Saturday, July 23, 2011

60% off through August 15- Barefoot Books

Barefoot Books' annual Summer Sale is here! We invite you to take this opportunity to save up to 60% on our bestsellers such as Driving my Tractor and The Animal Boogie, as well as some of our Bear bilinguals and other popular titles. See below for a small selection of our sale titles--and don't forget to check out the new additions to our collection of books with enhanced CDs!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Little Beetle Learner Review First Impression

Little Beetle Learner (Organic Cotton Velour Training Pant)

These are Better For Babies, Inc early potty learning training pants. The concept behind this trainer is incredibly appealing to me. They use two layers of  fair trade organic velour cotton, with a third layer tucked into the wet zone no PUL or other waterproofing layer. I search for fair trade and local made products in general to reduce my carbon footprint. However the no PUL does worry me a bit. I'm nervous about the absence of the waterproof layer on a early trainee.

My first impression of the actual trainer in my hand is not the best. They are a very thick trainer, they look like a fancy dress and I am not excited about the snaps on the sides and their placement so close to the edge of the fabric. I may have an irregular one??? I washed the trainer in Eco Sprout detergent that is safe for cloth diapers, free from dyes, brighteners, enzymes, phosphates, & is SLS free. The velour pilled just a little bit. Keep in mind this is my first impression and I have yet to give it a fair chance.

Declan's first impression was excited it was yellow his favorite color. He chose this trainer above the others to try first.` It even was tried on his favorite bunny. He however did call it a diaper and argued that this is not big boy undies.

The Little Beetle purchased is size Medium. 2/3 years 24 - 35+. They seem to run small. I think I should have got a large for my 30 pound 2 1/2 year old. It was hard for me to pull up and down and Declan was not able to at all. As you can see Declan's tummy protruded over the front of them.

Declan did pee in them as I expected. The pee came right through on to his pants and on to the ground. What I wasn't expecting while I was taking these photos Declan went into our bathroom and pooped.  Sonny our four year old came running out saying poop was on Declan's fingers. I walked in the bathroom to look in the potty and stepped in his poop that was on our bathmat. After cleaning his hands and my foot Declan sat on the potty, tooted and peed just alittle more. He got a big hug and a bath.

I'm not sure if you can tell from the photo of the open trainer but the back snaps on the right are a smaller cut than the ones on the right. This make me really think I got on irregular one now. I wonder if the store I got them at will take them back after they have been used.?

Enter this Giveback/Giveaway for a chance to win this trainer in one of our random drawings. Ends 10/17/11

Little Beetle Learner Review - A day at Preschool

First Wash

Second Wash
  • The second wash it looks and feels about the same as the first wash. I'm still convinced  that it is lopsided but it could be that it's all natural fibers and has shrinking.
Declan started the day off in his Little Beetle at school. I let his teacher know that this trainer says it's for the early learner however there is no waterproof layer. Tonight when I came to pick Declan up she said he had extreme difficulty pulling the undies down in time and peed all over his shirt and undies.The only reason his shorts are still dry is because he took them off before his dash to go potty. Preschool really wants a trainer that doesn't leave a mess or I'm sure more people wouldn't have to talk them into cloth. This wont would not be the one to convince them.

I don't think we are going to try these for a nap time. In my opinion these trainers are not for early learners. found they cost anywhere between $20 and $23 dollars. The Little Beetle website says you can pair them with  a soaker or covers but isn't that just an over priced non-absorbent cloth diaper.

I wont be purchasing anymore of these trainers or giving them another shot. If any of my readers what this exact pair I did the review with contact me and I can have it arranged.

Enter this Giveback/Giveaway for a chance to win this trainer one one of our random drawings. Ends 10/17/11

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mother-ease Training Pants Review First Impression & Preschool

Mother-ease Training pants. My first impression was cute frogs too bad they are white. They look puffy. They are not too thick and the inside is super soft. Again the concept behind this trainer is super cool. This is one of Mother-ease Eco Theme prints designed by a graphic designer who has MS. They have a print for each of the world's different ecological systems. They have PUL making them waterproof. Something I think a new trainee needs. The inside is a white cotton terry the outside is waterproof polyester cover. There is an elastic waist and the legs have a cotton cover over elastic. I got a size large for 30 to 40 pounds. To me it looks kind of big. I washed them in Eco Sprout before washing them and they looked exactly the same coming out of the wash as they did going in.
Declan I don't think was to crazy about this one. When I tried to put him in it he ran yelling I don't want it. After offering him a bribe he reluctantly put them on and let me take his picture.

