Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beatboxing Flute to Make You Happy

Flute Beatboxing


Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Organic Woombie Review & Giveaway

The Woombie is an infant swaddler made with soft and eco-friendly fabrics that's VERY easy to use. They've been making headlines in the mainstream "baby" market, and we were lucky enough to snag one for a review and giveaway on Life More Simply! If you aren't to familiar with the idea of swaddling an infant or of what the Woombie is all about, read what they say on their website at http://www.woombie.com:

Why Swaddle My Baby?
Swaddling is performed for many different reasons. Most importantly, it prevents the Startle Reflex, caused by a immature nervous system. By 6 months of age, most babies outgrow their need to be swaddled and can sleep "arms free". Other reasons for swaddling include a feeling of comfort and warmth when arms and legs are gently confined to the body's "core" as in the womb, where they spent 9 months growing. Babies also lack finer motor skills and hand/mouth coordination for the first few months of life, making self soothing nearly impossible- and many times, very frustrating after multiple attempts. Swaddling helps to cease the urge of "busy hands" from traveling to the mouth and face where scratching and Rooting can occur.

Quick Facts:
  • The Woombie was created in 2006
    The Woombie is offered in 10 styles and 4 sizes
  • The Woombie is a proud winner of the PTPA Best Product 2010 Award, PTPA Award, Creative Child Award & Moms Best Award.
  • The Woombie allows for mobility and swaddle at the same time, allowing natural movement.
  • Woombie products conform to CSPIA guidelines and have been tested in a CSPIA accredited laboratory for safety and compliance.
  • Sizes should be ordered in accordance with weight, not age.
  • Rolling is a sign to stop swaddling.
  • Swaddling should always be done with baby laying on his/her back & using a sleep positioner if your Pediatrician recommends one per their specific guidelines.
  • Woombie products are made in an Eco Friendly fashion which does not cause harm to the environment. Organic and natural products are used whenever possible to maintain the health of your baby.

Our Thoughts on the "Organic" Style Woombie:
This is by far the easiest swaddler you will find. No wings or velcro to figure out how to attach--just lay the baby in, zip, and go! The organic fabric is super soft, and held up well with washings though the logo did get a little wrinkled. One thing I loved was that the chin strap part is extra soft so you don't have to worry about it digging into the baby. The style of the swaddler is also super cute with soft, bright colors--and the company also just came out with a "delux" line of the Woombie which offers more flair by adding decorations.

Our son fit the newborn size pretty snugly at 12 pounds, which was helpful in restricting his movement. Baby Monkey started rolling over when he was 6-days-old and the Woombie really can't be used when a baby's on their belly, so it was nice that he couldn't really roll over while swaddled in it. Since he does sleep much better on his belly than back, we did try the Woombie on him while laying on his belly, but he wasn't able to lift his head very well to move around so I think their recommendation to not use on a baby who can roll is a good one. It's important to breathe, after all!

One disadvantage to the organic style is that your baby's arms can't really be out if the Woombie is to stay on correctly. Since Monkey insists on sleeping with his little hands touching his face, he didn't like full body swaddling. I have noticed that they offer a lot of other styles that allow freedom of movement for the hands, so I think that would be a better choice to go with.

Overall, I think this is a product worth investing in. It is easier and obviously stays together better than a blanket swaddle, and is so much faster and less cumbersome than other marketed baby swaddlers. While my particular child didn't sleep as well in it because of the hands issue, I do know other babies who basically CAN'T sleep unless they're in a Woombie! Most parents, I think, would really appreciate having one of these in their newborn's layette.

Buy It! Visit www.Woombie.com to view their huge selection of products and colors!

Win It! The company is generously giving one of my readers a Woombie of their choosing! Please visit their website and let me know which style, color, and size you would like to have. Be sure to leave a comment for each entry and include your email address in each comment. Contest will end on or after November 1, 2010, at 7pm EST.

