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May 29, 2012

thinkbaby Sunscreen Review

I love the sun. I love summer. I love feeling the heat on my skin...I love living in the south! sigh. And, if you know me in real life, you know I hate sunscreen. It's so bad (my hatred for it, that is). I do NOT want my children to grow up with this mentality though! And it's hard. There are two camps. The "you will die from skin cancer if the sun touches your skin" camp, and then there's the "the sun is so good for you" camp. I guess I fall in the middle when it comes to my children (I'm too stubborn to leave the 2nd camp for myself) ;-) I know how important it is to get our Vitamin D from the sun, and blocking that can do damage. But I also feel that too much exposure (mostly at the heat of the day) is not a good thing, and we need to be mindful.

And then, there's all the chemicals included with so many sunscreens/sunblocks. I shudder thinking about it! The thinkbaby website says it best, and reinforces why it is so important to think long and hard about the sunscreen you are choosing for your family: 
The majority of sunscreens currently on the market are full of questionable ingredients and known carcinogens. Simply looking at the ingredients you’ll quickly realize you don’t recognize any of them. Many existing sunscreens have been brought to market with little concern for their safety. Not only do ingredients in sunscreen interact with skin, but data shows after application of lotions, some of the same chemicals can be detected in the bloodstream. Most people wear sunscreen to reduce the chance of developing cancer, so why apply something that could potentially increase this risk?

I've been on a mission over the past few years to find something that was safe for my children, as I strive to teach them about sun safety. I came across thinkbaby sunscreen and they were kind enough to allow me to review their sunscreen! (which is now SPF 50+)

I was hesitant because I know, as with many sunscreens that are more natural, they go on so thick and white, and are hard to rub in - kids don't want to wait for that! While thinkbaby does go on white, it rubs in a lot more quickly than other sunscreens we've tried.

The thinkbaby ingredient list is awesome and totally pronounceable (well the common names are, haha!) -
  • Zinc oxide SPF 30+ (non-nano)
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Whole leaf aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • Avocado oil (Persea gratissmima)
  • Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
  • Jojoba seed oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • Olive oil
  • L-arginine
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)
  • Orange peel wax (Citrus aurantium dulcis)
  • Beeswax
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Cornstarch (Zea mays)
  • Carrageenan (sourced from kelp)
For 2012, thinkbaby received a score of 1 on the EWG Sunscreen Guide (lower is better in this case!) and even made the Top Sunscreen List!

There is SO much information about thinkbaby on this one page of their website. I highly encourage you to spend a few minutes reading and learning!

So, my thoughts? It worked really well - I was thoroughly impressed! I didn't really know what to expect (I did expect it to work, haha) but it definitely exceeded my expectations. thinkbaby did a fantastic job of protecting the skin of my little guys. 
  • My oldest has very fair skin (is it mean to call him pale?) ;-) And usually burns - no matter the sunscreen we try, but has so far stayed burn-free this spring (here in NC, we've had warm/hot weather for months). We tried it at the beach this past weekend, and again, I was really impressed. His shoulders did get burnt really bad, but I realized (after the fact) that I didn't put thinkbaby there - he was wearing a t-shirt and I got his chest/back/face, just missed his shoulders...opps!
  • My middle son has my skin and just tans ;-) 
  • And my youngest has fairer skin, but very sensitive skin, and I was pleased that thinkbaby didn't cause him to break out into a rash, or irritate his skin in any way!
For me, I love that thinkbaby doesn't really have a scent (I don't like when things smell and they don't need to!) For thinkbaby, that tells me that the only things in it, are things that are needed - nothing extra - and I like (and appreciate) that!

We are looking forward to enjoying the rest of this summer (and future summers!) protecting our skin with thinkbaby!

What about you - have you made the switch to a more natural sunscreen? What are your thoughts, especially if you've tried thinkbaby?

You can find thinkbaby on the following social networks:
thinkbaby on Facebook
thinkbaby on Twitter

Disclaimer: I received 1 bottle of thinkbaby sunscreen in exchange for this review. All opinions are honest and my own. You may have a different experience.

May 25, 2012

Friday Four!

