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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick Or Treat

Happy Halloween!!!

Tonight will be Baby A's first trick or treat experience! Of course, he will not be eating the candy but that doesn't mean that mommy can't! He is dressing up as Captain Hook, his friend is Peter Pan, and his friends sister is Tinkerbell! I just love themed costumes! Mrs. Bow Jangles even gets to go! She is a bat! =]

Everyone be safe tonight!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Featured Seller/Product Review: Belles and Bugs

*I received wall decor for review in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions*

I don't know about you, but when it comes to the holidays, I love to put Baby A in adorable outfits that coordinate with the theme. Since we have moved to another state, we won't be celebrating the holidays as we normally do. Usually we have a huge family gathering full of tons of great foods and lots of family (of course), so last year during Baby A's first holiday season, corduroy and sweater vests were a must! This year since it'll just be us, I wanted something simple and warm for him, something that would just go along with the theme of the holiday we were celebrating. I started my search and ended up "window shopping" at Belles and Bugs. I fell in love with a snowman onesie but I couldn't find anything for Thanksgiving! After sending her a message she told me that she could make just what I had in mind for Baby A for Thanksgiving. I couldn't wait to get Baby A's holiday outfits!

Mary, the owner of Belles and Bugs, had a love for beautiful clothing for her daughter, but not a love for their price tag. When her baby girl turned one, Mary treated herself to a sewing machine and taught herself how to sew. Soon, strangers were asking her where they could buy the adorable dresses her daughter was wearing. Next thing she new, Belles and Bugs was born. After two years of being open, Mary still abides by the same three principles she did as when she started- Quality, Affordable, and Machine Washable.

When Baby A's onesies arrived in the mail I was beyond excited. I couldn't wait to see how the snowman looked in person, and I was even more excited to check out my mystery Thanksgiving onesie! Okay, so it wasn't really a mystery, I asked for something specific and she was able to do it! I was so impressed with how great these onesies turned out, not only were they ridiculously adorable but they were great quality as well! The onesie itself was a Carter's brand onesie so I knew that the quality would be long lasting.

For Thanksgiving I requested a simple and cute turkey and that was exactly what I got! The colors are vibrant, each piece of the turkey is sewed along the edges which gives it a great look! The edges have been treated with fray check so when washed the edges won't fray apart. There are no special washing or drying instructions with these which I absolutely LOVE because there is no way I would separate it out. I'm horrible with that, if it can't be thrown into the wash normally, I wont buy it. When I washed the onesie, I washed it in warm water, with every single color in Baby A's laundry. Like I said, I don't do special loads of laundry! I also dried it on high and when I pulled it out of the dryer, it was perfectly fine! No shrinking (that I noticed), no frays, no stitches pulling. It was just as perfect coming out as it was when it went in! This turkey onesie is everything I hoped it would be! My only suggestion for Belles & Bugs for this particular onesie is that eyes would be a cute addition! Other than that, it's perfect! Even without eyes, I still cannot wait for Thanksgiving to put Baby A in this!



 How stinkin' cute is Baby A in his new Turkey Onesie?



For Christmas, Baby A will be sporting an adorable snowman onesie that could make even Frosty jealous with it's perfect polka dot carrot nose. I choose a snowman because I wanted to stray away from the traditional Christmas argyle or Santa Claus outfits. I wanted something that would be a little more winter appropriate and he could wear during December and January as well. I thought that a snowman would be perfect since a snowman doesn't just represent Christmas, it represents the winter season.


 "He was made of snow but the children know how he came to life one day. There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found, for when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around, OH Frosty the Snowman...."


Baby A's snowman onesie was also washed in the same load as the turkey onesie and had no problems with shrinking or fraying. I am so excited for him to wear this! Now I just need to figure out what he is going to wear with it! 



Interested in purchasing the Turkey Onesie? How about the Snowman? Aside from onesies Belles and Bugs also carries the most beautiful little girl dresses!

Click HERE to go shopping at Belles and Bugs!


*This review is 100% original and in my own words. Everything written is from my own personal view point and opinions. All photos have been taken by me unless stated otherwise. I have been provided with product to review by Belles and Bugs however I have not been compensated monetarily for this review.



Auntie

Today is a fabulous day. At 11:22 am I became an auntie again! One of my closest friends gave birth to her baby boy weighing in at 7.9 pounds, 20.5 inches. It's times like this that I wish I still lived back home. I am so excited that another beautiful baby was brought into the world and I cannot wait to meet him!

Does anyone else baby fever? Or is it just me? 


Friday, October 26, 2012

Update: The Ugly Face of the Yeast Monster

So after seven hours of washing diapers, yes SEVEN hours, the "de-yeasting" process was finally over. Unfortunately by that time my back yard was completely shaded so I had no choice but to put the diapers in the dryer which ended up being fine- once they were dry I threw them on for an extra 30 minutes so they would get hot and hopefully kill off any last hint of anything that may be lingering on the diaps.

