Tuesday, April 19, 2011


About time to update!! SO its been over a year and a lot has happened .. we moved, twice! First to a home in the middle of the wildness with *gasp* no internet (unless you count dial-up, which I do not) .. it was brand new and nice, almost too nice with 3 kids under 6! Now, we're currently closer to town and the hubs' office and have lovely neighbors with kids to play with and Lake Michigan across the street! A smaller house but one that works much nicer for our family!

Other than that, not much is different .. kids are bigger and smarter but we're still homeschooling, still snuggling and still figuring it all out.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One more sale!

Brylane Home has a great nine basket organizer on sale for $19 shipped.

Original Price is $39.99 and is on sale for $23.98 and apply code BH40OFF to take 40% off and drop the price to $14.38. Shipping brings the total to $19.37

This is a nice unit .. Solid wood and sturdy! I bought one in December for holding baby Molly's clothes inside my closet. I'm thinking a second and maybe third for organizing school stuff or toys .. can you ever have enough organizers?

Old Navy Clearance! Extra 50% off!!

Take an extra 50% off all clearance items at Old Navy ..

I scored a few velour hoodies for my sisters ($2.50) and some cute fleeces ($3) for the baby to wear next winter .. Lots of good deals on jeans too! Shipping is a flat $7 so the more your order the more you save on shipping ..

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Car Seat Updates

I'm about to buy my third car seat in a month, the 4th in 5 months and the 6th seat we've owned. Why so many? The car seat safety maven are now recommending that children stay harnessed until at least 4o lbs or until they start driver's training. And although my sister wonders if the car seat manufators are trying to create a panic to sell seats, I follow the better safe than sorry rule.

Thankfully my dear husband just smiles and nods when I bring up spending $260 on 2 new carseat for Maddy and Mallory. They're both riding in the uber cool Graco Nautilus. Maddy was riding in a TurboBooster High Back Booster and is now so much safer with a harnessed seat and will remain that way until she's 65lbs. The Nautilus then turns into a high back booster to belt positioning booster and holds them until 100lbs .. which if family history is any indication will be about age 22. Mallory was in an UltraCarGo and could have stayed there without problem BUT once she saw Maddy's new seat she wanted the same thing. And thankfully we're able to afford her whim .. honestly though the Nautilus is awesome .. the thing has fricken steel bars for supports, the belt routers have been redesigned and are easier than ever to adjust, the chest clip and buckle are also new and are harder for kids to undo but somehow easier for parents. Daddy saw the first one and automatically voted on one for Mallory too. Thanks to Amazon's Prime shipping, Mallory was set to go 2 days later.

As for the third seat .. I did mention a third new seat didn't I? Miss Molly is soon to be graduating from the SnugRide. By soon I mean in the next few months .. the strap heights are never tall enough for my long torsoed girls .. Molly's on the top strap already! Infant seats are wonderfully handy for the first few months for things like resturants and not disturbing the sleeping baby .. but I've found that we generally don't lug the thing around outside of the car once the girls are old enough to say sit in a high chair for the length of a dinner out. So .. in the hunt for a new convertible car seat I discovered this gem, highly recommended by car seat techs, The First Years True Fit (pictured above). Its a wonderful seat that will last, hopefully, until high school graduation :) What sold me is its a whole shebang of a seat, rear facing, forward facing until 65 lbs and then a high back booster and then a belt positioning booster up to 100 lbs. Plus its pretty!

What caused the new look into carseats? A new car purchase! One of the perks of military pay is that its basically untaxed and only basic pay is considered income so our reported taxable income for the year is about 1/2 of what our actual take home is. So basically we have zero tax liablity to the federal government and fall into a low tax bracket so we get massive returns (to us at least) each year. Combined with a general thriftiness we have a nice budget to get something decent and safer than the Chevy Venture. Stay tuned :)

Naturally Frugal Baby or my current addiction to cloth diapers

Hi, my name is Rebekah and I'm addicted ... to diapers! Let me explain, I'll start at the beginning:

As our family has grown with the addition of Molly, we've looked to more natural, more frugal ways of taking care of baby. When Maddy was born, almost 5 years ago!, we were, like most parents, completely blindsided by baby! Throw in severe pre eclampsia, that took the better part of 3 months to recover from, and we pretty much did whatever anyone told us .. the hospital said supplement with formula? Okay. Here .. these pretty Pampers have Elmo on them and don't they smell pretty? They sure do, sign me up for 3 years worth. After the fog of blood pressure meds lifted (magically, as soon as I quit taking them I had no BP issues, hmm) I would spend my days trying to figure out what was really in the best interest of our darling girl, we dropped the formula to almost never but the Pampers were still in the picture (and budget).

18 months (and 10 days) later Mallory was born after a very, very surprising and short pregnancy. We didn't realize we were pregnant until 19 weeks, that the mini-pill is a very persnickety pill and when they say take it at the same time every day, you must! .. I like to think that our Mallory just wanted to join us so badly she couldn't be dissuaded by something like birth control... We continued to grow in our desires to live more naturally. Formula was completely out but the Pampers were still in .. I never knew the ease of modern cloth diapers .... I plead ignorant.

