Monday, January 29, 2018

Library Picks of the Week #1

            Hey folks! I love going to the library. In fact, it's our one social outing that I try to make sure we go to each week. While, to be honest, the kids could care less about the books, they do enjoy the alternating music/movement class and storytime that are held every Thursday. And I enjoy picking out books because I'm a weirdo, I guess. ;) So, I thought it would be fun to do a little post on our favorite library books from this week.

Z is for Moose

I've been making it a point for the past month or so to pick out a fun or interesting alphabet-related book. Myka is not one to sit and copy/trace letters in a workbook, so when it comes to learning the alphabet, it has to be something fun (a game) or that she is interested in. (i.e. Minecraft) I noticed that she also seems to respond well to alphabet stories, so I'm going with it!

It might just be the book nerd in me talking, but Z is for Moose is funny. Like, laugh out loud funny...To me. My husband was in the room when I re-read this the other night and even he laughed at at least one part! In fact, I feel like we enjoyed the book more than Myka did. (She liked it too and requested it at least once. I think she's just too tired to laugh by the time we get around to reading bedtime stories. Lol)

Moose is a little over-eager for his turn to appear in the story. He starts butting in on each page, wondering if his turn is next. But, you won't believe what happens when the story does finally get to letter “M”...

At first, Moose starts throwing a fit. Then Zebra keeps preventing him from ruining each page, which makes Moose even more upset, and he turns sad. Zebra makes everything better at the end, though. :)

I highly recommend this book because it's funny, especially for preschoolers/kindergarteners who already know some/all their letters and can understand why the book is funny.

Polar Animals

This is kind of like an EZ Reader, which I have also been getting for Myka more lately in hopes that she'll start picking up on words, reinforcing letters, etc. etc. Plus, I like nice short books because Myka's attention span still isn't great when it comes to reading books. We also happen to be doing Arctic stuff for school right now, so that was a big reason I chose this book as well.

To be honest, I've only looked at this book with Myka maybe once or twice without even reading all the text (we've been really bad about reading books lately :/), but Ripley was absolutely obsessed with it for days! Like, it was the only book she wanted to look at and made me “read it” with her. She had fun looking at the animals and naming different parts of them (eyes, ears, etc.).

What have you and your kids read lately?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cloth Diaper FAQ for Beginners & Cloth Curious

             Hey folks! It's been a long time since I've done an informative post on cloth diapers...Or any post on cloth diapers, really. With my third little one arriving soon, I've been stocking up on some extra diapers since I will have two in them for awhile! I also had a fellow pregnant mama on Facebook ask me some questions about cloth diapers. I remember how overwhelming it was when first researching cloth diapers (and have heard plenty of other parents say the same as well!), so I thought I would put a post together that (hopefully) answers a lot of your initial questions about cloth diapers!

*What do you do with the poo?

Might as well start off with the big one. There are several different ways to deal with the poo. When babies are still little/have runnier poo, a lot of people just stick their diapers straight in the wash since there are no solids. One method is the “dunk and swish” which is pretty much exactly like what it sounds like. You dunk and swish your diaper around in the toilet to try to get off as much poo as possible. My personal favorite is the diaper sprayer. It's a special sprayer that attaches to your toilet and you just rinse the poop off! (Seriously. Totally worth it and this is coming from a minimalist cloth diaperer. Lol) Also, if you go the sprayer route, companies even make special shields you can attach your diaper in and spray it off without worrying about water and other yuckies splashing everywhere. Welcome to modern cloth diapering. :)

*How do you wash them?

This question is a bit trickier to answer. Everyone has their own washing routine that depends on personal preferences, water type (hard water can pose special issues for getting cloth diapers clean), style of cloth diapers, etc. In a nutshell, from what I have read in cloth diaper groups, other blog posts, brand websites, etc., most people like to at least do a cold pre-wash with no detergent, warm/hot regular wash cycle with mild detergent, and another cold rinse. Most people wash their cloth diapers every 2-3 days to avoid stink and other issues.

Occasionally, you will have to strip your diapers if they start leaking, get smelly, etc., in which case you will need to use special detergents to get rid of build up. Grovia Mighty Bubbles is a popular one, some people swear by using the plain old blue Dawn dish soap, adding some white vinegar to your wash can help, and, as a last resort, you may try using a tiny bit of bleach in your wash. In general, bleach is really hard on your diapers and most people will only recommend it if absolutely necessary.

