Saturday, July 31, 2010

CSA Family Day!

I've been sharing about my CSA share experience & today we added to the experience by actually visiting the farm for a family day they were having! We got to go on a little tour & Isis got to meet some animals! We also got a delicious dinner, although we had to take ours to-go because Isis was ready to take a little nap. Here are some pics from the farm!!

She was excited to be going to the farm!!

First she met some chickens, roosters & guinea!

They live in the Hen House.

Then we saw the corn...

...and the tomatoes (along with a lot of other yummy vegetables that we will get to eat from our share boxes!)

My favorite was probably the peacock named Peanut.

Isis loved looking at the cows in the barn!

Isis got a little warm in the barn - look at those rosy cheeks!

The pigs were stinky, but kinda cute - there was a little one named Spot.

Isis loved them!

Overall I think Isis would recommend the CSA shares & the farm!

Read more about our CSA experience!!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Editorial Calendar...31DBBB Day #12

I used to do an editorial calendar each week on my other blog, but I never started doing it with this one. After reading today's task for the 31DBBB challenge, I realized that it was going to be a good idea to set it up ASAP. That way I know what's coming & I can prepare in advance. This will help SO much when I start my student teaching in the fall & I try to get everything done. I used some of the topics from yesterday's task & some of the things I just know I'm doing on a regular basis right now, including Mommy's Piggy Tales, A Little Weekend Reading, my CSA share info & the 31DBBB posts! Since next week is my birth stories guest posts week, I did an editorial calendar for the following week. Next week all you can expect are the guest posts, which are scheduled & my 31DBBB posts, which I'm finishing this weekend & will also be scheduled.

August 1-7: Birth Stories guest posts & 31DBBB challenge posts
August 8: What is a Crunchy Mama? & 31DBBB Day 21
August 9: How to Find Time to Blog & 31DBBB Day 22
August 10: So Many Mom Hats & 31DBBB Day 23
August 11: CSA Share #5 & 31DBBB Day 24 & Links to Organic blogs/resources
August 12: 5 Pet Peeves/Easy Changes for your Blog & 31DBBB Day 25 & Mommy's Piggy Tales #10
August 13: A Little Weekend Reading & 31DBBB Day 26
August 14: 10 Time Wasters & 31DBBB Day 27

I've also decided to do my 30 Days of Television posts on my Ingenue Perspective blog rather than on this one. Those will begin on August 1!

Do you think an editorial calendar would be helpful for you?
Do you already use editorial calendars?
How far in advance do you plan your posts?

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Post Topics...31DBBB Day #11

This was probably my favorite task so far for the 31DBBB! We used 5 of our most recent posts & came up with ideas for new topics! I had never thought to use a method like this & I found it actually worked really well! You can use questions that were asked in the comments, you can take an opposing viewpoint, you can extend to other topics in the same category, you can do a link post on the topic, you can conduct an interview with an expert on the topic & the list goes on & on! I didn't choose my last 5 posts because I do the Mommy's Piggy Tales meme & I've posted several times on the 31DBBB challenge, but I used 5 recent posts. I also really liked the idea of using 5 general categories that your blog could cover & coming up with post ideas under those. Here is what I came up with:

-a dad's perspective on breastfeeding
interview with Lewis about being a new dad
-links to my favorite dad blogs/resources

-how to easily do organic
-baby food recipes
-links to organic blogs/resources
-how we make it work with a csa/things to keep on hand to make meals

-what is a crunchy mama?
-why use cloth?
-"greening" your baby
-cloth & babysitters
-washing cloth diapers (different methods - sensitive baby skin, etc)
-where to register for cloth diapers
-why not to do cloth
-links to cloth diaper blogs/resources
-interview with a cloth diapering mom
-case study on using cloth the first few weeks
-cloth diaper forums
-common mistakes made with cloth diapering

-finding time to blog
-how I get stuff done
-list of blog improvements that can be done
-so many mom hats
-SAHM jobs
-10 time wasters
-cleaning calendar (what to do when)

-5 pet peeves / easy changes to your blog
-how to find post ideas (other than this one)
-how to get your own domain through blogger
-why you should offer a full RSS feed
-things i've learned about blogging
-10 reasons I use blogger
-10 reasons I wish I used wordpress

I would sincerely like to hear any other post ideas you think would be great from these topics!
What is your favorite post idea for your blog?

