Saturday, January 22, 2011

Guest Post: Cloth Diapering!

Here is a Guest post from a friend Lindsay.. Id always wanted to try cloth, but never got around to it for one reason or another. Great job Linds! :)

When I discovered that I was pregnant back in February of 2009, I couldn't wait to start planning how things were going to be once the baby arrived. My husband and I had been not trying/not preventing/always hoping to conceive for a couple of years, but the timing was apparently never right (and I didn't know anything about charting my ovulatory cycles or anything like that at the time). As it turns out (and as I've said for years), everything happens for a reason, and we both agreed that when we finally did get pregnant, it was simply when it was supposed to happen!

I knew from the get-go that I wanted to cloth diaper our baby... when he/she turned 6 months old. I didn't want to have to deal with the messy gooey poop that comes with newborns, especially (from what I'd read) exclusively breast-fed newborns! The thought of having to heft a diaper full of seedy, mustardy poop and dunk/swish it in the toilet seemed too gross to me, and I figured that at six months our little one would be eating baby food and depositing solid little nuggets that could easily be discarded.. no muss, no fuss!

Boy, I wish I would have done my research earlier. We used disposable diapers for the first three months. During that time we had a number of blow-outs (poop-splosions) that were so bad that it took two gagging people to clean up. I also started researching facts about disposables vs. cloth diapers, because I was steadily losing patience with the poor fit, gross smell, and cost of disposables. We were spending somewhere around $40 - $60 a month for store-brand diapers and wipes. If you add that up over the course of 3 years (average time you'll use diapers until your little one learns to use the potty), that's between $1,440 and $2,160 (note: those numbers will be higher for parents who buy brand-name diapers).

Here are some things that I learned which ultimately pushed my desire to cloth diaper over to my steadfast devotion to cloth diaper:

1) It has been reported that roughly 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown away and end up in landfills each year. There is some speculation as to how long it takes those disposable diapers to decompose in said landfills, but estimates vary from 450 years to NEVER. Yes, you will be using more water with cloth diapers, which is more energy usage, but in the long run I'd rather use more water to keep my reusable diapers clean than to keep adding more and more poopy plastic to already overcrowded landfills.

2) There are chemicals found in disposable diapers that are a great health concern, and should be seriously taken into consideration when choosing how to diaper your little one(s). Many disposables are a mixture of plastic and bleached paper. The bleaching process that makes disposables nice and white creates Dioxin, which is extremely toxic and is actually the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals according to the EPA. You know how a disposable diaper feels gel-like when it's saturated? That's because of a chemical called sodium polyacrylate. This is the absorbent material in disposable diapers. *A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria (Reference: "Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women's Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers: What You Can Do About It). Yet another chemical found in disposable diapers is Tributyltin, another highly toxic compound which has caused irreversible damage to marine life, and has negative effects on humans and the environment in general. Tributyltin is commonly used for wood preservation, and in the creation of antifouling (removing plantlife, algae, microorganisms, etc from wetted structures) pesticides. Um.. what???
3) Research has shown that plastic-lined disposable diapers raise the scrotal temperature well above normal body temperature in baby boys, which can completely disable testicular cooling functions. This can lead to infertility, and is thought to be why we are seeing such a spike in male infertility over the past 25 years or so. Cloth diapers are much cooler and allow the skin to breathe. This is one reason why rashes are much less prevalent in cloth diapered babies than disposable diapered babies.