So, what about regular washing detergent? There are plenty of cloth diaper specific detergents for sale as well. Rockin' Green, Mollie's Suds, and Charlie's Soap, just to name a few. But, you can use regular laundry detergent as well, though as a general rule of thumb, the powdered versions are recommended. Tide powder seems to be a popular choice.

If you want a more in-depth idea of what a cloth diaper washing routine is like, check out this post from Simpli Sanders blog.

*What are all of these different styles/types?

I'm sure by now in your research that you have noticed that modern cloth diapering is WAY different from what it used to be! Instead of being stuck with flour sack towels and plastic pants, we have options! Options are great, but they are also overwhelming when first diving into the cloth diaper world and trying to decide which type would best suit your needs/personal preferences. I have a more in-depth, albeit somewhat old, cloth diapering page you can check out here to read more on each of the cloth diaper styles listed below. But, if you're looking for a quick CliffsNotes type list, here you go:

-Covers and Prefolds/Flat Diapers: Covers are just that: They are generally made with a waterproof material, such as TPU or PUL, have no absorbent material, and can be wiped out and re-used between washes if it is not soiled. Covers can be used with flats, prefolds, and fitted diapers (more on the latter in a minute). Flats and prefolds are similar to what our grandparents or great-grandparents probably used, BUT, there are a lot more options for materials to choose from. In general, they are going to be made from natural fibers, such as cotton or hemp. There are different ways you can fold them to use inside of your cover. This is the only part of the diaper that will need to be placed in the hamper after every use. Again, covers can be reused if not soiled. Some people find this diapering method to be too much of a hassle because of the folding and having to replace separate parts during changes instead of just tossing the whole diaper in the hamper. However, they are the most economic choice of cloth diaper.

-All-in-Ones: If you are looking for something that is similar to disposable diapers as far as being user-friendly, all-in-ones (AiOs) might be the best option for you. As the name implies, everything is included in these diapers: A waterproof outer cover with an absorbent inner. Regardless of pee or poop, you just toss these in the hamper after each use. The bright side of these is that they are great for babysittersr/daycares because they are easy to use. On the down side, you will need more of them (compared to covers and prefolds, etc.) and they tend to cost more.

-Pockets: Pocket diapers are very similar to AiOs in that they come with a waterproof outer cover and absorbent inner. The main difference is that there is a pocket where you can stuff even more absorbent inserts in if needed. Some brands come with one opening, usually in the back, where you can stuff inserts, while others come with both one in the front and back (which is nice so it's easier to make sure your insert doesn't bunch up). Being so similar, pocket diapers have the same perks and drawbacks as all-in-ones. They tend to cost more and you need more. But, you can pre-stuff them for easy use with caregivers.

-Fitteds: Fitted diapers are quite a bit different from all the others. They have no waterproof shell (outer layer) and are made completely of absorbent material, which can vary widely. Like prefolds and flat diapers, many fitteds are made from natural fibers, such as cotton, bamboo, etc. Since they have no waterproof covering, you will have to use these with a generously sized cover, as mentioned earlier, or some form of wool cover, shorties, etc. Many people like using fitteds for overnight use because they are so absorbent. (Plus a lot of times you can add more inserts as needed too.) These, of course, will need to be washed after every use. The natural, breathable material helps with preventing diaper rashes. The downside is that they can be pricey and not too many brands make one-size fitted diapers, meaning you will have to buy bigger sizes as baby gets bigger.

-All-in-Twos (Ai2s): Also known as hybrid diapers, these are similar to using covers and prefolds/flats. The main difference is that each brand of cover will come with their own set of special inserts that go with that brand of diaper. Generally, these inserts snap in, which is handy so you don't have to worry about shifting. You can reuse the covers between washings and simply replace the insert. These inserts also tend to come in more synthetic options, such as microfiber. While super absorbent, it's actually recommended to NOT have microfiber right next to baby's skin because it can cause rashes. (Which I can totally attest to with both of my kids. Just a word of warning.) Ai2s are fairly cost effective since you can reuse the covers between washings, therefore not needing as many as pockets or AiOs.