Once I got him in the trainer they were puffy buy not to big. I could pull them up easy and so could he. That's a One star for these trainers so far. I tried these on him just before lunch and laid him to nap. Instead of napping he pooped. He climbed out of his crib knocked on the door. I got him up checked his pants only saw  that he peed. When I pulled them off the outside was dry. Then I noticed the poop. It was yucky but easy to drop in the potty and flush away. These trainers earned their second star.

Unfortunately I did not get to try them on with clothes to see if the puffy interfered with the size of his pants but this only a first impression and we will try them a few more time before recommending them to anyone.

Preschool and the wading pool.
This trainer was also used at preschool today. No accidents and made it through nap. Nap at preschool is about two hours long. I didn't get a photo of him with clothes over them again. I know what your thinking...lazy Mama. I do know when I got to preschool I had to look inside his shorts to see if he was still wearing the Little Beetle. I could not tell they were puffy at all. His teach said they are supper easy to pull up and down for both him and the teachers.

Now the reason I didn't catch a photo of him in these trainers and his shorts was we jumped in the wading pool as soon as we got home. It's ninety degrees her in California today and my poor sweaty little kids needed to cool off clothes and all. This actually is what was another selling point for me. No they did not keep the water off him while he swam around but what they did do that was impressive was hold a cup of water just like a plastic bag. I pulled them off of him and literally had to dump the water out. These are my new errand undies.

Out of five stars. This trainer got four from me.
  1. I have washed this trainer a few times and it looks the same as the day I got them.
  2. They held poop and pee in while Declan climbed out of his crib and played a while before we caught him.
  3. They are very easy for him to pull up and down.
  4. They have incredible absorbency.
The only thing that did not excite me is I like color. Color excites my kids and I think it's a big part of potty training fir the child to be excited.

I have seen these trainers going between $14 -$16. I'd recommend them. I think peace of mind is worth the cost. Disposable pull up style trainers cost about that for one package. If my math is right Declan goes through about 3-5 changes a day as an early trainer. If he's like his old brothers he will be in the early trainee group between 5-7 months and then an occasional accident trainee another year going through about 10 changes a week. Not including trips to the pool are playing in sand or mud for another 6 months to a year. That's about 720 changes during the early training and about 320 changes for the later learning phase. Your look at around 1040 changes during training.
There are about 24 disposables in a pack at about $15 would be about 44 packages of pull up style trainers costing you about $660 for one child. I would recommend buying between 6 to 10 trainers including two good ones for over night and spend $160 -$180 save your pocket book and earth at the same time.

I would recommend Mother-ease as a good choice in trainer.
Enter this Giveback/Giveaway for a chance to win this trainer in one of our random drawings. Ends 10/17/11

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today is the MRI

Yes I know I already had an MRI a few months back and got diagnosed with a whole mess of issues in my lower back causing pain.We today they are searching for other disorders that can be causing the numbness I have on the right side of my body. Yes my back still hurts so bad some days I just don't get out of bed.

I appreciate the thoughts and prayers and kind words of support you my friends have been giving me. 

The truth is I'm scared. I'm not in my usual frame of mind where I'm happy and working towards a greater cause. I got a certified letter today from my job telling me if my disability benefits don't go from a denied status to a approved status my medical benefits will end August 1st. I have Kaiser. Even when you're talking face to face to a living person at Kaiser you're never talking to the right person and that person is never reachable. Letters from my doctor taking me off work and my diagnosis just aren't enough proof. They want my MRI, x-rays and clinical notes.

I sent my hubs a text message yesterday to just shoot me I can't take this anymore. It was half a bad joke but there is a piece of me that really wants this over and I feel like a guinea pig having layers of trial and error that they can throw away when the insurance is over. I would say I'd just go back to work so they continue on but that will end my career with my job of 11 years since I've been home almost 2 months now. They are corporate and I'm expendable. The fact I'm pretty close to getting my own handicap plaque for my car doesn't count.

Anyhow a few extra prayers, thoughts etc are really needed for me right now. I'm just going to turn to God and know he has a path for me.