There are many websites and references you can look at that confirms these findings, but here is one regarding the raise in temperature that I found very interesting - and alarming:
Now for the less scary facts:

1) Most cloth diapers - when cared for properly - can last you for years, and even through multiple babies/toddlers. This will save you a TON of money, especially if you plan to have more children, or you can donate them to a friend or family member (or needy community) who is expecting.
2) You don't have to touch poop! Breast-fed poop is water soluble and doesn't have to be removed from a cloth diaper before washing (it's true - I did it all the time before my daughter started solids). For formula-fed babies, and/or for those who can't stand the thought of putting poop in their washing machine, there are diaper sprayers that attach to your toilet to make poo-removal easy and dunk/swish-free!
3) Cloth diapers come in so many different colors, prints, sizes, and squishy-soft fabrics that it's actually fun (and oftentimes addicting) looking for - and buying, of course - new diapers to add to your stash.
All-in-all, cloth diapers are economical, earth-friendly, and so much nicer against your baby's parts than plastics. These are the biggest reasons why we decided to go with cloth, but ultimately the decision has to be one that you are comfortable with. If you're not sure, but would like to try it out, look at websites like or for trial packages that let you experience a few different types of the most popular cloth diapers on the market. You might be surprised at how much you like it!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Riceball Recipe (thanks Big Craig!)

Ok here (finally!) is the recipe for riceballs. I make these once a week-once every two weeks. They are alot of work, but sooo worth it! Ive actually cut the recipe in half, because the first time I made them it was too many, and you really cant eat more then 1 or 2. The things Ive bolded are my little tweaks on the recipe.

Makes about 20-24 balls (they should be about baseball-ish size)
3 Qts white rice (we’ve found that a great shortcut is to get it from the Chinese restaurant) This part is HUGE! The chinese restuarant rice is sticky already, and super easy to work with.
18 oz. Mozzarella cheese (cut into very small cubes)(another short cut is to use shredded)
about 15 eggs (separate whites from yolks)
1¼ C grated cheese (romano or parm. –romano has more of a bite!)
1½ lb chopmeat
1 8 oz can of peas, drained
1 15oz can sauce (you might need a little less, might need a little more so get an extra small can.)
Seasoned breadcrumbs
Enough vegetable oil to deep-fry
½ t Onion powder (about)
½ t Garlic powder (about) or more to taste

In a pan, brown chopmeat. Drain. Add peas and tomato sauce. This mixture should be wet but not soupy. Cook on low for about 15 minutes stirring gently. Let cool a little…in the mean time…

Put rice in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks, mozzarella, grated cheese, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix well. Use your hands…get them in there and really mush it all around.

This step requires a lot of patience…the rice sticks to everything and sometimes it seems like it will never form a ball…keep at it…you should get it eventually.
Cup a small handful smushed against the inside curve of one hand to make a little bowl. Add about 1 T of the meat mixture (make it as meaty as possible-trust me!) Cover the top with rice completely and gently work it into a ball like you were packing a snowball. Try to keep the filling totally on the inside. Roll the ball in the egg whites and then roll it in breadcrumbs.
Deep fry until golden brown.

Put a little salt on them when they get out of the fryer.

I actually just make them in a frying pan of OO, and just turn them when brown.

Serve with sauce and enjoy!

*NOTE* The first time I made these from start to finish took about 2 hours. Worth it, but time consuming. Im now down to about an hour start to finish. :)

Like my header and buttons?

Special thanks to Raphael over at Just Married With Graphics!

FOr a great price he made my header and buttons for me! Any questions I had, or things I wanted changed (all of them) he did with no problem. They come highly reccomended by me! Check them out today!

(I love that whole site, so while youre there, check it all out!)

Dinner = FAIL! (and some good recipes too :) )

So I found a recepe that sounded delish. I decided last night to make it. Well, in my own little beginner cooking world, I forgot that there is in fact rice thats NOT minute rice. The recipe went something like this (the baby is sleeping where the cookbook is):

Brown 3/4 lb ground beef in a pan with a half of an onion, minced. ( I used a whole small onion). In an 8x8 casserole dish, put 3c water with 1c rice (duh, NOT minute rice haha), 1 can of diced tomatoes with juices, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp each of dried italian seasoning and garlic, salt, pepper and the meat and onion mix. Cover with aluminum foil and put in oven for 1 hour at 350. Take out, sprinkle with chedder cheese and return for about 10 minutes (or until melted).

