Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Swaddlebees Cloth Wipes Review & Giveaway

The switch to cloth wipe event continues! Prior to these wipes, I had never tried any Swaddlebees cloth products, but I had swooned over their top quality cloth diapers and accessories. I was super excited when they agreed to be part of Letters from Momma's switch to cloth wipes. I was able to review both the bamboo wipes and the baby cloth wipes--in addition to receiving a wet bag! Check out the review below.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Last week's meal plan wasn't very intense...but our week was...so that meal plan wasn't even looked at (aside from making the chili). We were sick Monday - Wednesday, so didn't eat a lot--and then we just scrounged around the other nights. It happens. :-) Remember that meal planning should come with a little flexibility because life is unpredictable!

Here's our meal plan for this week:

Monday: Homemade Meatloaf & Homemade Mac/Cheese, with salad - dinner with friends (they're bringing cake balls for dessert)
Tuesday: leftovers
Wednesday: Pork Chops, Rice Pilaf, Salad
Thursday: leftovers
Friday: homemade pizza <3
Saturday: Chicken & Rice Casserole (no condensed soups in this recipe)
Sunday: shrimp cocktails, toasted ravioli, & other finger foods

I think I need to start looking at my food magazines...I'm definitely in an uninspired cook mood. I blame the weather!

Thanks for checking out our dinners this week! See more menu plan Monday at OrgJunkie.com

Friday, January 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---
I'll start with a prayer that is from yesterday's Small Steps for Catholic Moms page.
Don't let me look down, Lord, when I carry the cross you've chosen for me. Let me look up and whistle while I work!
---So HARD sometimes, but exactly what we need to do (especially me).

--- 2 ---
G is starting to look like a "big girl," despite not yet walking. I know everyone says that now is the time she begins to move from baby to toddler. Apparently, eleven to fifteen months is the "time of maturity." I guess after that she'll be a real toddler. It's crazy to me that I have such an old baby. Most days, I feel like I should still be toting around a baby who sleeps 75% of the time, nurses every 2 hours, and isn't mobile. I wonder if she will be eternally three months old in my mind?

Check out my post this week, with all of the fun 11 month old things G does!

--- 3 ---
Naturally, I have to share this too cute picture of baby G.
just love her toothy grin!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Treasure every moment.

I had a lot of 'blog work' to get done during today's nap time...but I didn't do any of it.

I spent the time sobbing my eyes out (literally, my cheeks are so wet...not just saying that for dramatic effect) while reading about a woman from my home town. I kind of knew her when I was younger, through my church. Her mom was a teacher at my high school, and then Sarah became a teacher too.

She passed away on Monday at the age of 31. From colon cancer, after being diagnosed in 2008, just 5 weeks after giving birth to her second baby. Can you imagine??

Baby's 1st Boat Show #linky #WW

G & Daddy driving a Cobalt boat
Momma & G riding a jet ski (notice the beco on my back...she did great in it pretty much all afternoon)


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

One spot left on the "First Year" photo frame

11 months old!
Our baby girl turned eleven months old on Sunday. I didn't have this post ready to go, and I took the weekend off blogging...then we all got a stomach bug yesterday (still trying to recover). So a few days late, but here it is.

Home measurements:
Weight: 18.1 lbs
Height: 28.5"
Tooth Count: 5 (and one on the way)

Night Weaning:
We've started night weaning. Some nights are great (she sleeps all night), and some nights aren't so great (she cries several times). The highlight of this post was going to be that Momma's midnight milk stand had been officially closed since last Tuesday (yay!)....but then she was sick Sunday night. She vomited (again!) in the middle of the night. We cleaned her up and tried to calm her down. Then I nursed her (because who wants to vomit and have that taste in their mouth all night??), but it also ended up being thrown-up projectile style while I was still holding her. Ugh. (then we all got the tummy bug)

Gross Motor Skills:
G has taken 2 little steps and is also looking like she might stand up at any moment! She's pretty cautious; but has gotten up on her knees and tried to move one leg up to stand, before toppling over. So close! I'm half dreading having a walker, though, she's so mischievous already! G's also the fastest crawler I've ever seen. She also loves pulling up and hanging onto my pant legs at the most inopportune times (like when I'm in the bathroom cleaning a dirty diaper).
Baby G loves pushing the clothes basket around like a walking toy, and still loves pushing Winnie the Pooh rocking horse while crawling.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

