Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daisy & June Giveaway Winner!

And the Daisy & June Giveaway winner is.... {drum roll please!}

Amy H!

Congratulations!  You should be seeing an email in your inbox and have 48 hours to respond to claim your prize!  For everyone else, keep checking D&J's Etsy shop, as she has some really awesome new products in the works!!!

{I'll also be hosting a giveaway or two of some more really adorable swag from Daisy & June next month, too!}

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Great Strides 2013

Each year my amazing sister in law and brother in law go for a little walk.

Well, it's more than just a little walk.  It's a great stride, because each year they are walking to support cystic fibrosis research.

As many of you who've been around for a bit already know, my awesome niece Livi has cystic fibrosis.  Livi was diagnosed shortly after birth, and is one tough cookie who has been through surgeries, treatments, and medications as part of her every day life.  Each year her family walks in support of her fight.

Here's a message from my sister in law about their progress this year:

I can't believe another year has passed - Livian will turn 5 this year. She loves school and all her friends and is looking forward to starting Kindergarten in the fall!! How time flies. She continues to be an active little girl, she played soccer and is currently preparing for her second ballet recital! She just had her first sleepover and longs to ride her bike without "stabilizers".

Livian is just like any other kid, she just has to fight a little harder. Livi loses 2% of her lung function per year, she has to eat 1500+ calories and stills struggles to keep a healthy weight. She currently takes 150 pills and spends 15 hours a week doing her breathing treatments, and that's when she's healthy. She does all this with little complaint because she knows it helps her grow and breathe. She has however, become an expert negotiator... "5 more minutes".

During the five years since CF has entered our lives I have been encouraged and inspired by the amazing people I have met who have been fighting this disease for 20 or even 30 years. Some of these people continue to fight despite multiple hospitalizations and procedures, some even undergoing double lung transplants as early as 20 years old. Unfortunately, I have also known too many equally amazing people who have lost their fight against CF way too early. As a mother, my heart breaks every time I hear of the challenges that lie ahead of my daughter and my family. You can help change her future.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) has come such a long way in just the past 20 years - the average life expectancy has doubled - it is now close to 40 years old! But 40 years is not good enough. Thanks to the CF Foundation and all the generous donors who support our cause, the future has never been brighter. There is a new drug, Kalydeco, that actually stops the progression of the disease in 4% of people with CF. This small group of people with CF have been given more than an extension on a ticking clock - they have been given a cure! Unfortunately this first drug does not help 96% of the CF population including Livian, but there are drugs not too far behind this one that are just as promising for ALL people struggling with this disease. We now know the disease can be stopped, and that fact fills me with hope. We are now raising money to buy the science that has already been proven to work! This is where you and anyone else can make a real difference.

Livian is a very loved little girl, please help us give her the bright future she deserves.

If you feel so inclined to head over to their team site, please do so to make a donation.  However, if you're unable to donate, please take a peek at the CFF site and get educated on what cystic fibrosis is and how it affects those who have it!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

TNO's April Sponsor Round Up!

Well hey there, lovely April sponsors!  If you haven't already given these ladies a click, go check them out!

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Hi, I'm Jen!  I am a mom, wife, and doctor.  In the past year I went (very!) part-time so I could be with my 2 year old son more.  I found I needed a place to document the transition, and thus my blog was born.  I write about motherhood, working, trying to balance it all, tot school, breastfeeding (I'm studying to be a lactation consultant), and the day to day adventures we experience.  I have really enjoyed meeting and learning from the other mamas out there, so I hope you'll stop by and introduce yourself!

The MB Diaries

My name is Tiffany, but around here I am the Momma Bear! I am many things, I am Mom, Wife, Blog Designer, etc... This is where I share it all. I may not blog as often as some, but when I do I like to blog about whatever is on my mind, or our most recent adventures!

Magan's Crafty Corner

Hi, I'm Shauna! I own a little shop where I sell my handmade items called Magan's Crafty Corner. My blog is my way of showing you the behind the scenes portion of it all. I will share things from completed projects to some of my favorite new fabrics! Won't you join me in my journey of being a new business owner?