Sounds good right? I figured, what could be bad about that? Well while making it, it seemed like a bit much liquid, because whenever I make rice (minute rice that is, who has time for regular rice?) its always equal parts water and rice. It came out GROSS! Mushy and BLAND. I called my mom (AKA Betty Crocker) and explained to her. She then pointed out there WAS in fact something other then Minute Rice and thats where I went wrong. Who knew??

The best part of the meal was the fresh spinach. I just take some OO and sautee minced garlic in it. Then I throw the fresh spinach in the pan and sautee. Word to the wise, also something I learned along the way: fresh spinach shrinks down ALOT. I bought a bag one time thinking it would be plenty. I think we all ended up with like 2 forkfuls. (oops!) But hey, Im still learning!

I do have some tried and true recipes to post today. Ive been so crazy busy the last week or so with doctor appts, bringing Jay back and forth to work and Spidey going to school. We have been getting SLAMMED with snow this winter already and were getting ANOTHER 3-5 inches tonight. Cant wait til summer! Anyway, keep an eye out later today and dont forget to pass my blog along!

PS- The cookbook I got that recipe from was "The 5 dollar dinner mom cookbook" HIGHLY reccomended. In fact, I plan on posting a review of it in the near future. But when I looked on her site for the actual recipe, it was COMPLETELY different then the book! Here is that version:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Review: Sally Hansen Insta Dry

I love having my nails done. I dont however, love how often I have to get them fixed because of chips. So I bought a bunch of nailpolish. My kidlets, however, dont like when mommy doesnt pay attention to them. All of this was resolved by Sally Hansen!

From the website:
Fast Dry Nail Color

One Stroke! One Coat! Done!

One-stroke application.
One-coat coverage.
Dries in 60 seconds!
Perfectionist BrushTM delivers a fast, flawless application that dries to a shiny finish in 60 seconds.
Available in 32 irresistible shades!
Toluene, DBP, and Formaldehyde free.
Special Ingredients:
Exclusive formula with FlexiglassTM Complex for Strength and Brilliant Shine.

Comes in THIRTY TWO colors! And I can say it DOES dry SUPER fast. HIGHLY reccomended :) Get me to 25 followers, and I will give away a Sally Hansen Insta Dry color of my choice and Insta Dry topcoat!

~I was not paid or given any incentive to post this review, its my own personal opinion!~

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just Married With Coupons Guest post!

Here is the "5 Minutes for Me" post I told you about! Go check it out :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Guest Post: Prematurity Awareness!

Rachel over at Rachel's Giveaways wrote this guest post. Prematurity is near and dear to my heart, as both of my babies were born early and with complications! Thanks Rachel, for all you do to save babies like mine!

Most people can only imagine what it's like to care for a 1 pound baby whose eyes are still fused shut and requires life support, but that's part of my day to day job as a neonatal nurse.  I work in a busy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and we mainly care for premature babies or babies with congenital defects.  We will attempt to resuscitate and care for babies who arrive as early as 23 weeks gestational age - so they are born about 4 months early!

Imagine being an expectant mother and thinking you still have months to plan and prepare, and all of the sudden you are having an emergency C-section to deliver a very critical baby! November was Prematurity Awareness Month, and I have been posting various ways that people can help this cause.  Why should we care? One in eight babies in the U.S. is born premature, and despite having access to excellent technology and medical staff, the U.S. has received a "D" grade for premature births! A premature birth is risky for the infant and can place great emotional and financial strain on families. 

There are many ways to help this cause, but today I'm focusing on a quick and easy way you can help babies who are already patients in a NICU.  If you have some old baby clothes or items laying around, please consider donating them to your local NICU! 

Some of these babies have families who rarely visit them or they are going into foster care once they are healthy enough for discharge.  That means they don't have their own clothes or developmental toys or swings.  Luckily we have people who donate so we can give the baby personal clothing and they can have mobiles, soothing noise machines, etc.  We also  have volunteers who knit lovely blankets and hats for our babies, so it's a great way to put your creative talents to use for a worthy cause.

