Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - #WW

This Sunday we decorated for Christmas. I love Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas cookies, and all things of this wonderful time of year. I am the kind of person that doesn't believe Christmas is over until the Church says it's over...which is in January, so you can believe Christmas decorations/music/food are here to stay in our home until then. Hooray :-) I don't usually like to decorate this early, but with an early Advent season, I couldn't wait to do so. Baby G didn't know what to think at first, with all the festive activities going on! She desperately wanted to help though! She also really likes Christmas music--especially Jingle Bells and when I sing Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.
 Baby G likes to be "helpful"

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Advent Goals

As I've mentioned before, we are Catholic. This past Sunday marked the 'new year' for Catholics, with the start of Advent. Advent is also recognized as a liturgical season by various other Christian denominations. I don't want to get "preachy" on you, as this is a 'mom blog,' but I do want to share a little bit about my faith.

Advent Facts:

Advent is a season of preparing ourselves to celebrate Christ's birthday at Christmas, while at the same time reminding us to be ready for His final coming--either at our death or the end of the present world. It gets it's name from the Latin word meaning 'coming.'

The readings at mass are mostly about preparing our souls to be worthy of Christ & Heaven.

There are four Sundays in Advent (although this was not always the case, and in Eastern Churches it is still 6 weeks). Because Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, Advent started as early as possible (11/27) and will be as long as possible (28 days).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!! I took last week off from posting my meal plan, but I still had one:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thirsties WINNER!

Thank you to EVERYONE who entered the largest giveaway Letters from Momma has ever hosted! There were 2221 entries (over 100 people)! I'm so pleased with the success of this review. The winner will receive a Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted, Duo Wrap, & two hemp inserts.

The winner is:
She had 22 entries-- including many daily tweets!

Thank you to all who entered!

A special thanks to Tanya for a great comment on 11/15/11:
"I have yet to try Thirsties diapers since my LO isn't set to arrive for a few more weeks but I do have six duo wraps that I bought second hand and a new duo diaper that I can't wait to try! The fitted is next on my list to get :) Great review by the way! It made me want to go stock up on Thirsties brand items :)"

Ps. Have you seen the Eco Sprout Cloth Diaper Detergent review & giveaway? Enter to win until 12/5 11 pm central time. 

Recipe: White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
adapted from Allrecipes.com

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Puppies, Baking, Family... I'm back from my break!

She got some potatoes and turkey!
You probably noticed that I didn't post anything yesterday or on Thanksgiving either. I suppose I could have scheduled posts ahead of time, but I really just wanted my blog take a break from posting too. I've been spending a LOT of time on my blog / promoting giveaways / designing elements and just wanted to take a time out to be thankful for the gift of my little family. Kind of like a moment of silence, if you will. I hope you all were able to spend some quality time with loved ones, too.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Do you like my blog?

I've been building this blog for about 3 months now, and I hope you like it. I've posted pretty much everyday since August about everything from cloth diapering to sleep training to breastfeeding to stay-at-home-mom issues. If you do like my blog, I'd love to hear from you!

Or you can also click below to vote for me on the fence.

If you aren't already following me on facebook or twitter, please consider doing so! Just click the appropriate boxes.

Our anniversary - kind of #WW

Yesterday was our third wedding anniversary. It was our first anniversary as parents. It was 11/22/11. It was also G's 9 month "birthday." It was a BIG day. Thankfully, my husband's cousin and his wife came to babysit so that we could go out. We are so appreciative of them!!

I'd like to share the card that I got for my husband. I usually spend at least 10 minutes in the card aisle trying to pick the perfect one. (I will home make cards for our 'dating' anniversary and sometimes other holidays, but for our wedding anniversary...I buy one. always.) This year I walked away from the card aisle after 1 minute, with the first card I picked up. Not because I was in a hurry or anything, but because the first card I read was the most perfect card in the world. (I did read a few more to be sure, but they didn't come close). I couldn't believe my luck! Here it is:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby G at 9 months old

My bitty baby is NINE months old today! I think nine months old is a big deal. It's 3/4 of a year and major milestones have been reached.

