Purex with Oxi Giveaway Winners!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway!  It's not too late to enter the Purex Sweepstakes - it's continuing until the end of November. 

The winners of the Purex with Oxi free product coupons are:

3- Heidi
7- Elizabeth
2- Heidi

Congratulations!  You have 48 hours to claim your prize(s) or new winners will be chosen.

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Ten Reasons Why I Coupon

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I have been asked a lot lately, "Do you still coupon?"  Since Extreme Couponing took over the couponing world, many things have changed for couponers.  High value coupons seem more difficult to find, stores have tightened their coupon policies, and more couponers per capita means more cleared shelves and more difficulty finding the deal you want in stock.  Many blogs have posted articles about why they are couponing less these days, perhaps saving time by sticking to big box or bulk stores.  People are turned off by the amount of coupons that are for processed or junk foods.

Well, my answer to this question is "YES!"  I DO still coupon every week and save quite a bit of money, and here are some of my reasons why:

1.  Regardless of whether coupons are available for the foods you eat or not, YOU CAN ALWAYS SAVE MONEY COUPONING FOR TOILETRIES AND DIAPERS.
     I haven't paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, or mouthwash for a couple of years.  I never pay more than a dollar for shampoo or conditioner, and I don't buy the cheapo brands. I often find feminine products in clearance carts at the grocery stores so with a coupon, I often get those for under a dollar.  If all you eat is organic vegetables, you can and should still save money on your toiletries.  This also includes diapers and other baby items.  Although I cloth diaper, I do still need wipes and I use disposables for overnights and babysitters, and I can't imagine buying these without a coupon.

     I save more money by clipping and sorting coupons for an hour a week than I would if I worked at a job for that hour and then just went to the store and got what I needed without coupons.  It probably takes me about a half hour to clip my coupons every week (longer once a month when I clean out my expired coupons) and since blogs do all the matchup work for you, you really don't need to spend time doing that yourself, although I do scan the ads quickly to see if there's anything I would have missed.

     There, I said it.  I know there are two kinds of people in the world, those that like Walmart and those that don't.  I just find my local grocery store is a much more pleasant experience than Walmart and I would rather get name brand food with coupons than Walmart brand food for maybe the same price without coupons.  Yes, it takes a little more thought than just going to Walmart with your list, but see #2.

     I throw out a lot of unused coupons, and I don't get a lot of processed foods.  For instance, we recently made the switch to bagged stove-top popcorn from microwave popcorn with a coupon.  I may or may not be spending more money but for some things, my health isn't worth the price of a coupon and I'm still able to coupon guilt-free for things I need.  I probably use coupons for half or less of the groceries I buy every week, but I still get good deals on those things I do have coupons for.

     I have three grocery stores within a half mile of my home and can easily hit up all three of them for the best deals of the week.  I don't have to run all over town and use a lot of gas and energy to shop.

     I have a very limited weekly budget and it's a reality.  I HAVE to feed us on that amount.  I may or may not be able to accomplish this by buying beans and rice from Walmart, but I much prefer to be able to eat a variety of foods and ones that we'll enjoy.  Here are some numbers for you:  I never pay for salad dressing or mustard and am often able to find other condiments for 50 cents.  I haven't had to pay more than 50 cents for a box of cereal, pasta, and often pasta sauce.  Other foods we enjoy, like pepperoni, sausage, juice, and cheese would often be outside our price range if I didn't have a coupon for them.

     I believe that for a gift to mean something it has to be a bit of a sacrifice.  We give anyway, but we are able to give more because I coupon.  I can purchase more coffee creamer for church, and we can give more toothpaste and feminine products to the homeless shelter with the same amount of money.  Our giving is multiplied this way

    This one is a little bit more of a stretch, but since I go to more stores more often to coupon, I find more meat markdowns.  Every time I run into the store for something I always run by the meat department looking for markdown stickers and am more likely to find them.

