Thursday, December 30, 2010

big boys still need their momma

At 21 months old, the boy is bursting with independence.  He crawls on chairs and couches, he asserts his choices in food, toys and television shows, he helps with laundry, dishes and sweeping.  Today he even fed the cats and I couldn't be prouder.

But today, tonight, I was also reminded of both his innocence and dependence.

The boy goes to sleep on his own, we change his diaper, apply a plethora of creams, give him some milk, read him some stories and put him to bed.  He usually reads his books in his bed for about 10 minutes then drifts off to sleep.  Tonight, he decided he was not ready for bed.  He didn't want any books, he just wanted to play, so we let him.  We told him it was sleepytime, we turned on his stars and left him to his own devices.

An hour later, he seemed to have finished playing, but was now banging on his bedroom door.  The noise subsided and we assumed the boy went to sleep.

About an hour and a half later, we heard a long whine, not quite a cry but clearly something out of the ordinary.  As I attempted to open his bedroom door, I realized that the boy has left his toys in front of his door, again.  However, as I slid through the door I realized it wasn't his toys in front of the door, the boy had actually fallen asleep right in front of his door.

I immediately scoop up my barely awake little man and he nuzzles right into my chest.  He certainly doesn't smell like 'baby' anymore, yet he smells delicious to me nonetheless.  I sing him a song and ask if he wants another; he simply mutters 'don't' and snuggles closer.  In moments he's fallen back into a deep slumber.  He doesn't even stir when I put him into his bed.

The boy was 5 months old when we sleep trained him and he's rarely fallen asleep on me since.  I'd forgotten how amazingly special it feels to hold him and kiss his forhead as he drifts off to sleep in the perfectness of momma's embrace.  I held him longer than needed, just relishing in the moment, in his innocence, in his need.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We're on Team Green

 After 21 weeks of waiting, we finally saw our newest little baby today, and he (or she) was perfect.  The baby was healthy, perfectly sized for the age and had the cutest little feet (I'd show you a picture, but my scanner wasn't cooperating this evening).  As you can see, it appears this time around we have a thumb-sucker; we could even see the little jaw moving during the ultrasound.
When people find out I'm pregnant, the first questions are almost always 'when are you due?' and 'do you know what you're having?'.  The answer to the first question is easy, May 9, 2011.  But when it comes to the second question, the answer isn't so clearcut.

Before I was ever pregnant I was certain I wouldn't want to know the gender, that I'd want to do things the 'old fashioned way', but when the time came with the boy, the mere fact that the technology was available and I COULD find out, made me want to.  In the end we decided to have the gender included in the report so that we could ask the midwife if we decided that we just had to know.  We were able to convince ourselves since we were over half way through the pregnancy there was less time left to wait than we already had, and we never found out.  When the boy arrived, the surprise was amazing.

Although the hubs likened finding out the baby's gender to peeking at Christmas presents, not finding out our babies' gender is about more than the suprise for us.  I have heard so many stories of ultrasound gender diagnosis being wrong and although its generally shy little boys being identified as girls, I recently had a friend deliver a little girl after being told her baby was a boy.

And its not just about the colour of the nursery or having to dress a little boy in ruffly sleepers, its the emotional aspect that freaks me out.  As new mom's we're a little crazy; our bodies have been through a fairly traumatic experience, we've barely had any sleep for days and the baby radar is on high alert.  The last thing that I want to add to the mix is emotional drama; the need to mourn (in some sense) for the child that was expected, regardless how much love there is for the child that arrived.

It's the extra emotions that scare me the most, so when they asked us if we wanted to find out the gender at our ultrasound today, I was quick to respond, no.  We're on team green in this house.

Did you or would you find out the gender of your baby?  Why or why not?  It's such an interesting topic and the tech today told me in her experience its about 50/50, so I'd love to hear everyone's opinion and/or experience.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Wow, it's hard to believe its Christmas eve already.  Tomorrow morning we will wake up and one of the most magical days of the year will be upon us.  As a child, I never remember any speeches or demands for good beahviour; we just knew that Christmas was a day to put yesterday's arguments behind us.  A day to enjoy smiles and hugs, laughter and warmth.  It's a day for family.

And tomorrow, that's where we'll be, with family.

I hope that you too will be with your family for the holiday's, whatever holidays your family celebrates.  I wish you and yours love and warmth and much happiness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fly Belly Maternity Clothing | Interview & Giveaway

When I was 8 weeks pregnant, I begrudgingly took out my Rubbermaid of maternity clothes; I only made it to 10 weeks the first time, so I'm not sure why I was so surprised, but I was.

As a working mom, I can't get away with wearing sweatpants and oversized t-shirts; I work in an office and I need to look presentable and professional.  That being said, I also can't justify spending a lot of money on new clothes, when I have a rubbermaid full of slightly stretched, slightly faded, slightly stained but still perfectly good maternity clothes.  I scoured the internet looking for good deals that I could justify, I mean every pregnant momma deserves at least a couple new clothing items right?

After much searching, I came across Fly Belly, a fantastic online maternity store with a unique selection and affordable prices.  I bought myself 3 shirts and with shipping (to Canada) they came out to about $26 each and arrived at my home quite quickly.  Fly Belly is a Momma-run business and Liz the Momma behind Fly Belly is super sweet and has offered to giveaway one shirt of the winners choice to a Momma Stuff Blog Reader.  But don't take my word for it, read on for my interview with Liz, the woman behind Fly Belly!

Can you tell us a little bit about your vision or mandate for Fly Belly?
My goal for Fly Belly is to provide cute, trendy and AFFORDABLE maternity clothing.  Truth be told, I want to be a household name among women - that's my vision.  I've browsed the internet for cute, trendy maternity clothes and am ASTONISHED to find that most websites that carry adorable things charge over $50.00 for a SHIRT!  I don't understand how regular women can afford things like that, so it is my goal to make shopping fun.  

Women should be allowed to feel beautiful during this special time in their life WITHOUT having to take out a second mortgage to pay for clothing.  My number one goal is customer satisfaction.  I LOVE what I do and love to work with my customers to do anything I can to make them happy.  I have had some BAD customer service experiences and I never want someone to feel like I don't care.  I want people to know that I am a real person and I do care about their shopping experience.  As I grow and hire employees (some day) they will be trained in customer SERVICE. 