She is right on track for development, and is growing in personality every second. She smiles all.the.time. G is seriously the happiest baby I have ever seen.

Her home measurements are:
28.25" height
17.8 lbs weight
2 bottm teeth and the top right tooth is cutting through

Monday, November 21, 2011

Eco Sprout Cloth Diaper Detergent Review and Giveaway

Since my last post about cloth diaper laundry, some pretty important things in our routine have changed. I've altered the detergent we are using and consequently lowered the amount of rinses we have to do to rid our diapers of detergent residue. Therefore, our total wash time is down. I also haven't had to stand over the washer and skim off excess soap bubbles, as with previous detergents. This is making me a much happier cloth diaper momma. I can still appreciate the old cloth diaper detergent we were using, because it got the job done, but it took a lot more time and energy. Easy-to-use and time-saving are two very important qualities in any product, so I prefer our new detergent much more. Because cloth diaper laundry routines are a somewhat personal balance, what works for one family may not work for another...but I am here to tell you about the cloth diaper detergent that has saved my sanity.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Crafty Momma Alert!! Crib Rail Covers and Pillow

The baby has been teething like a MAD woman. She's also gone through a frustrating sleep hiccup. To make a long story short she's been gnawing into her crib that was supposed to last through all of our kids. It still can, but my husband will have to sand it down and repaint it. Aside from the cosmetic damage, I don't want G swallowing paint and wood! Needless to say, I've been on the prowl for something to cover her rails.
I saw the gummy things you can stick on, but thought those looked pretty cheap. I saw the clip on plastic things but didn't think they would fit her convertible crib style. Then I found the cloth rail covers that looked perfect! There's only one kind sold in stores and 2 other kinds I could find online. Is there really not that big of a market for crib rail covers?
I guess not because the cost certainly doesn't reflect a competitive price point. $22+ for the front rail cover and $37+ for a pair of side rail covers! No thank you, ma'am.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sleep and Teeth - a sleep log update

I haven't posted a sleep log in a few weeks, because not much has changed. There really hasn't been much of an improvement. The good news, though, is that G has settled back down into a two nap pattern for now. That's a lot easier to deal with, than trying to make one nap stretch for the whole day. Her nights are still a crapshoot, but at least I can blame the teeth and poop (nothing I can control). Her top right tooth is seriously THIS CLOSE to poking through. We haven't figured out anything to solve the middle of the night poop problems, so we are changing a poopy diaper around 5 AM each morning. UGHHHHH.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kinda-Dirty Rice Recipe

Here's my new recipe for "kinda-dirty" rice that I made this past week. It was seriously delicious and really easy. I think it's pretty healthy, too. It'd be easy to "vegan-ize" also.

Kinda-Dirty Rice
personal recipe

4.5 c cooked brown rice (1 regular size box)
1 can chicken broth
1 c chopped bell peppers (any color)
1/2 small white onion
1 can of Rotel (I used the Lime/Cilantro variety)
1/2 can of black beans
4 Turkey/Chicken cooked sausages (I used Johnsonville Chipotle Monterey Jack Chicken Sausages--really accentuated the spicy flavor)
salt/pepper to taste

Put the chicken broth in a large soup pot. Slice the sausages into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the broth. Toss in the peppers and onions. Bring to a slow boil--let all of the flavors blend together for about 10 minutes. Add in the beans and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the Rotel and Rice, then heat throughout.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cloth Diapers on Mom Blog Society

Are you guys on Mom Blog Society? I joined just to be able to enter to win a coffee maker and a new lap top (both of ours are on their way out), but have been trying to get involved now. I think it may be a nice way to interact with other momma bloggers.

If you are on it, and blog about cloth diapers, check out the "group" I just created.  http://www.momblogsociety.com/group/cloth-diaper-blogs

I'd love to have more members, seeing as how it's at 1 right now ;-)

Seeking Sponsors!

I am currently seeping sponsors for a giveaway event to celebrate baby G's first birthday! The event will run from February 22 to March 31, 2012. I'd like to have at least 5 different review/giveaways that focus on family friendly items that parents of one year old babies should know about! If you think your company and products would be a great fit, please contact me!