This week's meal plan is really simple. I made a HUGE thing of chili on Sunday and I'm thinking it will last almost all week. Soooo... pretty boring around our house, after an exciting weekend. We did his birthday dinner on Friday night with his cousin. Saturday, my husband and I took the baby to the boat show. We had planned to get take out Red Lobster on the way home, but then decided we'd rather just go out to eat since G was behaving so well. The wait at the restaurant was 45 minutes at 5:30 pm!! we were not about to wait that long and chance ruining her good mood. We opted for Carrabbas (it's like Macaroni Grill, if you've never heard of it). It was soooo good! We both had one of the specials: Champagne Shrimp & Scallops with a salad. I got peach sangria, and my husband had two winter lagers. Baby G got munchies, peas and bread. We had such a good time! I wish we could do it more often (but then it wouldn't mean as much when we do go out).
Anyhoo, here's our lame-o meal plan:

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bummas cloth wipe WINNER

I am really excited about announcing the Bummas' winner because there 148 entrants! That's a great turnout :-) I'm pleased so many people are interested in cloth wipes. After bonus entries were counted, there were 3277 entries. The most ever, to date, on a LfM giveaway!

Guest Blog at The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

My most recent submission to The Cloth Diaper Whisperer was posted yesterday. I have been taking a blog-break for my husband's birthday but had to pop on here to pick a new winner for the Bummas giveaway...and saw my blog had posted over there!

I hope you'll check it out! It's about traveling with cloth diapers.

Weaning to Cloth Completely

If you're visiting from the CDW, I hope you'll stick around :-)

I often have cloth related giveaways (a swaddlebees wipe one is coming up soon!); I blog about cloth diapers and other kinda crunchy parenting topics!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (vol 8)

--- 1 ---
Six of this week's seven quick takes are for my husband, who celebrated his 24th birthday yesterday. This is his fifth birthday that we have been together. Three of the five we went on a trip somewhere, but last year I was too close to my due date. This year we are on a budget and have a baby, so our "trip" is to the boat show tomorrow! My husband loves boats, and claims his first word was boat. He is beyond excited, to say the least. I'm pretty sure he would rather own a boat than a house...give us a few years and we will have both.

--- 2 ---
He is the perfect husband for me. A great example is the fact that I had a rough, out-of-sorts day on Tuesday and he walked through the door after work with flowers for me. :-) I haven't gotten flowers from him in over a year. It was just what I need to bring a smile to me face!
taken with my phone

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tropicana Trop50 Juice {$50 SpaWeek Gift Card giveaway}

I love drinking juice, but hate drinking calories. I usually opt for fresh fruit over juice, because of the nutritional value...but you know, sometimes a glass of juice just hits the spot! Often I will water it down to lower the calories, but then the taste isn't nearly as good.

Tropicana Trop50 is a new juice product that gives me the middle ground I need. Trop50 has 50% less calories and sugar than 100% fruit juices, but doesn't sacrifice flavor! You can drink juice for a lower number of calories, without watering it down, without artificial sweeteners. (Trop50 contains PureVia, steva-based natural sweetener.)

Progresso "Souper You" Contest & Giveaway

When I was in college, I had a job at a collection agency (hey, it was a good job and I was nice...thank you very much). My hours were usually 4 - 9 pm, so I ate dinner at my computer station. I often brought a can of soup, and it was almost always Progresso brand. I love the Chicken and Wild Rice variety. I know this is probably weird, but I would take like 30 minutes to savor it. I think it tastes really yummy, and the whole can is only 200 calories!

The other day I was getting my and the baby's lunches ready, when we heard a knock on the door. It was the delivery man with a package of Progresso soups and a Biggest Loser workout DVD. I was really excited to find that within the 5 varieties I was sent, Chicken and Wild rice was included! My lunch plans instantly changed. I made my soup and a cheese sandwich. It definitely hit the spot on a blustery January day. I even shared some of the carrots from the soup with baby G, who loved them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dear fellow mommas, {inspirational letter}

Thank you so much for all the comments I received here and on the blog's facebook page regarding my recent post about needing super nanny.

It's so nice to hear that we all go through ups and downs...and we aren't in it alone. Sometimes I feel so isolated, in my own little mom-bubble, that I forget no child is perfect and no mom has it "easy." I'll see a mom with a baby who seems to be just perfect...but I don't see the rest of their day or life.

I really appreciate you all sharing stories with me, and commenting that I will make it through the tough times. Of course I know that and try to remain positive; but just had to vent somewhere because I try so hard to avoid showing frustration in front of the baby. I know that she can read me very well, so I truly attempt to be 100% optimistic around her (although that's impossible).

I wanted to share some inspirational quotes from my Small Steps for Catholic Moms book that my dear friend Rachel got me for Christmas (she is a super sweetheart). It's a daily "think, pray, act" book. These quotes were for yesterday and today---I found them very appropriate.

