Should You Make Your Children Share?

This article is based on my personal experience, if you have questions about your child's behavior and development please turn to your pediatrician as the internet is not a good place to diagnose or treat conditions. I have not been sponsored.
Surrender, Share, Take Turns

     I was asked the question recently; Should you make your children share? Situation; We were at the playground and I watched one child run up to another and take the toy from his hands, he started to cry. A few moments later his Mom approached the upset child and said "now honey, you have to share your toys!"
     I think we've all been in a similar situation. A sibling, playmate or other child takes a toy out of your child's hands, and we have to decide how to respond. I believe that I have several options:

1. Tell my child to allow the other child to have the toy without argument; as the Mom in this instance did and told her son it was sharing.(surrender)
2. Instruct the child who wants the toy 'shared' to return it to you child...hope they comply.
3. Locate the child's parent (if it's not your child) and inform them of what happened, Hope that they share your values and use the moment to teach their child, and have the toy returned.
4. Do nothing, and hope the children resolve the issue on their own.
5. Get possession of the toy, bring both children together and teach them how to play with the toy together (share).
6. Get possession of the toy, bring the children together and explain taking turns, return the toy to the original child and let them both know that when it is the other child's turn, the toy will exchange hands. (taking turns)

     I think first we must look at the definition of sharing. Sharing an object occurs when two or more people use it at the same time. What happened in the earlier instance is Not sharing....it's surrendering a toy to another child who is taking it without permission or desire for the original toy holder to give away this toy. Now, teaching a child about surrender isn't always a bad thing because hey, sometimes life isn't fair and even adults have things taken from them without their permission. Ever have someone eat your yogurt in the fridge at work? Have a relative help themselves to the $20 in your pant pocket? Have your car or home broken into and your personal items "shared" with a thief? Similar adult situation.

     Children are dealing with different emotions and immature systems (when compared to some, but not all adults) and often exhibit behaviors including impulsitivity and decreased awareness to other's feelings and their environment. These are insights that should develop over time, and can be influenced by teaching. What we have to decide as parents is how our children learn these lessons. Will your child learn not to take a toy from another child when he/she is punched by that child? Or will you help teach and mold these skills as your pumpkin grows and develops. Ultimately, someone will do the teaching and as a parent you may be able to control the context of the learning environment.

     With three young boys I have surrender, share, taking turns teaching opportunities all the time. I do not always respond the same way for several reasons. On one hand, I want my children to be able to handle their own battles. However, I believe many of these skills are learned and not acquired. I'd rather my son learn how to share through my teaching, then through numerous trial and error attempts.
     I want my children to share, especially when it's with an expensive item like the Ipad (I am fairly uninterested in purchasing each child their own Ipad). I love when they all play a game together, laughing and having a great time. This is the ideal sharing situation. However, when my younger child (22m) is playing with it, and my older (3y) old child goes over and without warning pulls it from his hands...I make it an opportunity to teach. I first ask my older child if he had asked his younger brother for a turn with the toy. I tell him that if he wants to play with it too, he must ask my 22 m/o to share the toy. If he doesn't do this on his own, I take the possession of the toy and bring everyone together. I help with the dialogue and have one child ask if it's okay to have a turn (is more or less words). The answer to this question can be NO, and that's okay too. If my younger son doesn't want to share the toy, that's fine, he was playing with it first and he doesn't have to share. Usually, he is happy to share and I explain to both boys that they must take turns and/or use the toy together. I much rather this sharing then the typical toy pillage and surrender I see often with children (and some adults).
     I hope that these experiences will help them grow and develop into understanding and patient adults, who respect and understand others' feelings. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for sure how our teachings as parents will impact the growth and development of our children. I, like many other parents, try my best and hope that I am making the right decisions.

     So now I ask; How do you handle Sharing? As always, thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


My Slice of the World; Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pennsylvania

I have not been compensated to write this blog post. This is my personal account and experience living in my slice of America, I am hoping to be featured for the Keep America Beautiful celebration by Dropcam.