Extra Entries:
  •  "Join" the Woombie Facebook site and post this message on their FB wall: I just entered to win a Woombie at http://LifeMoreSimply.blogspot.com!
  • Subscribe to Life More Simply through email, feedburner, Google Friend Connect, or any reader (1 entry per way)
  • Follow Life More Simply on Twitter or "like" us on Facebook (1 entry per each)
  • Spread the word about this contest by tweeting about it, posting on Facebook, blogging, emailing some friends, or sharing on a message board somewhere (make sure you include a link)!
  • Sign up to Design America's Next Diaper
 Disclosure: The Woombie sent me an organic Woombie for review. No monetary compensation was received for this post.

Help Design America's Next Diaper!

Ooh, big news folks: Life More Simply is going to launch a diaper and clothing line.

Oh yes.

When? Not entirely sure of the "you can buy it" date yet, because everything's still in the works.

We need mamas and papas all over the nation to get on board in helping to design this diaper line, so go ahead and join the Review Panel by clicking HERE, then tell your neighbors, friends, and everyone else you do and don't know on the Internet so they can sign up too.

Why join, you ask?

Because you get FREE diapers and clothes, HUGE discounts, and will be the first-to-know about everything!  

Click here to learn more: 

http://lifemoresimply.blogspot.com/p/life-more-simply-review-panel.html

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pink Together & Gift Pack Giveaway




It's that time again--the month of October, dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer. One of the hard things about this is that while it seems like we're all affected somehow, we don't always know where to turn for support or how we can help make a difference when we may not have the money to give towards awareness and research. That's where PinkTogether.com comes in. It's "an ever-growing community of hope of more than 680,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters" that gives the opportunity for people to share stories and encouragement, and also to send virtual flowers to others. MyBlogSpark let me know about the Pink Together initiative along with the following information:
On this site, you can also read the empowering stories from the 2010 Pink Together Survivor Ambassadors, five incredible individuals whose courage in the face of breast cancer serves as a source of inspiration:
  • Ebony Steele – This three-year survivor serves as a National Ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s® Circle of Promise, an effort focused on fostering breast cancer awareness, support, empowerment and action among African American women.
  • Eli Arroyo-Allen – A two-year survivor, Eli is the founder of the Loving Life/Amando La Vida program supporting Latina women with breast cancer.
  • Ginger Johnson – A mother and four-year survivor, Ginger is the director of Happy Chemo!, whose mission is to bring happiness to those dealing with the negative effects of chemotherapy and cancer.
  • Libby Pomroy – Libby is a two-time, 15-year survivor and a General Mills employee.
  • Nicole Vazquez – This three-year survivor is a Komen breast cancer activist in the Latino community.
These Survivor Ambassadors and their empowering stories will also be featured on the Pink Together Facebook fan page and YouTube channel, and on special pink packaging on your favorite General Mills’ brands like Cheerios® Cereal, Green Giant® Frozen Vegetables and Nature Valley® Granola Bars. If you or someone you know would make a great candidate for next year’s Pink Together Survivor Ambassadors, please visit PinkTogether.com for more information. To encourage personal connections in the online community, General Mills will donate $1 (up to $20,000) to Komen for each inspirational story submitted, encouraging comment posted, or virtual flower of support sent on PinkTogether.com, and for each shared message of hope posted on Pink Together’s Facebook fan page during the month of October (up to $5,000). This $25,000 is in addition to the $2 million donation General Mills has committed to Komen to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach projects.
In an effort to help people get involved in Pink Together, I have a "Connecting for a Cure" gift pack to give away to a reader from General Mills/MyBlogSpark! It includes a Pink Ribbon car magnet and key chain, travel mug, and drawstring backpack, along with coupons for free packages of one Big G cereal, Green Giant Frozen Veggies, Macaroni Grill Dinner Kits, Fiber One Bars and Progresso Soup. ARV approximately $50.00. I was sent one of these gift packs to review and, like usual, the items are good quality and the food is obviously delicious! You can view and purchase these and other breast cancer "pink ribbon" items at ShopKomen.com, where 25 percent of the merchandise purchase price benefits Komen. 