I spend a lot of time promoting my giveaways, so your company will receive plenty of exposure. I place my giveaway links and titles on multiple linky sites each day, and I promote on twitter/facebook. I have over 500 blog subscribers, 450+ facebook likes and 420+ twitter followers. I have have 1000+ unique visitors each month, with 4000 pageviews.
There will be a special tab on my blog for this event where your company will receive a link and a logo, as well as information/links in the review post of your product.
Sponsoring a giveaway on Letters from Momma is a great way to increase your social media following and generate more web traffic to your site. It will also help create buzz about your product, as I stand behind the brands I work with.

Breastfeeding Series part 3 - Nursing in public

I had been a pretty modest person, but when I gave birth and started breastfeeding that all went out the window. It is a natural thing, and although I do my best to cover up, accidents happen. The good news is the people that have seen something are either female family members or people we will never see again.

Because breastfeeding didn't come super easy to G, I was pretty inflexible with where we nursed. Once I found a spot to feed her that worked for us, I was scared to change it. We would sit in a chair in our living room--me propped up with pillows and a foot "stool," and G propped up with her BreastFriend pillow. I didn't think I could nurse anywhere else.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Searching for a Birthday Giveaway Bash Co-Host!

Is you or your child's birthday in February or March? Do you have a PR friendly blog?

If so please contact me! I want to have a "Birthday Giveaway Bash" for G's first birthday and would love to have a co-host. You child can be any age, and your giveaways only need to be family friendly. We could work to promote the event together and would benefit from each other's Rafflecopter bonus entries.

I'm just in the planning stages, but hope to begin contacting sponsors after Thanksgiving.

Thanks for your consideration!!

email Kaylene at mislean at gmail dot com

A Learning Table for Baby - Wordless on Wednesday

We finally got the baby a learning table! It's an older version from craigslist, but it's still awesome. I did a nice cleaning on it and we presented it to her together. Yes, I'm silly and waited to 'give' it to her until my husband got home from work. But when you are frugal, giving your kid a learning table is.a.big.deal. She loves it! I love it, too, because she shakes her little booty to the music and enjoys trying out all of the activities.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Diaper Junction Giveaway

I don't know how many of you have seen this...but I sure am excited about it! One winner EACH DAY will get $50 to Diaper Junction's cloth diaper store!

Entry via Woobox

Cloth Diapers at Night, vol 2

A few months ago I wrote about our night time cloth diaper solutions. They've changed a bit since then, so I wanted to write an update.

I do laundry every other day, but sometimes laundry runs late, so I have three main night time diaper options. Sometimes G will sleep all night in one diaper, so I need them to be super absorbent because she usually eats at least once in the night and is a "heavy wetter" in general. Other times, though, G will go #2 in the middle of the night so we have to change her and don't need the capabilities of the diapers below. She's not predictable with the bowel movements, so I always have to assume she'll be in one diaper all night. I really wish there were a way to stop the midnight poop-scapades. Any tips are appreciated.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

This week's meal plan is week two of me REALLY REALLY trying to stick to our food budget. I am glad that our local grocery store is offering a free item each week from now until Christmas. That free item this week is Johnsonville Chicken Sausage. What do you think anchors my meal plan this week? The same store is also having a steak sale. 6 oz Cowboy steaks for $2 a piece, so we are having those for a 'fancy' meal. The potatoes are on sale for $1.99 for 5 lb bag of organic potatoes. Hooray!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday - 5 Gratitude

<br /><center><a href="http://www.lettersfrommomma.com/search/label/Sunday%205" ><img src="
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DNjJWDFSbJ0/TrW7iU63giI/AAAAAAAAAik/ULRveey8Fys/s1600/Sunday-5.jpg" width=150 />

If you are interested in participating in the Letters from Momma Sunday 5 Linky; write a blog post with 5 things you are grateful for this week, grab the button code and copy it into your HTML for that post, and then submit your link at the bottom of this post so that others can go read what you wrote! I know that there are a lot of blog/facebook "thankful" themed posts going on right now, but Letters from Momma has been posting Sunday 5 - Gratitude posts for at least a month now, and will continue past the holiday season. I'd love to see this linky grow blog-hop style! This linky is a way to have a personal post for your readers, but also generate some traffic to your blog!