     We went to Target the other day and I got a couple of Glade fall scented products.  I have this weakness for scented products and I have a weakness for Glade packaging.  So anyway, I bought all my things and after a rebate I sent in when I got home, I spent about a dollar at Target, including my new scents.  I can get things I enjoy and make our home a more pleasant (and less dirty-diaper-smelling) place and not break the bank or feel guilty.  We also get to try a lot of new products on the market since high-value coupons often accompany the release of a new item.  And yes, I do get ice cream in the summer or other treats that otherwise we wouldn't be able to afford, and this definitely comes in handy when I'm hosting a party.

    ok, just joking about that one.

So if you've kind of given up on couponing, I'd recommend giving it another try, even if you just save a dollar here or a dollar there, that's money that you can then give or spend on something you REALLY want, because I know that you didn't really wish you could spend that extra dollar on toilet paper.

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Purex plus Oxi detergent giveaway!!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I have a new Purex with Oxi laundry detergent giveaway! Purex Insiders sent me a bottle of Purex with Oxi to try and review.  Purex with Oxi has more stain-fighting power than regular Purex, so the first thing I did was try it out on my cloth diapers.  Sure enough, they came out clean and stain-free.  Next I did a load of regular clothes laundry.  This load included some greasy rags my husband used to wash the car, and I was pleased at how well Purex with Oxi cleaned them.  Purex with Oxi can also be used as a pre-treater to treat stains before you wash them.

Purex sent me three coupons for a FREE bottle of the new Purex with Oxi Detergent to give away.

Here's the scoop:
The winners will be selected using Random.org. I'll contact the winners by email, Facebook, or phone (however I can reach you) after the giveaway is closed, and you'll have 48 hours to respond or I'll choose a new winner. The giveaway will close Friday, November 2, 2012 at 6pm EST.

How to enter: (2 possible entries per person) 

-Go to the Purex with Oxi site from this link and enter the Purex sweepstakes to win $1000.  Come back and leave a comment on this post letting me know that you entered and include your email address if I don't already have it, and you will be entered in my giveaway.

-Post about this giveaway on your Facebook.  Leave a separate comment letting me know that you did and include the link to your Facebook (if I'm not already friends with you)

*I am a Purex Insider. I do receive samples from the Purex brand, but no other compensation was received & my opinions are my own. 

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I recently started a regular after-school nannying job for a family from church.  It's awesome because I can have Mac with me and he plays and naps well at their house.  The extra income is going to be a huge blessing especially as we come into the holidays!  

As a start-up bonus, David let me have some of the money to get some new things for myself. Since becoming a mom I'm finding that my clothes just don't fit me like they used to and my winter wardrobe looked pretty dismal.  I haven't used all the money yet, but I did get myself some nice tops at Goodwill and then splurged on some Columbus-Day-Sale riding boots at Kohls.  Once I bought what I wanted, I went through my old clothes to take them to Goodwill.  I had several too-small sweaters in there and immediately started thinking about how I could re-use them since I was going to get rid of them anyway.

I have only just begun my projects, but here's what I've done so far.  First, I'm going to cover some of our yucky throw pillows with soft sweater fabric like this one:

I'm reusing the sweater arms to make leggings to wear with my new boots.  I also took a pair of flare jeans I had and trimmed the legs to make them skinny jeans to wear with the boots.

Here's my second sweater/pillow/leggings project I'll be making:  Yes, it's a Gap sweater (the gray one was H&M) but I was going to get rid of them anyway!  I don't have room in my house for clothes that don't fit!

I've also started crocheting my second Munchkin hat for Mac.  This year I wanted to do one with red and white stripes to look more Christmasy (and kind of elvish) but so far it's looking kind of Cat in the Hat so I don't know what I'm going to do.  Here's a pic of the little Supermodel himself.  Teaching him to drink with a straw was one of the best parenting successes I've had yet so he doesn't have to try to tilt a bottle up at the correct angle. He still needs to be monitored since he loves to pull the straws out and squirt juice everywhere. I need to get him some of the little juice box holders so squirting isn't an issue.

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Glade moneymaker

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

There is a $3/1 Glade Expressions Fragrance Mist Starter coupon on Coupons.com right now.  These are on sale this week at Walgreens for $3.36 which would make them just 36 cents... but I purchased two and a $1 catalina printed out, making them a moneymaker!  I'm not sure if the catalina would print if you just purchase one or not.  
I used two computers, printed 4 coupons, and bought them two at a time in two transactions.  Usually at Walgreens you can't use one catalina that you got from one item to buy another of the same item and get another catalina so I wouldn't risk it.  They just had two scents at my Walgreens - cotton and pineapple.

