Booking Through Thursday & New Book Club

God* comes to you and tells you that, from this day forward, you may only read ONE type of book–one genre–period, but you get to choose what it is. Classics, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Cookbooks, History, Business … you can choose, but you only get ONE.

What genre do you pick, and why?

*Whether you believe in God or not, pretend for the purposes of this discussion that He is real.

That would be a very harsh thing to do, because I’m typically all over the place in my reading..! But if I HAD to choose, and I mean really HAVE to, I would choose historical fiction, hands down.

New Book Club
I am part of a monthly Stay-at-home-Parents book club, which I love – we get together one morning a month, let the kiddies play around us while we discuss the book of the month. It’s a great outing, and I’m discovering great new books! We vote every 3 months for the next 3 selections, from a running list of books suggested by members – books on the vote list are selected randomly, so they (and we) each have equal chances of being selected.

So anyway, I’ve also just joined a new book club (I know – where do I find the time? I still don’t know – but I can say that I’m a night owl and read before bed every night…). This time it’s an online book club, hosted by SimpleMom.net. She has 4 books a year, and you can join in to all or just 1 of them, at any time. The next selection is “In Defense of Food”, by Michael Pollan, and the first online discussion, covering Part I of the book, is on May 6th, with discussions every following Thursdays until June 10th. Nutrition, and eating well and as naturally as possible, is a subject of high interest for me, so I thought it would be interesting to join in the discussion, and see what the book had to say!

Join us if you can! πŸ™‚

Marvels AIO Trial – Conclusion

I have also tried the Marvels AIO as a day diaper, but before and after nap, but I won’t do a whole blog post on them. I’ll jump straight to the conclusion!

The Kissaluvs website advertises the Marvels’ features as follow:

  • “Waterproof exterior
  • Super soft, stay-dry fleece next to skin keeps baby dry and comfortable
  • Self cleaning: the soaker agitates out in the wash yet stays attached
  • No stuffing or hunting for soakers in your washing machine!
  • Gentle but effective elastic at legs and waist contains all messes
  • Pocket in the back to stuff additional soakers if needed
  • No messy Velcro. Adjustable snaps and overlapping wings ensures the diaper fits skinny and chubby babies alike
  • One sized, fitting babies 7-35* pounds
  • Super simple design, will be loved by dads and babysitters alike!
  • Available in staple White (with White inner) and fashion colors with complimentary inside colors: Butter (with yellow), Raspberry (with Pink), Kelly Green (with Yellow) and Summer Sky (with White).

* All babies are shaped differently, so these can be only size guidelines.”

Definitely, it is simple in designs, and will be easy to use by those who are not used to cloth diapers and/or cannot fuss with lots of layers and snaps, such as daycare providers changing 5 kids at the same time. πŸ˜‰ You just pack them in your bag as is, and whoever is changing the diaper picks it up, snaps it on, and throws the old one in the wetbag as is, no different than throwing a diaper in a DiaperGenie.

The fit was pretty good. I have one of those tall and skinny toddlers – at almost 3 ft tall, my daughter only weights about 25 lbs – wet. There’s lots of snaps on the front to accommodate many sizes, and there’s the fold down snaps to accommodate height from newborn(ish) to toddlers. I think that I would have liked more than just one row of snaps to secure it around the waist – that way you get a better fit both at the waist and at the tights. We DID get 1 or 2 leaks with it, but the first time was due to TOO many fleece add-ons by me for an overnight use (oops), and the second time my mom had put it on and she was wondering if maybe she didn’t snap it correctly. We’ve otherwise had good experiences with it, and we mostly use it for naptime use at this point – which can be quite heavy pee quantity.

There’s not a whole lot of colours or prints offered, but the colour that we got, “Raspberry” (a really hot pink with light pink inside) is pretty nice.

I got a first impression of the washing and drying from the usual pre-washes. For washing, it’s just like any regular cloth diapers: cold rinse (with 1/3 of soap), hot/cold wash, with a 2nd rinse. It does flip over well with agitation, meaning the whole diaper gets a good clean, even though it’s attached in one piece. For drying, it does go in the dryer at regular heat, which is what we did the first time around. It took a fair while to dry though, longer than just the fitted diaper of the Happy Heinys stuffing, perhaps because it’s all attached together. The stuffing is definitely made much easier, and quicker – no more guiding the insert, you just flip the diaper back right side up.

It is, however, always advisable to air-dry covers and outer pockets of diapers, as this saves the elastics around the legs, which otherwise eventually dries up and breaks. So I gave that a try as well. Compared to the Happy Heinys outer covers, which air-dry without the stuffing inside, this was insanely long to dry… It took about 2 days for the insert part to be completely dry. Now say that you use about 10 diapers a day (or average at the moment), and you want to wash every 3 days. You would need AT LEAST 50-60 diapers in order to rotate them while the ones you washed dry out. At a suggested retail of $22.95, that’s $1,147.50 to $1,377.00.