  Did you know that April is Keep American Beautiful Month? In honor of this celebration Dropcam, a cloud based wi-fi video monitoring service, is launching a new blog campaign in which they select and celebrate articles highlighting wonderful slices of America. Bloggers can participate by sharing a story about their slice of the world by e-mailing tpham(at)dropcam(dot)com. They are highlighting a new home security service in which you can view your video feed from anywhere, learn more HERE. Follow them on twitter to see if my article is featured! My slice is -Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pennsylvania.
     If you've watched The Office, then you've seen a portion of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area in Pennsylvania. Aside from this popular show, our area is know for the WB-Scranton Penguins hockey team, the Mohegan Sun Casino and Arena, a big St. Patrick's Day parade and celebration, the Yankees minor league team the 'Rail Riders' (yes the Yankees in PA), it's recent rank as 13th for the 'Most Miserable Cities', it's out of control Crime Rate per capita and drama/crime at the Sherman Hills apartment complex. 
     What you don't see in the above list of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton highlights are the people living in rural regions and the suburbs. Families like mine who have been stuck indoors through a wickedly cold winter...and who are ready to emerge and celebrate spring! Families who have their seeds planted in windows, daffodils sprouting up in their gardens and kids running around in 40+ degree weather in shorts....because compared to negative temperatures we experienced just a few weeks earlier, it's really warm!
     If you walked through our neighborhoods you could see people getting ready for local festivals, and bazaars. Homeowners uncovering pools that may only be open for two months. Back yard BBQs and families preparing to host 4th of July parties. Carloads flocking to State Parks and drive-in movie theaters, crowded farm markets and smart locals gathering in homes and restaurants who are set  on protecting our area from more economical disaster brought by chemical gas drilling known as Fracking.
     I originally grew up in this area, attended local high-school and over the years I have learned to appreciate and celebrate our region. I've lived in other areas in the United States and returned to this area while expecting my first son. Although I often dream of flying south to Florida, I enjoy the protection the mountains bring my family from floods, storms and tornadoes and the passion W-B/Scranton residents have for life.
     Wilkes-Barre/Scrantonians love to celebrate our North-Eastern region with festivals during warmer months. This area boasts roots in Italian heritage, and while many of us have since joined America's melting pot by marrying persons from other cultures, we still LOVE to celebrate with events like the Pittston Tomato Festival and the La Festa Italiana.
     The Pittston Tomato Festival is kicked off annually with a tomato 'fight' and offers cuisine from local Italian restaurants, entertainment and is packed with locals celebrating everything Italian. Watch this wonderful video made by a local recording expert Video Innovations to get a taste of our Tomato Festival!

(This video is from the festival website and used with permission.)
     After the Pittston Tomato Festival winds down, we look forward to La Festa Italiana which takes place in the heart of Scranton. This celebration surrounds the courthouse with food, vendors, and entertainment. The Bindi Italian desert stand (possibly my favorite) is a big hit and no one seems to mind waiting in line! The scent from local favorites like gnocchi and sausage and peppers fills the air, and friends and families are seen smiling and enjoying a beautiful time together.

(Photo used with permission from La Festa Italiana)
     The defrosting of PA also means that it's time for Farmer's Markets. Locals flock to these venues to enjoy regionally grown produce and goods. One hotspot is located at 'The Square' in downtown Wilkes-Barre and every Thursday tents pop up in the early morning to prepare for shoppers. The Farmer's Market offers produce from vendors that varies as the season progresses and includes local honey, apples, everything green, pumpkins in the fall, jams and jellies and even pastries. 

     Another local stop that makes our region wonderful, is the Lands at Hillside Farms. The local 412 acre non-profit sustainable farm offers milk from their grass fed dairy cows in returnable glass bottles, eggs from their hens, pony rides on the weekends, barns open to the public and year round educational events. Those who stop at Hillside can't pass up the Ice Cream offered in many flavors and combinations. Long lines wait to get a cone at the dairy, others grab a 1/2 gallon to enjoy at home. Little ones, and maybe some big ones, can stroll the grounds and feed the sheep, ducks, peacocks, two quaky alpacas and get a taste of life on a farm from a responsible source. (Below clip is a snip from their homepage, please visit their Website).

     If you haven't heard of a Bazaar, then you need to visit this region. Summer time is known for weekends filled with potato pancakes, raffles and funnel cakes at local church Bazaars. On any given weekend you can ask, what Bazaar is going on now? Once you know where you're headed...with $20 in your pocket you can have a great time. Evenings are filled with tents of vendors and crowds of residents enjoying beautiful but muggy Summer nights and possibly even a visit to the beer tents. Check out the impressive list on the 2014 event calendar from Happenings Magazine!
     Our area has also long been known for coal mining. Years of removing the product from underground mining shafts and tunnels has left our area with huge piles of mine waste that can be seen from the roadways. Recently one caught fire..and the news report said it may burn 'for awhile'. In addition, mining has left homes in these areas in danger of mine subsidence and is well known for the Knox Mine disaster. During this catastrophic event a massive hole in our portion of the Susquehanna river opened up and photos display officials attempting to fill it by tossing in train cars and whatever else could be imagined. Learn more about this disaster from the Luzerne County Historical Society with whom these images are credited.