Yesterday I used the $5/1 Glade oil diffuser coupon at Walmart to get the oil diffusers free.  They only had the pineapple scent left which is why my house now smells like pineapple.  It was kind of a let down after seeing that Glade has released its new fall scents - Blackberry Cobbler and Maple Pumpkin.  Fall scents are about 89% of what I love about fall.  I think pumpkin accounts for the other 11%.  Also the cashier at Walmart pronounced "Glade" as "glah-DAY."  I don't know if she was just being funny or if she really thought it was pronounced like that.  But who wouldn't be familiar with the word "glade"?

Oh one last thing - if you have a Swagbucks account, don't forget to print your coupons from their site so you also get your 10 swagbucks per coupon :)

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Purex Triple Action Giveaway Winners

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

The winners of the Purex Triple Action free product coupons are:

2- Anonymous (HeathersMamo)
5- Melissa
3- JC

Congratulations!  You have 48 hours to claim your prize(s) or new winners will be chosen.

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New Purex Triple Action Giveaway!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Guess what- I have a new Purex Triple Action laundry detergent giveaway! Purex Insiders has sent me THREE coupons for a FREE bottle of the new Purex Triple Action Detergent for three lucky readers to win.

Here's the scoop:
The winners will be selected using Random.org. I'll contact the winners by email, Facebook, or phone (however I can reach you) after the giveaway is closed, and you'll have 48 hours to respond or I'll choose a new winner. The giveaway will close Tuesday, July 17, 2012 at 6pm EST.

How to enter: (1 entry per person)
1.  Watch the Let's Be Honest videos located HERE

2.  Leave a comment telling me your favorite Let's Be Honest video
3.  Like, share, or tweet your favorite one
4.  If I don't already have your email address, leave it in your comment so I can contact you if you win. 

*I am a Purex Insider. I do receive samples from the Purex brand, but no other compensation was received & my opinions are my own. 

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happy morning :)

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

This morning my little guy made my morning so happy and wonderful.

When I woke up, I could hear that he was awake over the video monitor.  He was singing!  He was happily lying in his crib talking to himself and singing in high musical tones.  I suppose all my singing and playing music for him is catching on!

I got him up and fed him in my bed.  I've been sick all week and just haven't been able to get much rest - even when I have the time, my body just won't nap.  After I fed him, I put him in his jumparoo and then instead of taking a shower (like I usually would then), I actually went back to bed.  I figured I could get another 20 minutes of rest.  After awhile, I woke up and checked the clock - it was over an hour later, and Mac was still playing happily in his jumparoo.  He hadn't cried at all.  In fact, I think he had fallen asleep and then woken back up and kept playing without fussing or being unhappy about it.  I even took a shower before going in to get him.  He never did fuss and stayed happy all morning.

Little Mac, thanks so much for letting Mom get the extra rest!  I needed it so much and love you bunches :)

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Purex Triple Action Giveaway Winners!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Well since we had two entries to the Purex Triple Action detergent giveaway and two prizes to give away, I decided not to use Random.org to select my winners. :)

So, the winners of the two free bottles are Caleb & Kirsten & Elizabeth!

Congratulations!  You have 48 hours to claim your prize(s) or new winners will be chosen.

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Purex Triple Action giveaway!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

As promised, I have a new Purex Triple Action laundry detergent giveaway! Purex Insiders has sent me two coupons for a FREE bottle of the new Purex Triple Action Detergent for two lucky readers to win.

Here's the scoop:
The winners will be selected using Random.org. I'll contact the winners by email, Facebook, or phone (however I can reach you) after the giveaway is closed, and you'll have 48 hours to respond or I'll choose a new winner. The giveaway will close Friday, June 1, 2012 at 6pm EST.

How to enter: (1 entry per person)
Leave a comment on THIS post telling me your craziest laundry experience. If I don't already have your email address, leave it in your comment so I can contact you if you win.

*I am a Purex Insider. I do receive samples from the Purex brand, but no other compensation was received & my opinions are my own. 

