favorite place to shop, Amazon for a huge selection and fast shipping.

     For the Giveaway! One lucky person will win this entire bundle of goodies valued at over $150. Giveaway is open to legal residents of USA/Canada 18+. Void where prohibited. 


  Disclosure; This is not a sponsored post. This post may contain affiliate links. This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. Open to USA and Canadian residents only , must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted through email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Mixed Bag Mama is not responsible for prize fulfillment. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions about this event contact Mama Banana's Adventures at: 

Friday, May 20, 2016

2016 Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 5: How We Make Flats Work

            Hey folks! Thanks for joining me again today for some more cloth diapering shenanigans. I've calmed down significantly since my angry post yesterday about washing, but let's just say I'm still glad this challenge is only a week long. ;)
            Today's topic is performance and technique; how we make flats work for us. While I'm not sure this is exactly what the prompt is referring to, I thought I would share our folding technique. If you're unfamiliar with flats, this is probably the easiest way to use them to start with. If you're deep into flat using territory, what we do is known as the boring old "pad fold". It's pretty straight forward and I've illustrated it below for all you newbs out there considering giving flats a try.

1) Lay your pieces out lengthwise. Fold both your full flat and half of a flat (I like to call them "makeshift doublers") in half.

2) Fold in half again.

3) Take your makeshift doubler (or the "halfsie", as I also like to call them) and line up one edge with the middle of the full folded flat.

4) Fold the full flat in half, making a sandwich of sorts.

            That's all there is to it! Stupid easy, right? There are all kinds of other fun folds out there you can try, but quite frankly, I'm lazy and this is easy. (Speaking of being lazy, sorry for the crummy photos. It was late, I was in a hurry, and I was tired. I know, I know. No excuses.)
            What is your favorite way to fold a flatfold diaper?


Thursday, May 19, 2016

2016 Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 4: Washing Routine

            Hey folks! Today's topic for the Flats & Handwashing Challenge is washing routine. Not that anyone is holding a gun to my head and making me post for each topic every day, but I'm really not looking forward to this one. Why? Because, as suspected, this has been the most difficult and pita aspect of this challenge so far.
             I've only washed diapers once so far this week. I had intended on trying something different and washing them each day for the rest of the challenge if it seemed easier, but I just didn't get around to it yesterday. Busy, busy, busy!
             The load I did do, I used my pre-wash solution for “soap”, which contains water, borax, washing soda, and a little bit of the blue Dawn dishing liquid. I mixed those up, well, actually Myka mixed them up for me. Ha ha Then, I let them soak for quite a bit...Longer than I meant to, actually, because, as usual, I got busy with something else and kind of forgot about them. (Story of my life!)
             I mixed them up so more then dumped the water out. I then squeezed all of the diapers out, filled the bucket with some vinegar water, and let them soak again for awhile. After that, I dumped the water out again, squeezed all of the diapers out, rinsed them with the diaper sprayer, and wrung them out again. I can't remember if diaper sprayers are “allowed” in the challenge and quite frankly I don't care. If I hadn't used that I would have just used our hand held showerhead in our bathroom.
             So expected, a giant pain in the ass. But hey, it's not called a challenge for nothing, right? Plus, I'm pretty sure I washed them too well. I only had one or two poopy diapers in the bunch and I use the pre-wash on them after spraying them off and before I lay them on the side of the dirty diaper hamper to dry. I also rinse the potty ones out in the sink right after I change baby girl's diaper so really, they weren't all that dirty to begin with. Needless to say, I'm definitely going to try something different the next time I wash them.
             Also, the whole air drying thing was a bit of a mess. I didn't get done washing the damn things until like 10:30 Tuesday night, so I had to find places to hang them to dry around the house, even though I knew they wouldn't be dry by morning since I had to stack some on top of each other. Usually I hang the ones I rinse right after diaper changes over the shower rod in our bathroom and they dry out in no time, especially if I turn the ceiling fan on. But, you quickly run out of space when there are like 9 flats and all of the “doublers” I use inside! 

             Luckily, it was a very nice day today here (finally), so I was able to line dry them outside. I normally try to line dry my diapers as much as possible, but haven't been able to do so for probably close to two weeks. Needless to say, the sunning did them good and most of them are nice and bright white again!
             I would really like to get one of those collapsible drying racks for the sole purpose of being able to air dry my diapers inside quicker on the days I'm not able to put them outside. If I didn't have access to a dryer, this would be a must!

