Mommy's Favorite Things: September 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

Rock Candy Tutorial!!

You can find it Here. But I'll copy and paste too!
This looks like so much fun and I'm so going to do this with Avery!!! The good thing is we have everything we need!! It's super easy!

 We've had fun trying our hands at some homemade candy recipes lately and are excited to share them with you! Homemade Rock Candy is incredibly easy to make. There are many variations and links online to help you along the way. We took bits and pieces of what we found and here is how we did it!

 You will need:
Sugar (lots of sugar)
Food Coloring
Bamboo Skewers
Jars or Glass Cups
Trim down your skewers to a reasonable size to fit in whatever jars or cups that you will be using. You'll also want to get rid of the point. Dip them in water, then roll in sugar. Let dry completely and set aside. This gives the sugar a base. Something to stick to when it starts to crystallize.

 Mix equal parts of water and sugar in a pot on med-high heat until dissolved. Then continue to add sugar until you have AT LEAST a 2:1 ratio. You can also do a 3:1 ratio. We used 8 cups of water and 16-18 cups of sugar and it made a lot. So you can definitely half the recipe. We wanted a lot of colors. You are making a nice, sticky, sugary syrup. Mix until completely dissolved and mixture starts to simmer. You do not need it to boil or bring it to a certain temperature with a candy thermometer. Easy.
 Allow your syrup to cool for 10 minutes or so and ladle into your jars using a funnel to catch spills. It is still pretty hot at this point. We used the tips that we trimmed off of our skewers and dipped them into concentrated food coloring paste, then swirled the skewer into our hot syrup mixture. You can use liquid food coloring, but I like the paste better.
 Then attach a clothespin to each skewer (the ones you dipped in sugar and let dry) and place in cup. Make sure the skewer isn't touching the bottom or sides of jar/glass. They need room to grow. Since our glasses were narrow, one skewer seemed to work out best, but we added two in a few of the colors.
Place your jars in a warm location with lots of natural light.  Here they are on day can see that there is a bit of sugar build up from when we dipped them in water and then let them dry in sugar.
 Day 3. More crystallization.
 Day 5. The syrup is crystallizing on the bottom of the glasses as well.
7 days---DONE! We had a great time watching them grow and sampling the finished product. We did not add any flavorings to ours, just sugar and water, but it might be fun to try that sometime.
In the end, the glasses with 1 skewer did better as they had more room to grow. So if you attempt to do more than one skewer/jar, use a wide mouth jar. The orange glass had two skewers and both turned out GREAT, but a couple of the other glasses with 2 were a bit smaller than the rest of the single skewered glasses.

*There will be crystallized sugar in the bottom of your jars/glasses. Just run them in hot water and chip it out with a butter knife. It comes out pretty easily.*

Treasured By Holly Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

Avery was a May baby so I didn't do an overabundance of hats for her. She pretty much just wore the one the hospital gave us for a couple weeks and that was it. It was a warm summer and there was no need for hats. 

Crochet and Knit hats have become much more popular lately and mainly just for looks... But I know I'm going to need lots of hats having a winter baby this time. So I was very excited to review 2 hats from Treasured By Holly. I received a hat for Avery and a hat for Baby Boy.
2 crochet hats. Baby Boys is in a 0-3 month and Avery's is a 2-4

 Removable Clip!
 Cute for the hair!
I will say that her Customer Service is AMAZING!!!!
She sent these 2 hats, but Avery's had barely fit her. I had to really stretch it on. Her sizing seemed like it would fit Avery as she has a tiny head. Well I let her know and she told me she'd get another one out immediately. She did, but I never got it... So she made me a THIRD hat. Said she must have miscounted the stitches and she felt terrible. At that point I felt bad that she made the same hat 3 times... But I finally got the new hat (minus the flower, since I had one) and it all worked out. For a free item for review I was very happy with her customer service. I can only imagine how out of her way she'd go for an actual order!! Props!!!

Anyway, these hats are constructed so nicely. I knit so I know what it should look like (although these are crochet) and her stitches are perfect! They are just beautiful. 
Check out these same hats on the models
I can't wait to do his newborn photo shoot and use this hat!!!
Adorable right??? 

Avery's looks great on her. The new hat fits perfectly!! And the clip is adorable on the hat, left off or just in her hair alone! It's super cute!! And the color I chose will match most of Avery's wardrobe. 

She has so many other hats to choose from. She also has headbands, flower clips and newsboy caps. And her sizing is from Newborn all the way to adult!


Price: The 2 hats I received are... Avery's hat $24 and baby boy's hat $25. Very generous. These are handmade!!