Any type of clothing, hats, or toys are great, but here is what is especially helpful:

- clothing that snaps completely open (so we can take clothing on/off without disconnecting IV lines)

- mobiles

- swings

- vibrating/bouncy chairs

- blankets so we can personalize their bedspace

Prematurity Awareness Event

The swings and chairs are a godsend for our babies who are withdrawing from prenatal drug exposure.  These babies are understandably very irritable and uncomfortable and the rhythmic motion of the swing is calming to them.  If these babies aren't happy, then no one on the unit is happy since it's just one big open room and once awake, they will cry continuously until someone can pacify them!

If you would like to donate some items, all you need to do is call your local NICU and I'm sure they'd be happy to receive your gently used donations.

To learn more about ways you can help, you can check out the other posts in my Prematurity Awareness Series.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Im guest posting...

Over at :) Ill be doing a guest post on her "5 minutes for me" event, where I will post how I take 5 minutes for me :)

The event reads:

Welcome to our "Five Minutes For Me" focusing on taking time for YOU in 2011. After the hectic Holiday Season, its time for all all to re-focus. Maybe you have set some New Year's resolutions for yourself or just want to unwind from the hustle and bustle. We will be featuring product reviews, giveaways and guest posts on Health, Wellness and Beauty. We will be keeping this post up to date with links to all of the activities for you!

Check out the event and her blog!

This past week was a little busy, Diva had some shots and is still a bit off. Cant wait til shes back to normal! Ok off to write my guest post, Ill link you all when I am done!

Days 9 & 10

Day 9: Enjoy the people around you. Take a moment to appreciate their unique talents, abilities and personalities.

Day 10: Pick one of your five senses to focus on each day. Take note of how many gifts come to you via that single port of entry. Write about this experience.

Today I am going to focus on my hearing. I love hearing Diva's laugh when Spidey acts goofy. Or when Spidey tells me he loves me. Hearing them talk, or laugh is what makes my heart whole. Days when I feel like I cant handle something, or days that I struggle to get through the day, I just think of my beautiful babies. and they make it all ok <3

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 8

Send thank you notes to five people who deserve a little recognition.

Im not going to post who I am sending these to, because some of them read my blog :) But even if you DONT get one from me, know that I am grateful for each and every person in my life. You all made/make me who I am today!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 7

Take a picture of one thing, person, place or specific moment that makes you feel grateful. Share it with your social network.

I did this, but I will have to come back to post.. my computer has been acting up thanks to Spidey! But, the picture I took is of my family. Hubs, Spidey and Diva. I couldnt be more grateful for them in my life. I get love, support, and a little bit of craziness haha.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Days 5 & 6

Day 5:Take five minutes to write about how grateful you are for all of the wonderful things that you currently have in your life. Don’t long for what you don’t possess—instead, take stock of all the blessings you already enjoy.

I kind of did this yesterday (well 2 days ago, but it was for day 4 haha). I am grateful for my wonderful family and friends, and all of the blessings in my life.

Day 6: Take a few minutes to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell them how much you appreciate them.

Its a little late for this, but I plan on doing it tomo (its 1130pm). Ill call or go visit GG. Timing is perfect cause its what would have been her and my Grandfathers wedding anniversary. I love hearing stories about my Grandfather. Although I do remember him, I was only 5ish when he passed. So hearing stories about him is always nice. Hopefully we dont get TOO much snow tomo, but if we do, it is what it is! Night guys :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Catching up...

Gratitude Challenge days 3 & 4...

Didnt get on much yesterday so I have to catch up! :)

Day 3: Write about something you feel grateful for in your life today.

Today I am grateful for my friends and family. They stand by me through thick and thin and regardless of the choices I make, they never judge me. Today I got to hang out with one of my bffs Nicole. Love that girl! Shes like my other sister, I swear. No matter how often we get together, we always have such a great time. My family, I can call anytime day or night, and they will do anything they can for me. Im very lucky to have them all! (even the crazy ones! haha)

Day 4: Write a short message of thanks for some of the “negative” things in your life.