     You may ask why I have included this disaster in an article about what makes my slice of the world wonderful. When talking about the unique portion of the world I'm located in, I must include the passionate and wonderful individuals who are set on protecting our region from further environmental destruction. This area, once targeted by coal companies whom left tax payers responsible to repair their damage, is now targeted by the 'Natural' gas industry for Chemical Fracking. Groups of locals are fighting to protect our air, water, property values and way of life. It is that kind of passion that makes our region extra special. Not only does your neighbor stop by on a winter day to help clear your driveway, but he/she may be out at night ensuring that the water you drink remains clean and the air you breathe free off chemicals. It's that kind of perseverance and passion in Wilkes-Barre/Scrantonians that makes my slice of the world wonderful. 


Nicki's Diapers One-Size Pocket Cloth Diaper Review

This is our personal diaper, no one paid me to say nice things about this company. This is based on my personal opinions and my family's experience with the product. Photos here are of the actual product we own and have been taken and edited by me. I'm cool like that.

     I recently had the opportunity to add a Nicki's Diapers one size pocket to our collection in Cherry Cola Houndstooth.  If you're a fan of pocket diapers or are shopping for your first stash, then you'll appreciate the design, quality of the insert, pattern, and great price.

     In addition to the above features, Nicki's Diapers has a Buy 1 Give 1 program that gives a diaper to a child in need for every diaper purchased (so turn around and pat yourself on the back if you bought them!). How are these donated? "Nicki has a not-for-profit organization called Hope Love Care. Through Hope Love Care, basic baby necessity items, such as diapers, blankets and baby bottles, are donated to babies in need domestically and overseas. For every diaper or blanket purchased, Nicki's Diapers donates one to a baby in need." (1).

     Aside from contributing to this amazing charity, Nicki's Diapers pockets retail at a great price. Typically at $13.95 but currently on sale for $9.95, these diapers are easy to add to your stash.  These pockets offer a waterproof PUL outer and are lined with no-pill fleece. In addition, they are a One-Size (OS) diaper and are adjusted with front snap rows for both rise and diameter.

     One feature you may appreciate are the crossover snaps on the diaper arms. To get the smallest fit, rise snaps are snapped up from the bottom row and cross over snaps are used to cinch the waist. Having crossover snaps also allows the diaper to be folded down and closed for babies who don't quite fit into the smallest setting, but will grow into it. 

     Front snaps are the hallmark of many OS diapers. If you'll notice below, Nicki's Diapers pockets offer 2 rows of rise snaps (females) that hook to the very top row of  (male) rise snaps. The top 2 rows are for waist snaps and adjust to fit most 8-35lb babies. One of my favorite ways to adjust a OS diaper is to snap the middle snap higher then the side 2 snaps to reduce crotch bulk and make a trimmer fit.

     So now you're wondering, with such a great price...is this a rebranded diaper? If you don't know what a rebrand is...it's basicially when a company takes an often foreign made low cost diaper and places their name tag on it. Nicki's Diapers are NOT rebranded. Like many cloth diapers, they are made in China, but exclusively for Nicki's Diapers. In addition, they offer an excellent 4 layer microfiber insert with snap-to-size fittings!

     Nicki's Diapers pockets have an opening in the front and the back. This can help the insert agitate out in the wash (if you leave them in) and is also great for stuffing. Having an opening at the front of the diaper allows you to reach in and hold the insert in place. This helps prevent it from slipping down while adjusting the rest of the diaper for fit both on and off of baby.

     The diaper is lined with no-pill fleece which is finished with a hem at the pocket openings. Having a colored liner is desirable because unlike white stay dry fabrics, this will never need to be 'sunned' to remove visible stains; While I sun my white lined diapers, I line dry the darker fabrics indoors or in the shade under our deck to prevent fading.