I haven't put Baby A back in cloth yet, I'm still hoping that the rash will clear. It's a pretty strange rash, just when I think it's almost gone it comes back swinging. I'm almost to the end of my 26 disposables that I bought though so I'm thinking Baby A will be back in cloth before the end of the weekend. Lets hope this yeast monster is gone for good, I don't think emotionally I can handle anymore red baby booties!

Fingers Crossed?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Ugly Face of the Yeast Monster

Remember how I told you that Baby A gets horrible yeast diaper rashes? Well, it's shown it's ugly face again! This time, it's so ugly that I've had to take Baby A out of cloth completely and switch him to disposables for the time being. Since making that switch, his bum is looking a lot better. So how do I kill this yeast monster? I thought I had things under control for a while because I had stripped my diapers and he hadn't gotten the rash. Well, I was wrong. After doing hours of research last night I came to find out that stripping the diapers does in fact get rid of the yeast (at least I was doing part of it right), but it does not kill the yeast spores which is why the rash keeps coming back!

After running all over town this morning I grabbed the two ingredients that various blogs and websites have lead me to believe work, Tea Tree Oil and Grapefruit Seed Extract. So here we go!

According to Nappy Shoppe I must follow these steps to rid the diapers of yeast...

"1. Wash your diapers. Use a detergent that’s recommended for cloth diapers and the hottest cycle your washing machine allows. A sanitary cycle is best.
2. Strip your diapers. Do this by washing them again on the hottest cycle possible, but with no detergent added. Then run at least three rinse cycles with as much water as possible, using the hottest water your machine allows.
3. Use four drops of tea tree oil in place of detergent, and run one wash cycle with cold water. Rinse with as much water as possible.
4. Use four drops of grapefruit seed extract in place of detergent, and run one wash cycle with cold water, rinsing with as much water as possible.
5. Use oxygen cleaner in place of detergent, and run one hot wash cycle with the highest water level possible.
6. Strip your diapers a final time, using at least three rinses with the hottest water possible. Add white vinegar to the first rinse; use plain water for the second and third rinses.
7. Dry on high heat or hang to dry in full sun."

Envious of my day yet? So far, we are on step 1. I turned up my water heater to the highest setting possible and put every single cloth diaper, insert, and cover we own into the washer. I plan on air drying the diapers on our drying rack in the back yard and I am waiting patiently for the shade to go away. I'm sure it will by the time we are onto step 7, clearly this will take a few hours. 

I will update you on the status of the cloth diapers when I have finished with them. We have a call into Baby A's pedi right now as to what I can give him food wise that will help clear up a yeast rash or if she thinks I should get an oral prescription since topical isn't helping to much. Until then, Baby A will be enjoying lots of yogurt!

Wish us luck....






EB & Baby Easton

October 25- October 31st is Epidermolysis Bullosa Awareness Week. EB is a rare genetic skin disease that affects only 1 out of every 50,000 births. EB is a defect in the connective tissue of the skin and mucous membranes that causes the skin to be so fragile that the slightest friction, minor injury, heat, rubbing, or scratching causes severe blistering inside places such as the mouth, stomach, and esophagus as well as outside the body. The nature of the blistering leads to b
lindness, swallowing and breathing difficulties, scarring, infection, disfigurement, disability and dehydration. When infected, these blisters can cause serious as mentioned above and can turn quickly into fatal problems. 87% of babies born with one of the more severe forms of EB do not live more than 12 months. There is no cure for this horrific disease. Sufferers of EB have compared the sores with third-degree burns and they live in unthinkable pain.

I started following the story of baby Easton Friedel when he was just a newborn. A friend of mine posted his story on their Facebook page and my heart immediately shattered for this gorgeous baby boy and his family. Before seeing Baby Easton's story I had absolutely no idea what EB was, as I'm sure many of you reading this do not know as well. Unfortunately, this disease is extremely real. Baby Easton has touched my heart in an indescribable way and although I do not personally know this family, I think about them every day. Baby Easton, was well as many other children, lives in indescribable pain. Diaper changes, eating, even being held by his family, brings extreme pain and blisters to his skin. EB is a terrible disease that breaks my heart every time I look at Baby Easton's Facebook Support Page. I want everyone to know about Epidermolysis Bullosa, so I am trying to spread awareness.

This will be the first EB Awareness week that I have participated in and I want to make sure that I help spread awareness on Epidermolysis Bullosa. For the week of 10/25/12-10/31/12 my Etsy Shop This Love Is Ours Boutique will be donating 25% of all proceeds made to the Friedel Family. A total donation will be made on the morning of November 1st and I will post on Facebook a personal thank you to those who made a purchase along with a total for the donations we've raised for the Friedel family. I encourage you all to do some early holiday shopping or treat yourself to something fun in support of Baby Easton.





Please "like" his Facebook page so that you can learn more about EB and also support Baby Easton. Click HERE to go to his Facebook.




Thank you everyone who is thinking about supporting this family, I'm sure their appreciation is more than you could ever know.





Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Scribblers Crayons GIVEAWAY!



Did you adore the fun and unique crayons I reviewed on Monday? If you missed that post you can catch up by liking HERE! Scribblers Crayons offers fun and unique crayons that are perfect for gifts, birthday party favors, or even just for fun coloring! Baby A has been having fun with his new crayons but I'm pretty sure that I'm enjoying them the most right now (hey, I never said I was a grown-up, you just assumed!). Scribblers Crayons are made with high quality crayons and are made thick so in my opinion the likelihood of your little one snapping the crayon in half is pretty slim! Planning a birthday party? Why not pick up some crayons that go along with your theme for favors! They last a whole lot longer than candy, that's for sure!

Scribblers Crayons and MCO want you to take home some fun crayons for your little one(s)! One lucky MCO reader will receive two packs of People Shaped Crayons from Scribblers Crayons!


People Shaped crayon set of 6 crayons by Scribblers Crayons

People Shaped crayon set of 6 crayons by Scribblers Crayons
Pretty Dang Cute Right? Photo Credits: Scribblers Crayons

Here's Your Chance To Win!




The Giveaway will close late on the evening of Friday October 26th and the winner will be announced no later than the morning of Saturday October 27th. The winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter which uses Random.org. The winner will be announced both on the Rafflecopter and MCO's Facebook page and the winner will be emailed by Scribblers Crayons to redeem your prize!
Have Fun & Good Luck!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Featured Seller/Product Review: Scribblers Crayons

At Baby A's 12 month well baby checkup, his doctor told me that now would be a good time to get him scribbling with some crayons. I was surprised when she said that he could play with crayons at such a young age but nevertheless I figured as long as he was in his high chair why he did so, why not. I went out and bought Baby A a small pack of crayons to experiment with how he would do. Not to my surprise, he crayon fit awkwardly in his chubby little hand and I was a nervous wreck the whole time in fear that he would choke on the slender crayon. A few days later I went out and bought Baby A the chunkier crayons with hopes that he would do better with those. Still no luck. I felt kind of silly trying to get my one year old to hold a crayon properly! I realized the only way that I would get this mission to work is if I had a crayon more favorable to the size of his hand and large enough were I wouldn't be fearful of him choking. When I came across Scribblers Crayons I was so impressed and in awe of the adorable and unique designs. Not only were these crayons adorable but they seemed to be large enough where my little man could hold them comfortably! Maybe this whole scribbling thing would work after all!

Randi, the owner of Scribblers Crayons is a stay at home mom of two- a kindergartner and a 3rd grader, so she knows the importance of crayons to little ones! Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, Randi was the art director for Fortune Magazine (how cool is that!). The urge to create became stronger than ever when she became a stay at home mom. She dabbled in may different crafts before her idea of custom and unique crayons sparked. The inspiration for Scribblers Crayons came from her son, who would frequently play with his Crayola Crayon Maker. Randi wanted to show her son that he could create new crayons out of his old broken ones. With her children as her biggest critics, Randi creates crayons in fun shapes stemmed from themes and ideas from her children. As said by Randi regarding her children and coloring: "I don’t know what I would do without them and their hugs and kisses. Their doodles are just a plus. I love making something that every little kid loves, even if they don’t ever want to color. They can play. Maybe even be inspired to put something down on paper. You’re never too old to color and coloring never gets old".

Scribblers Crayons only uses Crayola Crayons (Crayola does not compensate Scribblers Crayons in any way) to make into her unique shapes. She chose to stick to Crayola because of the familiarity and quality of the brand. What I love most about Scribblers Crayons is the thickness of them! There is nothing worse than being in the middle of coloring something and you accidentally push to hard and the crayon breaks. That is the worst! Since Scribblers Crayons are so thick, I cannot foresee your crayon snapping in half when using! When you receive your shipment of crayons, they are packaged and ready to be gifted! These make absolutely perfect stocking stuffers, birthday party favors, or gift toppers. Scribblers Crayons offers tons of shapes for little boys, little girls, and even gender neutral crayons! If you are using them as party favors, Scribblers Crayons will include a custom message on your packaging for your guests to go home with! I was sent a variety of crayons to check out along with various packaging options for them. See below for some fun shapes and gift-able packaging!

 Mickey Mouse Heads come package with like colors to avoid any color transfer!

 Packaged and ready to be given out as a birthday party favor! Have it be customized for your son or daughters birthday! This one reads "Thank you for celebrating my 5th birthday with me! -Davis"
 These little dinosaurs are packed and ready to be put in a stocking or tied on top of a gift!


When Baby A's new crayons arrived from Scribblers Crayons I couldn't wait to rip open the box and see them in person! Randi was generous and sent us many different shapes of crayons to test out and review. Of course, Baby A's favorite (okay and maybe mine too) were the Mickey Mouse heads! The package that I received from Randi was packaged in one of the most creative ways I have received a product ever. When I first opened the box all I saw was a bunch of construction paper! It was shaped as though you would shape tissue paper in a present (all balled up) and I just loved the fact that she used construction paper instead of bubble wrap, packaging peanuts, or tissue. It fit perfectly into the theme of crayons.