I look forward to reading all your gratitude posts! I promise if you link up here, I'll visit your post and share some comment love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Breastfeeding Series part 2 - The Pumping Experience & Supply Abundance

4 days old, nuzzled up
When I set out on my breastfeeding journey, I never thought I'd be pumping much. I am a SAHM, with no real need to bottle feed. I planned to simply nurse our baby she was hungry.

Enter our first 72 hour breastfeeding fiasco. Because healing my breasts was of the utmost importance to our success in breastfeeding, we needed to have a pump at home so that we could continue the routine we had in the hospital.
  • Nurse on one side for about 10 minutes or until the pain was unbearable.
  • Feed G pumped milk (about 2 oz) in a bottle
  • Pump on both sides.
  • Repeat at the next feeding, but nursing on the other side.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

SSAHM - Sick Stay at Home Momma (parenting lesson #4265)

SSAHM move... Elmo gives 5 minutes of relief
What'd you do this week? I've been taking care of a sick baby, while being sick myself. Ugh.

It started last week. G had some congestion in the back of her throat (I could hear it, not see it). I was hoping it was related to teething, but then the runny nose really picked up. She got super irritable, and it turned into a full on illness. I hated it...mostly because she was not herself, but also because she'd use me as a human tissue. Gross.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

STRESS. An interruption to regularly scheduled posting

Hey everyone, this post is going to be a lot more candid that you may be used to.

I'm having a tough time today with something I've blogged a bit about.... Body Image and Eating Disorder.

A day of mischief - WW

Last Wednesday G decided to have a "super-pull-up" day. Since then, she's been into any/everything. She had been pulling up for a few weeks, but now it's like no big deal. I snapped a few photos of the mischief-y places she pulled up on.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thirsties Cloth Diaper Review & Giveaway

Thirsties is first brand I remember learning about while researching cloth diapers during my pregnancy. I read such rave reviews about their products--especially the diaper covers and wraps. Consequently, Thirsties was one of the brands in my first-ever fluff purchase. I bought some Thirsties' Duo Hemp Prefolds (size 1) and an extra-small diaper cover. Until this review, my only experience with Thirsties has been with prefolds, inserts, and covers. Their hemp prefolds are the most absorbent diaper I've experienced (thirsty...Thirsties...get it?!?), so I use them alone OR as a night time doubler. But, as you've probably read around my blog, I'm over prefolds--ready to move on. I've been dying to try their other products because Thirsties is a very well rounded cloth diaper company.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Chewy Tubes Ps & Qs teether winner!

There were 36 unique people that entered Letters from Momma's Chewy Tubes Ps & Qs teether giveaway! After bonus entries were counted, there were 317 entries. For a non-cloth diaper giveaway, and one that the sponsor didn't promote, I feel this in fantastic! Thank you all for participating.

The winner is:

She has been e-mailed and has until Wednesday at 1 pm CENTRAL time to respond. Congratulations to her!

Menu Plan Monday

I'm not sure if I'm going to keep up Menu Plan Mondays. I'm sure I'll keep meal planning, but the menus around my house are about to get a lot more boring. I MUST stop going over our food budget. I think part of me wants to make yummy sounding / fancy looking meals because other people are going to be reading my menus. Fancier meals tend to have more expensive ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes anyone?)...but as you can tell from the few meals on our menu plan this week, I'm tightening the reigns. I do not like how our budget looks, and this week we are eating super cheap (and then going to the in-laws). I hope some of you can relate, so maybe I'll keep posting them anyways!

While you're here, I'd invite you to check out my personal cinnamon roll recipe that I shared over the weekend. (and if you use cloth diapers, come back Tuesday for my Thirsties' giveaway!)