How did you decide to embark on the entrepreneurial journey that is Fly Belly?
My journey began in July of 2005 when I was pregnant with my second little bundle of joy.  I was looking for a way to make a little 'me' money.  I was a full time stay at home mom and my husband was supporting our family.  I felt so silly taking money that he had earned to buy him a birthday present.  I wanted to find a way that I could earn money to pay for things like birthday and Christmas presents as well as a way to eat out or buy something to pamper myself every once in a while.  My sister had given me some name brand jeans and they didn't fit me.  I had purchased a few things on ebay before and decided to try my hand at selling.  I was SO surprised to find that the jeans sold for 26.00!!  I couldn't believe someone would pay 26.00 for a pair of USED jeans!  After that, I would shop at my local thrift store every Monday where certain colored tags were 99 cents.  I would buy ALL the name brand jeans I could find and list them on ebay.  I probably didn't make a profit of more than 20.00 a month, but that 20.00 was something that I could contribute to our family.  After I had my baby, I got all of the clothes I had that I didn't wear and sold them--they did AWESOME!  I didn't realize there was such a high demand for maternity clothes, so I added used maternity clothes to my ebay selling.  After doing some research, I realized that people were paying a lot of money for NEW maternity I looked around and did a little research and realized that I could buy new clothing and re-sell it on ebay.  I started VERY small--only purchasing enough inventory for ONE lot.  Then I would take the money I earned from that and go buy more.  I am happy to say that I have not gone into debt at all to open my business.  I started small and grew as I could afford to.  

I had been kicking around the idea of launching my own website for about a year or so because I was sick of ebay raising their fees.  I had a good friend who was a graphic designer but was out of work, so I decided...what the heck, let's give it a shot!  I worked with him to design my website!  What you see on is completely designed by me and Dennis West Designs.  I wanted paisley background--he designed it.  I wanted a certain font...he made it happen.  I even got my own models (my sister...who was pregnant with her SIXTH baby) and my friend (expecting number 4).  I wanted REAL women--not itty bitty stick girls with a tiny little bump.  

Fly Belly officially launched August of 2010 and all the products for sale are BRAND NEW usually with tags.  Sales were pretty slow to start with, but have gradually picked up as I have done advertising and people have spread the word.  I LOVE my customers and am always so excited when I have repeat buyers (which quite a few people are!)

How do you find and choose all the lovely maternity products that you carry?
I can't share my secrets about where exactly I find my clothing, but please know that I HAND PICK each and every item that is on my website.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE to shop and whenever I find something cute, I can't WAIT to share it with others!

I read on your website that Fly Belly is a one-woman show, what's your biggest challenge since starting Fly Belly?
The biggest challenge since starting Fly Belly is finding time to do everything!  Since I hand pick everything, I have to take time to do that, I have to find time to take pictures (which right now is in my bedroom!), edit the pictures, list them on the website.  Then, when they sell, I have to gather up the order, package, weigh and print labels at home.  Add to that being a full time mom of 4 children aged 7, 5, 3 and almost 2.    So, my biggest challenge is just TIME.  I would love to hire an assistant...some day....

On the flip side, what is it about Fly Belly that truly makes your heart sing?
When customers email me and tell me how happy they are with their purchases and how the clothes make them feel and how GRATEFUL they are to have found affordable clothing!  The internet is such an amazing thing and I have made some great friends through my business.

Can you share a little, or a lot, about yourself as a mother?

I'm a 28 year old mother of 4!  That basically says it all, haha :)  I'm a basket case!  I married my sweetheart Adam when I was 19 and we have been happily married for nearly 9 years.  We had 2 little girls 23 months apart.  When I was pregnant with baby number 3, my husband fell in love with a little foster baby that one of his friends was caring for.  He felt very strongly that this baby was supposed to be a part of our family, so when I was about 14 or 15 weeks pregnant, he called me one day and said "How would you feel about adopting a little baby?"  WHAT??!!  I thought he had gone insane, but we agreed to make it a matter of prayer, and the answer we got was that this little girl, named Faith, was to be a part of our family.  We became foster parents and got custody of the 11 month old just 4 months before I gave birth to my baby.

I always wanted to be a 'mom'.  In fact, in college, my major was 'Family Science' so basically I took a lot of child development and parenting classes.  Being a mother has been the HARDEST thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding.  Children are amazing and teach me so much.  I am grateful to be able to stay at home with them and am also grateful for their patience with me.  I am so imperfect and have so much to learn about being a mom.  I think it's a lifelong process!

Does the constant exposure to great maternity items, set your baby fever in overdrive?
Not really.  I try to focus on the women who are ALREADY pregnant and who will get to wear these great maternity clothes.  I do, however, have quite the collection of maternity clothes for when baby number 5 decides to join our family!  

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Momma Stuff Blog readers?
Being a mother is one of the most amazing, scariest, frustrating and humbling things you will ever do in your life!  We have been entrusted with these little beings that rely on us for everything.  It is overwhelming at times, but when we remember we are raising the next generation-the leaders of the future--it makes it all worth it.

A little about my 'office'.  When you asked about including a photo of my office, I had to laugh.  Mainly because my home IS my office.  My baby's room doubles as my inventory room.  It has his crib, a dresser and lots and lots of maternity clothes!  Items that are for sale on ebay are in his closet and items that I need to take pictures of and list are in totes on the other side of the room.  Mine and my husband's room houses my maternity mannequin as well as items that are ready to be photographed.  Out in the living room is the desk with my computer on it where I do all my work!  Next to the desk is items that have been photographed and need to be listed.  My basement has lots of totes of off season items as well as all of the listed inventory for  Fly Belly has taken over my house!!  One day I will be able to rent a small office, but for now I am content to stay at home with my kiddos around me wreaking havoc on the house while I work!

Enter to Win
One Shirt of the Winners Choice
First Entry:
Visit the Fly Belly Website and leave a comment sharing which shirt you'd like to win
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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I entered to #win a super cute maternity shirt from @Flybelly | | @mommastuffblog
Giveaway closes Sunday January 2nd, 2011 at 8pm (PST).  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest is now closed.
Congratulations to our winner, comment #22 Sweetone624!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wean Green Baby Food Containers | Review

The boy loves to eat.  The day he was born, he was scooching across my chest to get to the milk.  At 4 months, he started eating cereal and was up to 3-4 tbsp three times a day, within a week.  He's a little piggie, and I'm ok with it.  The hubs and I are eaters too, I just hope this next baby eats well or I'll probably worry that he/she is starving.

With the exception of our trip to Asia, I made all of the boys baby food from scratch and there wasn't much he turned his nose up at.  One of the things I struggled with however, was transporting babyfood; I'd perpetually find myself toting around three to four tupperware containers of various shapes and sizes.

I recently had the chance to try out Wean Green Glass Baby Food Containers and I could immediately see that they were a great solution.  The small uniformly shaped containers are made of glass, which is both recyclable and sustainable, they are BPA, PVC, Phthalates, and Plasticizer free and these little gems are able to withstand both freezing and heating.  They come with bright coloured lids that seal without leaking and each cube holds 4 ounces of food and even includes measuring lines so that you can easily see how much your little one has eaten.

