Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Seventh Generation Review and Giveaway!

Since having children I made the decision to try and use more natural and eco-friendly products around them.  I knew they'd be putting everything in their mouth and licking the floors so why not make it as safe as possible.  I already use water and vinegar for my floors and I even went as far as buying cloth diapers and making my own laundry and dish washing detergent.  I also have cloth wipes and wipe solution that I made!  This all happened after number two came and I wanted to put forth the effort.  Well reality set in and I discovered that the cloth diapers and still too big for my daughter and her newborn "blow outs", the laundry detergent does NOT get the stains out of her clothes and the dish washing detergent I made leaves a residue and doesn't do a great job.  I haven't even tried the cloth wipes as I had a stash of disposables.  What's a mother to do??

This is where products like Seventh Generation  fit in.  They're safe around my children and pets,  are eco-friendly and actually do the job they're supposed to do.  The containers the products come in are made from recycled plastics.  I got to try out the baby wipes, the dish soap, the all purpose cleaner and the laundry detergent.

The baby wipes are soft and cloth like.  They're free of chlorine processing, fragrances, latex and      petroleum-based lotions.  I felt good using these on my ten week old girl's sensitive baby skin!

The laundry detergent is made from plant derived cleaning agents and enzymes to remove tough stains.  With two kids I do a lot of laundry and this detergent was effective at removing the day to day messes on our clothes.  I like that it's gentle enough to use on everybody's laundry including the baby's.

I do a lot of dishes on a daily basis especially since the baby is bottle fed I'm constantly washing bottles.  I chose the free and clear dish liquid which is free of fragrances and dyes.  It's also made from plant derived cleaning agents and was effective at cleaning all my dishes including greasy pans.  I also found it to be gentle on my skin and felt great using it to clean the bottles.

Two kids, a cat and a husband means the house gets dirty.  The all purpose cleaner, again made from plant derived cleaning agents, was effective in cleaning up these messes.  The cleaner doesn't have strong fumes as some cleaners do and is non-toxic.  I loved that I could just spray a surface and wipe with a cloth and no soapy residue is left behind.  It left my kitchen counters clean and shiny!  My son eats his snacks off of the coffee table so I felt good giving the table a good wipe with this cleaner. 

Join the 7th Gen Nation for access to coupons, special offers and tips for green and healthy living.  Why not help the environment and protect your family by using safe and effective products such as Seventh Generation.  For the giveaway one of my readers will win a 100% organic cotton Seventh Gen eco lunch bag as well as coupons for a free pack of  Seventh Gen diapers, wipes and dishwashing products so you can try these great products for yourself all graciously provided by Seventh Generation.  Contest is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Sept 18th.  For the main entry comment with your best tip on how to be more environmentally conscious.

For extra entries: (leave a comment after doing each one)
1.  Like Seventh Generation on facebook
2.  Like my facebook page
3.  Subscribe to my blog by email
4.  Follow me with GFC
5.  Follow me on networked blogs
6.  Follow me on twitter  @carrieberry17

Disclosure – I am participating in the Seventh Generation program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meal Plan Monday!

This post was supposed to go up yesterday but didn't make it.  I decided I would start posting my weekly meal plans in hopes of inspiring/helping other moms with the daily chore of making meals.  For me with a baby and a toddler it has to be something quick, usually 30 min or less, and something the toddler will eat.  I do usually have something for him though on night where we're having steak or something he can't/won't eat but he's usually pretty good.  I don't assign a meal to each day I just like to pick as I go along and I also don't cook something new every night.  If I know I'm making something that'll last 2 days then we'll eat it the next day for dinner.  I'll include the recipes or the sources where possible.  I also don't plan breakfasts/lunches ahead of time though I probably should.  So here's this weeks dinners:

Tacos - using Old El Paso taco kit
One Pot Beef and Rice Skillet
Chicken Nuggets - from a box and with veggies and pasta side dish
Pasta with homemade sauce from the freezer
Chili Sauced Pineapple Pork - from a cookbook I have
Tortellini with jarred pasta sauce

I also love using my crock pot because hubby is home on the mornings and can help out or watch the kids while I start dinner.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Building With M&M's!!