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GreatProofreading.com helps bloggers make money on their blogs by improving their pagerank and content and connecting them with sponsors.  We write SEO content to make your business stand out in a Google search and write email campaigns that get more clicks.  Reasonable rates, excellent relationships with clients, and a dedication to giving back to the global community set us apart from other web editing and marketing companies.  Email edit@greatproofreading.com to see how we can help you.

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My twin sister and I are both moms, she had a 6 month old at the time and was having a hard time nursing him because he would become so wiggly and squirmy.  One day she decided to string some cheap wood beads on some plastic cording so that he could play with something while he nursed.  I saw her later that day and thought, "Wow!  I wish I had something like that when my son was little!  Women would buy these for sure."

That was our first official day in business as Boubeads.  As we came up with prototypes we decided that we wanted them to be fashionable enough to wear outside of the house and wanted to make them something that would appeal to all women, not just nursing moms.

As time went on we decided that we would like to hand-dye our own natural beads so that we could control what colors we produced and how they were manufactured since you can't always control that with a supplier.  We really wanted to put our own touch on the product.  Bracelets and pacifier clips followed suit and they have all been wonderfully successful for us.  We find that a lot of women use the bracelets to remember which side they last nursed on by switching the bracelets from the left hand to the right hand and vice versa.

Our beads and suede are manufactured in the USA and the suede is certified to be free of lead, AZO's, PCP, mercury, formaldehyde, chromium VI, cadmium, and other carcinogenic/hazardous chemicals.  The company we buy the suede from is also Green Business Certified.

All of our beads are triple washed after the dyeing process to ensure that the residual color is removed.  All of our products can be washed, which is terrific considering the abuse they get put through.  We recommend washing them in cold water with a mild detergent if you would like and laying them flat to dry.  With careful washing the customer should only see minimal color fading over time.
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Daisy & June Accessory Boutique

Hi!  I am Modern June AKA Kathy but my peeps call me MJ.  I am a mom of 4 amazing kids who keep me on my toes.  I have a wonderfully supportive, crazy hilarious husband who is my rock.  And this, I have this job that started as a hobby in 2011.

I bought a sewing machine and swore to make pillows for our couch.  6 months later there were still no pillows and the sewing machine sat untouched.  I have no idea why - I had been hand sewing for years but a machine?  Hadn't touched one of those since 8th grade when I learned to make these sunflower shorts.

I finally sat down with some scrap fabric and started practicing stitches... a few hours later I made a camera strap.  A few days later another and another... not long after that Daisy & June was born.

Who is Daisy & June?

Daisy was my great great grandmother who taught me how to hand sew.  She was an inspiring woman and I named my daughter after her.  June is me.  Well, my inner self.  It took me a long time to figure out where my life was going and who I was.  Once I found my voice Modern June came out.  I have had this alter ego for almost 6 years and can't imagine my life without it.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

TNO's Tips & Tricks 14 - Dress up your drawers

Recently, I saw a pin on Pinterest about a way to keep dresser drawers more organized.  It was such a simple, simple idea, but has proved to be hugely easy for me when I'm putting away clothes as well as looking for clothing in our drawers.   

Since I've switched over our drawers to this new organizational method, I can say that I have not once spent any time rifling through my drawers trying to find the right shirt or pants.  I always know exactly where everything is and have no problem quickly grabbing the right item right away.  Want to know how?  Check it out below:

To put it simply, all you need to do is fold your clothes horizontally instead of vertically.  Instead of stacking your clothing on top of each other, stack it so that you can see each piece of clothing horizontally, like I have DH's t-shirts below:

As you can tell from the picture above, it is way easier to see exactly what you have in your drawers when things are folded horizontally.  Instead of pulling every shirt out of your drawer to find the one for which you've been looking, you can simply grab the one you want.

I did this with shirts, tank tops, and even my pajama pants.  Side note: I have WAY too many pairs of pajama pants.  Like, I could start a pajama pant store... oops.

If you have particularly deep drawers, you may have to double layer, but this way would allow you to place the most used or most worn items on top.  Little man's drawers tend to be pretty deep, so when I reorganize his dresser, I'll probably do something like make one layer on the bottom of long pants and then do shorts on top, or long sleeve shirts on the bottom and short sleeves on top.  When it gets cool again, I can just switch the layers again.