Overall: ***** Love the workmanship and the customer service

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Treasured By Holly in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Treasured By Holly for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nicole's Breast Friends Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

We're going to get a LITTLE bit personal here... You all know that I'm planning on nursing this baby, WELL my milk has ALREADY come in. Actually I'm 27.5 weeks now and it came in right around 19 weeks. I could not believe it. 
I guess it's colostrum although it's milky colored and thinner then I remember colostrum to be, but it's definitely there. 

Since I was sleeping on my side I was leaking. It wasn't much, but enough I would have to change my bra in the morning. So I contacted Nicole at Nicole's Breast Friends and she was kind enough to send me 3 pairs of pads to review. 
I love the prints on these!!

They're so cute!!!
So they are a later of cotton, a layer of waterproof PUL, 2 layers of Bamboo cotton (which is antibacterial) and then Flannel  on the back. The flannel goes against your skin and the color faces out. I really like these. They have a generous size to them. 

I do have to tell a funny story though. 
I had them sitting on the coffee table, Jon comes out of the bedroom and says "What are these? Coasters?" I couldn't stop laughing!!! It was so funny that he thought they were coasters. But then I thought "I guess they could be, there is a waterproof layer in them" and then I told him they were nursing pads!! 

I guess they're cute enough for the breast and they're cute enough for your glass!! haha. 

Anyway, They are a generous size. I like that there is bamboo in them because bamboo is super absorbent. For now though, I've been wearing these at night only. Because I was a side sleeper and they would get squished so I would leak. This protected my bra from needing to be changed every morning. 

Now we got a new bed that goes to a Zero Gravity Position and it prevents you from side sleeping and keeps you on your back and it's been AMAZING. I've found that I don't leak at night anymore, so I've stopped using these for now. I know once baby comes though they will definitely be back in my daily regimen. 

She also makes Pouches for your Breast Pads, Pacifier clips, Wipes and Burp Cloths, Car Seat Protector Pads and more!

Price: 5 sets, so 10 pads is $24. This is generous!!!

Overall: *****

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Nicole's Breast Friends in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Nicole's Breast Friends for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Kushyfoot Review

I received some wonderful products from Kushyfoot. I was able to review the Lace Foot Cover in Ivory, the Super Ultra Low Cut in black and lastly the Flats To Go in Snakeprint. 

I have tried a few pair of the Flats like this before and I really seem to like these. They're meant for when you're feet are hurting in heels you can put these on and make your feet more comfy, but they're comfy just on their own before you're feet are hurting. I like to wear them if I'm making a quick trip somewhere. I wear them to Blockbuster to get movies, To the mailbox, to take out garbage, around the house and any quick trip. They're easy to slip on, I can't bend over much these days so it's hard putting shoes on and these are great. 

The Kushyfoot foot covers are AWESOME!!! They're also meant to make shoes more comfortable. They are padded on the bottom and have a Kushy Foot (as the name implies right?). Well I LOVE them. The lace is pretty and can be worn with flats it looks cute sticking our of your shoe, no complaint there. The Super Ultra Low Cut are great too. They don't stick out at all. They're a great neutral black and they're comfortable. 

Both Foot Covers are super comfy. I'm afraid to wear the lace too often as my nails might rip it. But so far so good. I won't wear these too often though as I don't wear heels and I will only find myself wearing these when I think I'll be in footwear for a prolonged time or if I'm trying to break in a new pair of flats (because of rubbing). These are great to prevent the rubbing that happens right there at the big tow knuckle and the little toe knuckle. So they're good for that purpose!

Price: The Foot covers fit shoe sizes 5-9 so there's one size! The Lace are3 pair for $11.97 and the Super Ultra Low Cut are 6 pair for $23.97. You get 3 of Nude and 3 of Black. The flats are $9.99. CHEAP items and great prices.

Overall: ***** Love these products and they're great for someone who has to wear heels to work 5 or more days a week.
*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Kushyfoot in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Comfy Joey Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

I'm all about babywearing. I really wish I had known about it with Avery though. She was colicky and it would have made everything 100 times better. Instead I was bolted to the chair or couch holding her most of the day because I couldn't put her down.
I'm not totally complaining because this is how I spent my afternoon

It would have been really nice to have a carrier though!!!

I received a lovely one from Comfy Joey for review and I just can't wait to use it. 
I received the Lemon Grass Linen Ring Sling. 

 Instructions right on the tag.

I have a couple ring slings already but haven't ever really gotten the chance to use them. I've tried them on with Avery, but don't wear her anymore, so I never got the chance to use mine. I just cannot wait for this babe to get here so he can wear all these in. 
How comfy does this newborn look?
Pretty darn comfy right?
I want my newborn to be that comfy!!!