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Hawaii, OJ & Puberty...Mommy's Piggy Tales #8

Age 11 or 6th Grade

The summer before 6th grade, my family went on a trip to Hawaii. The trip was fairly normal - luaus, sight-seeing, Pearl Harbor, beautiful beaches, etc. The plane ride there was a different story. It was set to begin with one huge plane ride from Atlanta straight to Hawaii, but instead it began with a fuel leak, 2 hours of dumping fuel in the air as we circle the Atlanta airport & then landing again on a runway lined with ambulances & fire trucks. They had stopped all flights into or out of the Atlanta airport & lined the runway with emergency vehicles because they thought our plane was going to literally blow up when we touched down. Apparently planes are made to take off with lots of fuel, but they touch down empty or they blow up. Who knew??

In 6th grade, my parents moved me from a public school to a private Christian high school. I start having a lot more memories from this point on. I remember I had a huge crush on a boy with a major bowl haircut. I remember my friend Peter hit me in the head with his binder. I remember this was the year of the OJ Simpson debacle. I remember wearing plaid skirts with knee socks like Cher on Clueless. This is also the year I started my period. It's the first year I remember starting to get really self-conscious & aware of my awkwardness. It was when puberty started & when girls started really getting mean. I went to Washington, DC for the first time on a school trip. I absolutely loved the song I'll Be by Edwin McCain. I listened to it on my Walkman. It was all pretty fabulous. 

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A Dad's Perspective on Cloth Diapers

This post was written by my husband, Lewis. I wanted to share his view of the cloth diapers as I know many times it's the dads who are thinking, "no way I'm doing that." At first, I was worried that Lewis may not be on board, but the more we talked about it, the more it felt like something that was right for both of us. Here's a little view of cloth diapers through his eyes:

Honestly I didn’t know much about diapers in general when we first began discussing cloth diapers. Just like most people, when I thought about cloth diapers, I saw essentially big white napkins with safety pins. After Cameron showed me a few of our options I realized that we had much more modern tools to work with than I thought. I had never changed any type of diaper before, so to me, I was up for anything. Now after I have changed many months worth, I have to admit that I no longer can see us using anything else other than cloth diapers for our children.

What do I love about them?

They are significantly cheaper than disposable diapers since they are obviously reusable. Who doesn’t want to save money?

We occasionally have to use disposable diapers for various reasons and I actually think cloth diapers are just as easy to use. We use GroBaby diapers with Velcro tabs. It’s just like the adhesive part of a disposable diaper. It takes all of 30 seconds to snap the soaker pad into the shell and then Velcro it around the child.

They look much cooler than a disposable, plus cotton has to feel better on the skin than synthetic drying pads.

Creating less trash in landfills is definitely a good thing.

It is a fantastic conversation topic that allows you to get to know other parents. Since using cloth diapers is a less common choice, others often want to know more.

Here are some of the counterpoints that I can understand.

Although I find cleaning them a breeze, you do in fact have to hold a soaker pad with #1 or #2 on it in order to spray it off with the sprayer connected to the toilet. It is seldom that I actually get anything on my hands but obviously is always a risk. If you can’t see yourself spraying off some poo and putting a wet diaper in a lined trash can, well this isn’t for you.

It creates more laundry. Throwing them in the washer is easy. Then you have to hang the shells to dry and put the soakers in the dryer. It’s simple but definitely harder than throwing a diaper away and grabbing a new one.

Occasionally, they can be hard to situate so that they cinch around the baby’s legs and waist (especially with an extra pad for nighttime).

My viewpoint:

After using cloth diapers for over 6 months now, I am completely satisfied with our choice. I’m not trying to make a statement by using them; I honestly just like them better. Any dad that has reservations should ask themselves if it’s diapers in general they have a problem with or just cloth specifically. If I can use them, without ever changing a diaper before, so can you. On a side note; if you are scared of some poo, I feel sorry for you. Also that wasn’t meant to be a funny rhyme or anything. It’s just that babies are going to put you in some gross situations regardless of which you choose. Just weigh the pros and cons for yourself and see if you feel the way I do.

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100 Push-Ups

(I'm not posting a "before" picture of my arms right now because I'm embarrassed, so here's a recent pic of me & Isis - you can see my arm.)

I'm a wimp. I'll be the first to admit it. I also hate working out. Livy at Making Over Mum posted on the Oh Baby! forum yesterday about how she's going to do a push-ups fitness challenge. It seemed pretty easy & not really time consuming. Plus I'm all for things that connect me with other bloggers & give me some motivation to actually do something! 

So I'm in.

Today...I can do a big whopping 0 push-ups. I'm going to have to start with the girly ones. I'm starting today with the first column of the Week 1 guide. We'll see how this goes.

Want to join in too?

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Switching to Disqus

I'm just about to switch all my comments to Disqus. I really really hope this doesn't mess up all the comments I already have! I've been told by Disqus that it won't, but Queenie at The Planet Pink lost all her old comments. If it does delete all my old comments, you'll probably be able to hear me cry from wherever you are.

We'll see...

The reason I'm interested in switching is because I can reply to specific comments & it will email my response & just so you know - if you get an email with a response to your comment, you can just reply back to your email & it will post in my comments section! You don't have to go back to my post to reply! How cool is that??

Anybody else use Disqus?
Do you like it??

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Third CSA Share!

Today's share box is my favorite so far!! It has tomatoes, lemon cucumber, pickling cucumber, slicing cucumber, sweet corn, roma green beans, yellow wax beans, green peppers, banana peppers, eggplant, tarragon & sweet basil!! Here are the meals I have in mind:

Pizza with black olives, green peppers & banana peppers
Eggplant parmesan with green beans
Quick Pickles (this is more of a snack)
BBQ ribs with green beans & corn
Chicken & peppers teriyaki stir fry

And here are a couple of highlights from last week's share box meals:

Lemon basil & red pepper chicken w/ broccoli, cucumbers & garlic bread
Steak (from the farm) w/ grilled parsley potatoes & garlic bread

(We love garlic bread.)
We also discovered this week that Isis loves cucumber!! I held a piece & let her chew on it for a little while when we were cooking one night & she loved it so much that we stuck it in the Beaba Babycook & made her some cucumbers to eat!!

Check out more CSA info!
Find your own local CSA!

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Setting Up Google Alerts...31DBBB Day #10

I can't believe I'm 1/3 of the way through the 31DBBB challenge! I'm having a blast & really learning a lot as I go! Today's task involved setting up Alerts to monitor what's happening in your niche online! I already had Google Alerts set up for several things like babywise, sleep training, sleeping through the night & natural labor. I set up new ones for Ingenue Mom, ingenuemom, baby recalls, cloth diapers, GroVia & mom blogs. I have all my alerts going to my Google Reader as a feed! That's the easiest way for me to keep up with them.

As for Twitter, I used Twitter Search to set up RSS feeds for several words or phrases including mom blog, cloth diapers & GroVia. I already use HootSuite & I've set up a keyword search on my dashboard so that I always get the 31DBBB tweets. I find that really helpful! 

My experience so far with the Google Alerts hasn't been that great, mainly because I set it up as email alerts & I got annoyed by the emails. I had no idea that all of this could be set up as a feed! You all know I love my Google Reader!!!

What alerts did you set up?
I couldn't think of a lot of good ones for my mom blog, so I feel like there are some that I missed. I would love some great tips for mom blog alerts!!

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How to Easily use Cloth Diapers

I have heard several of the issues with cloth diapers & I think people have valid concerns. It is definitely either something you're interested in or something you know just isn't for you. For those of you who think you may be interested, but are trying to figure out exactly how it works, I've decided to share our set-up! I've found them to be easier than I expected & even more user-friendly than I had originally thought! I thought about splitting this post into separate posts so it'd be shorter, but I've just left it all as one thing.

Pick your brand
First of all, we use GroBaby, although they are now re-launched as GroVia. I will refer to them from now on as GroVia since that is their new official name. We just don't have any of the new kind yet, but after this video I shared the other day, we are absolutely going to buy a couple! One of the things I really liked about GroVia is that they can be used when the babies are really small. We started Isis on cloth once her umbilical cord stump fell off, so at about 2 weeks. She was about 7 lbs at this point.

(Didn't like these fitted ones - the WHOLE thing got wet - including the part that goes around her thighs & everything)
I tried several different kinds of cloth diapers (fitted w/ covers, pocket diapers, folded with covers, etc) and I found that I'm not a cloth diaper girl in general, I'm a one-size kind of girl - specifically GroVia. So my first piece of advice is study, study, study & figure out which kind is going to work for you. I'll also say, you probably won't know for sure until you put one on your baby & see what it does. I thought the fitted ones with covers were so cute until I used them. You also may find you like one kind for daytime & a different kind for night. I've liked GroVia for both, so you just have to find what works for you.

Bags & Liners
We use a 30 gallon white trash can from Wal-Mart with PlanetWise diaper pail liner. The thing I like about the PlanetWise diaper pail liner is that it has elastic around the top, so it holds great in the can. I have another brand that has a drawstring at the top & I hated it. It also has a much more flimsy feel than the PlanetWise. When I looked around in reviews, PlanetWise was raved about & I have found myself to have similar reviews.

We use PlanetWise wet bags when we are going out. I have 2 small ones that fit 1 shell with a soaker or 2 soakers. I use these for running errands or going to lunch or something where I'll only be out for 1 or 2 diaper changes. 

If we are out all day, we use the larger (can't remember if it's medium or large) PlanetWise wet bag, which holds anywhere from 5+ diapers - depending on if you do shells & soakers or just soakers.

We use regular Huggies wipes usually, but I have found that a plain, dry cloth wipe does much better with the poop. I'll get everything cleared off & then I'll use one regular Huggies wipe to actually clean everything before putting on a new diaper. Some use cloth wipes with a wipes warmer & some solution, but I found buying the wipes was just easier. The cloth wipes we have were actually made by my mom. She bought a couple of flannel receiving blankets & cut them into squares & just sewed around the sides.

Diaper Sprayer
I cannot say enough about my diaper sprayer. The idea of dunking the poop diapers really grossed me out. (See, I can do cloth, but only a specific way - that's why this is the easy version of cloth diapers!) We got a BumGenius diaper sprayer which attaches to the water line going into your toilet. You just spray off the poo into the toilet & throw the diaper into the diaper pail. No mess, no touching poop. It does take a couple of times to get used to spraying it the right way so that it doesn't shoot poop all over the place, but once you get it, you're golden. 

I read a million different ways to wash cloth, but I ended up just washing on Hot with an extra rinse. I use 1 scoop of Tiny Bubbles detergent. Make sure that no matter how many you are washing, you set the water level to the highest setting. This will help prevent detergent buildup. I didn't do this at first & Isis got a lot of diaper rash. As soon as I started washing with the highest setting of water (& after I stripped the detergent buildup off the diapers) she hasn't gotten diaper rash at all. I wash every 2-3 days. It was more like every other day when she was smaller & pooping around the clock, but as the poo has slowed down, so has the washing. But I never go longer than every 3rd day.

I dry the soakers in the dryer on medium heat. It takes about 1.5 cycles because they absorb so much moisture. I hang the shells to dry. They normally end up just being draped over the chairs in the kitchen overnight, but we also try to go to Lew's parent's house occasionally & hang everything in the sun. This bleached all the stains out in 1 day!!! So if you have your own house, I highly recommend just drying everything on a clothes line if you can. It bleaches stains & dries them naturally! The shells only take about 2 hours to try if they're hanging.

Our babysitter is wonderful & hasn't had any complaints about our cloth diapers. I don't expect anyone but me & Lewis to wash our diapers or use our diaper sprayer. If the sitter is at our house, I tell her to just put the dirty diaper on a rug in the bathroom & when I get home, I spray it off if it's poo & throw it in the diaper pail. If she's out, I give her the large PlanetWise bag & tell her to just throw everything in there & I take care of it all when I get home. As far as she is concerned, she doesn't do much more than she would with a disposable. Rather than throwing the diaper in the trash, she throws it either in the wet bag or in the floor of the bathroom.

Anything you'd add to this list?
What works for you with cloth diapers?
Any other cloth diaper questions I can answer?

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I really do get overwhelmed...

(This is her "oh wow mom you have so much to do" face!)

I have had people asking me lately how I get all this blogging stuff done in my life. I'm staying home with Isis, but "staying home" is a whole lot different than just sitting on my butt all day playing with my baby. Oh my goodness! I'm doing laundry, cleaning up, feeding her, playing with her, going to the grocery, running errands, finding time to blog, finding time to feed myself, meeting up with friends for lunch sometimes, working sporadically at the company where I used to work - not to mention the fact that I'm watching my best friend's 2 girls every Tuesday & Thursday (along with Isis)!!! That's a lot for me!! Oh and of course I have to somehow find time to fit in time with my husband when he gets home from work!!

Yes I'm doing the 31DBBB challenge & yes I'm keeping up with my posts & tasks, but I am not yet able to spend as much time as I'd like checking out the other blogs in the challenge! I'm really trying, but I would like to give everyone the attention I feel they deserve & it's just difficult. I'm getting more comments & I really do try to respond to each one, so that takes some effort! I feel like the place I'm really lagging behind is in my blog content that is outside of the 31DBBB. The only thing that keeps me going on this is that I know that my blogging will get much more effective, interesting & hopefully efficient once I've completed the challenge!

So I just wanted to let everybody know that I really do get overwhelmed sometimes & today is one of those times that I'm feeling like things are getting out of control for me. I'm making a list in order to prioritize! I've also got a folder in my bookmarks of "Links to Check Out" and it's getting pretty crazy...

How are you doing with the challenge?
Or with life in general when things get busy??

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Forums...31DBBB Day #9

The task for today in the 31DBBB challenge is to join a forum & start participating. Well, I already do this!! I love forums. I really love discussing & connecting with others as well as having a great place to get some advice! As a new mom, I find myself with lots of questions! Here are my favorite forums right now:

Of course, the SITS community on BlogFrog
I am loving Adriel's new Oh Baby! community on BlogFrog
I participate in my own Ingenue Mom community on BlogFrog
I've found the Teaching Your Baby to Sleep forum on Babycenter is really helpful!
The Babywise forum on Babycenter has also been a great resource for me!

The forums provide great resources for community, but also for finding ideas for blog topics! You can see what others in your niche are talking about. I actually never link to my own blog in forums unless I'm asked to or I feel it's really relevant. I really am trying to build relationships with people & I feel like if they like what I have to say, they'll check out my blog on their own. 

What are your favorite forums?

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Monday, July 26, 2010

GroBaby to GroVia AKA I have cloth diaper envy

I have posted several times about cloth diapers & I've particularly shared about how much I love our GroBaby diapers! I have had almost no complaints with them at all. I didn't even really think about the ways they could be improved upon. They've rarely been leaky, they fit her from 7 lbs, they're cute, they are absorbent, they aren't super messy, easy to clean, etc. Just all in all, we have been incredibly happy.

Well, Cloth Diaper Whisperer posted this video today comparing GroBaby with their new & improved version after their company re-launch as GroVia & I must say they are absolute geniuses over there!! The new things they added are so amazing & in my opinion they are all things that I haven't seen any other cloth diaper offer. The main things that I think set GroVia apart from other diapers are:
  • The top part of the soaker pad is made of fleece which is what is used as a stay-dry material in cloth diapers.
  • They added extra PUL material to the back of the soaker so that moisture doesn't even go through to the shell anymore. 
  • They fit tight from 7 lbs & up - great for newborns!!
  • Mesh lining of the shell helps them dry quick if they do get wet - less than 2 hours & no stink!

All in all I think they are an absolutely fabulous diaper & I highly recommend them!
Go see for yourselves!!

Do you use cloth diapers??
Which ones are your faves?

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Where you can find me

Partly because I have no other ideas for what to post right this second & partly because I need to make a list of these things anyway, here are all the ways you can find me online:

Google Reader - Shared Items
Bloggy Moms
Mom Bloggers Club

And you can vote for me on Top Baby Blogs, Top Mommy Blogs & Picket Fence Blogs by just clicking any of those 3 links! No registration required, just a click!

Also, since there isn't much to say about this, I also wanted to share that I did interlink some old posts for Day 8 of the 31DBBB challenge!

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