Monday, August 30, 2010

Happily? a SAHM

Ok, so I almost hate to admit it and feel a little weird talking about it, but it's good to get your feelings out, right?! I am a stay at home mom, but that wasn't the plan. It's a long story, but basically I was planing on taking the usual 3 months maternity leave and then going back to my job as a mental health social worker, leaving my daughter in the care of my neighbor (who is the mother of Emma's little boyfriend). She's now 18 months (wow, still can't believe it!) old and I'm still at home with her. I even take care of my one-year-old nephew at our home a few days/week also!
I went to state college for five years, yes, five, don't laugh! There's a good reason, I promise. I switched majors after sophomore year and to a double major, that's why it took so long. Then I worked as a preschool teacher for a year and decided that I really wanted to do something in the psychology field, so I went to graduate school for an MA in counseling psychology. So, about $50,000 of debt, two degrees and a teaching certificate later: what am I doing? Changing diapers, doing laundry, playing w/play-doh and watching Yo Gabba Gabba, of course! Isn't that what every MA does? Seriously, though lately I've been really struggling to define just who I am and just what my true purpose is.
I love my daughter more than anything in the world and absolutely love being the one who gets to teach her how to eat, walk, sleep, share, love, play....just exist. There is nothing in the world that compares to being a mom. It's the most amazing feeling knowing that my body grew and birthed an actual human being, if you think about it, it's quite mind blowing. Praise God!! All that being said, there are still some people who use phrases such as: "you're JUST a mom.", "oh, so you don't work then" and other ones that devalue motherhood. This drives me nuts and, even though I don't like to admit it, makes me (just a teeny, tiny bit) question how important being a stay at home mom really is.
I really am the biggest advocate for staying at home with your child(ren) that there is, but I don't judge or look down upon women who work outside of the home. After all, it was my plan all along. Each woman and family has to do what is best for her/them. I'm just not quite sure what the best thing for my family is. I really, really try to not be resentful, but sometimes find myself frustrated with our situation.
Going from a two income, abruptly down to a one income family was tough and we're still adjusting! I worry that stressing over money will affect my daughter. Maybe she'd be happier is I was working and we didn't have to be so frugal. Then again, it's probably not the best thing for a child to have everything in the world that they want. See...this is the mental ping-pong that goes on in my mind daily.
So, for the moment, I've given up looking for work and fully devoted myself to being the best mom I can. I do still have days when I miss the working world and having extra money to be able to go out to dinner and movies. But, nothing can compare to seeing my daughter's beautiful, smiling face and hear her laughter every day!
I would love to hear from you other moms. Am I the only one who feels this way????

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cozy Baby Boutique winner!!!

The winner of the $15 store credit to Cozy Baby Boutique is:

comment number 11, Njos Family said...

I would love to have a farm Puzzle Block Set.

Congratulations! You've been emailed and have 48 hours to respond before I have to choose another winner.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Have you heard about this????

Do you like entering giveaways? A lot, like I do?! Or, maybe you have your own giveaway blog and have trouble finding places to list your giveaways. As a blogger new to the review and giveaway circuit, I know that exposure is super important and it can be difficult to get the exposure needed to make giveaways successful.
Giveaway scout is an awesome new search engine that scans hundreds of blog for the latest giveaways, contests and sweepstakes. You can search categories or use the search box to look for specific items and sign up for email alerts when new giveaways are posted. Giveaways are published in multiple forums (newsletter, twitter, facebook, widgets).

Or, if you have a giveaway blog, you can use this form to submit your blog to their database. Pretty cool, huh! I highly recommend you check it out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Zoku Quick Pop maker review

There's still a little bit of summer left and what better treat is there than a healthy, frozen one on a hot day. Popsicles are a great way to cool down when it's hot out, but most store bought ones are full of sugar, corn syrup and other not-so-good for you ingredients. My step-mother gave me the Zoku quick pop maker when Emma was teething so I could make her homemade popsicles to ease the pain and it's been an awesome gadget!

It makes homemade pops in about 7 minutes, right on the kitchen counter, with out electricity. The possibilities are endless: you could make all kinds of healthy, fresh concoctions. I love it! You just put the whole unit into the freezer for about 24 hours, take it out, put the sticks in and fill it up to the fill line. So far, I've only used the quick pop maker with juice, but you can use almost anything and get really creative:
Don't these just look so yummy?! One of these days I'll get a little more adventurous and make some of these really cool stripey pops. You can even make flavored core pops, like creamsicles. And it really is so simple. I made some refreshing pops out of Santa Cruz organic lemonade the other day.

The Zoku makes 3 pops at a time, but can make 9 total until you have to put it back in the freezer. Each unit comes with six sticks and drip guards, one super tool (used to remove the pops from the freezing unit) and a recipe book. And it really does take only 7 minutes!

When the pops are frozen, just use the super tool to remove the sticks from the frozen unit and then eat 'em :)

You can buy the Zoku here. As of right now, the quick pop maker is the only product from this company but they promise more innovative inventions coming soon. I can't wait!