I think I got my sling in a size Small. It is a bit longer than an X-Small, but not super long. A Medium would have been good too though. The great thing about a ring sling is it adjusts to anyone. If you're a smaller frame though an XS or Small would be great for you because of the length. If you're a larger frame the L or XL would be great!
So I went with a Small and it fits me great! 

I've tried Avery in this sling and she fits pretty great in it. The tail is a bit shorter than I'd like, but everyone is comfy in it and it will be a while before I'm wearing a 30 pound toddler in my sling (if ever). 

Overall I love it though! It's a great sling. The linen is thick, but it's not too warm. Linen keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter so this is great for all season use. 

She has MANY other slings to choose from in every color you can imagine. 
This was my second choice

Life can deal a twist of fate that no one can plan for or imagine.  Bruce Rosenberg (40) a father of two precious children (Ella 13, Lucy 5) and husband to Julie; has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer.  This aggressive form of cancer is considered terminal in most cases, but Bruce is not most people.  He is young and has been in great health to this point.   That is until his life was turned upside down.

A little over 6 months ago he was diagnosed with this cancer and currently he has undergone 3 major operations to remove the affected areas, but the cancer is still advancing.  Out of work, his company has not fired him but has discontinued his benefits; leaving the family to have to pay for Medical (Cobra Coverage) and his life insurance on their own – this amounts to $1,500 per month above and beyond their normal household expenses.

Furthermore they are seeking treatment in one of the nation’s leading cancer centers, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa FL.  Being over 800 miles from home does take a toll on the family and the household finances.  Bruce is fighting for his life and is undergoing a trial treatment called IL2.  Although this treatment is dangerous, it does hold hope for a cure.   Both Bruce and Julie need to focus on this fight and not the funds to keep their home and life a float, and that is where you can help this family in need!

From September 10th through the 30th, along with participating retailers will be offering 15% off all orders with coupon code BRUCE. The 15% you save is the same amount we will match with a monetary donation to Bruce Rosenberg and his family. Get a gorgeous sling at a discount and help a loving family focus on the FIGHT.

Price: $67.50! Which is VERY reasonable!

Overall: *****

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Comfy Joey in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Comfy Joey for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Sibu Beauty Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

Sibu Beauty is known for using Sea Buckthorn in every one of their items. It's a berry. 

For healthy and beautiful hair, skin and nails

High in the Tibetan Himalayas (12,000 feet above sea level) grows a tiny but resilient fruit that resists the harsh weather conditions and high altitudes. The sea buckthorn berry fortifies itself against the elements by producing an array of powerful nutrients. With over 190 bioactive compounds, sea buckthorn is an unsurpassed source of Omegas 3, 6, and 9. And it's a rich source of the elusive essential fatty acid, Omega-7, an essential fatty acid vital to collagen production and healthy skin, hair and nails.

1300 years of beauty

Sea buckthorn is a natural product with 1300 years of traditional uses with themodern scientific research to back it up. Our superior processing techniques and our premium and exclusive source of sea buckthorn allow us to create a revolutionary group of beauty products.

Pretty Interesting. 
I received the Balancing Facial Cleanser for review. 
This cleanser feels amazing!! It's very awakening and is great in the morning.

It's great for removing makeup at night and it is a gel formula, it doesn't foam. It's also great for all skin types and it hasn't affected my eczema and sensitive skin yet. It's been very gentle so that's always good.

Leaves Skin Looking Radiant and Fresh. 
Removes Oil and Impurities
Contains Micro Particles for Gentle Exfoliation

That it does. It feels great. You can feel it exfoliating the makeup and oil and dirt away from your face. When you're done washing your face is so smooth. 
I also use this on my chest in the shower. It's been great there as well. I have severe acne this pregnancy and this makes me feel cleaner about it! 

Price: This Cleanser is 4oz and is $17.95. This is generous!

Overall: *****

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Sibu in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Sibu for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nutrisystem Week 1 #NSNation

It has officially been one week since Jon has been on Nutrisystem. He's just now getting used to it.

It's hard for him. He's used to eating 2 big meals a day and that's it. SOMETIMES he'll have breakfast but usually he skips it and has a big lunch and a big dinner.

With Nutrisystem he's being forced (ok, not really) to eat 6 times a day, which is what everyone should be doing. 3 meals, 2 snacks and a dessert after dinner. I eat at least 6 times a day and my Metabolism is great!! Just goes to show you.
It's not really about the quality of the food you're eating. It's the quantity and the frequency.