Tricks of a 10 month old #WW #linky

I've taught baby G a few tricks, and now you can witness them from the comfort of your own chair :-)

G loves Super Why! and I taught her to do Hip Hip Hooray!

My husband and I taught the baby how to find her "girl" truck driver and take her back

Hope you enjoyed them :-)


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I need Super Nanny.

Isn't there a show that is, or used to be, on TV called Super Nanny? I think the premise of the show is that a British woman, claiming to be a parenting 'expert,' comes to a family in need of some reforming.

We are that family. Nothing we do works.

I mean, sure, baby G is only 10.5 months old, but things are absolutely ridiculous around here. I really don't know what to do anymore. I even told my mom, "I am over it. I'm done being a mom." and I only kinda didn't mean it.

Earlier in her life my husband and I patted ourselves on the back for having 'such a good baby.' People loved seeing her and she was a really social baby. She played well. She was up for any adventure we went on.

At one point in her life, G slept through the night. Those were the good days. We were better parents, she was a happier baby; we were all able to actually enjoy our lives.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

In some ways, I feel like I just wrote my meal plan for last week; but in other ways, last week seemed so long. It was the first week that my husband worked the full five days since the week of 12/11. Luckily, leftovers stretched a bit farther than anticipated, the crock-pot helped out, and I made one meal ahead of time--so the kitchen was not my nemesis despite having to get back in the swing of life while the baby is still getting over an illness (and teething).

One whole meal didn't get made last week, so it reappears this week.

Monday: left over chicken caccitore (first time I made it, and it was so good!)
Tuesday: baked potato bar
Wednesday: pork chops, cheesy rice, peas
Thursday: chicken fajitas, homemade refried beans, salsa/chips
Friday: homemade cheeseburgers, pasta salad, fries, salad (requested by the birthday boy)
Saturday: eating out after the boat show for my husband's birthday :-)
Sunday: chili and corn muffins
source: the curvy carrot

As indicated above, my husband's birthday is this week. I am going to make chocolate cupcakes with cheesecake filling and butter cream frosting. I found a recipe I'll be loosely following at The Curvy Carrot.

Thanks for checking out what we'll be eating this week, Menu Plan Monday is hosted at OrgJunkie.com

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Night and Day {teething baby vs. non teething baby}

The difference between "Teething G" and "Non-Teething G" is absolutely like night and day. I could write this in paragraph form, but I think a list makes it more clear. Plus I got to teach myself some more html.

Teething G Non Teething G
up 3 or more times a night; about 11 hours of total sleep for the whole day sleeps "almost" through the night; about 13 hours of total sleep for the whole day
cries hysterically if I sit her down and start to do a chore plays very well independently
sucks or gnaws her thumb often rarely sucks her thumb at all
tries to stuff anything in her mouth to reach her side teeth only puts objects in her mouth to learn about them
very, very irritable...tiniest thing will set her off naps great and is much happier because of it
frequently pulls off while nursing solid nursing sessions
wears us both out and the days seem sooo long we enjoy our days and sometimes are even surprised at how fast they go
have to keep her distracted by moving quickly from one thing to another attention span is long enough that we can practice a skill

I've heard that some babies don't really show signs of teething (apparently I was one of them), but I don't believe it!! My baby girl is a nightmare when she's cutting teeth. I know that parenting a preschooler brings its own set of challenges, and I love her as my bitty baby girl....but "done with teething" sounds SO appealing right now!

What are your experiences with teething children?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (vol 7)

--- 1 ---
Sick, sick, sick.
This week brought an increase in the sickness department for baby G. She's developed a cough, which has worried me a lot. It is worse when she's trying to sleep (so that's no fun for anyone), but she is still mostly in good spirits and isn't lethargic. I'm keeping a close eye on her, because I know these things can go south very quickly for babies. Thankfully we are breastfeeding, so that's helping her immune system fight this. We are going on 2 straight weeks of some sort of illness, so say a special prayer for us, PLEASE.

--- 2 ---
Luckily, G's fourth tooth cut all the way through, so we got some relief in that department. FINALLY.
However, the fifth tooth is nearing the surface...so we'll see how long it takes for the TH (teething hell, in case you didn't read last week's 7QT) to return.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winner: Planet Wise Cloth Wipes / Wipe Pouch

What a great turnout we had for the Planet Wise wipes and wipe pouch giveaway!! I'm so excited to give this awesome prize away. There were 168 unique entrants (most ever for a LfM giveaway), and 3189 entries after bonus entries were counted.

The winner is....

Congratulations to her and thank you to all who entered!