*How many do I need?

That really just depends on which style of cloth diaper you decide to go with...And a little on how much baby poops too. ;) We have used covers with prefolds religiously since our first daughter. We started out with 6 covers when she was born in October. We ordered two more at Christmas a couple months later and I found that to be a good amount as far as not feeling like I was washing diapers all the time. I would say 10-12 prefolds would be a good start. The amount is going to be similar for Ai2s.

For pocket diapers and all-in-ones, I have seen people recommend anywhere between 12 and 24.

Most people (that I know of, at least) use fitted diapers at night, so I would recommend at least 3. If you're wanting to use them in place of AiOs or pockets, you will need a similar number (12-24) and 6-8 covers.

*How/Why are they beneficial?

Another common question, especially from those who have their reservations about cloth diapers. There are lots of benefits of cloth diapers. First, many are made of natural fibers that can be grown again, unlike the materials used in disposables. Speaking of which, you are keeping thousands of disposables out of landfills, and that's pretty awesome! The natural fibers are also great at helping prevent diaper rashes because the material is breathable. Cloth diapers are also beneficial to your wallet. (You can read a full run down on cost of cloth diapers vs. disposables in this post.) Although, admittedly, the upfront cost of cloth diapers can be daunting, you save so much money in the long run. Last, cloth diapers have a fairly high resale price. Yes, you heard right. You can sell your cloth diapers when you're done with them! There are tons of buy/sell/trade cloth diaper groups out there.

*What do you do when you're out and about?

Short answer: Wet/dry bags. They are your best friend while cloth diapering on the go. A wet/dry bag has one pocket for storing clean diapers and another pocket lined with waterproof material, again, TPU or PUL, for soiled diapers. Simply change your baby like you normally would and store the soiled diaper(s) in the waterproof pocket until you get home! These come in all different sizes too, so you are sure to find one that works for your needs.

*What do you do with the soiled diapers at home?

This is up to you, really. We keep a small laundry basket in the bathroom with the sprayer for dirty diapers. Other people use hampers with a special bag or place them in a large, hanging wet bag.

What other questions do you have about cloth diapers? Do you use cloth diapers? What was your biggest question when you first started out?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Monday, January 22, 2018

5 Things Young Kids Can Learn From Minecraft

             Hey folks! I'm still trying to wean Myka off of her current Minecraft addiction. We are slowly making progress as I've gotten her to do some school stuff this week since our Arctic theme is full of fun art projects, science experiments, and other activities. Plus, she usually burns herself out on Minecraft after awhile and she's finally starting to reach that point. (Yes, I know I'm the parent, but when you're 8 months pregnant, also have a 2 year old that is into everything, and get tired or arguing and fighting all the time, you tend to do things you are less than proud of to regain some semblance of peace.)
             Anyways, I (begrudgingly) agree with John in that she does learn stuff from playing the game. I try to look on the bright side of things and jump on learning opportunities when I can, so I have come up with a short list of things even young kids (Myka is only 5) can learn/practice/be introduced to through playing Minecraft!

*Introduction to Recipes-Although Myka is usually in creative mode, she's been showing more of an interest lately in learning how to make things as opposed to “cheating” them in. She loves helping us cook and bake in real life as well, so it's provided a great opportunity to teach her about recipes, both on and off game. She's learning that you have to have certain items (ingredients) and they have to go in a specific order to make things. (Thank God for something that makes learning to follow directions more interesting and fun!)

*Counting-You can incorporate all kinds of counting in Minecraft. How many of each item do we need to make this recipe? How many animals do we have? (I'm OCD about having an even amount of animals to start off with. ;) ) How many blocks high and how many blocks long do you want your house? There are also certain aspects of the game where you need to know how many blocks away you are from something for things to work. For example, you need one block of water for every 4x4 area when growing plants. Also, if you do not have torches within so far of each other, more monsters are likely to spawn!

*Spelling-Since Myka is frequently in creative mode, she sometimes can't easily find what she's looking for in the giant inventory of items, so she asks me how to spell the items she is looking for. This helps with beginning to learn to spell certain words and work on letter sounds, not to mention...