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Giveaway Winners!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

The winners of the Honey Bunches of Oats free product coupons are:

4- HeathersMamo
1- B.Rose
2- B.Rose
6- RebeccaL
5- RebeccaL

Congratulations!  You have 48 hours to claim your prize(s) or new winners will be chosen.

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Honey Bunches of Oats Giveaway ending SOON!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Don't forget about the Honey Bunches of Oats giveaway which is ending in about 3 1/2 hours!  If you haven't gotten your entries in yet, get them in now - we're giving away five boxes of cereal!

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Farm Fresh & Harris Teeter 5/16/12

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Harris Teeter triples starts today!  Mac and I hit up HT at about 7:30 this morning then headed to Farm Fresh.  Linking my matchups with the Coupon Challenge.

Harris Teeter

1 Comet - FREE
1 Franks RedHot Sauce - FREE
1 Nescafe Tasters Choice - FREE
2 Dole Fruit Crisps - FREE
1 Heluva dip - FREE
3 Margaret Holmes Spinach - FREE
2 Yoplait Yogurt w/ Granola - 25c each
3 Quakers Real Medley Oatmeals - 50c each
1 Cool Whip - 50c
1 French's Onions - 40c
1 Ortega Refried Beans & Ortega Jalepenos - 50c
Kraft spicy mayo - 94c
1 Ball Park angus beef hotdogs - $1.32
2 Ball Park franks - $1.49
1 HT chocolate chips - $2.27

Total spent: $7.76
my receipt says coupons tendered = $46.48

Farm Fresh
Did the buy 10, get $5 off deal, which is why there's a few things I didn't need...

2 Pepsi Next - FREE
2 Palmolive dish detergent - FREE
1 Smart Balance margarine - FREE
2 Jello Pudding - 35c each
1 French's Mustard - 40c
1 Chips Ahoy cookies - 50c
2 Vlasic relish - $1
2 Vanity Fair napkins - $1 each
2 Johnsonville brats/sausages - 99c each
Motts applesauce - 69c
Oscar Mayer beef franks - $1.50
1 Richfood popcorn - $2.69 
1 Richfood sugar - $2.49
Used $4 catalina from last week

Total: $11.40
Saved $24.70

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Honey Bunches of Oats giveaway!

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:


I'm so excited about this giveaway! As a Purex Insider, I received a free box of Honey Bunches of Oats in the mail and FIVE FREE PRODUCT COUPONS to give away! I'm definitely not as good as reviewing cereals as Michael is, but we do like Honey Bunches of Oats in this house. We received the new Honey Roasted flavor, which I had not tried before. We like the variety of the granola bunches and the flakes, and the new Honey Bunches of Oats has even more granola bunches than ever. It also has fewer grams of sugar than Honey Nut Cheerios and has 10 grams of whole grain in each serving.

Here's the scoop:

Five readers will each win one FREE product coupon for any one box of Honey Bunches of Oats. You may win more than one coupon as each reader can have up to two entries. The winners will be selected using Random.org. I'll contact the winners by email, Facebook, or phone (however I can reach you) after the giveaway is closed, and you'll have 48 hours to respond or I'll choose a new winner. The giveaway will close Friday, May 18, 2012 at 6pm EST.

How to enter: (up to 2 entries per person)

1. Leave a comment telling me your favorite variety of Honey Bunches of Oats. You can find the varieties on their Facebook Page here.

2. Leave a separate comment with one of your favorite inexpensive recipes. Anything will do. You won't be judged on your recipe; all entries are of equal value :)

Don't forget that we'll be having another Purex giveaway in the near future too!

*I am a Purex Insider. Post provided a free sample of their Honey Bunches of Oats - Honey Roasted, but no other compensation was received & my opinions are my own.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

My two handsome guys:

My hero hubby put Mac to sleep twice that day.  Love him and am grateful that I get to have him around so much!  We also have a new, never before seen arrangement of our living room now.  David is so creative that way - I'm always amazed at the arrangements he comes up with and how well they work.  I might look at the furniture and the shape of the room and come up with maybe 2 possibilities to arrange it but I think this is the third this year and I really like it.