After weeks of building on July 29th Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, BC revealed the Great Pyramid and    Sphinx of Giza build entirely out of M&Ms!  It was created by toy designer Dio Wong and he was assisted by local post secondary students.  It took the students and artists 10 days just to sort the M&Ms into colour piles.      The display stands 10ft tall and 13ft wide making these reproductions the largest in the world!  The display will be at Aberdeen centre until Sept 5th for everyone to see.  I don't think I would have been much help as I love M&Ms and would definitely have been eating more than I should. In my opinion it's a waste of good candy unless somehow the adhesive is edible! Regardless, the display sure looks fantastic!  A short time lapse video of this creation coming to life can be viewed here.

Babies and Sleep Sacks

When my son was born not knowing it at the time, I really lucked out!  From birth he was only feeding twice a night then at 5 weeks slept 8-9 hours and at 3.5 months, 11 hours and no feeds!  I read everything I could on babies and sleep, when, where, how etc.  I'm not sure how but I was so glad when I discovered sleep sacks!  I think we were shopping in the US when he was really young and I saw one at the store.  I had just been wrapping him in a blanket but he didn't move much yet so that was ok.  I bought the sleep sack and began using it right away.  When he grew out of it I looked around in Canada and discovered the Halo sleep sacks at a store just down the street.  You can buy cotton or microfleece ones depending on time of year.  I've always used the microfleece as both my kids have air conditioning in their rooms to keep a comfortable temperature all year round which I also think has contributed to my son sleeping well.  We just stopped using sleep sacks last week (he's 22 months old) when he moved into his big boy bed because I want him to be able to safely get out of bed.  I started using the sleep sacks on my daughter since birth (she's 9 weeks) and she loves them.  They keep baby cozy and warm all night since they can't kick them off  and there's a little reminder on the front that says back is best to remind us to put baby down on their backs to sleep.  I really can't say enough about sleep sacks and how great they are!  They're available online and at select baby stores and major retailers.  I've seen them even up to size 4 with feet openings for them to walk!

All opinions here are my own on product I have purchased myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this post. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Click for Babies - PURPLE Crying

My daughter is 8 weeks old and yesterday evening she was crying for no reason and couldn't be calmed down.  This reminded me of the PURPLE crying information they sent home with me from the hospital so I took a break from her and read some of the info.  My son wasn't a crier so this is all fairly new to me.  I learned that everything she was doing is normal and all babies go through this crying period but some just cry a lot less than others.  Thankfully I also learned that is usually peaks at 8 weeks then decreases from here.  It's frustrating when your child is screaming and you can't do anything to calm them down but it's nice to know you're not alone and it's completely normal and won't hurt them in the long run.

Click for Babies is an initiative for knitters and crocheters across North America to make purple caps for babies.    It's an effort to prevent infant child abuse mostly shaken baby syndrome and educate people about PURPLE crying.  Knitters are getting together right now and making purple caps to be distributed to babies across North America in the month of November.

Everyday across North America babies are shaken because their caregivers get frustrated with the crying.  I would NEVER even think of doing that no matter how bad it gets.  I put her down somewhere safe and walk away for 5 minutes or get someone else to take over.  Please Click for Babies and help spread the word.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hydrasense Nasal Aspirator Review

Anyone knows that newborns can't blow their own nose.  A while ago when my son was a baby I was given the opportunity to try the Hydrasense Nasal Aspirator but at the time I wasn't blogging.  Now that I have another little one and she just had her first cold at the age of 6 weeks I was able to pull out my trusty aspirator and use it on her.  It's a long tube hooked up to a device with a filter inside and a soft tip that you place at the entrance of baby's nose.  Your mouth is placed at the end of the long tube and you use gentle suction to draw out any secretions from the baby's nose.  The filter protects you from anything going up the tube.  I love that you have total control over the suction and the device is clear so you can see that it's working.  It comes with extra filters so they can be changed with each use and the whole device is really easy to clean.  Babies sleep better, breathe better and eat better if their nose is clear.  It worked wonders on my daughter throughout her cold.  Consequently my 21 month old son was sick at the same time and I hadn't used the device on him in a long time when he started really resisting it but this time he thought it was kind of fun and I was able to clear his nose too!  Join the Dolphin's Club to receive instant rebates and the lasted information on nasal care.