     One of my favorite features of Nicki's Diapers pockets is this fantastic insert! It's 4 wonderful microfiber layers and if you look below, you'll notice that there is one male snap and two females (thanks Dad for the terminology). This allows the insert to be snapped into two different sizes to coordinate with the diaper's smaller settings. It also creates more absorbency where the insert is folded over and is great for babies with good output!

     This is an all around fantastic diaper and will be very easy to add to your existing stash or to start a new collection. In addition, the diapers come in great solids and prints. The print featured here is Cherry Cola Houndstooth which is new to their selection, however many of their staple colors and prints can be seen below in this snip from the Nicki's Diapers website.

     Want to see Nick's Diapers in person? Watch this video to get a nearly in-person view of their product line! The clip is made by Nicki's Diapers and shows a great demo of their pockets. Check out the large variety of colors and patterns on their website as well.

     As always - thanks for stopping by and I'm happy to answer any questions you have! I also appreciate comments and hope you have a great day!

1. http://www.nickisdiapers.com/Nickis-Diapers-Exclusives_c_2527.html


Evenflo Carseat Harness Buckle Recall; Buckles May Not Unlatch

Do you own an Evenflo carseat? Select models are equipped with a crotch buckle that over time may Not unlatch. This malfunction is caused by exposure to materials like food and drink (what kid doesn't eat in their car seat?!).
     Models affected are: Momentum 65, Momentum 65 LX and Momentum 65 DLX model number prefix 385 manufactured 3/4/2013 to 8/26/2013. Chase, Chase LX and Chase Select model prefix 306 manufactured 6/12/2012 through 10/3/2013. Chase LX and Chase DLX model number prefix 329 manufactured /8/23/2011 through 3/3/2014. Maestro and Maestro Performance model prefix 310 manufactured 8/22/2011 through 10/17/2013. Symphony 65, Symphony 65 E3, Symphony LX, Symphony DLX and Snugli All-in-One model prefix 345 or 346 manufactured 10/2/2012 through 8/26/2013. Titan 65 and SureRide DLX model prefix 371 manufactured 6/20/2012 through 10/17/2013. Secure Kid LX, Secure Kid DLX, Secure Kid 100, Secure Kid 300, Secure Kid 400 and Snugli Booster model prefix 308 manufactured 12/13/2011 through 3//2014.
(Photo is a screenshot from safety.evenflo.com)
     Evenflo reports that you should not take your seat to a retailer, instead you can get a new buckle by filling out an order with Evenflo HERE or call 1-800-490-7591 number and speak with a representative over the phone. You will need your model number and manufacturing date located on the product. I don't know about you, but I'm not looking forward to taking our carseats out and finding this sticker, but I probably should clean under the seats anyway....I bet I'll find a pile of clif bars and lollipop sticks. 
     You can find more information from Evenflo's website HERE. The manufacturer includes a video for installation instructions and Get your orders in early and stay safe! 

     Information for this blog post was obtained from the Evenflo website, contact the company directly for more information. Thanks for stopping by!!


What is a Fitted Cloth Diaper? How to Cloth Diaper a Heavy Wetter

I have been provided with a product sample for my family to review, however I have not been paid to say nice things about it. The opinions expressed here are my own, and the photos are of the actual cloth diaper we own and have all been taken and edited by me, and yes it was fun. 

     I was very confused the first time I heard "fitted cloth diaper." I thought this was a reference to the way the diaper fit. Perhaps it was a custom design for each baby, made by measurements to give a great fit... It wasn't until I actually had one in my hands that I realized that "fitted" is a misnomer. I'm not sure what they should be called, but they're comprised 100% of absorbent and breathable materials (no waterproof PUL) and can be one-size or different sizes. Best part....unlike a pocket that has a stay dry liner, microfiber insert (absorbent part) and waterproof PUL....the entire diaper absorbs liquid! A cover is required to ensure it keeps clothing and or bedding dry, but this is the best solution for heavy wetters and overnight diapering routines. 

     One major advantage to a fitted is a reduction in crotch bulk. I often find myself stuffing multiple inserts into a pocket diaper for outings, car rides and night time. This is totally unnecessary with a fitted, because the entire diaper is thicker then a cover or pocket and the entire product absorbs liquid!! In this beautiful Toosha's fitted, the typical hidden PUL layer is replaced by the same windpro that lines the interior.