Happy Friday Ya'll!

Fun for the kiddos: With the weather getting downright HOT this weekend - these sponge balls are sure to be a hit!  I have made a set for us (easy!) - now we just need to head outside and get wet!

Recipe to try:  Jello Cake is one of our FAVORITE foods of the summer.  We make it for EVERY picnic/BBQ/pool party that we go too! =)  The only difference from this recipe and mine, is that I don't add 1/2 c. cold water to the jello, just the hot.  Give it a try - it's super easy and refreshing!

Neat decorating idea: It's Memorial Day weekend!  Have any special plans?  We found a really neat idea last year that we'll be doing again this year - lawn stars!  They are fun and easy:  Cut a star shape out of some cardboard.
Use a water bottle to spray the star with water:

Use a sifter to sift flour onto the wet grass:

Repeat as many times as you wish!  We heard lots of positive comments as people were walking to watch the fire works. =)

Cloth diaper related: Two weeks ago (I have no idea where last week went - sorry!), I showed you the Bummis Stretch Bamboozle diaper.  We still LOVE it!  No leaks!  Here was the fun part about that shopping adventure...bumGenius had just announced their new deal - buy two Flip covers and get one free!  This has worked beautifully over our Bamboozles.  It seems that most retailers are offering this deal - so if you're in need of some covers - check them out!

Enjoy the long weekend!  -Joy

May 24, 2012

Chelory All In One Diaper


If you have not heard of Chelory, you will not want to miss this! I was given the wonderful opportunity to review the NEW stay dry AIO diaper that Rachel, at Chelory, will be releasing in early June. I have fallen in love with this diaper and hope that I can score more during her special stocking times. Stockings occur on her Hyena Cart page and is announced on the Chelory facebook page 24 hours in advance. At this time, there is a limit of two diapers per day.

A little bit about the new stay dry AIO. This diaper looks a lot like a BGE (which are one of my personal favs) but absorbs so much more (need I say NEW FAV!!). The outer printed material is poly PUL. This specific print is called Sound Waves-gorgeous!! The inner materials are bamboo and zorb. This was the first time that I have used any zorb and I am extremely impressed. We used this diaper quite a few times overnight and had no leaking issues at all. And finally the stay dry layer is a wicking jersy. The entire diaper is so super swishy!

Here is another pic of the inner. You can see it has two layers sewn together at the ends. This creates that extra oomph of absorbancy. When it comes to drying time, it is relatively quick for its thickness. You just flip the sewn in middle around the back of the printed side and hang to dry. It won't dry as quick as a pocket but it will still be pretty reasonable. You can also throw it in the dryer on a lower heat setting.

Something that my husband is (actually) picky about when it comes to diapers is the waist snaps. He loves that it has a double row of snaps along the waist. This works best for us and we love that you can snap the top snap in one spot closer than the bottom snap if needed.

This is a one size diaper so it will fit from teeny tiny to rough and tumble toddler-hood. There are three rise adjustments to accommodate any size baby. I also love that there are three rows of rise adjustments as well. That is nice so you don't get that droopy middle section which always cracks me up with my Easy Fits.

All snapped up! I love this print!

Ready! Set! Action! This diaper goes a lot of places when it is on Kynlie's bum. Usually it goes pretty quickly because she is such a monkey! She knew Mommy wanted pictures so she is trying to get away! This is a super trim diaper considering all the layers for absorption.

As you can see, lots of movement and wiggling around, yet we never had any leaks-ever. I like to give the diaper the test of strength and I had Kynlie wear this for a long time. She wore it for 5 hours while we were out shopping. I was just in such a rush with toting around the other two with her that it just didn't cross my mind to change her! (And I felt bad about it until I finally changed her and realized she didn't leak AT ALL!! Then I only felt a little bad because I like to change her about every two hours.) Go Chelory!!

This diaper has a good snug fit around the bottom and around the legs. It stayed in place, no sagging, drooping or gapping at all. Kynlie is a pretty petite baby and doesn't always fit into diapers that well. This was an amazing fit for her. I can also imagine that it would fit a chunky baby as well because of the snap options that there are.