This trick is so simple, so quick, so easy.  Try it out and let me know what you think!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

TNO's Top 8 Ways to Soothe Your Baby

Being a first time parent can be pretty scary.  All of a sudden you have this beautiful child with such teeny little features... and a big cry.  Trying to figure out what your child wants and needs can be confusing and frustrating for both parent and child.

I remember a few nights in which DH and I had a really hard time when little man was a small babe.  There were a few nights where he constantly needed rocked or soothed, that we were out of energy.  I'm talking those nights that never seem to end, when you rock your baby for literally hours, only to have them wake right back up again when you set them gently back into their crib.

There were a few nights- where out of desperation- we did anything to get him to sleep.  Somehow I figured out how to nurse him while he was in the swing because then when he fell asleep I didn't have to move him at all and he could just stay asleep.  Another night I spent almost a half hour slowly moving my hand off of his back in slow, teeny increments.  One finger this minute, wait a minute or so, lift the next finger, etc.

If you're not a parent- and this hasn't convinced you yet- this is only a small sampling of the crazy things you will do for your children, I promise.

But as a second time parent to little lady, it's a mole hill compared to that mountain.  Not only do we feel more comfortable and are more relaxed, we know more and understand more about our kids.  Here are a few of my favorite tips on soothing your baby or getting them to sleep that have immensely helped our family:

1.  Get up and move!

My first tip is if baby is crying, and you're sitting down, you should probably get up.  For some reason, babies have this internal dial of cranky that flips on when you're trying to soothe them and you sit down.  For most babies I've met, if you sit while comforting them, you'll only get more tears.  Not to blatantly stereotype, but this seems to be a dad thing in many cases I've witnessed.  Instead of getting up and moving around with a soothing baby, many dads that I've seen just try to rock them, pat them, or shush them while seated.  Baby typically just gets more frustrated and continues to cry until either dad gets up with baby or baby gets exhausted and cries him or herself out.

By simply standing up and walking baby around, a lot of times the simple motion of your body can calm baby down enough to stop crying.

2. Hold baby upright.

This is also a really easy one.  For many babies (especially reflux babes), moving the baby from a cradle hold to a vertical positioning can make them feel more comfortable when they're really upset.  Little lady tends to be a huge fan of being upright against my or DH's chest, with her head tucked just into the nook of our necks.  If she isn't too over stimulated, being upright is a great way for her to calm down by looking around the room from a new and interesting level until she is soothed to sleep from our movement.

3. Babywear.

Little Man hangin' in his sling

If you haven't hung around the blog for a few, you may not have read about how big I am into babywearing. Wearing your baby in a wrap, sling, or carrier can be an excellent way to soothe your babe and- in many cases- can soothe them right into sleep.

For example: little lady has recently decided that she's not a huge fan of going right to sleep at night.  I'm familiar with this stage, as little man did the same thing around this age.  This was right at the beginning of the time when it started taking us hours to put him to bed at night, and I became that bleary eyed, tired parent you see in a bad cartoon.  However with little lady, I know better.  Instead of spending an hour or two up in the nursery just the two of us repeating the same scenarios (nurse, rock, nurse, rock, nurse, rock), if little lady isn't having it that night, I walk downstairs, pop her in the sling, and watch a little tv in the living room while she snuggles herself up to sleep.

It is a much happier solution for our family.

4.  Figure out a soothing gesture for your baby and implement it when baby is happy.

For little lady, it is patting her bum softly.  For little man, it was gently smoothing over his hair in a forward motion toward his face and gently down his forehead.  By patting, doing light baby massage, or a gentle, soothing touch, you can use your physical presence to lightly calm your baby.  Babies are used to having the sensation of feeling you 24/7 in the womb, and when that goes away, they can become disorganized and cranky.  When your baby is calm, you can choose and begin to implement some gentle physical touch to provide comfort.  Then later when your child gets fussy or cranky, using that same soothing technique as a tool in your arsenal of calm can really be an aide in getting baby back to their happy, sweet little self.

5.  Change up your routine.

I know, this is probably the opposite advice you'll get from every baby book out there.  I know, because I've read most of them.  And I followed this advice so closely with our first child.  Don't get me wrong- a great bedtime/bath time routine can be hugely helpful in getting your child to sleep comfortably, but a routine is only so good until you have to break it.  You may have a situation in which you're unable to complete their routine (like travelling) or they may go through a growth spurt/teething/cold/you name it that changes things and they just aren't having it any more.