Since the boy has now bypassed the 'baby food' stage, we tested out the Wean Green cubes from a toddler perspective.  The boy loved them.  He quickly figured out how to unsnap the lids and would happily carry the little cubes around and eat his grapes, cereal or other snacking delight.  My sister was concerned that he might break the cube, but so far so good.  I however, did manage to knock one off the counter while doing the dishes with disastrous results.  Moral of the story; Wean Green Baby Food Containers are durable, but not unbreakable.

Wean Green is a Canadian company developed by a real Momma who is committed to healthy living and happy babies.  The company even participates in 1% for the Planet - a program that truly allows business owners to give within their means.  At a price of $28 for four cubes Wean Green Baby Food Containers feel expensive, but they are high quality, food-safe containers, definitley a situation where I would consider paying more.  Wean Green provides a great product that we have thoroughly enjoyed testing out in our home.

If you want to try some out for you or your family, Wean Green is offering 20% off any purchases through their website until the end of the month.  Enter promo code 'mommastuff' at checkout to get your discount!

If you want to know more about Wean Green, check them out Online, on the Wean Blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I love my Midwife

I can't believe another post-less week has gone by.  I did manage to write and mail my Christmas cards last week and finish my Christmas baking with my mom this weekend, so it hasn't been a total write-off.

I'm 19 weeks pregnant today and we finally have our ultrasound booked for the end of the month.  Although I love hearing the bean's heartbeat, I can't wait to see him or her up there on the screen and have the technician tell me that the babe is healthy, and of course confirm that there is in fact only one babe.  I have no reason to believe otherwise, but confirmation is always a good thing.

My brother's girlfriend is also pregnant, and due just a month after us, its going to be baby central in our family this spring.  I was shocked and a little jealous when she told me that not only has she already had an ultrasound, she's already had two.  She is going to a maternity clinic and they have a small ultrasound machine in the office so they can peek in on the babe at every visit.

One of the pluses of a maternity clinic I guess.  Where we live, residents have access to basic medical care including access to doctors, hospitals and prenatal care which allows for a choice in a pregnancy care provider, at no additional fee.

The hubs and I have chosen a midwife as our pregnancy care provider of choice.  Lori was recommended to us when we were pregnant with the boy and once we met her, there was no question about it, we knew she was right for us.  I loved that even from our first meeting, I felt no pressure to continue with Lori, nor did I ever feel any pressure to undertake any specific tests or procedures.  We discussed options and our preferences were always respected. 

When I talk, Lori listens.  I feel like she truly 'hears' what I have to say and she is always conscious and aware of both hubs and I's wants, fears and needs.  When we went into the hospital to deliver the boy we never bothered with a written birth plan, we had verbally discussed everything with Lori and knew that she would be by our side to ensure nothing went askew.  It was comforting to know that we wouldn't be at the mercy of unknown nurses and that Lori would be there throughout labour rather than just coming in at the last moment to 'catch' the baby.  Midwives are also responsible for both mom and baby for 6 weeks postpartum; we had no awkward home visits from an unknown community nurse, instead we simply had the comfort of Lori.

As far as I'm concerned, midwifes are the way to go (although I recognize for some people, such as those in a high risk pregnancy, they simply aren't an option).  Midwives spend their schooling and career (not just a few days a month) eating, sleeping and breathing babies.  They study pregnancy and delivery in depth during their schooling and the entire premise of midwifery is informed choice.

Having an ultrasound every prenatal visit might be pretty damn cool, but its nothing compared to the comfort, repoire and peace of mind I have with my midwife.  Thank you Lori.

If your in Richmond, Lori along with two other midwifes have now joined forces as the Richmond Midwifery Care Centre, if your in the lower mainland, check out Midwifes in Vancouver or for more information on Midwifery, including where to find a local Midwife in BC, check out the Midwifes Association of BC.

Monday, December 6, 2010

a craptastic week

So last week kind of sucked.

After my post about double strollers, I decided that I wanted a double stroller.  I decided I wanted the Easywalker Duo and that I wanted to pay the mamabargains price of $399 with the free carrycot.  That's not a lot to ask is it?

I discussed it with the hubs and though he's hesitant to spend so much cash, he told me to go ahead and get whatever I thought we needed.  I took a deep breath and made the call.  Apparently, the Easywalker duo is one of the few products that ships direct from the manufacturer, which means there's none left in the warehouse for me to buy at the mamabargains price.  I was bummed to say the least.

The hubs has already been sick since the weekend and when I talked to my Mom at lunchtime she informed me the boy won't eat, asked to go home from a playdate after 20 minutes and had already had two bottles (he usually only has one cup of rice milk during the day).  He's fussy, whiney and clingy.  None of these are signs of a happy and healthy boy.

On top of it all, I won't be home after work, I have my work Christmas party and the hubs is on baby duty all on his own.  This stresses me out a bit, the two of them haven't done after work on their own as much as they maybe should have.  Fortunately, they do great.  The boy eats for his dad and goes to bed without a fuss.

The boy made it through the night, but by 6:30am has already asked for milk and refused his breakfast.  He's clingy, but doesn't seem to be in too bad of spirits.  We decide to take him to my sister-in-laws and see how he does.

I'm not at work more than 30 minutes before I realize that the congestion I've been calling pregnancy and allergies is now accompanied by brain fog, achiness and overall grossness.  I'm sick too.  I finish off what I'm working on, drive home and pick up the boy.  We pathetically watch movies, sleep and eat rice noodles all day.

Thank goodness its my earned time off (ETO) day at work, which means I get to stay home and I get paid.  Unfortunately, none of the resting or Christmas baking I was hoping to accomplish even gets started.

I had a visit from a dear friend who happens to be both blind and arthritic; I thought we were postponing, but when I realized I was wrong I just couldn't cancel after she'd made the effort.  (This same friend introduced me to the term craptastic, which just seemed fitting for today's post.)  We also decided to try out having a cleaning lady (yay!) and it was her first day so there was no naptime for me.  The boy was of course home for the duration, which means this sick momma had pretty much no downtime all day.

In truth, I don't remember much.  Saturday was a bit of a hazy, afternoon nap filled kind of day.  We did manage to mooch some dinner off my parents so I didn't have to cook, but I swear if my head wasn't attached to my body, I would have lost it this weekend.

I had absolutley zero gusto in me to get up and head to my fit 4 two exercise class at 9am and the boy allowed a much needed sleep-in until 7:30, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I did feel a bit better and got some errands done over the course of the day, including a Christmas present for my mom and a few stocking stuffers.

We headed over to my mother-in-laws for dinner and had a nice simple dinner; baked chicken breast, potatoes, cauliflower with gluten-free cheese sauce and salad.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself bolting to the bathroom before I was even done cleaning the boy up from his dinner.  I swear I've read every salad dressing at the house, but apparently I forgot that I don't eat the cesaer dressing.