Mac is so grown these days.  He plays with his feet now and has started on rice cereal once a day, which helps him sleep longer in the mornings.

Out to dinner on Mother's Day
These past five months of being a mommy have been so much fun.  We just enjoy Mac so much, even when he's ornery and doesn't want to take naps :)

On Mother's Day we also really appreciated Pastor Dan's sensitive and appropriate sermon on Hagar and Abraham - the God who sees and foresees.  Loved hearing about some of the nuances in the Hebrew words that we didn't know before and really showed God's special thought and care for Hagar.  I love the story of Hagar so much and wrote a paper on it in college... didn't get 100 and I'm still not sure why ;)

I put a lot more pictures on Facebook, including the lemon that Mac wanted to chew on... sooo funny.

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Let's Be Honest

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Purex is launching a new campaign called Let's Be Honest.  The campaign features funny videos showing real life moments that will be posted through July at Purex.com.  And as part of this campaign, they will be sending me more free product coupons to give away on this blog!   So check out the videos, stay tuned and keep an eye out for the giveaway, coming soon.

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my manipulative sweetie

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

These days, Mac LOVES it when I play ride a little pony with him on my leg.

The problem is, when I start, I'm not allowed to stop! As soon as my poor leg wants a break, his little poochy lip comes out and his eyes fill with real crocodile tears. This isn't his whiny/fussy attitude, this is his heart-is-breaking sobbing.

And as soon as I start again, he smiles through his little red puffy eyes. It's terribly cute. But I can only physically fall for it so many times. :)

Sometimes, he doesn't get what he wants by crying. Sometimes, he gets it by being all smiley and chatty when it's time for me to put him down and do chores - I can't resist him then!

Just a little story from today:
I was awakened at 5:30 to the sound of him filling his diaper over the monitor. When he was done, he just lay in bed and chatted to himself in the dark. I woke myself up to go change him. I was just so glad that I heard it so all I had to change was his diaper. In another hour, I would have been changing his clothes, crib, giving him a bath, etc. Well then I didn't want to take him with me because it was too early for him to be up but he was wide awake. I just put him back in the crib with his water sounds and he stayed happily awake in his crib listening to the water and cooing while I went back to bed for another half hour or so. What a good boy!

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a good night's sleep

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Mac has been sleeping so well lately! I feed him and put him down around 9:30(ish) and he wakes up at 6:30 in the morning like clockwork. Mom & Dad are tickled pink and very proud of him. Most days when he wakes up and I go get him, he isn't even fussing, just hanging out in his crib waiting for me. We have tried to be pretty strict about once we put him down, we don't pick him back up. We might try to comfort him and give him his paci or things like that, but I think he's gotten used to the fact that he isn't going to get picked up once Mom & Dad put him down for the night. It's also helped to make sure he's pretty full when I put him down. A lady at church helped me to become more aware of that - since he's so thin, he doesn't have as much reserve as chunkier babies and it helps to keep him full.

When we were in Chicago, I put him down for a nap and he was crying and carrying on. When I went to check on him, this is what I found:

He had kicked his way out of his jammies!

Naptime has taken a little longer to establish but he's even started napping great lately too, taking a couple multi-hour naps every day and becoming more predictable in his napping. It's nice to know that I can expect to have a chunk of time every day to get my chores done. Still, I'm always happy when he wakes up and I get to spend time playing with him. :)
Sometimes he wakes up so happy and just wants to coo and chat with me. He loves to tell me all about what's on his mind and how it makes him feel. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what he's saying.

Lastly, Charlotte lent Mac her Bumbo chair and he seems to be getting more used to it. Now he can even watch Mom cook since he can sit on his own.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

This month held a lot of unexpected events for us. We unexpectedly found ourselves unemployed; it was a shock to me at first but David keeps reassuring me that everything will be ok. We're sure that God has a plan for our family and has a place that he wants us to serve. Right now we're still looking for that place.

We took the opportunity of having no immediate obligations to take an impromptu road trip to visit family and take Mac to meet everyone. We hadn't been to Chicago for 14 months and I hadn't seen some of my siblings and my grandma in that long, so I'm so thankful that we had the chance to go.