     What is windpro? Windpro fleece is both anti-pilling and breathable. This allows the diaper to have absorbency, but to also provide air circulation to help prevent wet bottoms and rashes that are associated with moisture. In this article, it's the grey lining you see inside the diaper.

     Some parents opt for different covers over fitted diapers including fleece, wool, and PUL covers. However, with breathability like this, leaving the diaper uncovered may be recommended when attempting to clear up a sore or reddened bum. Everyone has their preferences, but with practice I'm sure you'll discover the right routine for you.

     Although some fitteds can be purchased in sizes, this beauty is a one-size cloth diaper. It ranges from birth to 40 lbs and can be used for a long time! Instead of using rise-snaps (often the hallmark of one-size diapers), this one-size fitted can be sized by folding down the top row of snaps to reveal a hidden area to snap the arms into. I really enjoy this feature on a patterned diaper because it doesn't disturb the print.

     The absorbency in this fitted is very customizable. Not only is the diaper itself absorbent, but this also offers the organic bamboo-fleece/cotton velour snake-style Toosha's soaker and an extra soaker pad for maximum absorbency. With this level of wicking, plus the breathable windpro, cloth diapering a heavy wetter and overnight is easy, right?!

     When selecting a cover for your fitted, there are several factors to consider. Do you want the fabric to be breathable? Cost considerations...and....how do you lanolize wool?! Wool covers are very popular for night-time diapering and heavy wetting needs, but possibly the most expensive option. Both breathable and waterproof once treated, wool covers are ideal for night-time needs. This waterproofing process called lanolizing, is necessary to prevent leaks. With a little preparation, this is an easy process, and if you follow the link you can bookmark expert instructions.

     If you've been cloth diapering for awhile, you may already have some PUL (polyurethane laminate) covers perfect for your fitteds. Although PUL isn't as breathable as wool, and is not made from natural materials, they are often lower in cost and easy to care for. Many can be wiped clean or laundered and require minimal preparation for use. The third cover option is fleece. Often a stay/dry but breathable fabric, fleece choices are numerous in color, style and offer an more economical option to wool.

     If you follow my blog, then you know I love our Toosha's diapers! Toosha's is a work at home Mom (WAHM) shop run by a spectacular Mom! She is the proud Mama to 3 babies and a cloth diaper is the first thing she ever sewed!! Can you believe that? Amazing right! Please give her a 'like' on facebook and in her ETSY shop; click on the little 'favorite' heart to see new products as she lists them!

     I hope this has answered some of your questions about fitted cloth diapers! Visit me on facebook, twitter, pinterest, google and instagram! As always if you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them and thank you for stopping by!


Organic Gardening; How to Start Seeds Indoors

This is my own stuff, I have not been sponsored or paid to write this, I bought these items from the Home Depot.
This is written based on my personal experiences and you experience may vary.
     This is the third year in a row that I'm starting our garden indoors. In the past, I purchased transplants from local greenhouses or home stores. It later occurred to me that unless I started the seeds myself, there was no way to know if the transplants were genetically modified, or already treated with various chemicals. I began trialing ways to start our garden indoors and have come up with a formula for success. I know that from start to finish, our garden is organic and 100% safe and healthy for my family.

     Starting seeds indoors requires a variety of conditions and supplies. You'll need a growing medium (possibly dirt), light, heat, seeds and good air circulation. Indoor conditions should promote seed germination and growth and avoid stale air that can cause damping off and fungal growth on your plants. This is created by a balance of temperature, water and air circulation that many gardeners have worked hard to master, and to some has come naturally.

     This year I'm planting Burpee hybrids, heirlooms and organic seeds. A hybrid is created by pollinating one fantastic plant with pollen from another fantastic plant, to grown an amazing plant from the seeds that makes. This is a great choice for gardeners because they are NOT genetically modified. I want nothing to do with food that has had it's genes altered in a lab (or other strange unnatural things). Heirlooms are seeds from plants that have been grown over a long period of time, maybe something my Grandparents would have grown. Organic seeds are certified and grown and produced under strict standards ensuring that they come from organic plants as well. These are ideal and as they increase in popularity there will be more choices for home gardeners like myself.