All and all, not a bad diaper, although I would probably not make it a staple of my stash. On the plus side, it is very easy to use, childcare provider & extended family friendly, it’s a well-known & well established brand in cloth diapering, and the materials are of quality. However, it’s too long to dry unless you tumble dry it, which would eventually ruin the elastic, making it non-cost effective for long term use and/or multiple sibling use, as well as bringing down the resale value. In order to have a decent turn-around between washes, you would need WAY too many diapers, which would cost way too much (we’ve currently spent just under half the prices mentioned above for our whole stash & accessories, through 2 years of cloth diapering, and I launder every 3 days approx.) Also, I like to have a bit of variety in colours in designs to choose from, and these do not offer much choice in that department. πŸ™‚

Legal Bits Reminder
Please note that I am otherwise not endorsed by any of the cloth diaper companies I state and link, and that they themselves did not offer me anything for the review. The opinions expressed are simply my own views on their product, made for my reviewing pleasure. I have solely received the free Marvels diaper to try out from my local baby boutique in exchange for this review.

Win $100 to Redo Your Wardrobe

Bargain Moose Canada is offering a contest to win $100 at either La Senza Canada, Old Navy Canada, The Bay Canada, or Jacob Canada.

For your chance to win, visit their blog post here.
While your at it, you might want to follow their blog or subscribe to their e-mail updates – they have lots of great deals and specials across Canada daily. πŸ™‚

I have not received anything from BargainMoose or any of the stores featured for this referral, except an additional chance to win ;)

I’ll be back with some updates on my cloth diaper trials in the next few days!

Win a Bravado Bliss Nursing Bra

Nursing? Pregnant? Ever used Bravado products? Yes? No??

You really should πŸ™‚

I have a few of their bras, and one of their nursing tops, and I absolutely love them! Very comfortable, and grows well with the changes in your body throughout pregnancy & nursing.

Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and Maman A Droit are getting together to offer you the chance to win one of their new product, the Bravado Bliss Nursing Bra.

Head on over to Breastfeeding Moms Unite! blog post to learn more about the bra, and about the giveaway! You have until April 21st to enter. I sure did! πŸ™‚

I have not received anything from Bravado for this review and referral, nor from Breastfeeding Moms Unite!/Maman A Droit except an additional chance to win in their contest πŸ˜‰ Thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and personal, honest views of the products featured.

Win 200 mixed engraved Ooga Booga Cap Snaps from KAMSnaps

I personally love KAMSnaps. I found them quite randomly, while searching for snap options for my wool diaper covers (which have yet to make it on my Etsy store… samples are made, working on making more..!), and everything I found seemed either too expensive, available only as wholesale, or complicated to order… until I found KAMSnaps.

They have literally hundreds of options, from plastic to metal to coloured to engraved to painted. Plus they sell pliers and presses, so you don’t have to look elsewhere for those equipment – you can get everything in one place. And they are very reasonably priced too! They also have a host of tutorials and videos, so you can learn exactly how to use your new equipment, or perhaps even how to switch some velcro on your diapers to snaps. πŸ˜‰

Currently, they have a contest where you can win a set of 200 mix Ooga Booga engraved caps. Nice! The only catch if you are not in the US is that you have to pay the shipping – but perhaps you can combine that with an order πŸ˜‰ (that’s what I’m hoping to do if I win! I need a couple of snaps anyway.)

I learned about this contest a bit late so… you have until the end of the day today to participate! Click here to go their contest blog post.

Good luck!

I have not received anything from KAMSnaps for this review and referral, except an additional chance to win πŸ˜‰ Thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and personal, honest views of their products.

Homeschooling Conference

I just got back from the a local homeschooling conference and… wow. Well, let’s just say I’m glad I’m starting to research and get informed now, while A is still a toddler! The sheer amount of info and choices was overwhelming to a first-time homeschooling interestee.

The conference included some homeschooling basic talks yesterday evening, and then a whole day of workshops and talks today.But you could also go and just visit the Vendors’ Hall, which is what a couple of friends and I decided to do for this year. They offer a CD of ALL the talks along with the handouts, so we decided we would order that this time around, and get all 24 workshops to listen and comment on in our own time, and get a feel of what is offered through that and through the Vendors’ Hall – a bit cheaper that way too. πŸ˜‰ Otherwise, we would have had to choose 3 workshops, one for each sessions, but so many looked interesting!! Like I mentioned, we are first-timers, newcomers to the field, with toddlers not quite ready to start but soon getting there, and we are just gathering info, info, info. Perhaps next year, we will consider participating in the whole thing!

So here we are, at the Vendors’ Hall. So many options… so many books… so many curriculum! How does one choose?? Prior to this, I only really knew about Sonlight. However, if I do decide to go with their curriculum, I would have to complement with some Canadian content, such as Canadian geography & history, and metric system maths, to name a few, so I was curious as to what my options are.