When I took the construction paper out of the box, the next thing I saw was a rainbow of different shaped crayons! I was blown away at how truly cute these crayons were. Mickey heads and dinosaurs, lego pieces and a multi colored star decorated my table as I laid our new goodies out! Looking at them, I couldn't believe they were crayons! Seriously, they looked like little toys!


At the very bottom was all of the crayon wrappers (plus some I'm sure) that were used! It was a colorful and eco friendly way to not only give padding to the bottom of the box, but to brighten my day! I'm not sure why, but the crayon wrappers really scored points with me!



When it came time to test out the crayons I actually didn't want to use them! I tested them out before I let Baby A take the reigns and was pleased to see that the quality and color pigmentation was the same as it would have been if I had just taken a crayon out of the Crayola box. I experimented with the Mickey heads and even in my adult hands they were very easy and comfortable to hold on to and they wrote and scribbled perfectly. When I passed the Mickey Crayon off to Baby A he did his twist & turn inspection of what I handed him. I told him not to eat it and surprisingly he didn't even try to put in in his mouth. I helped him put the crayon to the paper and move it around over what I had written. When I let go of his hand he shook the crayon and laughed at it before putting it to the paper and making a line. I was so proud. The scribbling only lasted about twelve seconds before he decided to set the crayon down and play with the paper. Oh well, that's what experimenting is all about right?

Please don't judge my ugly hand writing!!


With the holidays around the corner, these crayons will be the coolest gift given when your little ones open them up! Whether it be for Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentines Day, Birthday, or used as birthday favors, these crayons will be a unique and fun gift that is sure to put a smile on everyone's face! They're as much fun to play with as they are to color with! With Scribblers Crayons affordable prices there is no reason why you shouldn't splurge on some fun crayons that will end up lasting longer and will inspire your children to use their imagination and get their creativity out on paper! As if you needed more incentive, Scribblers Crayons is offering MCO readers an exclusive coupon code! Use the code MCO12 at checkout to receive 12% off of your order!

Click HERE to go shopping at Scribblers Crayons!

Click HERE to become a fan of Scribblers Crayons on Facebook!


*This review is 100% original and in my own words. Everything written is from my own personal view point and opinions. All photos have been taken by me unless stated otherwise. I have been provided with product to review by Scribblers Crayons however I have not been compensated monetarily for this review.











Sunday, October 21, 2012

Holiday Reading List

Every year around this time I sit down and write out a list of books that I want to read before the year is over. I refer to it as my holiday reading list and I try to tackle every book that I can from my list and add books to it that I think look good along the way. This year, I am going to share my holiday reading list with you in hopes that you will read some of the books along with me! As I share my list with you, I will make the title into a link so that you can read the description through Amazon.

2012 Holiday Reading List:

On The Island by Tracey Garvis (Currently Reading for a second time)

The Woods by Harlen Coben

The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman (I plan to read this the week of Christmas!)

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (This is the sequel to Bared to You)

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Hungar Games Triology by Suzanne Collins (Why yes, this will be my forth time reading the series)

Love Will Find A Way by Barbara Freethy

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (Book 1 of the books True Blood on HBO is based off of)

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris (Book 2 of the books True Blood on HBO is based off of)

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

Haunt Me Still by Jennifer Lee Carrel

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger


For now that is all that I can think of, if I come across more that should be on this list I will let you know!

What books do you plan on reading this holiday season?
Comment Below



Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Graceful Mom COUPON CODE!

Were you bummed you weren't the winner of The Graceful Mom giveaway? Then this is for you!!

The Graceful Mom is offering 10% of your entire purchase and free shipping of you order 4 or more dryer balls! If you plan to order more than 4, send her a message through Etsy with what colors and how many you would like and she will set up a custom listing of the dryer balls with free shipping already applied, then you can apply the code!

Use the code LAUNDRY at check out to get your 10% off, and don't forget to message The Grateful Mom on Etsy prior to purchase to get your free shipping on 4 or more!!

Offer is valid October 21st-October 27th so stock up while you can! (These make awesome
Holiday gifts as well!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Carseat Safety For Your Little One

The biggest parenting regret that I have so far in my journey, is not doing my research on carseats and strollers when registering for them while I was pregnant. I simply chose the carseat based off of price and appearance (don't judge). Baby A quickly outgrew his mediocre Evenflow infant seat and the stroller broke when he was 7 months old (don't even get me started on that piece of junk stroller). I moved him into his Graco ComfortSport convertible carseat and he was very comfortable and happy in that. It served its purpose until about a month and a half ago when I decided to brush up on my carseat knowledge and do some research. I was horrified to find out that the ComfortSport only rear faced to 30 pounds. 30 pounds?! That's it?! And it only forward faced to 40 pounds. What on earth was the point of this carseat??!! Needless to say, I quickly ran out and bought a new carseat after doing extensive research.