The Bummas wipe giveaway is still going on until 1/19 at 11 pm central; with daily tweet bonus entries!

Walgreens Prescription Savings Club - Discounted Rate

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
If you have prescription coverage, check the back of your card. If you see an Express Script logo, your ability to receive discounted prescriptions at your local Walgreens is probably affected.
Walgreens and Express Script have cut ties after a contract renewal agreement couldn't be reached before December 31, 2011. The two companies couldn't agree on Walgreens' reimbursement rate from filling prescriptions, and they also couldn't agree on what constituted a generic drug.
Express Scripts is a Pharmacy Benefit Manager that acts as a middle man between health insurance companies and pharmacies. They work out contracts that will provide prescriptions to consumers at discounted rates from various pharmacies. Express Scripts also offers their own mail-order prescriptions.
Walgreens is the most popular pharmacy chain in America; thousands of people are affected by having to either switch their prescriptions to another pharmacy, or pay out-of-network costs to keep their prescriptions at Walgreens. To help current clients remain at Walgreens, without a huge price difference, the drugstore is offering the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club at a discounted annual rate during the month of January. Families can sign up for $10 a year; which includes spouses, dependents 22 and younger, and even pets. An individual may join for $5 a year. Regular prices are $20 for an individual and $35 for a family.

Benefits of the Prescription Savings Club include:

  • Savings on more than 8,000 brand-name & all generic medications
  • more than 400 generic drugs are available with a 3 month supply for less than $1 a week
  • Discounts on flu shots, pet prescriptions, nebulizers, and diabetic supplies
  • Bonuses when you buy Walgreens' brand products and photofinishing services
Many customers are upset by the Walgreens & Express Script break-up, but this Prescription Savings Club discounted rate is Walgreens attempt to ease the burden.
Keep up with their latest news at Walgreens on Facebook and Walgreens on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Funny Turning Pages Sequence - #Linky #WW

This week's wordless Wednesday comes with necessary captions as the baby had some trouble reading her new nose book. She's usually great at reading and turning pages, but this particular book gave her problems.

"Oh, let's just open this book..." 

Social Networking to be Healthy - Café Well

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cafe Well for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Cafe Well is a relatively new social networking site that aims to keep you focused on your health. It brands itself as "The Social Network to Get Well and Stay Well," so it's perfect for anyone looking to get healthier in the new year, as well as those wanting to stay in tip-top shape.

Rather than using other popular social network sites to share health-related ideas, goals, or challenges; you can find a niche for healthy living at Cafe Well. I know many of you have made a status or tweet about your latest attempt to lose weight, run a 5K, or make a healthier dinner for your family.... so just take those ideas over to Cafe Well, where you can find like-minded people 24/7. Share your ups and downs with getting in shape, training for a marathon, aiming to drink more water each day, or simply maintaining your weight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apple iPad 2 & Kindle Fire #Giveaway

Rafflecopter is available for everyone to use! Previously, you had to receive an invite to host a giveaway using Rafflecopter....but no longer! They've left beta and gone public.

To celebrate, the giveaway application is hosting a giveaway!

Enter below, and be sure to say that *I* Kaylene Brown referred you!

It's so easy to do you should ALL enter! Even you Dad ;-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now, go get Rafflecopter to use on your blog for giveaways!

My vocation as a wife {guest post}

Today I have another guest post to share with you! I am featured at Day in the Life.

Emily was looking for bloggers to write about their vocation as a wife, and, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to write about my favorite thing ever.... being my husband's wife.

Check it out:
Evolution of my vocation as a wife

What'd you think??

98% cloth wipe using household!

I'd say the 'switch to cloth wipes' is complete! We now use cloth wipes about 98% of the time. I will occasionally finish up with a disposable wipe at night to make sure G is completely clean, because we only turn on a tiny night light for midnight poopscapades (because they are white so if I wipe and it's still white, I know there's nothing left). We may also use a few when out and about (although I'm getting good at taking cloth). We bought what I hope is our last big box of disposable wipes at Target two weeks ago. I am forcing us to stretch that until G is potty trained.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Baby on a Budget, guest post

Today I have a guest post at Catholic Newlywed. I wrote an intimate piece about having a baby on a budget.

I'd love to hear what you think, either comments here or there.

Baby on a Budget: Happily a One Income Family

Hope you enjoy reading, because I really enjoyed writing it!

Menu Plan Monday

This week's meal plan is brought to you by my Taste of Home cook book. I had little to no inspiration while making my grocery list. The recipes are also on their website, so I've linked to them for you.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Irony. {or, and example of our sleep chaos}

The past 24 hours have been very, and I do mean very, ironic.