*Letter Recognition-At the very least, I'm hoping all this is helping her remember some of the letters she has trouble remembering. Plus, I figure it will be beneficial knowing where they are at on the keyboard for later down the road when she learns to type properly.

*Visual/Forward Planning-Since building is half of the fun of Minecraft, there is a lot of visual planning involved. I was amazed the other day when I saw Myka working on the roof of her house in our new world. She was actually staggering it, making it even on both sides, and using stair blocks to make it more interesting!

Although if your kids play in creative mode as well, they can always go back and completely change their designs. But, I feel like they probably have some idea of what they want their buildings to look like ahead of time and what materials they would like to use, thus planning things out ahead of time.

Do you guys let your kids play Minecraft?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Yeacar Portable Airbed Giveaway

Welcome to the yeacar Portable Airbed Giveaway!

2 winners

This giveaway is part of our Valentine's Day Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Host that put together this giveaway is Michigan Saving and More
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.
Get more amazing deals with:


Today's Sponsor is:


1st Winner - Red only

Air Mattress

$118.95 RV each
See the review HERE.



This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 2/14/18. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pregnancy Journal #10: Why, Breech Baby, Why?!

             Hey folks! It's that time again! ;) It's hard to believe that I will be done with pregnancy journals in a mere 6 weeks, give or take. So, now that it's getting down to the wire, what am I worrying about this week?
             My biggest, all consuming concern this week is still baby being breech. Ugh. I can tell the little turd hasn't flipped because there was one day where he/she didn't move around much, but when they did, they kept kicking me in the cooter. -_-
             I'm sure it has something to do with my sometimes erratic moods, which I'll get to more in a bit, but I've started going back and forth between feeling totally helpless and absolutely convinced that this kid will not turn before it's too late and trying to be optimistic and doing more exercises to try and get baby to turn on his/her own. The doctor says if baby hasn't turned by 37 weeks, they can try an ECV (external cephalic version), which doesn't sound all that pleasant, but it's better than nothing, I guess, IF it works. If you're not familiar with the term/procedure, basically the doctor tries manipulating the baby from the outside by pushing around on your stomach. I hear it's uncomfortable, to say the least. If that doesn't work, I'll be scheduling a c-section, which is why I can't help but obsess over baby's position.
             I'd like to think I've mostly come to terms with the very real possibility of having another c-section, but I'm not sure if that's true deep down. I had one with my first because she got stuck/didn't descend right/or something along those lines after pushing for 3 hours to no avail. But, I have always been a strong advocate for medically necessary c-sections only. And honestly, there really aren't as many medically necessary reasons for a c-section as many doctors would like you to believe. Unless you or baby are in distress, you have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes complications, you're bleeding out, or have a breech baby (even that is debatable by some), there isn't really a need to have a c-section, as far as I'm concerned. Having a predicted “big baby” is NOT a reason to get one and the lamest excuse in the book for a doctor to perform a c-section. But, I'm getting off topic again...
             The fact that I might have to have a c-section just because my kid is deciding to be stubborn early makes me both mad and irritated (and a little sad). I know it's out of my control, and perhaps that is what is so infuriating and frustrating. I will admit that I have some control issues in general. ;) (That's probably why I like playing the Sims and Minecraft so much!)
             For me, and I'm not trying to belittle those who have also had c-sections for whatever reason, having a c-section is just not the same as giving birth vaginally. Having my VBAC was the best experience of my life, as corny and cliché as that sounds. It's just something I've always wanted to do. I know I should be happy I got to experience that at least once, but I just can't get past some things.
             As you probably know, we have been team green this time. Thinking about having to have a c-section makes me question whether I want to wait to find out now or not. Like I said, it's just not as...exciting. I'm not sure that's the right word I'm looking for, but that's the best I have right now. On one hand, it would be silly waiting this long to find out the gender and then going ahead and finding out right before the birth anyways. Plus, it would still be nice to wait for my husband's sake, if that makes sense. You know, so he can find out first hand still? I don't know. I feel kind of stupid for even thinking about changing my mind this late in the game. We've waited this long. Must as well wait, even if it's not the birth I had in mind, right?
             Other than all of that crap, I really need to stop being pregnant during the winter. (Not that that will be an issue ever again after this one! Ha!) It's been really rough with my seasonal affective disorder sometimes since I “can't” take the herbal supplement I usually use when I'm not pregnant. I have a feeling it hasn't helped with my wishy-washy feelings on things, as I mentioned earlier. It's so much easier to fall into the apathy trap, which is no fun. It's been better lately, so I hope it stays that way...Though I'm not holding my breath once my weekly doctor's appointments start. :/
Ultrasound next week! Cross your fingers Baby Ninja turns head down by then. :)
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Monday, January 15, 2018

To Homeschool or "Real School"?