 
There were a lot of carseats that I considered before I made a final decision. I was very curious about the Graco Size 4 Me but it seemed to be sold out everywhere and back ordered. I wanted Baby A out of the ComfortSport as soon as possible so I turned my attention to another Graco carseat- the MyRide. I scoured the Internet looking at information, weighing the pros and cons, and trying to figure out if the MyRide was a good fit for us. There were a lot of other contenders on my list such as the Britax Boulevard, the Diono Radian, the Evenflo Triumph, and as I said prior, the Graco Size4Me. In the end it was the Graco MyRide 65 with Safety Surround that stole my heart and ended up being Baby A's new ride. One of my biggest factors with buying the new car seat is that I really wanted to see it in person to be able to touch it and really get a grasp on how big it was. Unfortunately, a lot of those carseats were not available in stores so I was limited to what I was able to see. The biggest selling point on the MyRide for me was the Safety Surround. The Safety Surround added two extra features that would protect Baby A in the event of a car accident. It included the headrest that is about an inch thick of memory foam on each side and moves so it grows with your child, and a seat insert that is also memory foam. In this seat Baby A can rear face until he is 40 pounds and forward face until he is 65 pounds. I was sold!

 (Left to Right) The Carseat, The Extra Seat Insert, 5 Point Harness

 Safety Surround Headrest
 
 
Why Rear-Face?
 
I plan on leaving Baby A in the rear facing position for as long as absolutely possible. Just because you are able to turn your little one around at 1 year and 20 pounds doesn't mean that that is a safe idea. Studies have shown that rear facing children have a higher chance of avoiding severe injuries in the event of a car accident. A recent conversation with my mom sparked my interest in finding out the stats on rear facing versus forward facing injuries. My favorite diagram came from The Parenting Patch who actually found the photo from a European website called Securatot.
 
Photo Credits: Securatot
 
If that won't convince you to leave your child rear facing for as long as possible, I don't know what will. Now, I'm not saying that if you forward face your child you are a horrible parent. I will admit fully that Baby A has in fact rode forward facing and has to whenever we take Mr. Hunky's truck! Mr. Hunky has an Extended Cab Toyota Tacoma and it has absolutely no space for a carseat. If we rear face Baby A's carseat, the front seat has to be pushed completely to the dash board for it to fit. Which in turn leaves no space for me. Why don't I just sit behind Mr. Hunky? Because he has long legs and has his seat almost all the way to the back! Literally no room for mom. So up until Baby A turned a year we would just take my car everywhere, but at times it is nice to hop in the truck. We now leave Baby A's old ComfortSport carseat in Mr. Hunky's truck, forward facing, for when we need to use it. Although I am not a fan of forward facing so young, we pretty much have no choice.
 
 
Why Isn't Rear Facing Longer a Law or Guideline?
 
Well folks, it is! Not a law, but a guideline! According to an article published March 21, 2011 (yes, that long ago!) the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) announced recommendations that parents keep their little ones rear facing until they are two years old or until they reach the height and weight maximums of their carseat (you can find this in the carseats manual or by looking up your carseat manual for free HERE). Considering most convertible carseats rear face to 40 or some even 45 pounds, the two year goal is easily attainable by most children.
 
What About When My Child Needs to Turn to Forward Facing?
 
My recommendation for a forward facing child is to purchase a carseat that will forward face them as long as possible. Most convertible carseats will forward face your child to 65 or 70 pounds, but there are some on the market now that will hold your child to 100 pounds. Keeping them in a convertible carseat for as long as possible is safer than transferring them to a booster seat because of the 5 point harness that a convertible carseat has. There are many carseats on the market that are actually convertible seat to booster carseats such as the Britax Frontier 85 which forward faces in the 5 point harness mode to 85 pounds and then transfers to booster seat mode to 120 pounds. The AAP and NHTSA recommend that a child is in a 5 point harness well into elementary years and in a booster seat until 80-100 pounds.
 
When Will I Know My Child is Ready To Be Out Of Their Booster?
 
Safekids.org has put out a Safety Belt Fit Test for you to test your child to see if they are ready to sit as an adult in the car. Take the test below to find out of your child is ready. If they do not pass the test, then your child is not ready to move out of their booster.
 

The Safety Belt Fit Test

  • Have your child sit in a back seat with his or her bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back. Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge?

    • If yes, go on.

    • If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.

     
  • Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips and high on the thighs?

    • If yes, go on.

    • If it rests on the soft part of the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.
  • Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lie on the collarbone and shoulder?

    • If yes, go on. If it is on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat.

    • Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.
  • Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips?

    • If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test.

    • If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.
Test Credits: SafeKids.org


Important Reminders:

When buckling your rear facing little one into their seat, remember that their harness straps should be at or below the shoulders and the harness clip should always be in line with their armpits.

When buckling your forward facing little on into their seat, remember that their harness straps should be at or above the shoulders and the harness clip should always be in line with their armpits.

For an awesome article on harness safety check out this link

Always remember that the back seat is the absolute safest place for children and your child should stay out of the front seat until they are at least thirteen (13) years old!


Last but not least, if you have any questions as to what the laws are in your state or doubts about whether you have installed your car seat correctly please remember that you can drive to your local highway patrol station and they will be more than willing to help you with your carseat installation and answer questions. Some local fire departments will help as well, but I would recommend calling them before you drive over. If you do not feel comfortable going to your highway patrol station or fire department you can check out Safety Kids to see if there is a local carseat check up/inspection site or event going on in your area!



Thursday, October 18, 2012

Customer Service At Its Worst

When I'm out shopping, there's nothing I like more than good customer service. When I worked at the spa, it was constantly drilled into me to be sugary sweet to customers and give them the best customer service experience ever had. So that's what I did. I answered questions promptly and fully, I smiled, I was polite, I made conversation. Even when I was furious and had the worst customer ever, it was still instilled in me that I need to be as nice as possible. So when I left the spa, everything I had learned about customer service stuck with me and that's how I expected to be treated when I walk into an establishment. It drives me crazy when you walk up to a register at check out and the clerk just starts ringing you up without so much as a hello. Usually I am the one who with attitude stands there and goes "Why hello! How are you today?"kill them with kindness right?

One of the worst customer service experiences I have ever had was on Monday. Mrs. Bow Jangles had an appointment to be groomed at 11:15 at Petsmart. Mind you, Petsmart is already about a 40 minute drive away so I was ready to drop Mrs. Bow Jangles off and get on with the rest of the day until she was ready to be picked up. When I arrived at Petsmart I walked her back to Grooming and waited to be checked in. A groomer came over and asked me my name and dogs name and began to look for us in the book. As luck would have it, she couldn't find our appointment anywhere. The groomer spent the next fifteen minutes flipping through pages of her binder appointment book looking for our appointment that clearly was not there. While she flipped mindlessly through the pages, she also ignored that I was still standing there, answered three phone calls, had three lengthy conversations, and scheduled three future appointments. All while I was standing there waiting for her to figure out my situation. Seriously? I was flabbergasted. Oh, did I mention I was holding a very squirmy Baby A who kept whining to get down. Finally the groomer turned back to me and said "well, I have a lot of dogs already today so...", I immediately cut her off and said "I just drove 40 minutes to get here, I have an appointment, it's not my fault if your co-worker lost it, you are taking my dog". This girl literally was shocked that I had just stood my ground. She half rolled her eyes at me and said "well then I have to treat you like a walk in so we probably won't be done until 3". Reminder. It. Was. 11. I told her that was fine and she took Mrs. Bow Jangles into the back.

I was blown away with the horrible customer service I received while at Petsmart this week. I firmly believe that if you are going to work in a public job you need to take a semester long class on customer service and how to work with people. I learned a lot from working at the spa and a few of the biggest main points I learned were:

  • The Customer is Always Right
  • Never focus your attention on anything but the customer while they are in your presence
  • If a phone rings while you are with a customer kindly say "excuse me", answer the phone and immediately place them on hold.
  • Never make the customer feel like they are not valued
Along with those main points I learned a lot more but those always seem to be the ones that come up in my mind most office. It is so frustrating to be treated poorly while you are spending your hard earned money at the places where these people work.


What's the worst customer service you've ever experienced?
Comment Below

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Masha Code Word Page


Hey there! Come back daily for the new code word & before you leave to go claim your entry point, we'd love for you to take a second to click on the Vote For Me on Top Mommy Blogs [Brown] Button at the bottom of this page! Thanks!! XO

Monday: Potatoes

Tuesday: Baby Food

Wednesday: Masha

Thursday: NexGenStore

Friday: Cooking

Saturday: Mashed Potatoes

Sunday: Easy





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Just When You've Think You've Got Parenting Down

Just when you think you've got parenting down, your little one throws you through a loop. Seriously. I have been feeling very bonded with Baby A the last few months of his life since he has been growing more and exploring his personality. Of course, I have felt bonded with him since the moment I found out that I was pregnant, but you know what I mean. A babies personality just grows when they hit around the 7-8 month mark and they develop into the little silly that they are meant to be. I thought I had my job as a parent down pretty well, I know what he wants, when he wants it, his likes and dislikes, routine, etc. I'm not saying that I'm a super mom, I'm just saying that I know my child better than I think I know myself sometimes. Well, yesterday he threw me through a loop.

After tubby time we have a little routine, I dry him off and free him to the realm of the house as I drain the bath, hang his towel to dry, and head to his bedroom. 9 times out of 10 Baby A is in the hall waiting for me or waiting for me in his bedroom, I get him diapered and dressed, then he gets to enjoy his evening bottle before bed. Evidently his plans differed last night.
 
*I apologize for the TMI of this next paragraph and the curse word I am about to unleash, unfortunately, the story is not quite as funny without the profanity*
 
 
As I headed to Baby A's bedroom, I was calling for him to come join me, and the house was quiet. Well sort of, Mr. Hunky was in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner so it wasn't really quiet, but for Baby A, it was. After calling him for a few second I finally heard his little giggle and pitter patter of his hands crawling on the floor. When I turned the corner to the kitchen I saw his little nakedness coming toward me laughing, and what appeared to be smeared refried beans on the tile (we had Mexican food for dinner). I immediately took a tone with Mr. Hunky demanding to know why he so carelessly dropped beans on the floor and didn't clean it up. Mid sentence I looked up a little further into the living room and started laughing hysterically. I mean, laughing so hard that there were tears in my eyes. Baby a sh*t on the carpet. Yep, you read that right. My son took a big fat poop right in the middle of the living room. I immediately grabbed Baby A and ran back to the still draining bath tub and threw him in it (I didn't literally throw him, obviously). Oh wait, it gets better. As I'm trying to clean Baby A up in the tub, he proceeds to sh*t some more!

I laughed for probably about an hour on and off last night. For me it wasn't one of those situations where you are mad now, laugh later. It was a laugh as it's happening, after, and probably every time I think about last night for the rest of my life. Baby A reminded me of something important last night- expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to your kids because just when you think you've got parenting down, they do something like sh*t on the floor to remind you that you'll never really have it mastered.
 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Featured Seller/Product Review: The Graceful Mom

*I received wall decor for review in exchange for my honest thoughts and opinions*

I have recently learned that there are an incredible amount of ways to "go green" and save yourself some money, just by changing the way you handle things around your house. I've scoured the Internet and have found many recipes on various soaps and cleaning products and out of everything that I've came across, my favorite would have to be wool dryer balls. The Graceful Mom hand makes wool dryer balls  which are the eco friendly alternative to a store bought dryer sheet. The more research I did on dryer balls the more I was sold. Did you know that dryer sheets are loaded with chemicals and really have no benefit other than the extremely light scent they leave on your clothes and the minimal static they reduce. With wool dryer balls, you're not only saving yourself money but you're avoiding putting extra chemicals around your clothing, you're reducing static, and you're cutting down time in the dryer. Are you sold yet?

Bethany, the owner of The Graceful Mom is a mother of two who works full time along with owning her Etsy shop. Bethany has a passion for making things for her kids and finding ways to balance work, family, and having other interests on the side. She started The Graceful Mom after making the switch to cloth diapers when her daughter was four months old. She started with wool dryer balls because of the simple fact that you can't use fabric softener or dryer sheets with cloth diapers. She started selling her dryer balls to her local growers group and they were an instant hit. When her family moved, she began focusing her energy into selling her dryer balls in her shop along with other items hand knit and crocheted from natural fibers. All of The Graceful Mom's dryer balls are made from 100% wool and most are naturally colored from local wool. Here is some extremely useful information directly from The Graceful Mom:

"Sweet Gumballs Wool Dryer Balls are made with 100% wool to the core. They are an excellent alternative to dryer sheets, fabric softener, and plastic PVC balls. They are 2.5-3 oz in weight. The most effective dryer balls are measured by weight, not circumference, so each dryer ball varies slightly in size. They are felted 4 times by an exceptional process to ensure that they are well-felted and will not unravel.

Wool absorbs up to 30% of its weight in water so these dryer balls soften clothes, reduce drying time, save money, reduce static, reduce wrinkles, and are reusable for years. They also work by lifting and separating, which allows air to flow better. GREAT for cloth diapers, especially AIOs.

Using 4 dryer balls on a 90 minute cycle will cut a small load of laundry approximately in 1/2 and a large load by 1/4! The more you use the better they work. They can be used on cloth diapers and all other laundry. Pilling may occur. They can be shaved if bothersome but it does not affect the performance of the dryer ball. If anything it may help them work better by providing more surface area and friction. They may also shrink slightly in size as the wool continues to felt.

Instructions for use: Toss them in the dryer and go. There is no need to remove them in between loads and no need to wash. If they do get dirty (thanks to little hands playing with them or dogs gumming them) wash with normal laundry. We recommend starting with 4 dryer balls and adding more later. The more you add, the shorter your drying time.

Note: Static will not go away completely, especially during winter months. To further reduce static, add vinegar during your rinse cycle in your washing machine. Be careful not to over dry clothes.

Made in the USA with local wool. Most also contain luxurious alpaca blend. Sold individually. Additional colors available--most are natural colored (undyed) wool and currently unscented".

                                            

When my two dryer balls arrived in the mail I was giddy and jumping with excitement. Any way to cut down the costs of living, I am willing to try! As soon as I ripped open the package, I threw them in the dryer and went to grab a load of wash! The two dryer balls that I received are a little bit bigger than a tennis ball and are undyed and unscented. After doing a few loads of drying with them, I was super impressed to see that they had not lost their shape, size, nor had they come unraveled at all!





I expected the dryer balls to be noisy but in fact I hardly heard them while the dryer was going! We have a really old dryer at our house (we rent and it came with the house) so needless to say it is not a HE dryer by any means. I typical large load of laundry takes over an hour to dry, diapers take about that as well, and a small load takes about 40 minutes. I was so excited that with the help of my new dryer balls, a large load of laundry only took about 45 minutes to dry, diapers took about 40 minutes to dry, and a small load only took 30 minutes! In my book, that is record breaking time! Our clothes (and diapers) had no static that I could tell and it felt so great pulling my clothes out knowing that there were no added chemicals in them!




It is recommended that you have between 4-6 dryer balls per load to even further reduce the dry time and help further to eliminate static. My larger load of laundry and Baby A's cloth diapers could have dried faster if we had additional dryer balls.


A typical dryer ball can last for many years assuming that little hands or pets do not get to it and destroy it first! I have even read that some dryer balls can last up to eight years. Yes, you read that correctly, EIGHT years! That's eight years of never spending money on dryer sheets AND cutting down your energy bill by reducing the amount of dry time. Why the heck would you not make the switch to dryer balls?

I highly recommend that you throw out your dryer sheets (or use them up to be economical) and invest in a set of dryer balls for yourself. You will be so impressed with their quality and the noticeable difference you will see in your laundry and in your household bills! The Graceful Mom makes it so easy to get started with their affordable prices and cute colors! Head on over to The Graceful Mom and take charge of your new healthy habits!


Click HERE to go shopping at The Graceful Mom.


Click HERE to become a fan of The Graceful Mom on Facebook!


*This review is 100% original and in my own words. Everything written is from my own personal view point and opinions. All photos have been taken by me unless stated otherwise. I have been provided with product to review by The Graceful Mom however I have not been compensated monetarily for this review.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Surprise!!!!!!!! I Love It All Giveaway!

Happy Saturday MCO loves! I thought I'd sneak in a little surprise giveaway before you kick off your fun filled Halloween week!

I came across Monika Wright's blog I Love It All when I was obsessing over Pinterest one day and I fell head over heels in love with her Gratitude Journal. As I continued to browse her blog I found that I had a smile on my face the entire time. Aside from fun DIY's and other crafty posts, Monika's blog is very humbling. You can't help but feel connected to her as she writes about her family and what she loves. From her blog I continued onto her Etsy shop in search of the Gratitude Journal I found on Pinterest, and what I found were many beautiful prints, DIY notebooks, journals, greeting cards, and so much more! This is the type of shop that can get you in trouble with the husband. Or your credit card company.

I Love It All and MCO want to give you something special going into the month of November. If you're a Thanksgiving and Christmas lover like me, or are just a very thankful person, then this giveaway is for you my friend!

I Love It All is giving one lucky winner this 5X7 Thankful Family Rules Subway Art Print Scroll!
Frame not included in giveaway


Here's How To Win!




The Giveaway will close late on the evening of Sunday October 28th and the winner will be announced no later than the morning of Monday October 29th. The winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter which uses Random.org. The winner will be announced both on the Rafflecopter and MCO's Facebook page and the winner will be emailed by I Love It All to redeem your prize!
Have Fun & Good Luck!



Click HERE to go shopping at I Love It All!

Click HERE to check out I Love It All's Blog!

Click HERE to become a fan of I Love It All on Facebook!



*Also check out I Love It All's BLOG right now for a chance to win a $15 store credit for This Love Is Ours Boutique!





Mini Cobblers

While searching Pinterest I came across a recipe for mini peach cobblers and I thought they would be so perfect for Mr. Hunkys lunches! They're the perfect size for a tasty treat at home or on the go! The original recipe came from Alli N Son, but of course, in true MCO fashion, I have broken the rules and tweaked the recipe! So here we go.

What You Will Need:

A Regular Cupcake or Muffin Tin
1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
3/4 Stick of Butter (melted)
A dash of salt
Brown Sugar
Cinnamon
Fruit to put in the cobblers


What You Need To Do:

Preheat your oven to 350*. Melt your butter on the stove top or in the microwave. In your KitchenAid mixer or large bowl combine your flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and milk. Pour 1 teaspoon of melted butter into each individual muffin tin.


Once you have completed that, put two tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin.


 Take your fruit and put it on top of the batter (*NOTE: you will want to make sure your fruit is thinly diced to fit into the muffin tins). I used frozen blueberries in our cobblers and I took a regular sized spoonful of blueberries and poured them over the top of the batter.



Next you will want to sprinkle cinnamon and brown sugar on top of the fruit and berries.




Bake for  12-20 minutes depending on your oven (mine took forever!).



Let the cobblers cool completely then take a butter knife and gently scrape the edges to attach it from the muffin tins. The bottoms will be soft because all of your fruit will cook into the bottoms of the cobbler so be very gentle when you pull them out otherwise they will end up like mine! They still taste amazing though! Serve by themselves or with some vanilla ice cream!



Enjoy!