Little Lady loving our bath time routine!

Just because the routine had worked before doesn't mean it's going to always work and it's going to work in every situation.  Little lady is already able to fall asleep in many more different environments then I think little man will ever be able to, simply because she is exposed to more than one way to become calm enough to sleep.  If your current routine just isn't working any more, don't be afraid to switch things up.

This also leads me to my next point:

6. Go somewhere new.

I'm not talking about driving out to Target.  But, hey, you could!  I'm talking about changing up the atmosphere a little for both you and your baby.  If you try to put the baby to sleep every night in their bedroom and it works, then great!  By all means, stay with that setting.  But, if it's not working, don't be reluctant to move into a different space and change those four walls that you're both staring at during the three a.m. hour.  It might be good for both of you and calm you both down to get a small change of pace.

Personally, when little man had difficulty sleeping at night and I couldn't get him right back down in his nursery, we'd go into a totally different room.  At that time we had a guest room with only a mattress on the floor, on which we both slept.  Even if he popped back awake at that point to look around at his new surroundings, it calmed him down enough so that he would look around and begin to process- halting his crying.  Having just that small change of environment into another baby-safe space was key in helping both of us get through some rough nights.

7. Give your partner some time.

Little Man & DH having a pouty moment together

As an extremely, fiercely independent person, I wanted to do everything.  Every nighttime waking, every rock to sleep, every feeding time.  You name it?  I did it.  DH and little man had plenty of bonding time, but I wanted to be the soother, the nurturer, and the comfort my children sought when they were upset in the night.  However, it was/is good for the babies, DH, and me for my mama self to step away and let them have their own time together during sleepless nights.  Firstly, it helps your partner find their own methods and their own way of soothing your children.  The second benefit is that it gives you some rest to refresh and have a much needed recharge of your batteries.

Here's my last, and sometimes most important tip:

8.  Realize they're just not ready to sleep yet.

One of the biggest ways I've found to decrease my stress and increase our children's happiness is figuring out when they just aren't ready to rest or sleep.  I know.  As a parent we look forward to that bedtime hour for a few minutes to ourselves.  It's tough to give up even minutes of that me time.  But if you're trying to put your child down to sleep before they are ready, all you're going to end up with is a cranky baby and a frazzled self.

It's kind of like trying to climb a mountain when you're trying to get a baby to sleep before they are ready.  You're trying so hard to make it happen and you're putting so much work into it.  You're thinking of every little trick you can use to get you there.  Eventually, yes.  You will climb that mountain and they will go to sleep.  But if you try it before you're (or they're, in this analogy) ready, it's going to be about a million false starts with a ton of wasted time.

If you're seeing the tell-tale signs such as bright, wide open eyes, playful demeanor, or any level of alertness that doesn't ring "sleepy" to you, then they just may not be ready.  Even though it's after their "bedtime", you may just need to wait until they get to that point of readiness.

* This is obviously something that can be adjusted as your child gets older and understands the concept of bedtime.  But with our small babes, it is typically such a better option to just wait it out until they are actually ready!

As I said, these are just a few of the things that have really helped us along the way to getting our babies happy and sleepy.  I hope a few of these ways to soothe your babe can really help you to decrease the stress associated with fussy, upset babes and help get you on your way to happy, calm, sleepy babies.

If you don't mind sharing, what are some other tricks you've found to be helpful?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blogging Giveaway Opportunity Upcoming!

Hey bloggy friends!  There is a giveaway opportunity coming up in May- here are some details if you're interested!

Famous Free Samples' May Flowers Giveaway Event

Sign-ups are now open for this great new giveaway event!
  • Event is free to join with an announcement post. If you don't wish to post the announcement, please send the $5 non-post fee to tiphero@gmail.com
  • You'll receive 1 free link for participating (either Twitter or Pinterest)
  • Additional links (RSS/Email, Twitter and Pinterest) are available for $5 each
  • Sign-ups for this event end on April 29th
  • Event runs from May 1 - 15
  • Prize: $100 Home Depot gift card

Please send all payments to tiphero@gmail.com as a "gift" via PayPal.
Sign up for this event here.