Monday: Tuna Melts, Salad
Tuesday: Pasta, Salad
Wednesday: left overs
Thursday: Soup, Sandwich
Friday: (in-laws)
Saturday: (in-laws)
Sunday: Tortellini

Linked up with Org Junkie Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday 5 - Gratitude

<br /><center><a href="http://www.lettersfrommomma.com/search/label/Sunday%205" ><img src="
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DNjJWDFSbJ0/TrW7iU63giI/AAAAAAAAAik/ULRveey8Fys/s1600/Sunday-5.jpg" width=150 />

This week we have a button!! If you are interested in participating in the Letters from Momma Sunday 5 Linky; write a blog post with 5 things you are grateful for this week, grab the button code and copy it into your HTML for that post, and then submit your link at the bottom of this post so that others can go read what you wrote! I know that there are a lot of blog/facebook "thankful" themed posts going on right now, but Letters from Momma has been posting Sunday 5 - Gratitude posts for at least a month now, and will continue past the holiday season. I'd love to see this linky grow blog-hop style! This linky is a way to have a personal post for your readers, but also generate some traffic to your blog!

I look forward to reading all your gratitude posts! I promise if you link up here, I'll visit your post and share some comment love.

This week I am grateful for the following things.

1. My husband's job. Even though he had to work Saturday morning and stay late a few days last week, it is a great job. He is good at it, and it provides for us. It allows me to stay home with baby G and for that, I'm really grateful. The benefits are good and there are many vertical opportunites for my husband.

2. Good coffee. I used to be a big caffine-addict...but now, for some reason, when I need it most, I haven't been drinking it much at all. Maybe 2 times a month. Recently, though, we started using out home coffee pot again. Folgers Gourmet Select was on sale and I bought some pumpkin spice creamer at Aldi. It's no PSL from Starbucks, but it is still really good. And I feel like a more efficient human. Ha.

3. Bulb Syringes. Gross, and not fun to use...but it's helping get the yuckies out of G's nose. She's got a cold right now and it's NO fun for anyone. I never thought I'd want to use the blue thing, and neither did my husband, but it works. Poor baby girl.

4. Coupons, Target, & our local grocery store We made our weekly food budget this week, thanks to some GREAT coupons. I also like that Target lets you stack manufacturers' coupons with store coupons. Charmin toilet paper was already $2 off, and then we got $2 more dollars off from coupons. Hooray! Our local grocery store was having a great one-day sale yesterday. We got a free slice of gourmet pumpkin pie, $2.50 off Wholly Guacamole, $1/lb strawberries, $1/pack of raspberries, $2.99 16 oz. organic salad, and some other sweet deals. PLUS they were having "holiday" sample day; so we got turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, holiday ham, pumpkin praline pie, fudge, crusted fish, fancy cheese, yogurt, and some chicken dish. It was AWESOME. I bet you got bored reading this paragraph, but I'm really grateful for good deals and delicious food!

5. Hoodie weather. I love fall, as I've mentioned before, so the weather between warm and freezing (also known as "chilly") is my favorite! You know, the weather where you can wear just a tee-shirt, jeans, & a hoodie and still be cozy. No need for a coat. That weather won't last long around here, so I'm soaking it all up now!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Breastfeeding Series part I, The first 72 hours

Before reading this, I want you to know that I am very much pro-breastfeeding. So, if this post comes off negative, I'm sorry! I'm just being honest about how hard the first 72 hours of breastfeeding were for me.

In the months leading up to Little Bear's birth, breastfeeding was never something I worried about. A lot of people told me to "be prepared for it not to work out," or to buy some 'back up formula.' I smiled through their doubt and told them I understood but I thought it would be okay. No one told me why I should be concerned with breastfeeding being hard, they all just told me it was.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

October Stats

I'm using our old blog address stats, as the new domain was just started a few days ago and the old domain is still current on all stats below (due to the fact that I'm still hosted on blogger and the two are tied together).

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

PUFFS! (and Dad told a funny part II)

My daughter is already starting tantrums!! She's only 8 months old, but we have to get a handle on this stat! What's funny is that she doesn't throw a "tantrum" for just anything, it's only used when she wants her Happy Baby Organic Puffs.