            Hey folks! Who knew that just taking a few days off from school stuff, spending multiple days with both sets of grandparents, and getting re-addicted to Minecraft over the holidays would make for such a hard time getting back into the swing of things! In fact, it was bad enough that I started seriously questioning whether I was making the right choice in homeschooling Myka. I mean, I'm about to have another baby and her attitude was HORRIBLE! Could I really handle her tantrums, bad attitude, etc. with two other kids to care for?
             I won't go into details on all of the behavior issues, but I will admit that it was bad enough that I was actually looking into “regular schools” and considering putting her in kindergarten next year. Which, not that you know, but I feel like is saying a lot because homeschooling is something that I've wanted to do with our kids since Myka was a baby. Even considering public school made me feel like a failure, like I was giving up. And, as stupid as it may sound, the whole thing made me really depressed for a week.
             I was so torn on the issue, that I made a list of pros and cons...and was actually surprised to find there were more perks to her attending a regular school. However, I felt like the cons held more weight, if that makes sense. Everyone and everyone family dynamic is different, but here is my list. Tell me what you think:

Pros                                                                                        Cons

Not as stressed                                                                    Drive time
More time to spend with little kids                                 Waking kids up early
Less yelling all the time                                                      Expensive
Myka gets more social interaction                                   Won't be able to take trips whenever we want
Will probably listen to someone else better                  More likely to be sick more often
Will get caught up/won't fall behind on academics
May be able to get help with speech issues

We wouldn't be able to take impromptu visits like this.
 Or go fishing in the middle of the week in spring.

              I made this list with Myka attending a charter school the next county over in mind. If I'm going to get her into regular school, I would feel better about her attending the charter school after all of the great things I've heard about it. Plus, we moved here with no intentions of sending our kids to public school because, quite frankly, if that were a factor, we probably wouldn't have moved here, to be honest. So...That just added to the depression.
             I asked around on a local mom's group about how much it would cost to enroll Myka in kindergarten at the local elementary school and was told the book rental fee was around $100. WHAT?!I couldn't believe it! When I replied with, “$100 for kindergarten books?!” she went on to say, “Oh, they just call it that. It also covers classroom supplies, paper, etc.” Um, like John said, what the hell are our taxes paying for when it comes to schools? And the fact that they have this fee on top of the other supplies you have to purchase, which also include some classroom supplies? I'm sorry. I know I'm new to this world of public school, but I don't get it. What does the school help pay for/provide? Do the poor teachers have to pay rent for their classroom space, for God sakes?
             Anyways, sure, the charter school would be even more expensive with having to buy uniforms as well (which I'm not crazy about), but it seemed like a better investment. The main issue with sending her there is having to pick her up and drop her off and it takes about 25 minutes to drive there...And this would be twice a day. If you haven't realized already, I was mostly considering sending her to regular school to get a freakin' break. That driving twice a day, rain or shine, having to wake up THREE kids, didn't seem like much of a break. 

It's not like we do hardcore schooling yet anyways. We do lots of arts, crafts, and hands-on projects.
              After talking it over with John, he still isn't crazy about sending her to public school either. (I know, I know. I'm the one who will be doing the schooling, but he gets input too!) Plus, he says where we live that public schools can require your children to take medicine if they are labeled as being ADD/ADHD?! Like, I guess there was a court case regarding this a few years ago. I haven't actually looked it up, but I don't know what reason he would have to lie about it, so that is just frightening. She hasn't been, but we are afraid Myka would be diagnosed with something like this if she goes to public school just because she would probably have a hard time sitting still for as long as they want, would talk too much because she just really likes talking and doesn't quite understand that you're not supposed to talk whenever you want at school, etc. And quite frankly, we shouldn't expect little kids to sit still that long or keep to themselves all day. But, I guess that's a whole other debate for another blog post.
             Anyways, after all that, we have decided to keep trying to homeschool. She's still young. Some days are better than others. She made a lot of improvement in her attitude the week after. I'm still trying to slowly get her back into the swing of things as far as “school stuff” goes....As well as find ways to use Minecraft to my advantage for learning opportunities. ;)