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Nursing in public and a Daisy & June Giveaway

To cover or not to cover... that is the question...

The topic of wearing a nursing cover can be a bit heated at times in the breastfeeding and non-nursing communities.  There are some who say that nursing your child without a cover shouldn't even be a second thought- you're just feeding your child.  There are others who say that wearing a nursing cover while breastfeeding your child can help a self-conscious mother feed her child or be more polite to those around her at the time.

In our household, I tend to be the former, whereas DH tends to be the latter.

With Little Man, I always wore a cover because I was uncomfortable and self-conscious about showing any part of my breast in public.  As a second time mom, I don't really care who sees what so long as my baby is being fed- no matter where I am.

DH, however, is of the side that believes a nursing cover to be more polite to those around us.  When I am with him, I humor him and his level of comfort and wear a cover while nursing our babies in public.  Whether or not to wear a nursing cover is completely a personal preference and in his case, he'd prefer I cover.  I respect his opinions on the topic because I respect him, and- with many things in marriage- I compromise.

But in general, I've said it before and I'll say it again-

Whatever makes you the most comfortable and keeps you breastfeeding longer is the way you should go.

That said, my amazing sponsor Daisy & June is teaming up with me this week to give one lucky reader a nursing cover AND matching minky burp cloths!  Daisy & June is an awesome Etsy shop that you may have seen recently on GroopDealz selling items such as nursing covers, burp cloths, slings, scarves, and many other items.

Daisy & June sent me their Doodled Flowers nursing cover as seen above, and I LOVE this print!  D&J's nursing cover is thin enough that baby won't be too hot underneath, but enough to give you and your little some privacy if desired.  The cover is available in several colors, is adjustable, washable, and has boning around the neckline so that you can see baby at all times.

Added toddler bonus we've discovered?  Nursing covers double as (supervised) superhero capes!  ;)

Entries can be added on the Rafflecopter below and as always, email me with questions!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Little Man Update - 26 months!

In the past few months, Little Man has developed a bunch of really cute new habits, which have me swooning in just a twidge more mama love, if that were even possible!  Here are a few of the most recent things he's been doing:

- Showing Little Lady some love:  Ever since Little Lady began to wake up a bit more, Little Man loves to comfort her.  Whether it is a sweet little kiss on his way past her to get to his bubble mower or saying, "Ok, baby, I'm right here wif you!" when she fusses, Little Man has been extremely loving and gentle to his new baby sister, a fact for which I am so thankful.

- Needing a bit more comfort himself:  Since he has been teething his two year molars, Little Man has had a few nights where he just isn't quite ready to be alone in bed sleeping.  Most nights when that happens, as we are trying to leave the room DH or I will hear a tiny voice asking, "Mama my here?" or "Daddy my here?"  This is Little Man's way of asking for me or DH to come lay with him in bed for just a few more minutes before sleep.  I am totally soaking in all of the cuddles he is freely giving away.

- Finding letters, everywhere:  Now that he has been learning his letters, Little Man finds them everywhere.  When we're in the car passing a McDonald's?  "M for Mama!!!"  When we're at the grocery store?  "S for snake!"  While playing with the fake food boxes in his little kitchen?  "G for giraffey!"  He has definitely been on the lookout for his letters.  The other day, he identified almost a full word's worth of letters on a box at the grocery store with DH while waiting in the checkout lane.  I love how excited he is about learning new things!

- Learning new ways to play:  When I was little, my parents told me I made my toys talk to each other all the time.  Little Man has just recently started to do this with his toys, especially his trains.  There are times in which he will actually try to give them different voices like I do, and it is hilarious to listen in to his playing.  Little Man has definitely begun to have a ton more independent, imaginative play lately.  He's developed a great routine for taking care of his Pooh bear, including rocking, changing Pooh's diaper, etc.  In a recent development, I've also discovered that with a quick tie of a scarf, he also loves to wear his Pooh bear.  It is too freaking adorable.

Little Man is very quickly becoming just that- a little man.  No matter how much I think of him still as my little baby, he looks more and more like a little boy both in image and actions.  While it is really sad for me sometimes, I also think he just keeps becoming more amazing every day.

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