Thanks again for reading while I whine.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Breastfeeding Adventure Part 2 NICU


This is a picture of my second born child minutes after his birth and before he was taken away to live his first week of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kaiser Walnut Creek. Sonny was born at thirty-five weeks gestation.  I'm sure this happens with all pregnant women, the doctors advise you take note of how often your baby moves in two hours. Well my baby stopped moving. I was monitored twelve hours and after talking to my doctor we decided it would be in Sonny's best interest to induce.

Sonny was born bright blue and not breathing. They handed him off to me long enough to to take the photo above before rushing him off to the NICU. My husband recorded his first weak cry on his cell phone an hour after his birth. I was finally reunited with him several hours later when Warren expressed to the doctor we were missing out on valuable bonding time. I was examined and shown  the way to see my baby. I didn't leave him longer than to let the nurses change shifts. At first he was feed nothing but liquid through an IV. I was given a pump. I feed my baby the colostrum drops with an eyedropper at first. I wasn't getting much of anything and had my husband bring my pump from home. The lactation nurse gave me to new tubing and cups. The first day or so I produced maybe 4 ounces. I was getting stressed out and the nurse offered my baby a bottle of formula. Once he was taken off the breathing tubes it was my turn.

Every time before I nursed Sonny I changed his diaper and had it weighed. I took his temp and then I had my chair positioned just so if he moved the alarms from his monitors wouldn't go off. Sonny lost over a pound his first week. However we knew he was getting milk since his diaper weight was increasing even after the IV came out. The next time they had me pump was before they put him in the light box for his jaundis. I pumped more into Sonny's bottle than he could eat. At the end of day five in the NICU we got to go home. I kept Sonny in the bassinet next to my bed. I woke every 45 minutes to feed him. When he got a little bigger he came into our bed.

I was very lucky with Sonny. The laws changed since I had his sister six years earlier. I was given time off to bond with my baby. I stayed home and nursed on demand.  It wasn't until after Sonny's first birthday I went back to work. The laws protecting nursing mother's got much better. I was provided a room with a lock to use my pump in. I could go over my break and lunch up to fifteen minutes in order to relax and pump paid. Sonny's daycare was close to work and I would go to his school on my lunch and nurse him into his nap.

This was great. Then I found out I was pregnant again a month after returning to work. The pregnancy made me very sick and I was home a lot with Sonny nursing away. Sonny never took a bottle during this time. Only sippy cups of breast milk or Mama. I wouldn't have traded this bonding with my baby for anything.

To be continued .....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Earthy Crunchy Mama Giveback #Giveaway #ErgoBaby

This is Cole.
Every true follower of my blog has read about Earthy Crunchy Mama by now. Yes this is my favorite Internet Store, yes I chat with her a bit on twitter year she is a person. Her name is Jennifer. Even though I met her as a customer I value her opinions and she my friend. Last night she threw a tweet out that she is trying to raise money to self publish a children's book. Not for profit but as a give back. Jennifer's son was born with Progressive Infantile Scoliosis and the book she wrote is a children's book to help explain to young kids and their families and friends about the treatment. Her family's  hope is to self-publish this book and make it available to families with children with this condition. All of the profits from selling the book will go directly to the Infantile Scoliosis Outreach Program (ISOP) to assist in the physician awareness program so more kids are correctly diagnosed under the age of 2, when the treatment is most successful. 

Progressive Infantile Scoliosis is the rotation and curvature of the spine beginning before the age of 3 years. It affects 1 in 10,000 kids. It is a progressive disease, where the curvature & rotation of the spine worsens as the child grows.  Because it starts so young, the child has a lot of growing to do, which, without treatment can lead to severe disability such as being respirator dependent and even death.  Fortunately, there is a cure if caught before the age of 2. Serial body casting can be used to slowly straighten and derotate the child's spine.  Together with the child's rapid growth, these casts help train the child's spine to grow straight.  The problem is that most physicians do not know how to diagnose it, leading to it either being missed altogether or misdiagnosed, causing kids to miss their window for complete correction. Additionally, only a handful of orthopedic surgeons nationwide are currently offering this treatment.~Provided by Jennifer
Before Treatment
After Treatment

This is the Game plan for the giveaway.

The time frame is from today July 17 - October 17

  • The Grand Prize is my ErgoBaby Carrier. (Gently Used) 
  • There will be random (sur)prizes given out through out the Giveback Giveawa.y from any product review done from the months of July through October
  • If Jennifer reaches her goal by October 17 a second Grand Prize winner will be drawn for a Moby Wrap your choice of color.