I'm sure this won't be the last time I have a crisis over whether or not I should send her to school, but I am trying harder to stay positive and not let the bad days (or attitudes!) get to me as much!
Have you ever panicked over how/where to school your kids? How did you come to the right decision?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Teach My $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway

Welcome to the Teach My $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway!

1 winner

This giveaway is part of our Valentine's Day Gift Guide – Stop by to see all the giveaways and great products.
This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!
Host that put together this giveaway is Michigan Saving and More
Below is a list of all the bloggers involved in the gift guide giveaways.
Now let’s get to the sponsor!


Teach My $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway Ends 2/14

$50 Choice of Products

$50 RV each
See reviews HERE HERE or HERE.



This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 2/14/18. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Bathtime Learning Games

            Hey folks! I know all kids learn differently, but mine in particular seems to learn best from full body and/or hands on experiences. She still has a hard time remembering some letters, so I try to find games to help her learn/remember. I had some ideas in the bathtub the other night with our new foam letter and number set and thought I would share in this short video!

P.s. Here is the link to the product if you're interested:

What do you (or have you done in the past) to help your little ones learn letters and numbers?
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Monday, January 8, 2018

Best of Our 2017 Christmas Toys

            Hey folks! Now that the holidays are over, I thought it might be fun to share with you what toys were hits with our kids so far. (Plus, I have to admit I'm slacking on having blog posts ready AND have been working on getting our YouTube channel up and running again, so I thought this one would be fairly easy to put together at the last minute, to be honest.) I think we can all agree, it can be kind of a crapshoot when it comes to getting toys for children, even our own. It's happened more than once for us, at least, that we have gotten Myka something we thought she would love and she wasn't really all that into it.
             Anyways, here are the top items our girls have been into so far. Hopefully this gives you some ideas to save for next holiday season or for birthdays this year. :)

(As usual, I apologize for the blurry pics. It's especially hard with the little one!)

melissa and doug latches barn
Latches Barn

One of my aunts got this for Ripley (2) and she's been pretty obsessed with it. She does, of course, need help with some of the latches, but she likes wallering all over the couch with it and putting her animals “to bed” and locking it back up. ;)

play tool bench for kids
Play Tool Bench

This is probably the biggest hit of everything. Myka (5) and Ripley both enjoy playing with it. It came with a lot more stuff than we realized, which is even better since we got it on sale from Rural King. It came with a battery operated drill, which is their favorite, naturally, a wrench, hammer, gears, nails, screws, and some other things I'm probably forgetting.

alphabet and number magnets
Alphabet & Number Magnets

I got these for super cheap at Walmart. ($5, I think.) I like them because they have big magnets on the back that I don't have to worry about anyone choking on if they fall out like our other (even cheaper) ones. Plus, they have pictures to coordinate with their letter or number as well. Ripley likes playing with them more than I thought she would.

Speaking of letters and numbers, I also bought a foam set for the bathtub for cheap at Walmart, so we've been squeezing in some learning there too. ;)

kids loom
Kids Loom

My mom got this for Myka and honestly, I was afraid she would get frustrated with it 1) Just knowing how she is personally and 2) It's for ages 6 and up and she is only 5. BUT, she was actually really into it and caught on quickly! She's only worked on it a few times, which is a whole other story for another post, but Myka actually got quite a bit more done than I thought she would! (More than what you see in this picture. ;) )

                             Image Source

Cuttable Play Food

Both of the kids have played quite a bit with their “new” play kitchen that we confiscated from my parents house. They especially like pretending to cut things, so getting this set was a no-brainer. Ripley has some trouble and needs help, but that's to be expected. Admittedly, some of them are kind of hard to do!

What were your kids favorite gifts from this holiday season?