My daughter woke up from her nap yesterday at 12:30 pm, which is earlier than normal. We went about our afternoon of grocery shopping, getting the mail, and going for a quick walk.

We ate dinner (applesauce, cheese, puffs, and a tiny bit of chicken--nothing new), took a bath, and she was asleep by 7:05 pm. That is on the early side for her typical bedtime of 7:30 pm, but she was really tired since her nap ended so early.

While getting ready for bed ourselves, my husband and I discussed how it was finally time to start night weaning. We decided that if when she woke up before morning, he would go calm her down, if necessary...but under no circumstances would I go in the room. We've tried this approach before, but G screamed hysterically until I went in there, and I had always caved. She is almost 11 months old, though, and really does not need to be eating at night. Comforted? Maybe. Eating? No.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (vol 6)

--- 1 ---

Fun things the baby has done lately:
The other day we were on the floor playing with G, I gave my husband a mini-back massage. She came up to him and started trying to rub his back too! She gave him a few pats. It was too cute. I wish I had gotten a picture of it.
I've been trying to teach G how to blow kisses, or at least to make kissy faces. Yesterday I was pretty close to her face making smacking noises with my lips pursed, and she leaned in and gave me an open-mouth lip kiss!! I died laughing it was so precious!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Bummas Cloth Wipe Review & Giveaway

Swap your commercial wipes for some eco-friendly, soft, terry cloth diaper wipes that will last beyond the days in diapers. -- Bummas website

Through the research I've done during our switch to cloth wipes, I found one company that makes only cloth wipes--Bummas. Because they specialize in awesome resusable wipes, I just had to try some--and share them with you, of course! I love that they are made in the USA (California) and come rolled up in a bundle displaying all of the edge colors. Bummas also reduced their price for 2012--instead of $16.99, they are now only $15!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Driving Mr. Winnie #WW #linky

My daughter is hilarious. Lately, her favorite thing is pushing a variety of items around while crawling or kneeling. About two weeks ago, my husband captured G pushing her Winnie the Pooh rocking horse.

If you are my facebook friend (personal, not blog), then you have already seen this gem of a video. I wanted to share it with everyone else, so here it is! The best part is about 20 seconds from the end...I laugh out loud every time I watch it!

Link Up!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

December 2011 Statistics

Is it really January?? December is my favorite month of the year, and I can't believe it's over. It was a really full month for my family, birthdays, holidays, travel, etc... I'm surprised I kept up with the blog like I did. I think my biggest flaw is dedication. It's a double edged sword because it's good because people can rely on me, but it's bad because sometimes I can go overboard and other things get pushed to the side. When I commit to something, I go all out...but last month I started feeling like my personal life has taken a back burner to Letters from Momma. I am not okay with that. Yes, I enjoy blogging--I like bringing you information about cloth diapers, recipes and meal plans, parenting opinions, and great giveaways--but not at the expense of my sanity and quality time with my family. That's why I took a few days off around Christmas, and I have been less rigid about my posting schedule. Hopefully you agree this is a positive move. I don't know how "huge" mommy bloggers do it...do they ever sleep?

Anyways, here are last month's stats:

Monday, January 02, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

I did not have meal plan last week. I wouldn't say I was "stressed out" about cooking, but I was far from organized in the kitchen. We got back into town Tuesday afternoon and scrounged around. Wednesday I made chicken pasta. Thursday we ordered pizza (first time in probably a year). On Friday evening, friends came over for an impromptu dinner (I wasn't sure what I was serving until that morning--my mom's rigatoni recipe). Then, Saturday we went to my husband's cousins for finger foods on NYE. We ate leftovers last night.

It's time to get back into the swing of things, including having a menu for the week.

my chicken & dumplings are an art
Monday: homemade Chicken & Dumplings, I use a secret personal recipe. It's kinda similar to the instructions on this blog, but not really.
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Crab Salad & Crackers, veggies & dip
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Taco Macaroni Skillet
Saturday: meat, potatoes, carrots
Sunday: Homemade Pizzas (our Sunday night shows return!)

Thanks for joining me for OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year to you all!!

I hope that 2012 is a blessed and prosperous year for all of my family, friends, and readers.

Letters from Momma is sure to have a great year, and I have several professional goals for the blog.

For now, here are my personal new year resolutions.

1. Read my Small Steps for Catholic Moms book. My friend gave it to me for Christmas. I'm really excited about it.
2. Run a 10K or half-marathon by May. If the entry fees are too much, I'll probably just map out a course and have my husband time me... definitely not the same as a race, but I can't justify paying an arm and a leg to go run.
3. Continue meal planning, and keep our food budget less than $350 a month.