Get Out This Weekend for Kids To Parks Day 2016!

 Photo Credit: National Park Trust

            Hey folks! If you missed it last week, I shared 13 Tips for Hiking With Kids. This weekend is the perfect opportunity to get outdoors because it is the National Park Trust's “Kids To Parks Day” this Saturday, May 21st.
             What is Kids To Parks Day? Basically, it is an initiative to get kids to explore their local, state, or national parks. Spending time in nature, exploring, and learning new things is beneficial for adults and children alike. And it's a great, fun, stress-relieving way to spend quality time as a family!
             You can pledge to take your kids to a park on Kids To Parks Day here. By doing so, you are entered into a giveaway and will have a chance at winning one of four prize packages! There will also be an Instagram photo contest in which you'll have the chance to win even more prizes simply by using the hashtags #KidstoParks and #BuddyBison on your social media photo shares. More details are to come on that, so be sure to check back on their website.
             Afraid your kids might get bored at some point on your hiking adventures? The National Park Trust has you covered there too. You can find a Boredom Busters guide here for ideas to liven things up or get your kids' natural curiosity piqued. There is also an Adventure Book you can download to take with you on your visit as well as other resources to keep your kids entertained.
             Some parks will be holding special events as well on May 21st. You can visit this link to find out if there is one near you! (Remember: Even if you're not near a national park, state and local parks may be participating in special events too!)
             So get out there this weekend and happy hiking!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Be a Stroke Hero!

 Did you know that May is American Stroke Month? Did you also know that 80% of strokes are preventable? Read on to find out what YOU can do to prevent strokes and what signs to look for to react in a timely manner to help someone out who may be having a stroke!
Big graphic

There are many super heroes out there. Moms, Dads, Grandparents, people who are simply lending a hand to others. We consider those people super heroes. Many of those super heroes are behind the scenes; they never get recognition for what they do, and that is okay with them. But what if you could be a super hero that saves lives? You might be thinking – wow, that would be a big deal – right? It is much easier than you might think!


May is American Stroke Month, so we’re working with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and the Ad Council to raise awareness about Stroke knowledge, prevention, and what to do in an emergency. Stroke is the No. 1 preventable cause of disability – and 80 percent of strokes are preventable! You don’t need superpowers to be a Stroke Hero.

  super hero 

You can be a Stroke Hero by controlling your blood pressure and other risk factors and by knowing F.A.S.T, the warning signs of stroke, so you’re ready to take action and help others know when and how to take action! Only 9% of us can identify all the letters in the F.A.S.T. acronym for stroke. When you recognize a stroke and immediately call 9-1-1, the person has a greater chance of getting to an appropriate hospital quickly and being assessed for treatment options like a clot-busting drug or clot-removing device. How to spot a stroke F.A.S.T. (the warning signs):
  • F - Face Drooping - Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A - Arm Weakness - Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S - Speech Difficulty - Is speech slurred? Are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like: “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T- Time to call 9-1-1 - If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
If you know someone who could be at risk for a stroke, or even yourself – take the #StrokeHero quiz. It is fast, easy, and could save your life or the lives of people that you love.

While stroke threatens millions of lives, it is largely preventable, treatable and beatable. Together, we can end stroke. Share this with your family, friends, co-workers and community by sharing on social media. You can share this post or tweet: You don’t need superpowers to be a #StrokeHero. Live healthier and know the F.A.S.T. warning signs -


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Mixed Bag Mama was not compensated for this post.

2016 Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 3: Don't Write Off Cheapies!