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Pregnancy Journal #9: This Kid Has Big Feet!

             Hey folks! I really felt like titling this post “Bitch, bitch, bitch”, but I figured that would be inappropriate for a “family-friendly” blog. ;) Seriously, though, this week has been the kind that you can't wait for it to be over. It could always be worse, of course, which I remind myself of frequently, but settle in for the ramble...

             The day of my most recent appointment did not start off well. My mother in-law, who was supposed to watch the kids, texted me around 10:30 asking if I “would want to drop the kids off at the fishing dock...Then when you're done, you can pick them up there. Too nice a day to spend inside. :)” You see, my mother in-law is obsessed with fishing. She had texted me the day before too asking when my appointment was because “they might go fishing. Not many nice days left.” Ok. I figured she just meant in the morning if they did go since my appointment wasn't until 1:45.
             Needless to say, I was more than a little irritated. For starters, it was not THAT warm out. Certainly not enough for a 5 and almost 2 year old to be outside for an extended period of time, especially being windy on the lake. She did mention bringing gloves and hats and whatnot, but just no. No, I do not feel like packing even more stuff. Second, and more importantly, no, I do not want to drive 30+ ****ing minutes altogether out of my way to drop the kids off when it already takes me at least an hour, usually more, to drive to the doctor...One way.
             It probably goes without saying that I took the girls with me, even though she said “we will be out there if you change your mind.” It's all fine and dandy if they don't want to/can't keep the girls sometimes, but to spring that shit on me less than 2 hours before I was planning to drop them off?! I don't think I'm over-reacting here, but that's just rude. On that note, I also posted in the moms group for our county on Facebook looking for an occasional babysitter...
             Then there was the actual appointment. It wasn't terrible, but some things have me a bit worried now. Which sucks because I've been doing really well about now worrying so much this time. Baby is looking good, but the technician claims that he/she is 3lbs 12oz. (72nd percentile) at 30 weeks...Sorry, but I don't believe that for a second. Baby Ninja was measuring a week and a half behind at my anatomy scan around 21 weeks. Now all of a sudden they have ballooned up that much? I never believe ultrasound guesstimates anyways. Have you ever heard anyone gush over their accuracy? Didn't think so. Plus, they were using a new machine. Like, there was some extra lady in there helping the regular technician learn how to use it. Don't even ask me how I feel about being a guinea pig for some things...
             My worries about the position of the baby were confirmed at last...Kind of. I was wondering if baby was still lying transverse (sideways), but, as it turns out, he/she somehow managed to flip around, facing the opposite way, and has his head under my ribs and butt down next to my cervix. -_- So he's breech. 

 Am I the only one who thinks ultrasound pictures are kind of creepy? Don't even get me started on those 3 and 4D ones! Stuff of nightmares, I tell ya...

             I keep reading and having people tell me that you don't have to worry too much about this position until you get closer to 36 weeks, but my kids are stubborn. All of them. I can't help but worry. Between this and supposedly measuring on the larger side, I am super worried they are either going to try and induce me or have me schedule a c-section. I'm not sure which would be worse, really. I've done it all: induction, which was horrible and lead to a c-section, and a natural, drug-free VBAC. The latter was a much more pleasant experience and way easier recovery!
             Not surprisingly, they found that my iron was low too. I've had to take iron supplements with every pregnancy, so I can't say it came as a surprise. Plus, I don't eat a whole lot of meat, especially this time. I can stomach it now, but not much. I'm not a big meat eater when I'm not pregnant. It's not, like, a vegetarian thing. (Hello! We live on a farm with chickens and pigs! Lol) It just sort of grosses me out. I'm very picky about it. Anyways...
             It wasn't my favorite nurse to begin with that gave me this news, but I thought she was a little on the dramatic side. Evidently my iron level was 8.9 and around 12 is normal. She kept going on and on about how she couldn't believe I could even function and wasn't tired all the time. (Honestly, I've not been any more tired than usual. My sleep deprivation is catching up to me, but that's about it.) She also warned that if it got low enough I would have to have blood transfusions?! The doctor didn't say anything about that, so I'm taking it with a grain of salt. It wasn't like she said it in a helpful way, either. It was more like fear mongering. (Probably because I don't take my prenatal vitamin any more. *gasp *) I'll be a good little girl and start taking my iron again, though...Juuuussst as soon as I find it! Lol
             They just started measuring my belly at the last appointment or two. He said I'm measuring way ahead again, but I was thinking, “Who cares?!” because the ultrasound showed that the baby wasn't a monster and my fluid levels were normal. Like my last pregnancy, I still claim it's because I'm short and bloated all the time. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
             So yah...It was a somewhat eventful doctor's visit. I'm not looking forward to the extra ultrasounds again since they still claim I have gestational diabetes. I'm trying to at least not bitch about them as much since there's nothing I can do about it. (Although I am tempted to try and decline one to see what they do because I am cheeky like that. I mean, shit. It's my body, right?)
             I will definitely be trying to get more motivated to do more yoga and exercises to turn this little breech jerk too. Hopefully it doesn't come down to having to do the ones on Spinning Babies because, while everyone swears by them that I have heard from, they are crazy! I have read that some breech babies can even turn at the “last second” during labor, but I will definitely be arming myself on more information on that! I already feel like I need all the help I can get to avoid another c-section, especially, like I said, they try to play the “big baby card” on top of the poor position.