He likes his meals (most of them) and his snacks he likes most of those too, but it's cramming in 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day that's hard for him. Our grocery bill is going up because he's adding in yogurt and lots of fruits and veggies. I would always buy enough fruit for Avery and I, but now I'm doubling up on fruit and bananas and tripling vegetables as he's supposed to get 4-5 servings a day!!!

He's getting used to it though!!

Weight: 279  286
Arms: 16"  16"
Chest: 48"  49"
Waist: 51"  52"
Hips: 49"  49"
Thighs: 29"  29"
BMI: 41.2  42.2

This system DOES work! He has lost 7 pounds in this first week. Granted he did eat a couple of my Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies I ate and on his second day he had a 12" veggie sub (he did good with this, he put red wine vinegar on it) for lunch. So he splurged a little bit, but it's hard starting a diet!

I'm pretty happy. 7 pounds down. 1" lost in his chest and waist. Means he's getting somewhere! And look at the difference 7 pounds made to his BMI!!!! WOW!

*Disclaimer* I received This Program directly from Nutrisystem in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Nutrisystem for allowing me to review this product
Want to lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem? Join today by calling : 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting here

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Freckle Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

This is a different kind of review I'm doing!!!

Freckle has some lovely patterns and hand knit items. Her patterns are for knitting and I came across her when I was on the search for a pattern to make some longies for this baby. 

Well I decided to contact her and she let me review her Freckle Bottoms pattern. It's for shorties, capris and longies. I won't be using the capris anytime soon, but the shorties and longies have gotten tons of use!!

Here are some things I've made with this pattern so far

And I'm working on a pair of Shorties currently
I feel like her sizing is DEAD ON. 

The top 2 are NB and the Sock Monkey is a Small and then the shorties are a medium for next summer. 
I was debating between a Small or medium, but figured I'd rather them be big then too small. AND if they are really all that huge, I'll have enough yarn left over to make them longies for next fall/winter if needed. But I loved the color for summer!

I really like this pattern. It's super easy to follow. I've only been knitting since January and have only started doing longies/shorties since like August. I didn't know if I'd be able to do the gusset or short rows in the back which give it more room for a fluffy bum, but Thanks for freckle's wonderful pattern she has a link to herself doing the short rows on a flickr page! Which is awesome. She shows you step by step how to work each turn and wrap you need to do. 

So that is awesome. She explains the gusset quite well too. It's pretty easy. I had to google search the Kitchener Stitch which is used to graft the gusset stitches together, but once I did that twice I had the hang of it down pat. 

Her sizing is accurate and the pattern is very detailed and easy to follow. If I can get 4 items done in a month then I think that's pretty darn decent!
That's on top of other things I was knitting as well like hats and booties for a baby shower. 

Price: Her Bottoms pattern is $12 which is so worth it. It has opened me up to wanting to buy patterns too. I didn't know if they would really be worth it, but I've already made 4 items, so that's the money in itself right there!
She also does Customs work. If you want a newborn pair of longies they are $59. BUT when you're done with them you'll easily be able to sell them for $30 or more. So it's not all that much. 

Overall: ***** Very happy with this pattern.

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Freckle in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Freckle for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lady Out of Carolina Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

I love Pillowcase dresses for Avery. They are super easy for her to wear, but most importantly they grow with her. So in 3 years or so they'll fit as a cute top!! She has quite a few of these dresses now and I'm so glad she does because they are super versatile. 

Girlup has been our latest addition to the Pillowcase Dress collection we have going! 
We received a very beautiful one to show off.
I absolutely adore this print. It's great for fall because it's brown and darker colors, but it's great for spring as well because of the flowers on it. 

I love the coordinating polka dot strip at the bottom as well.

Pillowcase dresses can be worn on their own all summer long. But what I love is when it's chilly in the spring or fall or even winter they can be worn with a long sleeve shirt underneath and some tights, leggings or even jeans. I love the versatility of these dresses. 

I promised the shop owner I would get some pictures of Avery in this dress for her shop so when I do I'll share them here (despite the thing with my mother going on. I will share them because this dress is just precious on Avery). 
We got this dress in a Medium which is like a 3-5 size. And it fits her great. It's a bit long, but that's great because she'll get 2 years out of it as a dress and then many more after that as a tunic and top. 

I love her other items too. She has just the Pillowcase dress or you can get a pillowcase set for your daughter and her doll. She also has Holiday items and tops and even Boutique Dresses. 
This was my second choice of Pillowcase Dress

Gorgeous Items!