Im going to kind of cheat on this one, cause my answer is very similar to the last time.

I am grateful for the arguments Jay and I have. It has made us so much stronger as a couple over the years. I know no matter what, we love each other and that our fights are just tests of that. We always get through it and we always stick by each other, through all of our faults, because we love each other. You cant ask for any more then that! I am also grateful for spideys yammering. The kid does NOT SHUT UP! lol. He talks from the second he gets up til the second he goes to sleep and then even in his sleep sometimes! haha. It drives me crazy, but I am lucky. I will tell you why in just a second. Also, he loves his sister TOO much sometimes. Always in her face, always talking to her, always getting on her nerves. Which leads me to the Diva. Her sleeping patterns of a newborn still. STILL getting up 3+ times a night. STILL not napping. This mama is TIRED!

But I realize that I am lucky. I am lucky that my children talk. That they cry, that they BREATHE. So many mothers and fathers long for those simple things from their children. And I am lucky enough to have them. I tend to forget that when I am trying to talk to Jay or watch something and Spidey is making lots of noise (usually trying to make his sister laugh!). I yell at him, and then, almost immediately, remember that I should be grateful for his craziness. So I need to be. I need to appreciate the crying, the yelling and all the inbetweens. Cause at the end of the day, when that little boy tells me he loves me, or that little princess gives me a big gummy smile, this life is REALLY worth it. And how can I not be grateful for that?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


So every year we all make up our "resolutions" for the year. Whether its to eat better and get fit, quit smoking, be more organized or save money most of us start the year off with at least one (or if youre like me, multiple!). But how many of us actually follow through with those resolutions? I know I usually dont. This year I thought (like many past years haha) "Ill really do it this year, Im gonna kick ass!"

The problem is is we get wrapped up in work, school, familytime, etc etc an either forget or give up on those resolutions. Well this year, to try and motivate me to keep them, I thought Id set small goals, and then reward myself at the completion of each. Whether it be a manicure, pedicure, night out with the hubby or friends, something to make me want to accomplish my goal moreso then before. What are everyones resolutions? Here are some of mine..

1-Lose 30 lbs by Jalyns birthday (6-14)
2-Get to church at least once a week
3-Say at least one nice thing to Jay a day. Its not always easy, but trust me when I say that even just one nice thing said to someone, can change their entire way of thinking that day.
4-Save money, pay off debts.
5-Find a job
6-Get more organized
7-Spend more time with family

I have more written on a list, but Im pooped out from playing "Just Dance 2" on the wii all night. Id love if you linked me to YOUR resolutions this year!

Gratitude Challenge day 2

Use the alphabet as a fun and quick format for making a list of things for which you feel grateful. Share this list with your social network through email, a blog post or a Facebook or MySpace page.

I remember doing this one last time, and it was a bit difficult. Hopefully I have better luck this time :)

A- Aaron, Autumn. (haha)
B- Being a mommy, blogging, bedtime, baking, Blackberry Sangria! mmmm
C- Chapstick, cooking, clean laundry and house, Christmas time!
D- Days with family, dad
E- Energy to play with/chase after the kidlets
F- Faith, Family, Facebook, Friends, Food
G- God (without him we'd be nowhere) Groups, cause Ive met some of my very best friends there :),giggling
H- Home. Whether its my parents or mine.
I- The Internet (lol) Im a dork I know! Ice Cream
J- Jay, Jaylyn
K- Kristin- thats me!
L- Laughter (esp the kidlets), Love, Life, the Library (I love to read!)
M- Movie nights, Motherhood, Marriage
N- New friends, Neighbors (love them, even naked santa! haha)
O- Old friends
P- Parents, both mine and Jays, Photography, Photos of family no longer around
Q- Quiet time. Thought few and far between lol
R- Reading, rice balls (Im fat I know haha)
S- Sleep. Oh how I miss thee!
T- True Friends, TWILIGHT! Taco Bell
U- Undisturbed time, understanding from the people who love me
V- Vacation - when we get them!
W- Wine! White Zinfendel!
X- Xmas (a bit of a cheat but X is hard!)
Y- You, for reading my blog :)
Z- Zebra's, specifically Marty from Madagasgar, ziploc bags (totally serious on that one too, they are a great invention!