First we headed to WV to visit David's family. Mac has been smiling and chatting lately a lot, and I don't think he disappointed his grandparents :)

Mac saying goodbye to his granddad

We stayed in WV for the weekend and then headed up to Chicago, which is usually 10-11 hours further but took longer with Mac. He traveled like a champ, sleeping most of the way. I rode in the backseat when he was awake to keep him company and he cheerfully talked to me. We surprised my grandma and aunt, but my mom and sisters knew we were coming. It was the first time we had visited that it wasn't a holiday and we had no agenda or schedule except to visit with family and a few friends. We didn't do a whole lot but had a good week and got to spend time with everyone that we wanted to. Now we just need to quit going to Chicago in the winter - there's so much more to do in the summer!

When we left, my youngest sister came back with us and has been with us for two weeks. I'll miss her company and having girl time when she leaves tomorrow. We came back through WV on the way home and stayed over a day with David's parents again and were able to see other family and friends that day. Two days later we drove down to NC to visit my cousins while my sister was with us and David and I also popped over to see some of our best friends in the same town. We don't get to see them very often and I love to watch my friends' kids grow up and stay connected with them.

The weather has been like spring and we even made it to the beach this week for Mac's first time. It was windy though, so he stayed in his stroller out of the wind for the most part. He also celebrated his first St. Patrick's day this weekend.

He was a little tired when we took this picture. I made corned beef, cabbage & mashed potatoes and my sister helped with the Irish soda bread. I also made a pistachio brownie trifle with oreos. I've decided to make a trifle for each holiday for a whole year. Trifles are perfect since they mix cake AND pudding or cream. What's not to love?
Mac is not a snuggle bug. He likes to be played with, hold his head up and look around at what's going on, and he's been that way since he was born. I'm so impressed with the way that he traveled, although it didn't do much for helping us to establish a routine, and we added changing time zones and Daylight Savings Time into the mix. He's such a rewarding child since he gives the best smiles that light up his whole face when he's happy. I'm so thankful that all of our families except my one brother and his kids were able to meet him!

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

First, some cuteness. He always looks so alert and calm when we snap him in his car seat:

Second, a picture of me and hubs with his birthday cake. I only get to make one cake a year (now two, yay!) so I usually take the time to make something fun. This year it was a Beatles cake, just regular Betty Crocker cookbook carrot cake.

Ok, now on to the point of this post :D We have gradually been starting cloth diapering with Mac. We knew before he was born that we were going to want to cloth diaper to save money and since I stay home with him, I can cloth diaper without too much hassle. Also cloth diapers are a lot more advanced than they used to be, so they aren't as much work as they were in the old days. We also knew that we weren't going to start out cloth diapering to give us time to adjust to being parents and research out the cloth diaper system that would be the right fit for us. We like the idea of being able to buy diapers now and use them with all of our children - way more economical and less wasteful than using exclusively disposables.

Now I'm really spoiled because the online cloth diaper retailer Diaper Junction has their only store location here in Virginia Beach so I was able to go to the store and see and touch the different diapers in making my decisions. Also, I don't have to pay for shipping. The other nice thing is that right now, Swagbucks offers Diaper Junction $5 gift cards for only 299 Swagbucks. I'm able to get those and save $5 on each of my orders.

This is the bucket that I got to put the soiled diapers in until washday. It's just a Safety 1st Easy Saver diaper pail and I got it because several people wrote on the reviews that they use it for cloth diapers. I got a Planet Wise wet bag to put in it to hold the diapers. On washday, I throw the wet bag and all the diapers straight into the wash together. I got the diaper pail from Babies R Us using a 20% off coupon and a gift card. It usually retails for $20 which isn't bad at all compared to other diaper pails. The wet bag was $16.50 from Diaper Junction and I used one of my gift cards for that too.

Like I said, we've been starting out slow with cloth diapering. Right now I just have one Flip diaper cover and this Best Bottom diaper cover. The Flip was on Mac when I took this picture. I have enough diapers here to last more than one day so if I'm doing much cloth diapering, I'll have to wash them every day but I wanted to do some test runs before I bought too many more. I used my friend Hope's excellent diaper review post here which helped a lot with making some of my diaper buying decisions. I've been stuffing the Flip with these generic tri-fold diapers from Babies R Us and I got three size small inserts for the Best Bottom to use for my trials.