This Giveback Giveaway is not for profit. Any moneys earned (except purchases from Earthy Crunchy Mama)will go directly to the publishing of Cole and the Crooked Flower.
The coolest part of the Giveback giveaway is there is lots of opportunity to get a little something for your self and giveback to a great cause.

Entries are as follows. Every Entry you must comment on this page, the blog post on Blended Family of 5 or Earthy Crunchy Mama's blog. They will be recorded weekly on a Google doc so you can keep track of your entries  and the winner will be selected using If you win a random prize you will still be able to win the ErgoBaby Carrier.

  •  Manditory- follow my blog with GFC (Google Friend Connect) +1 entry
  • Donate to the cause + 2 entries for every $1 donated. Double enties for every reward earned on this website. eg. $10 reward = 20 entries, $25= 100 entries, $50= 200 entries, $75= 300 entries etc.
  • Purchase a book from this link. every dollar spent = 2 entries
  • Share this Giveback/Giveaway on your blog +10 entries
  • Share on your FaceBook wall +2 entries
  • Share on your FaceBook page +2 entries
  • Tweet about this Giveback/Giveaway no more than four times a day +1 entry each tweet
  • refer someone to this giveback/giveaway and have them tell us you refered them +5 entries
  • follow @rthycrunchymama on twitter +1 entry
  • follow @pinkradish on twitter
  • like Earthy Crunchy Mama on FaceBook +1 entry
  • like Blended Family of 5 on Facebook
  • comment your experience with any review durring this Giveback/Giveaway timeframe +2 entries
  • buy something from Earthy Crunchy Mama +1 entry per dollar spent
  • buy something from Marysa Jane +1 entry per dollar spent
                                                                     Earthy Crunchy Mama

Trainer Reviews

Declan is my last baby. He's on the eve of potty training. I found in my desperate search for trainers they are hard to find. I suppose it's just good karma that  Earthy Crunchy Mama just happens to be on the eve or caring trainers in her store.

She and I have teamed up to give you the most detailed reviews possible and Earthy Crunchy Mama will be carrying the best choices. 

                                                            Earthy Crunchy Mama
I should be upfront with my readers that I am bias to her shop. She carries a lot of what I love as far as cloth diapers, Wet/Dry bags, laundry detergent and kitchen products that save me a lot of money. I love a One stop shop. Like the 7-Eleven of Eco-friendly products an old Mom like me uses. I'm not receiving payment of any sort for my reviews, She has selected some of the trainers and I have my self. Purchase of the trainers can be one of any of the following ways. She bought it, I bought it or it was provided as a sample. I have never met her on a personal level.

Declan is two and a half years old. He is very smart with communication and has been a little delayed, yet within the "normal" window with his physical skills such as walking, running etc. He from day one has an amazing bladder. He can stay dry for up to three hours during the day and some nights wakes up dry. He is also more stubborn than any other child I have ever met. He goes to preschool/daycare five days a week. There are four teachers that have been made aware of these reviews and will be providing me their feedback daily. He is taken to the potty every 30 minutes at school and has a 2 hour period for nap. The school gives stickers for going potty.

At home we are not as structured. I have potty trainer three of my five children from scratch not including Declan. One of my five kiddos was in the later stages when she and I met. I have used Gerber cotton training pants with rubber pants and hated every minute of it. That method is messy. Joey who is now 10 we adopted at four. We used Kushies with him and Sonny. I will be comparing what it was like with them and their trainers vs Kushies new line and if I would use them with Declan. I am a model trainer where I send my trainee to the potty with other kids every time.

Each review I will try to do after using each trainer a few times. I will try to update you on Declan's attitude those days since my experience has told me the child's attitude is 80% of their success.

If you are following along with our training with your own child please keep in mind I keep potty training very light as to cause minimal stress and give lots of hugs and kisses for every try failed or passed and never scold the child ever. This includes when they stick their finger in their poops and paint the bathroom wall, put a whole roll of toilet paper in the fish tank or cover themselves with disposable sanitary napkins. Any bad feelings in the bathroom may restart your potty training and frustrate the heck out of you. I know from experience.

One last thing if you hear of a trainer and I haven't tried it let me know please. This is my last stop in my cloth diapering journey and I want it to be fun.