Half way down the ingredients, there it was, 'seasonings (soybean and wheat)'.  Dammit.

Today started off much better, the boy and I both have a cough, but overall seem to be in better spirits.  I logged onto Mamabargains this morning and the Easywalker Duo was there waiting for me to purchase; thank goodness, the compulsive need to check the site was starting to make me a bit crazy.

As the day wore on however, I just started to get overwhelmed.  I still feel mildly sick, when I picked up the boy, my parents seemed cranky and annoyed (with me or with each other I'm not sure), they didn't feed him the lunch I packed (again), the extra mirror I use to see the boy in the car was broken and I have to spend the next two days at all day meetings downtown, which changes our commute, timing and routine drastically.  I walked through the front door and almost immediately burst into tears.

Fortunately the hubs was all over it.  He put on some Toopy and Binoo for the boy and ran out to get cat food (since the lack thereof made me start sobbing again) while I made dinner, he put the boy to bed and put on his brave face and told me he would happily pick up and take care of the boy and his dinners both tomorrow and Wednesday.  Thanks honey, you're the best.

Now that I've had a hot bath and good vent, it feels like things are about to turn around.  Hopefully my craptastic week is behind me, and the next fantastic one can begin.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Help needed: Are double strollers worth the money?

So I'm going to be honest, I need some help Momma's.

Once again I find myself intimidated by the stroller situation, only this time around its the double strollers that are plaguing me.  The boy is going to be roughly 26 months when the new baby arrives and although I know that he is a pretty good walker, I also know that I liked to go out and walk for about an hour, almost every day, when the boy was little.

And he loved it, he always loved the stroller, he hated the carseat, but loved the stroller.  Even now at 20 months as long as I let him walk for about 10 minutes, he will happily get in for a 'stroller ride' for the rest of our walk.  I don't want to take his 'stroller rides' from him, if he still wants them of course.

But who knows what he'll want in another 6 months, regardless I'm pretty positive that he won't be up to the task of an hour long walk.  For that reason alone, I was pretty much convinced that I needed to get a double stroller.  Seriously, with the boy, I NEEDED to leave the house every day and if the baby is sleeping in the stroller and the boy gets tired and needs a ride, I can't exactly put them both into one seat can I?

My Fit 4 Two prenatal instructor did suggest something I hadn't totally considered.  If required, I could plop the baby into a carrier and strap the boy into the stroller.  Her boys are two years apart and that the carrier/stroller method worked great for her, she wished for a double stroller only twice while her boys were young.

But at the same time, although I'm all for attachment parenting and babywearing, long periods of babywearing can get strenuous on momma, especially as the kidlets get bigger.  And I have to admit, I loved that the boy would fall asleep in the stroller and I could just look at him and watch him sleep as we strolled down the road.

If I do go with a double stroller, I've been looking at the Phil and Teds, but they essentially have no storage; you can't reach the basket with the baby reclined, or the second child's feet are in the basket.  Not to mention that you can't hang a diaper bag off the handle or you'll whack you kid in the head.  I'm also not 100% convinced that my children will like sitting in the back bottom of the stroller, though many reviewers swear their kids like it. 

And although I always swore I wouldn't want a double wide (my current stroller is big enough) I see now that there are a variety of double wides that are less than 30 inches wide and have independent seats so the baby can recline.  As an example, Mamabargains just had the Easywalker Duo (which I missed) for $399 with a free carrycot (remember the boy hated the carseat), which may have been perfect...if I do indeed want to buy a double (wide?) stroller.

Please help Momma's...I need your wisdom, experience and advice, do you think a newborn and a 26 month old warrant a double stroller?

I certainly don't want to waste our money...but I want to be able to enjoy my walks during my oh-so-spoiled year of maternity leave.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Guest Posting | Adventures in Infant Diapering

I'm guest posting over at Accustomed Chaos today as part of her Infant Diapering Series.  It's been amazing to hear about so many unique diaper experiences and I'm so proud to have the opportunity to contribute.

If you have a moment, head over and check out my experience with Cloth Diaper Service.  And if you're not familiar with Accustomed Chaos, I highly recommend you take some time to browse around; the blog is full of great reading, including some fabulous gluten-free recipes!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Agoo Clothing | Coupon Codes

agooOne of my absolute favourite clothing lines for the boy, is Agoo.  Their clothes are essentially yoga-wear for kids; the fabrics have 4-way stretch, but never get stretched out, the clothing is wick away and quick dry with a UPF 50+.  I initially bought Agoo clothes primarily for travelling in Asia as I knew they would keep the boy comfortable, cool and protected from the sun. Now I love every single article of Agoo clothing we own and I know the boy does too - doesn't he look comfortable (and super cute) playing in his Agoo track suit?

Agoo, Agoo4u, kids, active, clothes, apparel, Black Friday
I reviewed the Agoo Playful Pant and Leg Huggers back in April and today I just wanted to take a moment to share some great sales coming up for the holiday season on the Agoo Website.

In honour of American Thanksgiving, between November 26th and 30th.  Enter code BFCM40 at checkout to get 40% off your entire purchase, with no minimum order required!

And in case you need a little more time to finish your shopping Agoo is offering 40% off from December 1st to 15th with a minimum order of $40.  Just enter code XMAS40 at checkout.

I'm thinking that I'll be doing some shopping this weekend, the boy might just NEED some of Agoo's new Canuck Hockey Huggers for Christmas.  Hockey is a big deal around here and this shorts/leggings combo will not only be adorable, I bet it will keep the boy toasty warm.

Happy US Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!

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I am a member of the Agoo Affiliate program, however I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gluten-Free Spanikopita Muffins

Until two weeks ago, I had absolutley never contemplated making savoury muffins; if I'm going to bake, I'm all about the sweet stuff.  That changed when I recently received a butternut squash muffin, complete with feta, sunflower seeds and a hint of spiciness from one of the girls at work.  They were delicious and my interest was piqued.

Around the same time, my Mom dropped off a book she'd picked up at the thrift store entitled,  Gloria's Glorious Muffins; over 200 pages of muffin recipes, including an entire chapter devoted to the elusive savory/dinner muffins. Many of the recipes intrigued me, but when I saw 'Spanikopita Muffins' I practically began to drool.  Since going gluten-free I've been able to recreate many dishes, but I had yet to attempt the spinach and feta deliciousness that is spanikopita.

Inspired by a recent gluten-free muffin success that yielded a fabulous texture, I decided to attempt to convert Gloria's spanikopita recipe.  The resulting recipe is gluten-free and soy-free but not dairy-free, which means the boy cannot enjoy them, but sometimes a Momma's just got to do something for herself right?