Some of the catalogs, pamphlets & curriculum I picked up

For today… I pretty much walked around, flipped through some books, and grab pamphlets after pamphlets. Some reading will be conducted in the next few weeks! But I think that, for someone currently homeschooling, and looking for specifics, like a math book, or a science book, this would have been heaven. Many had deals on their products, and offered free shipping on orders placed that day. Plus you get to see the books and the materials in situs, sometimes even try them (when it’s games or hands-on learning). Many had demo CDs and DVDs to hand out too.

I was a little bit disappointed though from the lack of interaction between the vendors and the conferencers. Most table had only 1 or 2 clerks, mostly dealing the cash. I would have liked to talk more about the products, and about the curriculum. There was so many people that it was hard to grab their attention, and ask question – and I barely knew where to start anyway. Tables and company/publisher names were not displayed prominently, making it hard to distinguish where one table started and the other ended, and pamphlets and curriculum were often tucked away between host of other books, making it a bit of a scavenger hunt to find them.

But all in all, it was great to see what the conference had to offer, and how many resources there are. I especially liked the Discovery Toys displays, so many interesting toys! Somebody’s birthday is coming up, and I might use their website to gather some wishlist ideas – things that will be educational, and can help build up our homeschooling props stash. πŸ™‚ There was a very cool music display, and a toy which was a trapeze in shape, with strings of different length across, and sheets of music to insert beneath. The notes would line up with the strings, so the child can follow along and know which to pull, and lyrics were underneath. It’s a bit too old for A, but I thought it was very clever! I’m musical, and she is definitely showing musical affinities too, so I’m planning on making music an integral part of our homeschool.

I also managed to get her this very cute felt counting set. She’s very much into counting lately (on her own or almost!), she now consistently goes up to 7! Granted, she doesn’t really get that 7 means there’s seven things in front of her πŸ˜‰ But anytime there is something to count – buttons, pieces of food, balls on the ground, stairs – off she goes. Her favourite bath game is lining up the toys on the edge and counting them before making them plunge πŸ˜› (I love this age!)

The new counting felt set - uncut...

It comes with 10 sets of 10 animals/objects, as well as 2 sets of numbers 1-10, and 2 sets of math symbols. I could see this as being a very versatile toy, useful between now and when she really starts to learn math. Now – it’sΒ  matching game, a storyboard, a simple counting tool. Later, it’s a real math complement. Felt is sturdy, clings to other felt (I will go and get her a few coloured sheets at the craft store), and the set came with an activity book, which I will photocopy to use and re-use (matching game, puzzle, calendars, put ducks in here, how many pumpkins can you find, etc.). I think we will have fun with that!

Now I am looking forward to receiving the CD (I mailed the form today), and listening to all the talks! Subjects include community building & extracurricular activities for teens, incorporating art in your homeschool with a focus on music (I also studied art history so of course I want to include art!), organizing your homeschool, incorporating special subjects like science & phys. ed., curriculum shopping, rights as a homeschooler, tools for teaching children with learning disabilities, teaching French (I think we are covered being a bilingual family, but that means we also have to incorporate 2 grammars in our subjects!), incorporating religion & Bible learning, mixing homeschooling with other household chores & responsibilities, as well as me-time, etc. etc.

And on this note, I will go and… cut some felt πŸ™‚Β  (it’s not pre-cut – it was cheaper that way πŸ˜‰ ).

Marvels AIO Trial #1.2 – Overnight (again) & #2 – Naptime

Trial #1.2 – Overnight, Take II
I wanted to try it overnight again, this time with some added fleece layer, to see if that would help the rash.

I think, in hindsight, that this is a case of “tell me where the problem is with this logic”: if I put 2 extra fleece layer inside the pocket, over the inserts, then the pee will go through it but not back up to the skin. Problem: if the pee won’t come back out, then how would it get through in the first place?

That is exactly what happened… Lesson learned: too much fleece creates a very waterproof layer! The AMP insert inside was all but dry except for the tip, but the poor PJ was soaked from toes to collar on the front, the wearable blanket was soaked, the bedding was soaked… I think I would have woken up screaming “No! No!” too!! hah The rash, though, was nowhere to be seen.

Ok, so, for us, not so good for overnight use. For non-sensitive babies, the diaper as is with some extra absorbent layer should work just fine.

Trial #2 – Naptime
Nothing to say – it worked perfect with an added insert for absorbency. You can read more specific thoughts on fit, wash-ability, drying, materials, etc. in my conclusion post, which I will post after I’m done trying out different scenarios.

Tomorrow I will wash it again, and try it once before naptime in the AM, when she pees less. Then wash, and once after naptime in the PM, when she pees a large amount every 5 min.

Legal Bits Reminder
Please note that I am otherwise not endorsed by any of the cloth diaper companies I state and link, and that they themselves did not offer me anything for the review. The opinions expressed are simply my own views on their product, made for my reviewing pleasure. I have solely received the free Marvels diaper to try out from my local baby boutique in exchange for this review.