Price: Her Pillowcase Dresses are $15.99-$16.99 and with a Doll matching one they are $19.99. That boutique dress above is $28.99

Overall: ***** Beautiful work!
She has FREE Domestic Shipping on her website!!!

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Girlup  in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Girlup for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

26 Weeks

First of all I can't believe I'm 26 weeks already (almost 26.5) and that I have just under 13 weeks to go. This is insane to me. Since when did 9 months pass by so quickly?
I'm 5 months in since finding out and I can't believe 5 months has passed. It's creeping up very quickly and there are LOTS of things I need to do before this babe gets here. Things I didn't need to do to prepare for Avery like Washing up the playpen, swing and car seat. (I got it all new with her). Prepping and stripping diapers (used disposable with her until she was 2). And washing clothes and getting those ready (we hardly had anything for her before she was born). So this is all new and It's very time consuming and I need to get on it.

I also need to get it all set up, and get closets decluttered before the baby gets here. We have too much stuff. And that includes part of my stockpile.

Here I am at 26 weeks

I can't even begin to imagine what I'll look like at 40 weeks (although I had Avery at 39, so I may not make it that far). 

I have a lot to do to prepare for this little one. We also want to get new carpet before he arrives so that's one more thing to do!
At least I have most the diapers bought in NB and Small that I'll need and I have a whole wardrobe purchased. So that's taken care of!

I'm just stressing trying to think of everything that needs to get done. AND I want it all done by about Thanksgiving (right around 36 weeks) so that Means I have about 9 weeks left to get it all done...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Bitty Things Review & Giveaway *CLOSED*

This is a store that specializes in wet bags and carries some beautiful prints to go on them. Little Bitty Things knows what's hip and she uses those prints and patterns for her items and makes them drool worthy!

At least they're wet bags and they repel the drool!

I received a Medium and a Mini wet bag in the colors of my choice!
 The Medium is in an ADORABLE Dino Print and it holds approximately 2-3 cloth diapers. The Mini I got is a green swirl pattern! This is great for makeup and it's great to have in your purse because things won't leak out!
 Logo on the Mini
Logo on the Medium. It has a nice snap handle here for hanging.
Although the medium says 2-3 diapers it totally depends on the system you're using. If you're using an AI2 system and just need to toss the insert it would probably hold 5 inserts. If you're using prefolds with a cover then maybe 3-4 prefolds depending on size. If you're using pocket diapers with 2 inserts in them then definitely only 2 diapers would fit!

But it's great for the diaper bag. It's perfect for trips to the park or on a playdate where you suspect 1-2 changes will be needed. It's a great size for that! 
I also love the handle so if you take it out of the washer you can hang it to dry. Or you can air it out between uses or hang it near the changing table and empty it 1-2 times a day and it's easier on you then running a diaper every time to the pail.

The print is adorable too. These bags are very well constructed and I would definitely recommend them!

Price: Medium Bag is $18, Mini is $7 and the Small size is $12

Overall: *****

*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Little Bitty Things in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*
A big thank you goes out to Little Bitty Things for allowing me to review this product and offering a giveaway

Diamond Candles Review

That is true. There is a ring in every candle. 

These are soy candles and they smell oh so heavenly. I received a Sweety Pea scented candle from Diamond Candles and I just adore it. I was actually accidentally sent 2, but I'm only reviewing one as I haven't gotten to the ring on the second candle yet. I must have some semi decent patience!!
They were packed as delicate materials because they are! Wrapped in paper and bubble wrap!

 The rings! At least they're not too far down!

 I dug the ring out with a knife because I'm not that patient!
It was first in the little baggie and then wrapped in foil. It still had some wax on it but since it's soy wax it washed away nice and easily.

 Most rings are sent in a size 7 or 8 so this is even a bit big on my thumb, but it's so pretty even if it is a cubic zirconia!
In each candle is a ring worth $10, $100, $1000 or $5000. I'm hoping my other candle has a higher value ring in it for me since I've been so patient with it!!!

The candle smells amazing. It is burning just down the middle though and the sides are being left in tact, so I'm guessing only half the candle will get burnt in time. Once the candle cools a big I try and scrape a tiny bit off the sides and then when I light it again it melts that wax. So I've been assisting it a little bit but I'm not sure it will work totally!

They have some wonderful scents though and I'd love to try another candle one day!!
Carnival Candy, Apple Slice, Cupcake, Strawberry Bliss, White Chocolate and more!

So yummy!!

Price: They are $24.95. I will say this is so worth it. Any high end candle you pay that for. They have 125-160 hours of fragrance! These are large candles too. 

Overall: *****
*Disclaimer* I received an item directly from Diamond Candle in exchange for a review. I was not paid to try out these products*