The results not only tasted amazing, the texture was perfect, remniscent of 'real' muffins.  I have been eating these savoury muffins for a week straight (I made two batches last week) and they are still a delight to eat. The only downfall is that they stick to the paper liners, so a little patience is required if you don't want to be eating the paper along with the muffins.  I like them warmed up just a tad in the microwave; seriously they are so good, I ate two (I just couldn't seem to stop at one) at coffee bread every morning last week.

Since this recipe was originally gluten-full feel free to replace the various flours with 1.5 cups of whole wheat and 1.5 cups of white flour and omit the xantham; I'm certain they'll be delicious.

gluten-free spanikopita muffins

Gluten-Free Spanikopita Muffins

Dry ingredients:
  • 1 cup Sorghum Flour
  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1 cup Tapioca Starch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
Wet Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of vegetable or chicken stock 
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 egg
Add-In Ingredients
  • ½ cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach *
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and prepare muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl blend together the wet ingredients.
  4. Mix theadd-ins into the wet ingredients.
  5. Add dry ingredients into the wet and mix until just blended.  The batter will be thick.
  6. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, they will be slightly fuller than the muffin cups.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating once half way, until browned and firm to the touch.
  8. Allow to sit in the muffin tins 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool.
  9. Brush tops with olive oil (dont worry if they look greasy, the oil will absorb quickly and keep the tops from getting crumbly).
  10. Enjoy the yummy deliciousness!
Yield: 12 muffins

* The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of either fresh or frozen chopped spinach, but I found that wasn't enough with fresh.  If using frozen, make sure you wring out as much mouisture as possible and would recommend using only 1/2 cup.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Plus one

I've always been intrigued by the term 'plus one'; I'm just not sure what to think.  On one hand its respectful in that your friends aren't asking you to attend a wedding (an event that's all about love and couples) solo, but on the other hand is there some sort of negative implication if you don't have a date?  I know its standard fare to seat all of the 'singles' at the same table, but I've sat at that table before and it kind of feels like your the outcasts, or at least it did to me, and I had the hubs with me.

The hubs and I have been 'together' for about 9 years, before that I was still pretty young and no one I knew was getting married, so I've never been in a situation where it was Amber plus one.  But now my very good friend is getting married (and I get to be a bridesmaid for the first time ever) and I suddenly feel like our invitation should say, Amber & hubs, plus one.

Because I am in fact carrying around and nurturing our own little 'plus one' and although the boy will be staying home, our little in-utero baby will absolutely be attending the wedding!
plus one
Please excuse the dirty mirror picture, I was having a LOT of trouble taking a picture of myself to share my little (well maybe not so little) 15 week bump with you all.

Although there are always some anxieties around the birth of a new baby, we are so happy to share that in May 2011 the boy will become a big brother.  We are already 15 weeks along and things have been going great.  Since we decided to wait to share the news with you all, I promise to catch you all up to speed on this pregnancy soon.  In fact I've been having trouble writing 'personal' posts as of late as I've just been bursting to share my news.

I also want to let you know that in celebration of my pregnancy, I have a great Maternity Giveaway coming up soon, I promise all you preggy momma's will love it!

But for now, lets just relish in the baby fever - I'm pregnant!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Kaia Foods | Review & Giveaway

Anyone who eats gluten-free knows that finding pre-made snacks that are delicious, is not only a challenge, it’s practically a hallelujah moment when you find one that you love. For me, Kaia Foods has recently filled that niche for me. I only wish that their products were available here in Canada; fortunately I have access to an American mailing address so Kaia foods are only a few mouse clicks and a short drive across the border away.

Kaia foods creates 'raw foods' (never heated above 118 degrees) that are naturally gluten and dairy free. I had the opportunity to test out the Cocoa Bliss Buckwheat Granola, the sprouted sunflower seeds and the fruit leathers, and one of our readers (must be delivered to a US address) will have a chance to test out a product of their choice too!

The product I was most excited about, and rightly so, was the Cocoa Bliss Buckwheat Granola. I still long for the crunchy sweetness of granola sprinkled on yogurt, and although there are gluten-free alternatives, until now, none of them have even come close to satisfying that craving.

Cocoa Bliss is so delicious, I haven’t even eaten it with yogurt, or milk, I simply cracked the package open at my desk at work and have been noshing on, it as is, straight out of the bag. Cocoa Bliss is chunky and a little softer than regular granola, but has a great crunchy texture from the healthy combination of buckwheat, raisins, coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and more. Seriously, this stuff is heavenly and at $6.99 for 12 ounces, it's a steal.

I also tried out Kaia sprouted sunflower seeds, which are sprouted, seasoned and dehydrated at low temperatures to maximize the nutritional content.  The process also enhances the flavour, and managed to provide a crunchy, flavourful snack without leaving a dry and pasty feel in my mouth (which I find traditional sunflower seeds do).

I was very intrigued by the sweet curry flavour and I was pleased to discover that the seasoning was sweet and mild and accented the seeds rather than overpowering them.  The sprouted sunflower seeds are also a fantastic price, only $3.99 for a 5 ounce package.

Finally, the boy and I tested out the organic fruit leathers made without additives, sugar or concentrates.  Unlike traditional fruit leathers, Kaia's are composed of a very thin (not-sticky) piece of dehydrated fruit wrapped around itself in the package, about three layers thick.  We tested out the vanilla pear flavour, which the boy loved and gobbled up.  Personally, I would have enjoyed the addition of a little cinnamon but pear is a mild flavour, so it makes sense this product would be as well.  Kaia Foods organic fruit leathers are $1.89 for a 0.5oz strip.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoy Kaia foods; the products are tasty, nutritious and best of all, able to meet both the boy and I’s dietary restrictions.  They are great gluten-free, dairy-free products that are available at prices that won’t break the bank. Interested in testing some out for yourself? Check out our Momma Stuff Blog giveaway below.

Enter to Win
One Kaia Foods Product of winner choice
(Winner must have a US Mailing Address in the continental US - not Hawaii or Alaska)
First Entry:
Visit the Kaia Foods Website and leave a comment sharing which product you'd like to try
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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Follow Kaia Foods on Twitter
  Tweet this giveaway (once per day - leave a link) 

Kaia Foods - Raw Organic & Natural | #gf #dairyfree #giveaway #review | @mommastuffblog @kaiafoods #CMTT
Giveaway closes Sunday November 28th at 8pm.  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest now closed.
Congratulations to our winner, Comment #17 Ashlei

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mama Zone Biodegradable Diapers | Review

As I’ve mentioned before, we use cloth diaper service around our house and only use disposables when we're traveling or on vacation. Even then, we tend to lug cloth diapers along for the evenings.  The boy sleeps close to 12 hours a night and he still tends to wake up with a soaker that disposables just can’t seem to handle.

When it comes to the disposables however, I am extremely picky about what I put next to the boys uber delicate little tushie.  When Mama Zone, a Canadian company, offered to send me some samples of their new, biodegradable diapers, I quickly realized I wanted to test them out. They are 100% chlorine, latex and fragrance free, the 'fluff' is composed 100% of sustainable resources and even the packaging is compostable.

Mama Zone sizing is generous and although the boys current weight means he generally can fit a size 3 or a size 4 diaper, he consistently requires a size 4 if we want to avoid blowouts. However the weight range on Mama Zone size 3 diapers is generous (7-18 KG / 15-39 Lbs) and they fit the boy great.  We had absolutley no problems with blowouts when we tested the size 3 Mama Zone diapers out.

Aesthetically, Mama Zone diapers are plain and simple; to me that's a good thing because it means they don’t spend extra money or resources on dyes and pretty prints.  There is a small pattern on the front panel of the waist band making it a snap to tell which side of the diaper is the front. This is a huge plus from the hubs point of view, he hates wasting his time trying to figure out which way a diaper should go and I’m inclined to agree.  Seriously, who has time to mess around with the front vs the back?  Diapering should be a quick and easy process, especially with a distracted, diaperless, toddler in tow.

I found Mama Zone diapers effective, generous in size and environmentally friendly and would deifnitley consider purchasing them for my vacations.  If you want to try Mama Zone diapers out for yourself, you can get a free sample diaper on the Mama Zone website or you can purchase a package for $19.99 CDN.   Finally, since we all love a good giveaway, you can win a free three month supply by simply entering your email address in the Mamazone diaper giveaway.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Featured on Mommy Moment

I'm very excited to announce that I'm being featured on Mommy Moment today as part of their All About You weekends!  Mommy Moment is an amazing Canadian Website that is a wealth of information to say the least; they have great blog tutorials, reviews, giveaways and more.

Many thanks to all of you who have stopped by from Mommy Moment to see what the Momma Stuff Blog is all about.  I'll try and give you the cole's notes version for you.

happySince everyone is always curious what it is that makes people tick, I'd like to start off by sharing with you 50 Things That Make Me Happy (one of my favourite posts!).

I am the proud Momma of a 19 month old little boy who keeps me on my toes, just last week we started transitioning the boy over to a big boy bed and we haven't looked back.  This picture was taken the very first time we put him in the bed to nap, he played for half an hour then climbed into the bed and promptly fell asleep.  Seriously, what an amazing kid.

I am also a full-time working Momma, here are my 5 Survival Tips for the Working Momma.  My daytime (non-momma) job is in environmental services and thus its probably no surprise that the environment, our planet and living green are all important to me.  I hope my love for the planet shines through in all that I do, including the products that I choose to review and share on this blog.  A few of my favourite products include: Nellie's Naturals and Live Clean Baby.

Using natural products also helps to deal with eczema, which both the boy and I suffer from.  It's a topic I discuss often and we test out a lot of body lotions and mouisturizers here on the Momma Stuff Blog.  One of our current giveaways is for Skin Fix, a natural remedy for a variety of skin conditions (including eczema) that we have had a lot of success with.

The boys diet has also played a crucial role in controlling the boys eczema and discomfort.  He is allergic to both dairy and soy and I have an intolerance to gluten.  Since removing dairy and soy completely from the boys diet and seeing vast improvements in the boys skin, I have finally felt comfortable enough to begin slowly introducing gluten in the past few weeks.

Here are a few of our allergen-friendly (gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free) recipes from the Momma Stuff Blog: quinoa zucchini mini muffins, quick and easy carrot homous and buckwheat pancakes.  Yummy!

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by, it would be great if you could check out our current Skin Fix Giveaway and Wee Piggies and Paws Memory Casting Giveaway.

And if you've enjoyed visiting, your votes on Top Mommy Blogs and Picket Fence Blogs would be greatly appreciated.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wee Piggies & Paws, Delta BC | Review and Giveaway worth $150

As I strolled up to the ferry terminal Starbucks at 7:15 this morning I was astounded to see that the Christmas beverages were now on the menu.  Of course I had to indulge, I’m currently sipping on a delicious eggnog latte, which I fully didn’t need, but I absolutely had to have.

My point is that apparently, its November already.  This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that it means that both December and Christmas, are just around the corner.  I’ve bought a few presents, but not nearly enough if I plan to avoid the malls in December, as is my preference.

For those of you looking for heartfelt, keepsake presents, may I suggest a memory casting from Wee Piggies and Paws?  Wee Piggies is a franchise (all across North America, Mexico and the United Kingdom).  In mere moments your representative can take a casting of your little ones hands or feet, using nice and warm dental grade casting materials.  Within a few weeks you will have an amazing keepsake to help you remember this exact moment of your child’s life forever.  If you want to get your item ordered in time for Christmas however, you better get cracking, Katrina's Christmas orders need to be in by November 15, though each location will have their own deadline.
When I was pregnant with the boy, I made the decision to have a memory casting of my newborn child, rather than opting to have a 3D ultrasound of my unborn child.  Every time I look at his tiny fingers and toes up there on my wall, I relish in the details; each tiny wrinkle and crevice in his delicate skin, I know that for me, a memory casting was a worthwhile choice, money well spent.  And seriously, I just love the way he has his thumb tucked under his fingers; he did that a lot as a newborn and now I’ll never forget that little detail.  I was also able to order small ornaments of the boys’ footprint for each of his grandparents, so that they too could remember just how small and delicate he once was.

weepiggies-ksMy local representative, Katrina, was amazing.  At exactly two weeks old, our journey to get the boys hands and feet cast was our first vehicle outing, just the two of us and I was intimidated to say the least.  The boy did great, well actually he cried most of the way, but when we arrived I relaxed immediately.  We were greeted not only by Katrina, but also by the smiling and eager face of her daughter who was keen to chat with me and show the boy all her favourite blankets and dolls.  Katrina, quickly but accurately described the process we were about to undertake, the results we could expect and the costs associated with all of my options.  In less than half an hour I was bundling my little boy up and heading back out to the car.

A few weeks later, I had my treasure in my hot little hands and I couldn’t wait to show it off to everyone and anyone.  I hope to get the boys hands and feet cast again incrementally throughout his childhood.  Although there are kits that allow you to cast your children’s body parts, I’m confident they could never compare to the beautiful, professional shadow box, complete with an engraved plaque that Katrina has created for me.

As I mentioned, Katrina is absolutely amazing and she has offered our readers the opportunity to win a small shadow box valued at $150.  She is also offering a $20 discount for all MSB readers who 'like' Wee Piggies and Paws, Delta BC on Facebook.  Although Katrina is awesome, her time with Wee Piggies will be coming to a close in the near future and the franchise may be changing hands in the New Year.

You have to be willing to travel to her workspace in Delta, BC, so this giveaway is pretty much only for those of us in South Coast, British Columbia.  But that also means your chances of winning are high, so come on local ladies, leave a comment and get yourself entered!

For those of you in other areas, please stop by the Wee Piggies and Paws website for a chance to enter and win a gift certificate for a local Wee Piggies franchise near you.

Enter to Win
One small shadow box valued at $150
(Winner must be available to travel to Delta, BC in order to claim prize)
First Entry:
Leave a comment and share why you want to win a memory casting.
Please make sure you include your email address if its not in your profile otherwise I won't be able to contact you if you win!
Additional Entries:
Please leave a comment for EACH additional entry

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Wee Piggies & Paws #Review | Memory Casting #Giveaway worth $150 | BC residents only | @mommastuffblog #CMTT 

Giveaway closes Friday November 12th at 8pm.  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest now closed.
Congratulations to our Giveaway Winner, comment # 11, Alex!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ferry Photos

”photoI had to go on a daytrip this week for work that involved an early morning (and afternoon) ferry trip in order to make a meeting on the island.  Thanks to Karen Lisa's Photo Fun Month, I found myself inspired, not only to bring my camera along but to take the time to shoot a few pictures.  I'm pretty happy with some of the photos and had trouble picking just one photo to share, so I decided to share a bunch. 


I really enjoyed taking the time to get to know my camera a little bit better. I've been reading up and experimenting with the settings and this was a great opportunity to do just that while observing some amazing scenery!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Biracial Child

I've been using Google Reader a lot lately and in a lot of ways, I love it.  I can read almost all of my favourite blogs in one place, I can easily see when there's new posts and its convenient.  What I dislike is that I often read posts, have a moment of inspiration or an immediate response I'd like to share as a comment, but it doesn't always happen.  I might click the blog open and get distracted, or I might be having a quick read at work, which isn't conducive to opening blogs and commenting.  Either way, I'm not commenting as much as I'd like, though I am reading.

There was one post today however, that touched my heart and inspired me.

Today I read a post on Baby Makin(g) Machine, titled 'What Not to Call My Biracial Child' and I was filled with emotions.  You see I am a biracial woman, of a different ethnicity than her lil' J, but biracial nonetheless.

I was lucky, growing up my community was full of 'mixed' marriages and subsequently my classrooms were filled with 'half-breed' children.  To me, it was completely normal to have one Asian and one Caucasian parent.  To eat rice alongside your turkey dinner and use chopsticks on a regular basis.  I don't ever remember being teased for being biracial, but when I was in university, I participated in a sociology study and only then did I truly understand the negativity that some people have had to endure, simply due to their ancestry.

I'm sure The Mama would wince at my use of the term 'half-breed' in the paragraph above, but for me, as weird as it sounds, those words are filled with love and affection, they are happy words.  As children we would laugh and joke about being half-breeds, but I remember only smiles in those moments, never tears.

I forget that for most people the use of the term half-breed is laced with hatred and pain.  That being mixed or biracial can and is still perceived by far too many people as a negative thing, and its such a sad thing.  It's irrelevant to me, what race you are, or your parents were or your children are.  I see people, and I don't believe in the racist, ageist, sexist (or really any other 'ist') treatment of people and am quick to be offended and defend when such terms are used.  I simply wish people would think of others before they speak.

I apologize now if I have offended anyone, that is in no way my intent, I guess in my mind, in my neighbourhood, I feel like we took back the term 'half-breed' a long time ago.  But then again, like anything, I guess its one thing for me to say it and own it, but its a whole nother thing for someone to say it about me and I'm not so sure I would like it at all, if a stranger said it about my boy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Skin Fix Body Paste | Review & Giveaway

Before the boy was born I received a sample container of Skin Fix Buttocks Paste; this Canadian-made, natural product was touted to be great for diaper rash and cradle cap.  And it was.  This was the only product that seemed to lift the cradle cap scales off the boys head rather than mucking them up into a icky, mess.

After realizing that Skin Fix buttocks paste delivered on its promise, I was ecstatic when Skin Fix provided me with the opportunity to test out their Body Paste.

 Body Paste is free of lanolin, parabens and sulfates and has antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflamatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and "can really help in just about every skin problem known to man".  Skin Fix Body Paste has been known to be effective for "acne (head), fever blisters, cold sores, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, insect bites, minor burns and abrasions, skin irritation from razor burn, cuts, wounds, rashes, post tattoo, and athletes foot."

You will notice eczema was on that list, which is of course what piqued my interest.  As regular readers will know, both the boy and I suffer from Eczema and have only had moderate success at controlling it with anything except corticosteroid creams, which no one wants to use on a regular basis.

As with any new product I started small and applied the body repair paste to the eczema that plagues my ring finger (and prevents me from wearing my wedding ring).  I was amazed, in only one night I saw an improvement; Skin Fix Body Repair Paste had made my finger appear smooth and unblemished, a feat my physician prescribed creams has never been able to achieve

After my success with the Body Repair Paste, I was eager to try it out on the boy.  At the time, he was experiencing an eczema flare up on his knees, legs and ankles.  Again, after only one application a visible improvement was noticeable, both the redness and inflammation was significantly reduced.  Within a few days, his eczema had pretty much cleared up altogether.  These days I find myself reaching for Skin Fix Body Repair Paste, instead of the cortisone, at the first sign of a flare up and it gets things under control in short order.

A 112g tub of Skin Fix Body Repair Paste will last you a long time, its very thick and a little goes a long way.  It's also likely you won't need to use the Body Repair Paste everyday; we only use it during flare ups and that seems to be more than enough.  Since I slather the boy with Aquaphor each night to keep his skin as moisturized as possible, I had great success when I applied the Aquaphor (I'm sure any thick moisturizing cream would work) right over top of the Body Repair paste as part of our evening routine.  I also found that like pretty much everything else I have ever tried, in the bleeding aftermath of fervent scratching, it was worth waiting until morning before applying Body Repair Paste.

Skin Fix Body Paste is a great natural product with antiseptic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that was able to effectively clear up both the boys' and my own eczema symptoms.  At a price of just $13.49 CDN for 112g, its definitely worth trying out if you suffer from dry skin conditions.

Enter to Win
Winners choice of 112g size of Skin Fix Product
(Three to be awarded)
First Entry:
Leave a comment and share, which Skin Fix product are you most interested in trying out?

Additional Entries:
 Follow the Momma Stuff Blog via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar)
Like the Momma Stuff Blog on Facebook
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  Tweet this giveaway (once per day - leave a link) 

Does your family suffer from Eczema? Skin Fix Body Paste can help | #Review & #Giveaway | @mommastuffblog #CMTT 

Giveaway closes Sunday November 14th at 8pm.  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest is now closed. 
Congratulations to our winners
Comment # 19 Jennifer

Comment # 15 Moving Forward
Comment # 10 Karen Lisa

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

Despite the threatening torrential rain pour, the boy and I made it out to our local pumpkin patch this weekend.  Although we met some friends on site, the boy had his own agenda. 

We checked out the corn fields.

Played the drums...

Tried to steal baby pumpkins...

And ran through the pumpkin patch with no help from Momma at all.

After all that, a well deserved rest was in order.

And Momma finally got a chance to take in the scenery.

I feel so fortunate to live somewhere that a trip to the pumpkin patch, complete with the smell of earth in the air and the feel of mud in our boots, is just around the corner.

If you have a moment, please check out our fabulous

Friday, October 22, 2010

Gluten - Day 2

gluten-full toast

Back in May I expressed my hesitation about introducing Gluten to the boy.  I know that many Celiac and gluten-intolerant parents have children who are not afflicted by their dietary restrictions, but its scary to imagine the boy unnecessarily experiencing all that discomfort.  That being said, I also don't want him to be restricted to a gluten-free diet if its not what his body requires.

I have also been hesitant to introduce gluten, since the boy seems to be constantly in the midst of an eczema flare up and I know from experience that when your body is trying to fight one thing, it becomes much more difficult to deal with a new issue or intolerance.   Fortunately, since finding Earth Balance Soy-free margarine, and completely cutting all traces of soy and soybean oil from the boy's diet, I've finally got his eczema under control.  I've actually been able to feel softness in the boys skin and until recently, I'm not even sure that I ever remember him without eczema on at least one body part.

After my Mom showed me an article in her Best Health Magazine about the effects of a gluten-free diet on individuals not requiring the restriction, I realized the time had finally come.  The article is brief, but discusses a UK study, which found that:
...healthy adults who ate a gluten-free diet for a month had a dramatic drop in protective gut bacteria and immunity-boosting chemicals. Low levels of certain gut-friendly bacteria may lead to digestive issues, diarrhea and other problems.

This struck a particular cord with me as the boy (who eats a ton of solid food) has had soft and loose poops since he was about 8 months old.  At first I attributed them to the addition of formula to his diet, later I would attribute it to the bug we caught while travelling Asia, then I assumed it was due to the soy in his diet.  But when his stools didn't improve after removing the soy from his diet, I started to think the boy still had some sort of bug, but a stool test proved that wasn't the case either.

Perhaps, the lack of gluten IS a contributing factor.  I have started giving the boy BioGaia probiotic drops in his milk once a day, and this week I took the plunge and bought the boy some gluten-containing bread.  I chose to go with Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Mack's Flax as it is free of both dairy and soy (not an easy feat), has less gluten than traditional breads, not to mention that fact that the boy is used to flax in his bread.  I gave him half a piece of toast and wasn't even sure if he would even eat it as the texture is so different from the potato bread he is used to.  I needn't have worried, he gobbled it up, crust and all.

Two days and two half pieces of toast later; there has been no diarrhea, no irrational crying, no clutching of the stomach and no rashes or itchiness.  We will continue to take things slow but so far things are looking positive for the boy.  I'm excited for him, gluten may just blow his world.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Live Clean Body Lotion | Review & Giveaway

Back in July, I shared my experience with Live Clean Baby a new line of eco-friendly personal care products for your little ones.  After the launch of Live Clean Baby it quickly became apparent to the folks at Live Clean that there was a need for a line of Live Clean mouisturizers targeted at an adult audience.

Live Clean continues their commitment to the environment with these mouisturizers which are completely vegan and made with 98% plant ingredients.  Live Clean mouisturizers are free of sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), diethanolamine (DEA), parabens, phtalates and phosphates: sadly, common ingredients in many personal care products available today.

I had the opportunity to test out all three of the new mouisturizers and am happy to report that not only do I love them, my family is arguing over who can take posession of my half-used bottles, now that I've had a chance to test them all out.  Live Clean has also graciously agreed to provide one Momma Stuff Blog reader with the chance to try out all three of these lotions out for themselves; giveaway details at the end of the post.

All three of these mouisturizers are rich and smooth in texture and absorbed quickly into my skin.  They are neither greasy nor sticky and they immediatley left a coolness on my skin as the moisturizer began to hydrate me. All of the lotions are hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested.

I started out with the Fragrance Free Body Lotion, intended for sensitive skin; this moisturizer is rich in vitamins A and E and is entirely fragrance free.  Personally, I find that 'fragrance free' is in fact a scent of its own, which assume its actually the pure scent of moisturizer.  I don't particularly care for the smell of 'fragrance free' but since scents often disagree with me, we've become friends.  If you have sensitive skin, you'll know what I'm talking about.  The Live Clean Fragrance Free Body Lotion is a great option for the men in your life who need to moisturize, but don't want anyone to know it.  My Dad will be taking possession of my bottle of Live Clean Fragrance Free Body Lotion for his 'lizard legs'.

My sister on the other hand, has been scouring the shelves of our local drug stores for the Live Clean Fresh Water Body Lotion, which has a light, fresh scent that includes extracts of rosemary and chamomile (and is also available in a hand soap).  Most notably, this lotion includes hyaluronate a natural moisturizer and component in tissue repair within the human body.  With the Live Clean Fresh Water Body Lotion, a little goes a long way, so one tube is sure to last you for quite some time.

Live Clean Exotic Nectar Argan Oil Replenishing Body Lotion is an addition to the Exotic Nectar line, which already includes shampoo and conditioner, smooth and shine cream and oil treatment.  This mouisturizer utilizes argan oil, cold-pressed from the nut of the Argan tree, which is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E.  With such a suite of mouisturizers, its no wonder this lotion is intended for dry skin.  True to its name, the lotion has a nutty, exotic smell.  If I close my eyes, I can almost imagine I'm on a Moroccon beach.

Live Clean somehow manages to make this trio of environmentally-friendly, effective mouisturizers while keeping them at an affordable price point of $6.99 for a 227ml (7.7 oz) tube.  These lotions are fabulous and will keep your skin hydrated and smelling delicious (or fragrance free if you prefer), without compromising our delicate planet.  Definitely a keeper in my books.

Enter To Win:
Live Clean Mouisturizing Lotion Trio
Open to Canadian Residents Only

The First Entry is mandatory; all other entries will be disqualified if it is not included.  
Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  

First Entry:
Leave a comment and share, which of the three lotions interests you the most

Additional Entries:
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  Tweet this giveaway (once per day - leave a link) 

Good for the Earth & your skin | Live Clean Body Lotion #Review & #Giveaway | @mommastuffblog #CMTT 

Giveaway closes Sunday October 31st at 8pm.  Winner will be determined by a random number generator. Winner will be notified via email and the winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new name will be drawn and contacted.

Contest now closed - Congratulations to our winner
Comment #13, Moving Forward