I like that you can use any inserts with the Flip and you don't have to buy their specific inserts or multiple sizes. You could stuff these with kitchen towels in an emergency - it doesn't really matter. The problem with this for me is that it's a little too much like old school cloth diapering and not quite as convenient since you have to fold and stuff. Also, Mac had a blow out in the Flip today and it seemed like it didn't do too much to protect him but I'm not going to pass judgment until I'm sure that it wasn't because I didn't have it snapped tight enough or that his legs are still too thin for the leg openings.

Here is the Best Bottom with one of the inserts snapped in. I really like that these snap in and don't involve any folding so that makes them more convenient to use. I will have to buy different sizes of inserts as Mac grows, but again, since I'm investing in all of our children here, that doesn't bother me too much. Depending on the inserts you get, they're about $4 each. The different size inserts also keeps it from being so bulky on the little guy. When I change him, I'll just pull the insert off, wipe out the cover, and following Hope's advice, let the cover air dry and I'll put the Flip on him for the next go round. That way I rotate the covers and let them air out between uses.

There are lots of other kinds of cloth diapers and it's pretty overwhelming to wade through them all and decide what's right for you. I decided that I wanted to go with these All-in-Twos so that I could wash the inserts and reuse the covers; and I wanted these brands that use the same cover as the baby grows and I don't have to buy several sizes of covers.

Right now I'm really liking the Best Bottom and foresee myself buying more of those and making them my primary diaper. We're still getting the hang of it and we use disposables at night still, because I haven't invested in any overnight inserts (which are thicker) and because David primarily changes him at night. Sometimes.

Lastly, for disposable diapering, I highly recommend this little diaper caddy:
When I went to set up the baby registry, my friend Rachel recommended I register for one and I'm so glad I did. Until I started cloth diapering, we pretty much never changed Mac at his changing table - we just carried this caddy around the house, plopped it down wherever we were, and changed Mac right there. We still have it in our room at night for night changes. It's so convenient to have everything so handy.

So far, cloth diapering has been quite manageable as we ease into it. As I learn more and get more diapers, I'll be sharing more about what I learn.

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Valentine's Baking

Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

What, you seriously didn't think I was the only domestic person with a blog to not cook something heart-shaped today, did you? ha! I made David some peanut butter cookies since I'm too poor this year to get his usual gift... that and I never really got around to looking for sales/deals on it.

I used the peanut butter cookie recipe from Laurie at Cookin Up North. The Crisco gives it a nice crispy edge but they aren't hard.

I just rolled the dough into a U and pressed into shape with the usual fork dipped in sugar and then pinched the tip with my fingers.

Then I added chocolate chips on top of some for me. David couldn't eat all those cookies by himself, anyway! I've only tested one slightly burnt one but am looking forward to attacking the pile tonight after dinner of Thai Chicken Bites & rice.

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

I can't believe how big my boy is already! He seems huge lying on my lap feeding. Feeding times have GREATLY improved and hopefully soon will be completely painless. Praise God! Those first weeks of feeding were the hardest thing I've ever done.

Mac hasn't been one for much of a sleeping schedule. He's starving about every 2-2.5 hours but naps are a lot less predictable. These days, carrying him in the Moby is the best way to get him to sleep & stay asleep, but that could change next week. He also has greatly improved in attitude - we are having much more happy time and smiles and are soaking every second up. He still has grumpy times, but so do I. In a split second, he can change from blissfully happy to miserable and vice versa. Also he's doing better in the number of times I can put him down and he not start crying right away, making for a very happy mama. I can do almost everything one-handed, but not everything!

Anyway, all this to tell you that last night after I fed him about 9pm, he was awake and happy and it would have been a great time to play with him. The problem was that David and I were exhausted. David is still recovering from his sore throat & cough and needs extra rest so he can get better all the way. I actually put my wide awake, happy little boy in the bassinet and went to bed... holding my breath because eventually he would start crying and I'd have to get up again to help him get to sleep. I like to take opportunities to let him try to achieve
sleep on his own but only to an extent! Well he kicked and flailed his little arms and made little noises and I reached over a few times to put his pacifier back in his mouth. But do you know, he never did cry, and eventually he went to sleep on his own.

I'm a very proud mom today. I know lots of moms have babies who go to sleep by themselves all the time but this is Mac's moment and I'm going to brag on him because it's my boy and my blog and I can. :D

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Posted by: WoodElves / Category:

Our lives went through a huge change this past month! Our son, Robert MacArthur Wood, decided that he actually did want to be born on Christmas day. We had a smooth, unmedicated birth and a great hospital experience; we actually got released the next day! My mom and then sister came after Mac was born and were a huge help to us. Mac's generous & doting Wood grandparents also visited us twice. Now he is almost a month old and we are still trying to find our new normal and get adjusted to it. Mac doesn't seem to be one for schedules, though. Some days he loves napping and some days he just won't go to sleep for anything!

Here are a few of the things going on with me as I start the crazy, messy world of mothering:

- This week is the first week that David's working full time, and I'm on my own with Mac. I've been working on some goals to accomplish each week in addition to taking care of Mac and getting dressed each day. ha! For one, I want to start blogging and journaling each week so I don't forget anything! And I feel sorry for our neglected blog - but what was I supposed to talk about when I was pregnant: "Hey it's me again, still uncomfortable & crabby!" (oh wait, that's what Rachel does!) Also I've divided up my main chores for the week so each day I want to get done at least my big chore for the day & hopefully the dishes too. Here's my list:
Monday: Laundry/change bedsheets
Tuesday: Cut & organize coupons, hopefully also meal plan. Maybe.
Wednesday: Grocery shop
Thursday: Clean bathrooms
Friday: Vacuum & sweep (I also usually do another load of laundry on Fridays)
Now David knew when he married me that I don't dust, and if he wanted a dusted house, that would be his chore. Something about moving all the little knick knacks that's sooo tedious! But I do have a little Swiffer duster that's kind of fun to dust with, so when I'm in the mood for that particular kind of fun, I might dust.
That's my starting-out list. I'm also looking forward to being able to do more things like go to the library and thrift stores more! But I'm finding that I'm doing hands on things like knitting less - I've discovered it's impossible to knit in the round while nursing.

- Reading! I'm loving that nursing has given me more time to read. My mom used to read aloud to us when she was nursing the little ones. I just started reading the Anne series again, which is one my mom read to us. I think she wasn't nursing when she read us those ones but it's still cool to me to carry on the tradition. I also get more time to spend reading the Bible, which I'm really excited about.

- These are some of the things I can do with Mac in the Moby: Empty the dishwasher, blow dry my hair, brush my teeth, put on makeup, vacuum, laundry, and now, blog. He usually falls asleep in the Moby eventually, though it took a little longer when I was putting away dishes and clanging around.

- Feeding has been very difficult since the beginning. Thankfully, Mac has been getting enough to eat but it has been incredibly challenging and painful for me. It has added a huge amount of stress in our lives in addition to being sleep deprived and getting used to a screaming infant. It's been very challenging to deal with that much pain and being very needy when I have a needy infant to take care of. Sometimes it's overwhelming to think about doing this day after day and making sure that all three of us are taken care of. However it's so encouraging to me whenever I think about God's mercies being new every morning. I just have to live today right now and when I get to tomorrow there will be new mercies so I don't have to feel overwhelmed about it.

- The church has an awesome nursing mothers room with comfy seats & streaming the service. I never knew about it before the Sunday after Mac was born and I went looking for a place to throw away a dirty diaper. It's so comfy, it's tempting to go there during the week to nurse. But they probably wouldn't have the heat on.

- I'm so thankful for the support of my friends! Several of my friends have been willing to come over and watch Mac so I can rest (since he is so unpredictable & I need extra rest because of the feeding issues). I didn't know how difficult it would be to not be near family, but I'm not afraid to let people know when I need help and they have all been so kind with their offers.

- I'm loving mothering and having Mac. He is so cuddly and it's amazing to have another little person living in the house and a new personality to add to the makeup of our family. It hasn't been a walk in the park, but he is definitely worth it and we love him so much.

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