Win It! Each of the following will get you one entry into this contest. Just be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and an email address in each comment you leave! Contest will end on or after October 28th, 2010 at noon, EST. 

  • Visit PinkTogether.com and send someone a virtual flower (1 flower=1 entry)
  • Submit a story at PinkTogether.com and leave the link here
  • Post an encouraging comment at PinkTogether.com and leave the link here (1 comment=1 entry)
  • Subscribe to Life More Simply through email, feedburner, Google Friend Connect, or any reader (1 entry per way)
  • Follow Life More Simply on Twitter or "like" us on Facebook (1 entry per each)
  • Spread the word about this contest by tweeting about it, posting on Facebook, blogging, emailing some friends, or sharing on a message board somewhere (make sure you include a link)!
 Disclosure: General Mills provided me with the gift packs through MyBlogSpark. No monetary compensation was received for this post.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Making Milk At A Meth Lab


Working mamas push the limits of where, when, and how to pump milk for their babies every day. A few months ago, I began to think of all the crazy places I've had to express milk for my children. Here was the list I could remember:

  1. Public restrooms EVERYWHERE, including while sitting on the floor of stalls because my pump-outlet cord wasn't long enough for me to at least sit on the edge of the toilet seat.
  2. In the car while traveling.
  3. On the floor of a car in a mall's parking lot with a coat over my head. The mall's restroom was closed, the stores not open yet, and I had no batteries for my pump so I had to sit there and express by hand with a coat over my head, hoping that people walking by wouldn't notice me and call Security.
  4. In the "on track" ambulance at the busiest location during a NASCAR race.
  5. In the back of an ambulance going to and from calls.
  6. Into public restroom sinks because I had no other option (you know, the bathrooms that have everything in one room so you can lock the door!).
  7. In an office cubicle.
  8. While discussing EMS related things with 5 male coworkers. In person. Thank God for nursing covers--they work great for pump covers, too!
  9. And also the "normal" places like my living room couch.
 While some of these places seem appalling and shocking to some, I'm sure, it all comes down to this: you do what you have to do. I thought I had reached the climax of best, worst, and most ridiculous places to have to pump at. And then there was last Tuesday.

My partner and I were attempting to grab a quick lunch when our tones went off and dispatch requested that "the on duty crew call the control center." This generally means a suicide attempt, domestic dispute, or drug bust. I called and was told that we needed to move to standby at a meth lab take down about half an hour from our station. With no time to call in another crew, I grabbed my backpack and we jumped in our ambulance.

We arrived at a nice home with a well manicured lawn that also now included 15 state trooper SUV's, a handful of expensive other "private" law enforcement related cars, and a few fire trucks, a decontamination trailer, and dozens of people in suits, turnout gear, space like suits (decon), uniforms, and camouflage (apparently the Special Op's team from a few hours away). Not knowing what to really expect at such a shin-dig, my partner and I were surprised to learn that this would be an all day event. So, I threw my nursing cover on, plugged in my pump, and made milk for my baby while watching the take down of a meth lab.

No one got shot, no booby traps hurt anyone, and I eventually left unscathed to call in a different crew to cover the remaining hours of standby. And with all that said, I'm pretty sure I have now pumped everywhere possible.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    ecoSTORE USA Laundry Liquid and Wool Wash Review

     ecoSTORE USA contacted me quite a while ago to do a review for them. After checking out their website and seeing how dedicated they are to making cleaning products (home, pet, and person) that actually live up to their claim of being natural and "green," I obviously said yes--send me some stuff to try! Like all of other reviews you're reading on here, it's way overdue. The good news for you is that during your long waiting period, their prices have lowered and they are currently running a special where if you buy any two household products, you'll receive a Pure Oxygen Whitener for free. And then there's the free shipping for orders over $25.00 which is nice, too.