Sorry this ended up being so long! I just really needed to vent. If you've stuck around this far, thank you. Have you ever had issues that doctors tried to use to get you to have a c-section?

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

Monday, January 1, 2018

Cute and Functional Baby Gifts From Hello Snuggles (Review)

             Hey folks! Maybe I just notice it more because I am pregnant, but it seems to be the season of the babies! If they didn't already give birth in the fall, I have lots of old school friends expecting babies in the spring and early summer next year as well.
             Although most, if not ALL, pregnant women make baby registries if they plan on having a baby shower, it can still sometimes be tricky trying to find just the right gift (and within your budget!). Maybe you waited until the last minute and there is nothing left on said registry within your price range. Maybe you're crazy like me and worry that people aren't going to have things taken off the registry as they buy them, so you almost prefer NOT to buy anything from it in fear that you will be getting your friend or family member a duplicate. (Obviously not an issue in the case of diapers!) OR, also if you're like me, you want to give the mama-to-be something cute AND something functional. If any of the aforementioned sounds like you, read on because I have the perfect baby shower gifts to share with you today!

             Hello Snuggles specializes in snuggly soft baby gifts, including blankets (hooded and regular), swaddles, bibs, onesies, and snuggles (little, plushy, animal friends). There are also snuggle sets, which include a super soft blanket and snuggle friend. With so many items to choose from, you're sure to find the perfect gift that is cute, functional, AND budget-friendly!

             We recently had the opportunity to check out the Feather Arrow and Fox Snuggle Set and Baileythe Bunny Snuggles. While yes, both of my kids are a bit old for these items, they still had fun checking them out with me and I figured they will come in handy when the new baby arrives. :) Here are our thoughts and what we liked about these items:

*Both of my girls LOVE soft stuff. Ripley really likes the arrow blanket and fox from the snuggle set. They are her two new bedtime go-to's.

*Ripley is almost 2, so it probably comes as no surprise that the blanket is almost too small for her. (Blankets measure 30 x 36 inches) Mostly because she squirms around so much!

*There are plenty of other uses for the blanket. They are great for the winter, especially for using in the car to cover a baby or toddler up (since it is recommend to NOT let your little kids wear big coats in their car seats).

You can also use them as a nice soft area for tummy time when baby gets a little older, for covering baby's lap while they are in a bouncy seat, for those of you (like us) who like to keep your house a little cooler at night, and, even when they are older, the blankets are the perfect size to use with baby dolls!

*Again, these are perfect gifts for a baby shower since they are cute AND functional! (And decently priced.)

*I really liked that there were plenty of, what I thought, gender neutral designs to choose from. That was part of the reason I picked the arrow and fox set out since we aren't finding out what baby #3 is until he/she gets here. I picked Bailey the Bunny out because Ripley LOVES “nunnies”. ;)

             Be sure to check out all of the adorable items Hello Snuggles has to offer. Your pregnant friend will thank you. ;) You can stay up-to-date with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

I received free products in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.
This Is How We Roll Thursday Party