Whats YOUR list of things youre grateful for?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Gratitude Challenge!

Ever hear of The Gratitude Challenge? I did it on my old blog, but I figured with the new year, why not give it another shot?! read about it here:

With a hopeful outlook, I, Kristin, promise to fulfill the terms
of The Gratitude Challenge. Over the next 21 days, I pledge to complete the
activities on my gratitude calendar, including writing journal entries, taking
photos and connecting with friends. I promise to take note of life’s little blessings
and to give thanks for the relationships, experiences and opportunities that make
my life unique. From this day forward, I commit to living on the brighter side of life.

Signed, Kristin! :)

Day One: Today you start The Gratitude Challenge. Sign the contract and make a commitment to take note and give thanks for the next 21 days. Express why you accepted this challenge and what you hope to achieve from it.

I accepted this challenge because as I said in my earlier post, life is too short to live with regrets. One of this years resolutions is to be more grateful for the people and things in my life. And more importantly, start showing it!


Well first off, HAPPY NEW YEAR! Im sad to see 2010 go, but more excited then ever for a New Year! And as a great friend of mine said, 1/1/11 is like a reset button, total fresh start! Our year ended with a bang with a lot happening this last week. I got a call about a job in the city that would be a GREAT oppurtunity for us. I went for an interview on Thursday and I am really hoping to hear back from them this week. It would really help us get back on our feet and start saving! So any good thoughts/prayers are MUCH appreciated :)

2010 brought us alot of heartache, we lost some dear friends and family and it was the year of health issues for both our immediate and extended family. It went from hubs gallbladder in Feb, then back in the hospital for pancreatitis, bedrest for me, to Diva coming almost a month early with a NICU stay, to my gallbladder and subsequent hospitalization for pancreatitis, back to Diva in the hospital for a week and then me being laid off! And thats just with the four of us! However, 2010 was also filled with lots of blessings. Diva WAS born, and healthy at that. My little nephew was born, all 8lbs 11oz of him! I got to spend lots of time with Spidey and Diva because of that bedrest and job loss, and although it made for some tough times financially, I wouldnt trade it for the world. And we had the greatest Christmas weve ever had since Jay and I met. Weve grown tremendously as a couple, especially over the last month, and for that I say we are TRULY blessed!

Today marks 7 years since my Grammy died. She was such a wonderful woman, and I wish that both Jay and the kidlets were able to meet her. I wish that I wasnt so "busy" all those years she was around, and that I spent more time with her. I know that her, Titi, Grandpa, Vinnie, Uncle Mike and all of our other lost loved ones are walking beside us in our journey. Happy Anniversary in Heaven Grammy!

Last night we were able to spend some time with my other (and between Jay and I our only living) Gram. The kids had a great time and so did we. Good food and great company.

Its funny, growing up, I used to hate that my dad would always make us stay home New Years. I thought it was so dumb. Yet, now that I have my own kidlets, I see his reasoning behind it. You dont know how many more "New Years" youll have with the ones you love. How many times have you told yourself, "Ill call so-and-so tommorow, or Ill visit whats-her-name next week"? Dozens? Hundreds? Well let me tell you, life doesnt always give us tommorow, or next week. How would you feel if tommorow or next week when you called or visited it was too late? Yes, sopmeone might be young and healthy, does that mean their life is infinite? Nope. Ive know way too many that have died too young. So start living like your dying! I know thats my top resolution this year!

Happy New year! May it bring you health, happiness, and if theres still room some wealth :)
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