    This company has taken the problem of household chemicals seriously. It's worth your time to read through the information they have available on their website. Here's just a snippet of what they report (backed by research):


    • According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers accidental poisonings occur in the home every 30 seconds.
    • The National Safety Council has reported that more children under four die of from accidental poisoning than are killed by guns.
    • A report by the EPA to Congress determined household cleaners three times more likely to cause cancer than outdoor air pollution.
    • Women who work from home and are more frequently exposed to household toxins and poor air quality are 50% more likely to develop cancer.
    • Newborn infants have trace levels of toxic chemicals in their bodies, passed on by their mother’s exposure.
    Makes you think...what's in your cupboard?

    My favorite thing about ecoSTORE USA actually has nothing to do with their products, but with their origins. Check it out:
    The original customer base of ecostore NZ was comprised of mostly ‘Greenies’ and organic gardeners. However, it was not long before testimonials from other parents (many of whom were unaware of the benefits of eco-friendly products) began to pour in with wonderful news of their children's allergies and eczema clearing up. Many noted that any respiratory issues were healing, and many lingering chronic conditions were disappearing.
    WOW! Their products sound like an internal cleanse that starts on the outside! I love it. And I love that they are from New Zealand since I'm pretty sure that's where I was supposed to have been born and where I would love to visit or move to some day. :-) Enough background though. On to the review!

    I chose my items based on the fact that I was almost out of laundry soap and didn't even own any wool wash to clean my ever growing stack of wool and delicate articles that were dirty. There are other products I'd love to try, too, though, like their Baby Nappy Balm, Baby Sleepy Bath, and their hair care line (I hate regular store bought hair products!).
     
     
    Laundry Liquid Ingredients:
    • Palm and Coconut based non-ionic and anionic surfactants
    • Fatty acid derivative
    • Mineral hydroxide
    • Certified organic Eucalyptus oil  
    My thoughts: at first, I was taken back by the small bottle and Vicks-Vapoo-Rub smell. After using it, though, I was amazed how many loads I actually got out of the bottle. You really use only a very small amount of the soap to clean a load of laundry--and your clothes just come out smelling clean (not like a medicine cabinet). The soap passed all of my tests, including that it didn't cause any colors to run, rinsed completely out (thus not requiring any softener), and didn't cause a noticeable build up on my cloth diaper stash. It's a winner! The best news is that it does all of this with only having a small number of ingredients. Simplicity is a beautiful thing in my book.


    Wool Wash Ingredients:
    • Anionic and non-ionic surfactants (from glucose and coconut oil)
    • Plant based alcohol and solvents
    • Citric acid
    • Water 
    I actually enjoy the smell of this wool wash. While it still has a slightly medicinal smell to it (must be those plants that do the cleaning!), it also has a fruity note to it, making it more delicate and lovely. It's a great product, making wool diaper covers and clothing that was stiff when it went into the washer soft and snuggley when it came out.  Very easy to use, doesn't require a lot to get the job done, and has great packaging to boot with a very fun photograph on the front of the bottle. Once again, I love the short ingredients list!

    Check out their website to find more information or to make a purchase at http://www.ecostoreusa.com!

    Note: thanks, ecoSTORE USA for giving me the products for this review! No other compensation was received and though late, the opinions are all mine. :-)

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Win in the 1800Flowers.com Birthday Smile Sweepstakes and on Life More Simply!


    Enter to win the Birthday Smile Sweepstakes with 1-800-FLOWERS.COM at www.birthdaysmilesweepstakes.com. You can enter to win awesome prizes including Birthday Floral Cupcakes, Gift Cards from 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, and even a 4day/ 3night trip to the Grammys!

    Just visit www.facebook.com/1800flowers or www.twitter.com/1800flowers for details on how 1-800-FLOWERS.COM will be celebrating Birthdays in your area.  





     Who doesn't love flowers? Well how about for FREE! 
    Come back to Life More Simply on October 29th, 2010 to read a review of this flower birthday cake  and to find out how YOU can win a $40.00 gift certificate to 1800Flowers.com!