      Over the past years I have tried various soil mediums. I've tried perlite, vermiculite, baked outside soil, burpee pellets, jiffy pellets, potting soil, organic potting soil, and scary miracle grow 'dirt.' The best growing medium I have found are Jiffy Pellets. No growing medium is perfect, and I am not crazy about the ecological disruption that comes from harvesting peat...so in the future I'm hoping to perfect baking outdoor soil.
     Jiffy pellets come as dry discs that require water to putt up in preparation for seed planting. These are greenhouses (which can be used year after year) with replacement pellets that hold 72 plugs each. It's recommended that water be added slowly to allow even rise in each pellet. I'm adding warm water here and was able to plant our seeds about 30 min. after hydrating the pellets.

     Labeling plants is very important. It's easy to quickly forget which seeds have been planted where. This year I'm using a seed chart and have labeled the trays 1, 2, and 3.  I'm grouping tomato plants, cucumbers, and other like vegetables together. Cucumbers and Zucchini tend to be a larger seedling, and tomato and eggplant transplants are generally smaller. The size of the seed is a good indicator letting you know what size seedling you can expect from each seed. Big seed = big seedling, little seed = little seedling (generally speaking).

      I plant each seed into the hole provided in each pellet, or I make it bigger with the back of a spoon. After the whole tray is planted I cover the seeds back over with dirt. I have covered each pellet after planting before, but noticed that I often lost my place or double-planted some of the pellets. The trays are then covered with the plastic lid provided. Although this cover makes a great little greenhouse, it does prevent air circulation and if left on too long can cause fungal growth.

     This year I am very excited to add this 3-tier greenhouse to our collection. I have a ceiling fan going nearby and plants are getting lots of natural sunshine from a bay window. The plastic gets pulled off of the stand during the day to increase air circulation and pellets are checked for hydration.
     Window light is great, but does cause the seedlings to grow towards the light. I rotate the trays daily to ensure seedlings grow straight. Next year I'm thinking about adding some flourescent lights above the seedlings in this setup to encourage them to grow up and not over.

     Some of our seeds sprouted in less then one week! These seedlings are Burpee cucumber variety salad slicers. We really enjoyed growing them in the past. The skin is nice and soft, making peeling unnecessary and my kids enjoy eating them straight from the garden!
     These plants have not been treated with any chemicals. In a few weeks I'll post back about seedling care and hopefully I can begin hardening these outdoors to get ready for the big garden! Check back with me on social media, I'm posting garden progress and am happy to answer any questions or talk garden!! Happy growing!!


Beautiful Babywearing; Comfy Joey Ring Sling 9th Anniversary and Giveaway

I was provided with a product sample to facilitate this review, I have not been paid to say nice things about this company, and have done so because it's awesome. The photos here have been taken and edited by me of the actual product I own. There are links to the company's website in the text to make visiting their site easier. Thanks!

     Babywearing has been a very important part of my family. With 3 boys, 3 and under it has helped us through tough colicky months when baby needs nearly continuous holding and affection, late nights bouncing and pacing the hall and has allowed me to hold my infant while caring for older siblings. It has also helped us on family excursions everywhere from the movies to the playground and always at the grocery store! 
     I was thrilled when I mastered my first wrap (over 3 years ago) and discovered that babywearing kept my son comfortable and happy at the store, hanging laundry outside, and even mopping floors! I later learned the value of a ring sling when I discovered that it was the perfect way to take baby 'out' on a date with my husband, with Grandma for lunch or on a Mama/baby excursion. 

      After my first son was born, my husband and I were encouraged by friends and family to go out on a date alone...sans baby. We eventually took this advice; I remember sitting at Panera Bread across from each other - very very tired - and feeling incomplete. Although I was happy to be out with my husband, I missed my baby. I worried that he wouldn't take a bottle, and that my milk would leak through my shirt. I worried that he missed me, and honestly....I missed him. 
     I needed to figure out how to go 'out' together as a family. I knew babywearing was our answer, however I didn't want to wear my around-the-house-workhorse wrap or structured carrier on a date. The very functional wrap I mop the floor in certainly didn't make me feel beautiful or go with any of my 'date night' outfits. I searched the web and came across a beautiful selection of carriers...and when I received my first Comfy Joey ring sling I felt beautiful!! (Seriously, they're works of art).

     It is my belief that every Mom should feel beautiful babywearing (and Dad for that matter), especially on a date. If you're lucky enough to own a Comfy Joey ring sling then you know what I mean! A ring sling is the perfect going 'out' carrier because it's easy to get off and on, drapes across your body elegantly - complimenting any special outfit you wear, and comes in a variety of colors and textures. A ring sling should be selected in the same manner as any other accessory, and should coordinate with your favorite baby friendly jewelry! It should help you feel beautiful when you wear it, and hold a special place in your heart.