             Hey folks! For me, one of the main reasons I'm taking part in this challenge is to spread the love for flats. As I've mentioned before, we use the cheap Gerber flatfold diapers from Walmart. I'm always seeing people talk crap about them online, but, considering this is my second go round with them, I don't think they're nearly as bad as everyone makes them out to be. In fact, if you're really hurting for money, but still want to cloth diaper, they are probably one of your best bets.
             I'm sure name brand, quality flats are significantly better than the ones I use, but if you're in a pinch or just don't want to or can't spend more money to try out the “good ones”, these work just fine. They actually absorb a lot more than you might think. With Ripley, who is 4 months old now, I use a flatfold folded into a rectangle and half of a flat also folded into a rectangle (yes, I cut some of my flats in half to form makeshift doublers! Gasp!) inside of that and she is good for at least 3 hours, a lot of times longer.
             I used this same system with Myka up until she was potty trained, with an extra “doubler”. I will admit that near the end we started having quite a few problems with leaking, but by 2 years old, you really need something better or with more absorbency. It got to where she would be soaked after only 2 hours, sometimes less than that!
             Other than that, though, the “Gerber cheapies”, that most people evidently use as burp cloths, have served us well. Other than absorbing more than you would think, they're easy to use, dry really quick, versatile, and, one of my favorite things about them, if they start getting holes in them, you don't feel too bad about throwing them away and you won't go broke buying new ones at $12.34 for a 10 pack.
             Again, in the spirit of saving money, if you don't want to go this route, you can always look for a local buy/sell/trade cloth diaper group on Facebook. This can be a great way to buy diapers at a drastically reduced price to build your stash and/or try some out to find out what you like.
             How about you guys? If you use flats, what is your favorite type/brand?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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2016 Flats & Handwashing Challenge Day 2: Stash Day!

This post may contain affiliate links.

             Hey folks! Welcome to day 2 of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge! Today we're talking about our “stash”.
             I feel like our stash of flats is pretty boring. Like I've mentioned before, it's what I already use day in and day out. We didn't buy anything special just to take part in this challenge. Plus, we use the Gerber cheapies from Walmart. Definitely nothing fabulous about those! But, I'll talk more about those tomorrow. ;)
             As far as flats and covers being a viable option for parents who may be struggling financially, I think our set up is pretty affordable. I think I have about 11 or 12 full flats that I usually pad fold. (“Pad fold” is a somewhat nicer sounding term for “folding it into a boring rectangle”. There are tons of different ways to fold these out there!)
             I also have a bunch of flats that I cut in half. I then folded those in half twice and use them like doublers inside of the main, pad folded flat. And, of course, I have some covers. I usually have 3 or 4 in my rotation at a time and replace them once they're stinky or get poo on them. Or if it's laundry day and I remember to stick them in with the rest of the diapers. (I really need a better system. I've got diapers all over the house: Ones drying over the shower rod in our bathroom, some drying in the laundry basket in Myka's bathroom, some fitteds drying in the sunroom as part of an experiment...Yah. It's ridiculous.)
             Anyhow, let's talk numbers, or more specifically, cost. I mainly use Best Bottom covers, which retail for $16.95 each. Don't get me wrong: I love our Best Bottoms and they're definitely worth the money, but there are also less expensive covers out there if you really need to watch your spending. (I'm also a fan of Thirsties, though I have only tried their newborn covers.) We'll say you buy four, so that's $67.80. A 10 pack of the Gerber flatfold diapers from Walmart is $12.34. (Which, unless you have a newborn pooping all the time, will probably get you through close to 2 days. It does me, anyways, but I use fitteds at night.) Let's say you buy a second pack to cut up like I do and use them as doublers, so an extra $12.34. Altogether, that's $92.48. No matter how you cloth diaper, the upfront cost is going to be a little scary, but anything under $100 is definitely not bad!
             I know this post is supposed to be about MY stash, but I love diving in and trying to find even cheaper ways to cloth diaper to help other people out! (P.s. I also have a post on the cost of cloth diapering versus disposables.) So, let's say you buy four Thirsties covers instead at $11.50 each. That can bring your total down to $70.68! Plus, if you're brand new to cloth diapering, I highly recommend doing a lot of research on types of diapers and brands you are interested in. THEN, try to find a local buy/sell/trade group on Facebook so you can find what you need for even cheaper! Since finding out about my local group, I have bought a Sweet Pea fitted, that is normally $25 brand new, for $15 and two Sustainablebabyish fitteds for $15 for both, which are normally around $24 each!
             Thanks for stopping by today. Come back tomorrow when I'll be talking about why you shouldn't write off the “cheapies”!

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Thanks you to all of the bloggers promoting this giveaway. All of our giveaways are so much fun when we do it all together.

Now for the fun stuff. This giveaway is open to US. There are daily bonus entries for sharing this giveaway on your social media channels. It's okay to share it with your family and friends, they'll want to enter to win too!!

 I can't ask you to "Like" our pages but, if you see something you like, let us know so we can bring you more of it. 
We LOVE it when you "LIKE" our pages.

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None of the Bloggers promoting this giveaway are responsible for shipping the prizes. If you have any questions about this giveaway or the prizes please feel free to email Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews at or