I believe I received this through a Mom Central campaign some time ago to spread the word, which I did through other means but I didn't have an active blog at the time!  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Hate Pacifiers!!

I think that pictures of cute babies with a huge pacifier hanging out of their mouth look stupid! It ruins the photo in my opinion!  When I saw this article on pacifiers I'd have to agree with everything she says.  And yes......I do have a few such photos of my son the first few weeks and I don't like them but luckily he didn't take to the pacifier so at 2 weeks old didn't use them anymore or even tried.  This is why at 7 weeks old I stopped using them with my daughter.  It was clearly becoming a habit (waking every hour at night to pop it back in) and I'm not having any of that!  So she's sleeping longer stretches now just 2 days later and if she feels the need to suck she has her fist.  It's attached so she can't lose it at 4am!!

I saw a 3 year old the other day with a huge pink pacifier hanging out of her mouth.  I know the first few weeks are about survival (and that's why my daughter naps in her carseat at times!) but a 3 year old (or even any child over 6 months, in my opinion) does NOT need a pacifier, soother or binky.....whatever you want to call it.  There's a problem for sure if your child has to take it out of their mouth to talk to you!  Agree with me or not, this is just my opinion.  This is coming from someone who sucked their thumb until they were 5!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Toddlers and TV

At our house and many others I'm sure, the TV is on most of the day.  I like the background noise and most of the time I'm not even paying attention to it.  My son is 21 months old though and he'll often stand there and stare at whatever is on TV cartoons or not.  Most sources say children under 2 shouldn't be watching any TV at all.  My son is at the age where he's repeating everything we say including what he sees on TV so I make an effort to keep it on clean channels when it is on.  Even better I put it on a music channel which plays music but shows a black screen.

I've chosen to let him watch an hour of TV a day (sometimes a little more...gimme a break, I have a 7 week old too!)  His favourite shows are Yo Gabba Gabba  and Rolie Polie Olie and he'll even ask for them by name.  I don't want my son to become a zombie mesmerized by the TV like other people I know (who may kill me if they read this) and impede on his abilities to use his imagination and learning by play.  There are too many studies out there showing how too much TV has detrimental effects on children and learning.  It's just so easy to use the TV as a babysitter or in my case, to keep the toddler temporarily occupied while I'm busy with his sister.  Thankfully it hasn't become too much of a battle in our house (except maybe with hubby) and my son will usually find something else to do when it's off.  How much TV do your children watch?

60 Day Challenge - Week 2

Well I didn't lose any weight yet and I can honestly say this will take more than 60 days for me to get through all the workouts.  I got through almost 4 of them.  It's harder than I thought with 2 young children and even though I try and workout in the morning when hubby is home sometimes other things take priority.  Some of the workouts are 70 min long and I just don't have that time in a day so I do it over 2 days.  Looking forward to see what kind of different workouts week 2 brings!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Top Trainers 60 Day Challenge! Week 1 Day 1....

Now that I'm 6 weeks post partum I feel like it's time to start some sort of workout routine.  I needed something that I could do at home and that wouldn't get boring day after day.  I do better working out in a group situation but with hubby's work schedule and juggling a 21 month old and a 6 week old it's just not possible right now to do something out of the house.  I got a deal on the Top Trainers workout set so decided I'd give it a try.  It's basically 10 different DVDs with 10 different workouts from 10 different moms.  It comes with a calendar that runs for 60 days and tells you what workout to do on what day.  It's set up so I shouldn't get bored and there's a huge variety of workouts!

I'm using my blog to hold myself accountable for my workouts.  Today was day 1 and my starting weight is 162lbs.  I'm going to set small goals for myself the first being to get down to 150 (my ultimate goal is 135).  I'll just post a weekly weigh in and a summary of my progress as well as my thoughts on this workout system.  My first workout was thankfully just 27 min and consisted of Tracey Mallets quick cardio workouts which are divided into 6 min workouts making it easy if you can't do the whole workout in one shot.  I survived and am looking forward to what the week brings and if I see any results by next week!