      The amazing ring-sling you see pictured here is appropriately named 'Enchanted Purple' and can be found in Comfy Joey's Linen Sling Collection. Linen is an amazing fabric and if you visit the link you will be in serious awe of the color selection! Have a wrap that isn't being used to it's potential? You can even have it converted into a custom sling! In addition to an amazing selection and conversions, shoulder construction is another hallmark of Comfy Joey's collection.
     Comfy Joey ring slings are know for their CJ-Hybrid shoulder "which allows wearers to spread the sling fabric wide to hug the shoulder, virtually eliminating pressure points, or gather the shoulder fabric narrowly, maximizing freedom of movement for the ring-side arm with very little bulk." I can attest that it is super comfy, easy to iron (if needed), and beautiful.

     If you've never ordered a ring sling and aren't quite sure what size to get, grab a tape measure! With a few quick measurements you'll be able to know what's right for you in and your baby. Use the size chart found HERE to determine which size would be appropriate to make ordering easy.
     In the photo below I'm wearing a Medium and was between sizes Small and Medium. I personally enjoy a longer tail and sized up. The tail will shorten a bit as my son grows and requires more fabric to be carried, and I wanted to ensure that I have a long tail even when he's a toddler (slings are for babies birth - 35 lbs!). With such beautiful fabric this longer tail ensures that my ring sling will be a big part of my outfit for years! 

     How does a ring sling keep baby safe and comfortable? The fabric from the ring sling gets tucked under baby's bum and provides a strong and supportive seat for him to view the world from. The high wrap on his back supports little ones who are still developing trunk control, and distributes pressure across baby. As you can see below, he's very comfortable and has plenty of room to look around and enjoy the world from my perspective. I can also kiss his little head and take a deep breath of his wonderful baby scent.

     This Enchanted Purple linen Comfy Joey ring sling is right out of the package! It received a quick once over with the iron to remove any big wrinkles and was photographed in natural light so you can truly see how beautiful it is. It's easy to care for and Comfy Joey even offers a downloadable instruction booklet found HERE.
     Linen is a perfect sling fabric because it naturally has character and offers breathability and support babies love. Over time, the linen will soften through regular use and become softer and softer making this sling that much more amazing (if it were possible for it to get more amazing!). Many babywearing Moms refer to this as 'breaking in' and loved carriers can be even more prized then those brand new!

     A ring sling is a beautifully fast and comfortable way to carry baby and there are several hallmarked ring sling carries. Here (above) I have pulled the shoulder fabric for a more narrow width on my shoulder with my son in a hip carry. (Don't mind my post-baby hair, I am in dire need of a haircut!). As you can see the rings are up nice and high, which is a personal preference of mine. To get into this position, I originally started with them behind my shoulder which allows them to slide down when I seat my son. Other carries include the cradle, kangaroo, tummy, and back hip which all have great photos and instructions on Comfy Joey's website to ensure you get a comfortable carry too.

     (Mommy honesty) There are days when I'm change diaper after diaper, clean up odd messes, and never get out of my pajamas. Some days I'm sporting baby spit-up and makeup is the farthest thought from my mind. I'm flipping pancakes, washing crayon off of windows and folding endless piles of laundry. I love every minute of caring for my children (okay maybe not the spit up) which is what makes getting the opportunity to go 'out' and feel beautiful that much more special. 
     I invite you to join me, and share photos of you - feeling beautiful - babywearing! As parents we work hard, we spend so much time caring lovingly for our families that moments of feeling beautiful should be cherished....and shared! Maybe you've put on lipstick, fixed your hair and wrapped baby up in your beautiful carrier all to watch netflix. Maybe you're going to a wedding, lunch with a friend, a baby shower or out to TJ Maxx. However you feel beautiful babywearing is beautiful and I can't wait to see your photos!


     If you follow my blog, then you know I love a good company - run by a Mom! "Comfy Joey is owned and operated by Ayesha Ghatala Shoaib. Ayesha discovered babywearing after the birth of her second child and founded Comfy Joey when he was only a few months old. Now Ayesha is the proud mother of four. She still considers babywearing a valuable tool as she runs her business while raising her children."
     This April Comfy Joey will be reaching an amazing milestone; her 9th anniversary!! (round of applause please!) In celebration of this amazing milestone, you can get free worldwide shipping! Use code MBAFWS good for the entire month of April!! Please visit her company on facebook, instagram, twitter, website, and pinterest and congratulate her for reaching such an amazing milestone. In addition to offering congratulations, I'm sure you will find #BeautifulBabywearing inspiration in the photos and products you find there!