Toddler Tuesday

I swore I wasn't going to let my kid(s) watch TV before they turned 2, and even then only very rarely. However, my husband introduced Emma to Yo Gabba Gabba and it quickly became her favorite show (actually, it's the only show I let her watch). It's kind of their thing and really cute. Almost as soon as daddy gets home, Emma says: "gabba gabba!". They sit on the couch together and watch, sing and dance. It's actually a pretty good show and I guess I don't mind if she watches it a couple times a week.
This is what she did the other day:
It's kind of disturbing to see my 18 month old daughter using the remote control correctly, but I love to see her so happy! :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

I LOVE Trader Joe's!!

How much money do you think I paid for all this?

These are my groceries for the next week and a half. I was good this week. I made a menu, a shopping list and then went shopping. I even got a couple big ticket items, like cheese (why in the world is cheese so darn expensive?!), wine and a gallon of organic whole milk ($5.70, I think this was the most expensive thing I bought). I've really been working hard at stretching our dollars latley because, well, we just don't have that many of them.
When I first heard of Trader Joe's I thought there would be no way I could afford to shop at such a cool store, but I was wrong! It's pretty much the only place I shop for our groceries because of a few reasons: it's affordable, their store brand is actually really good, they have a huge selection of ethnic foods and almost everything in the store is natural/organic. The atmosphere is also really fun, the workers are helpful and friendly and they are awesome baggers. Seriously, these guys and gals can really pack a bag, they are so efficient. My cart was filled to the brim, with a few items up front, next to my daughter and the bagger got it all into 4 bags!
Trader Joe's allows me to  feed my family organic without going broke. I love it! I hope you have a Trader Joe's near you because you'll love it. If you've never been there before, check it out, I promise you won't be dissapointed. Oh yeah, how much did I spend? $107, not bad huh?!

**I was not compensated in any way for this post. I think everyone should know about Trader Joe's.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cozy Baby Boutique $15 store credit giveaway!

I absolutely love that most cloth diaper related companies have been started by real moms who are so passionate about what they do, and most of these moms remain actively and visibly involved in their companies. Being a one-income family means that I have to make every dollar count and I love investing in companies that share the same passion for cloth diapering and natural/green products that I do!

I had the pleasure of meeting Ann-Marie Speirs, owner of Cozy Baby Boutique. This awesome mama runs an online and real life baby boutique focused on cloth diapers, babywearing and a few other eco-friendly toys and other products. I love that her store has a specific focus and not 10 million different products. I get really overwhelmed when a site or store is difficult to navigate because there are so many different types of products. She has a great selection of cloth diapering and babywearing items and both Ann-Marie and her assistant, Amy, are so helpful and really know their stuff!

Anne-Marie is such a sweetheart and an absolute joy to work with and talk to. The Cozy Baby Boutique store is local (for me anyway), in Woodinville, Washington. It resides within Tot Spot Cafe, a really cool drop-in play place for kids and cafe/meet up for parents. If you're coming into the cafe just to shop, your kids can play for free!

Ann-Marie began using modern cloth diapers back when they were pretty new, so she's been around to see the fluffy evolution first hand! She was so psyched about cloth diapers that she began lending her daughter's diapers out to friends and new mamas at a local hospital. Her passion led her to selling cloth diapers and baby carriers, as well as offering "cloth 101" and babywearing workshops and private consultations. She also works to educate health care, labor and birth professionals on the benefits of cloth diapers. How cool is that?! I wish I had know about her when Emma was first born! Ann-Marie's dedication to cloth diapering and babywearing is inspiring. And get this, she's a founding member of the RDiA. What an amazing woman!

Ann-Marie was kind enough to give me a Planet Wise Wet/Dry bag for review purposes. I was super excited because I've been drooling over these since they first came on the scene. I love that I can use one bag to store both the clean and dirty diapers. It's big enough to hold a days worth of diapers and I can use it by itself or put it in the diaper bag. Perfect for play dates and short trips out, I just love it!  You can buy your own Wet/Dry bag from Cozy Baby Boutique here.

Ann-Marie is offering one of my readers a $15 store credit for you to use to buy anything you want, isn't that cool?! You could get this really cool, recycled plastic chef set. Or a set of reuseable sandwich and snack bags . Or put it towards your favorite cloth diaper or baby carrier!

How to enter

Each action counts as one entry unless otherwise stated. Leave a separate comment for each entry and please include your email address. You must complete the mandatory entry before you are eligible for any other entries.

**Mandatory Entry**

Go to Cozy Baby Boutique, look around, come back here and tell me another product (not mentioned here)that she carries that you would love to have. Of course, if you live locally, you can also go into the store and meet Ann-Marie for yourself. I would highly recommend doing that anyway! :)

Extra Entries

*Follow me publicly through google friend connect-counts as 3 entries! Leave 3 separate comments.
*Subscribe to my blog by email, through feedburner
*Grab my button and tell me where it is posted
*Blog about this giveaway, link back to my site and leave me the URL of your blog
*Like Cozy Baby Boutique on Facebook
*Rate Cozy Baby Boutique on Diaperpin
*Rate Cozy Baby Boutique on
*Make a purchase at Cozy Baby Boutique anytime during this giveaway, come back here and tell me what you bought

****This giveaway will end Monday August 16. Winner will be drawn by an online random number generator and will be notified by email. Winner must respond to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn. This giveaway is open to US residents.

 Good luck!!

I was provided a Planet Wise wet/dry bag for review purposes. All opinions written in this post are my own.