There is a good fit around the leg, both on top and bottom. The top has a bit of stretch so that it can be snapped snuggly at the waist and the bottom has elastic to completely cover the bum. We never had any red marks on the legs either.

Here is a picture of the side/front. It fits well around the tummy and we had no gapping there either. And it was really trim around the bum and front. There is also elastic along the back to ensure a snug and secure fit as well.

This diaper has become the fist diaper that I reach for as soon as it comes off the line!

Kynlie-where is your belly? Right here above this awesome diaper!

A Bit more about Chelory:

In addition to selling this new AIO, Chelory also sells an AIO that is a cotton fleece/bamboo diaper, as well as an AI2, wool diapers, leg warmers and several different styles of inserts.

Chelory also offers a 15 day Wash & Wear Money Back Guarantee to the original purchaser. If you're unhappy with your purchase, ship it back for a full refund. Although I highly doubt you'll need to use it!

My overview:

I was extremely excited when Rachel wanted me to review her new Stay Dry AIO and I am even more excited to get to share it with you. I absolutely love this diaper. I fully intend to be at my computer striking the F5 key waiting for the stocking to go live. I must own more of these!! You will not be disappointed in anything from Chelory. Here is a link to Chelory's store policy-one of the best I have seen from any WAHMs.
I highly recommend the new Chelory SD AIO.

Chelory's next stocking day has been announced early! It will be June 6th. Here is a post from facebook: "Next week's stocking on WEDNESDAY June 6th at 9:00pm Eastern is going to be a bit.....different. There will be a total of 75 diapers, of which 64 (YES! SIXTY FOUR!) will be All-In-Ones! 32 Chelory Organic AIOs will be available in both Snap and H&L Closures and 32 Chelory SD AIOs will be available in both Snap and H&L Closures."

You can check out which prints will stock here.

Let me know if you have any Chelory diapers and if you score one during the stocking day. Post some pictures on our facebook!


Rachel is generously giving away a SD AIO diaper in Sound Waves (just like mine) to one lucky follower! Fill out the form below for your chance to win!

Here are some links you may need:
CDA facebook
Chelory facebook
Chelory website

May 22, 2012

Cat in the Hat Party!

I think I'm getting addicted to planning kids' parties ;) I wonder if there is a market for this sort of thing? Haha! 

My oldest son turned 5 in April, and he had the hardest time deciding what kind of party he wanted. Originally, it was The Lorax (and I had a bajillion ideas!) and then he wanted Transformers (thanks, Daddy!) and then a fireman party...finally about 3 weeks before his birthday, we had a sit down and made him decide...

Cat in the Hat it was!

Thanks to Pinterest, I had no problem coming up with a ton of ideas (and pinning ones that I found in random searches). 

We had Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes:
I used red velvet cake mix, red foil liners, vanilla icing and blue cotton candy. A friend printed "Thing 1" and "Thing 2" up for me and I used a paper punch to get perfect circles and then I used a black sharpie to outline the circles (to give a layered feel).

A close up of the tags…

My hubby slaved over the Cat in the Hat cups:
(we couldn’t find white electrical tape, which is what I envisioned, so Zach cut strips of white duct tape in half and stuck them on cups. No matter if your cups are circular or square, this will be a battle to the end, so be prepared) ;) 

Grandma acquired some paper Cat in the Hat hats from a fellow teacher for the kids and it was a huge hit!
Keaton, his best friend Jimmy, and 2/3 of his cousins, Karlie and Karis.

I made this super fun wreath (we intend to use it for all birthday celebrations from here on out!)
 a 12″ straw wreath, a TON of balloons  (approximately 300) and a ton of floral pins (and about 45 mins!)

We also strung a balloon banner this time:
Zach blew up the balloons and then threaded them with sewing thread and hung across our kitchen! Such a fun touch – they’re still up, a month later!

Blue and Red table cloths and red plates/napkins rounded out the color scheme.

My husband and brother-in-law led a super fun game. Half the kids were "cat" and the other half "fish". EVERYone was "cat in the hat". When you heard "cat", you had to switch spots with other "cat" people. When you heard "fish", you had to switch with other "fish" people. And when you heard "cat in the hat" - chaos ensued ;) Everyone had to switch spots. The kids were laughing so hard, and the parents were worn out! ;)

It was a HUGE hit with the pre-school crowd and Keaton LOVED it so much!

Happy 5th birthday my big boy!!!!!

May 19, 2012

Mom 4 Life

I love finding websites that have a little bit of everything. Shortly after becoming a mom myself in 2007, I happened upon Mom 4 Life. I was floored by the product selection, but blown away that every thing was invented by moms! How cool is that?! Mom 4 Life is amazing in many other ways as well:
How incredible, right?!

I remember Mom 4 Life being one of the first sites where I started to look at cloth diapers, and they still have a great selection, along with accessories, including BabyLegs, detergent, wipes, sprayers, and more!

Mom 4 Life isn't just for the cloth diapering mom either! They offer so much more to help you along in your parenting journey. For the breastfeeding mom, they have LilyPadz and Hooter Hiders, WubbaNubs for some extra comfort for baby, and, if you're looking to get back to your pre-baby shape, Mom 4 Life sells the Belly Bandit as well!

A little something for everyone!
Stop by today and see what you can find that could help you as a mom, and help a mom in need as well!

Disclaimer: In return for sharing product links, I was compensated with a pair of BabyLegs. All opinions, though, are honest and my own.

May 16, 2012

Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot - BambinoBUMS

 Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot emailed me asking me to review their BambinoBUMS laundry bag. I said sure of course! When I got the bag in the mail I was WOW'ed to say the least. This bag is HUGE!

Below you will see my 3 1/2 year old holding up the bag. It is about as tall as him. I told my SIL that I could fit both my boys into it and have a potato sack race!

 Here is the bag on the floor with 2 hotwheels cars on it to help show size as well.
 This bag also has two neat and handy features:
The first:
It shas a draw string closure on the top of the bag so when you put it into your diaper pail you can tighten the drawstring to get a secure fit. Or if you keep the bag just around with diapers in it you can tighten the drawstring and use the clasp to keep it shut so little hands don't go exploring in the bag.
 The second:
This bag features a zipper across the bottom of the bag. This is really nice so that once the bag is full all you have to do is unzip it over top of your washer and dump them out. No need to worry about reaching in to pull out the stubborn diaper that doesn't want to come out of the pail liner because everything falls out when you unzip the bag!
 Here is the draw string bunched up.
Once I got past the very large size of the bag and got to examining it I really was digging the endless possibilities that I would be able to use this bag for. There is of course the use of diapers, in or out of a diaper pail. But this would also be a great bag to take to the beach to fill with wet suits and towels. They would all fit in there great. Also a great camping laundry bag too! I am planning on sticking this into my hospital bag for when we have #3 in June and using it for our dirty laundry.

I was sent a BambinoBUMS bag free for review. All opinions expressed are my own and your experiences may differ from mine.

May 11, 2012

The Friday Four!

Hello all!

I'm really excited to announce that I am moving to Friday and will be starting up something new - The Friday Four!  There are SOOOO many cool ideas online - from things to make with your kids, for your family, for yourself, for your house...you get the idea.  Each week I'll showcase my favorite four.  I'm aiming to have four different categories covered: fun for the kiddos, recipes, neat ideas for the house/organization, and of course something cloth diaper related (discount codes, free shipping sites, new products and the like).  I'll still have a review/giveaway from time to time - but with our family responsibilities changing (we start homeschooling kindergarten for our oldest two this fall), I needed to change things up a bit. I hope you enjoy these ideas!

Fun for the kiddos:  A laser beam challenge.  While it SHOULD be getting nicer out...this looks like great fun on a rainy day!

Recipe: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies.  These are yummy!  It's an easy way to jazz up a regular brownie mix.

Neat idea for decorating: Painted jars.  Don't these look beautiful?  What an easy way to add color to a shelf or mantle.

Cloth diaper related: New to me - Bummis Stretch Bamboozle.  A dear friend of mine has had success with these for overnight.  I convinced my hubby we needed two this weekend so we headed to Comfy Bummy to check them out. =)  They were super helpful and all love this diaper!  So far, two nights in them have produced a dry baby in the morning!
I hope everyone has a great weekend!  
Can't wait to show you even more neat ideas next week!


May 10, 2012

Boba Review and Giveaway

Boba Review and Giveaway

I am so excited to share with you the experiences that I had with Boba! Boba is a company that is focused on keeping families active by giving the parents freedom while wearing your baby.
I was given the opportunity to review the Boba Baby Carrier in the Kangaroo print.

I wasn't much of a baby wearer as much as I was a "baby carrier". Usually Kynlie is sitting on my hip. And I have only ever owned a Snugli which is horribly uncomfortable and made my back hurt after only a few minutes of wearing it. With the Boba, I could wear Kynlie for over 2 hours and not have any back pain. Not even the next day.

Kynlie is 19lbs so she can be worn both on the front or the back. I usually based it on what we were doing and what kind of a mood she was in. She loved it both ways. If I was alone with all three kids, she usually was on my back, just so that I could see the other two better and grab them much more quickly if needed. When my hubby was with us though, she was always in the front. She loves to snuggle with me and she loved the extra personal closeness with riding in front.

One of the biggest trips we took using the Boba was to our city's annual Tulip Time Festival. I wore Kynlie in the front for about two hours in the early afternoon and then again for three hours later in the evening. I had no back pain whatsoever and the next day, I felt no different. She was able to check out the fun stuff and stay warm and cozy with me since it was a bit chilly for this time of year.

Learning to use the Boba was probably the trickiest part for me. There were so many more straps and adjustments that I wasn't used to and it took a while for myself and my husband to get them to where it fit me perfectly. The Boba carrier comes with a detailed booklet on how to put baby into the carrier with just yourself doing it. There are four ways that you can wear the carrier. Three with baby and one for when baby is active on their own. This was wonderful to use to get comfortable with using the Boba.

Overall I loved the Boba but there was one thing that I didn't enjoy about the Boba. The excess straps that were tightened just dangled there. For some reason this bothered me. It didn't affect the use of the Boba or change anything about the way that it carried. I just didn't like the swaying of the straps or the fact that my other kids always wanted to yank on them. It was just a personal irritation.

Here is Kynlie zonked out comfortably in the Boba.

I love our Boba. I will be using it often (especially during garage sale season!)

Boba Inc. is giving away a Boba Carrier and two Boba Wraps! All products can be seen at www.bobafamily.com. With Boba products it is easier than ever to enjoy Freedom Together as a family and Boba wants YOU to get a chance to use their products. To enter to win, “Like” them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/boba) and for an additional two entries, follow them on Twitter (www.twitter.com/boba).

The giveaway ends soon so enter now!

May 8, 2012

Bob Books

We have a 5 year old who is an eager beaver and wanting oh-so-bad to learn to read. One of our favorite resources so far on our reading journey has been "Bob Books".
These are 3 of the 4 sets we have. Both my 5year old and 3.5year old love looking through the books and making up stories from the pictures provided. Keaton (5) can read most of the Bob Books we have with a little help.

We've read many more from the library (the boys always ask me to get "more Dr. Seuss and more Bob Books"!)

The Bob Books come in fun, bright colors (each book has a code in the upper left hand corner so you know which books belong in which set, it they happen to get mixed up) ;-)
 Each set also comes with a card with helpful tips and creative ideas to encourage the love of reading in your children.
 The books are fairly small, perfect for little hands to hold. And come in a handy box to keep them all in order.
 This is the inside of a book from Keaton's current favorite set (my hand, haha).
 Also, to keep things in order, each box has a list of what belongs in each box (for those Type A parents, who need to keep things in order) ;-)
 I can't say for certain that your child will read faster or better using these books, but if nothing else, they are entertaining and engaging. 

On the Bob Books website, they share tons of tips and information on their books, how to use them, how to know if your child is ready, etc....

Be sure to fan them on Facebook and follow on Twitter to stay up to date.

Have you used Bob Books? What are your thoughts?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. All books were purchased on my own, or given as gifts. All opinions are my own and yours may differ.