Rock-a-Bums 2.0 Cloth Diaper Review and Winner's Choice Giveaway!!

     This is our personal diaper, I have not been paid to say nice things about this company. I have taken and edited the photos here which are of the actual cloth diaper we own.

     Rock-a-Bums cloth diapers are designed for rockin babies (and parents) who enjoy eco-friendly lifestyle options. The 2.0 diaper offers a 5-in-1 system that allows the user to customize both fit and absorbency. This system comes with 2 reusable microfiber/bamboo-charcoal inserts, and 1 bamboo viscose biodegradable insert that can be combined to increase absorbency.
     The Rock-a-Bums 2.0 seen in this article is our very first white cloth diaper. The black snaps, great tags and black velour lining make this diaper really cool! (are we still saying cool?) This diaper makes me want to go out and get drumsticks and a microphone for my little fluff bums. In addition, It fits both my 3 month old, and 22 month old babies! How exciting is that?
     One thing you may not notice in the photos here - is how luxurious this cloth diaper lining feels. The black fabric reminds me of velour, and is thicker and softer then the stay-dry poly linings in many of our other cloth brands. It's definitely a luxurious bum cover!

     Rock-a-Bums 2.0 are a one-size diaper, which means they grow with your baby and have a large range of sizes between their smallest to largest settings. The front snaps (pictured below) include rise snaps (3 rows) and waist snaps for a customized fit. Don't like snaps? Rock-a-Bums diapers can be purchased with velcro that replaces the top 2 snap rows seen here.

     You may notice that the top 2 snap rows are offset. This allows for an angled-snap which leaves a bit more room around the leg and a tighter fit around the waist. This feature almost forms a triangle in the snap pattern seen below, and suggests a Y in the largest setting seen in the second photo below.

     In the largest setting (pictured below) the angle can be reversed and the diaper can offer more room around the waist and continues to allow for a good leg fit, and a little more belly room.

     Rock-a-Bums inserts are microfiber on one side, and bamboo/charcoal on the reverse. Each insert comes with a snap that can be placed on-top of the black velour lining, or directly into the pocket. The hybrid insert (above right) is biodegradable and stackable for increased absorbency.

     Heavy wetter? For extra absorbency, you can snap in both inserts (very exciting). One can be worn on-top of the lining, and the other stuffed into the pocket. Or, both inserts can go directly into the pocket. Doubling inserts will increase bulk, but may be a great option for car trips, overnight or very well hydrated babies. (One insert in pocket and one on top of liner below)

     Rock-a-bums also offer the option for disposable inserts. This hybrid insert can give parents the ability to reuse the shell, and toss the soiled diaper portion. It can be a liner, a doubler, or the sole insert in the pocket. 
     The hybrid insert is pictured below as a liner on top of the velour, with a washable insert underneath inside the pocket to absorb overflow.

     Rock-a-bums traditionally offered red, black and white diaper choices. They recently released a whole line of prints! If you love the Rock-a-Bums system, and love prints...you're in luck. With names like Blue Velvet, Punk Plaid and Zanadu these prints definitely keep with the Rocking theme. Shop their selection HERE.

     When you first get your Rock-a-Bums cloth diapers you will need to prep them before first use. Washing the inserts increases their absorbency potential and fluffs them up a bit. When prepping inserts, I don't use the dry cycle, but instead do consecutive 3-4 washes on hot water and always wash my covers separately in warm and line-dry. Although many manufacturers say washing a diaper on 'hot' but below 140 degrees is okay, I don't take the risk and warm water always gets my covers clean. Follow the Rock-a-Bums care instructions HERE.

     I've included a great video made by Ruby at Rock-a-Bums where you can see the diapers in person! Make sure to visit their website for more product information and shopping. As always I welcome any questions you may have...and thanks for stopping by!
     Very exciting! Enter to win your choice of Rock-a-Bums cover and 2 inserts! Use the rafflecoptor form below for entries. Prize will be issued via Rock-A-Bums and winner selected at random via the rafflecopror. Entries will be verified and good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway