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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  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

 Follow the Momma Stuff Blog via Google Friend Connect (left sidebar)
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  Tweet this giveaway (once per day - leave a link)  

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.