Then last winter we discover M#3 is on its way and it only seemed natual to use cloth diapers since we've "converted" so much of the rest of our lives to a less wasteful, more frugal way of living. I spent a good portion of my pregnancy looking into cloth diapers .. even though I remember the origami diaper folds and Gerber plastic pants and the toilet dunking and the stinky yellow pail and the bleach and the ick that my mom, and by default, I used with my sisters. Even though there's only 8 years difference between my youngest sister and my oldest daughter, the leaps and bounds in cloth diapering is astounding!

So once I passed 22 weeks (I'm oddly superstitious about buying baby stuff too soon) I ordered a case of Seventh Generation disposable diapers from a great deal at Amazon, thinking I'd be off my game for awhile and wouldn't be able to handle cloth right away. I spent $75 on 4 dozen unbleached Indian prefolds and 4 ProRap covers and was ready to try the cloth. Then I started using them and I was hooked! No pins, no crazy folding, no pull on plastic pants? Awesome! And I start reading a million cloth diaper boards and blogs .. I find a deal for $12 BumGenius 2.0s .. I order 4! I remember the first doctor appointment the nurse saw the diaper and was so curious .. the pediatrician, a younger lady, took one look and exclaimed "You have these! They're awesome!" I upgraded to some Thristies covers and then find a deal on Thristies AIOs ($10 per!) Then forgetting the fact that I can't sew a straight line, I order some material and download a pattern online and whip out 16 pocket diapers in a weekend. Stuffed with some cheap microfiber auto wipes we'll be using these until high school or potty training which ever comes first! My latest find was some DryBees ordered from a BabySteals daily deal, 2 for ~$15.. I ordered 4.

What about the washing? Glad you asked! I think everyone has what works for them. We, like many cloth diapering families, use just a covered trash can for a diaper pail and toss the dirty ones in until laundry day. Molly is 5 months old and is still exclusively breastfed, so the poops aren't that icky yet. I'm sure in the future this will have to be rethought and some dumping of the, well, dumps into the toilet will have to be done .. I may get one of the sprayers that hook to the toilet, we'll see how it goes! When I'm having to use prefolds because I'm out of diapers or its been longer than the 4 days that bumgenius are supposed to be dirty, I empty the diaper bin, which has been decorated by the big sisters so they know not to put trash in it, in to the washer and use a hot rinse, hot wash with homemade laundry soap, cold rinse with vinegar. Toss in the dryer and we're ready to go again. We have tried air drying and while the weather was nice this was great .. but inside with the racks and such its a pain especially in the unheated basement with the children doing who knows what upstairs, its not worth it to me. I think the heat of the dryer helps with any lingering germies on the diapers that the sun gets but the dark dank basement does kill. We've had one round of buildup after I stopped using the homemade laundry soap, because Fels Naptha was supposed to cause buildup, and started using a free and clear detergent .. which apparently is worse at causing buildup. I soaked everything in a hot water/vinegar solution with tea tree oil which as far as I can tell has stripped all the yuckiness.

So .. there's my story on cloth diapering .. expect further chapters to come ..

my oh my ..

Has it really been 8 months? Yikes .. having babies and live seems to get the middle of the bloggy world ..

So a brief, or not so brief update .. We'll see how it goes!

Summer was rather uneventful until August 20th when our 3rd "M" was born .. Molly May, another girl which brings the count to 3! She's a beauty like her older sisters and its been such a wonderful joy to watch her sisters become maternal towards her. I'll be sure to share her birth story soon!

My dear husband is still doing wonderfully in recruiting and finished the year at the top of his team and one of the top in the state .. we're so proud of the young men and women that are choosing to serve their communities, state and country by enlisting. We celebrated, just in time for Christmas, the return of the local unit from a successful deployment and are looking forward to getting to know the unit members and their families better.

Other than the day to day with 3 kids under 5, I've been continuing research on how to best formalize the homeschooling we've been doing. Although, I operate on the premise that we teach our children from birth and I love, love the unschooling philosophies I feel we need a bit more structure. Since Maddy will be 5 in March (7 weeks, just as her!) I'm feeling more and more rushed to "figure" something out, especially as she's blossomed as a reader and has a knowledge of the human body that rivals a pre-med student! I think this will all settle itself out and Molly will be in college before I have it all figured out...

So .. there's the condensed version .. and I promise to post more soon!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

REI Nalgene Returns!

Thanks to the Suburban Wife's Daily Dollar Diary I've learned that REI will refund the price of all Nalgene bottles made from BPA purchased at their stores! Click the link to learn how she did it and without the receipts even!

This was great news to me since we got the girls Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp bottles for Christmas from REI .. in addition to the 3 or 4 other Nalgene bottles floating around the kitchen I've been looking at spending between $50 and $75 to replace these. With REI's awesome return policy I should be able to break even on the deal!

Now my question is do I go with the BPA Free Nalgene Grip 'n Gulp or do we make the transition to stainless bottles? My husband and I currently use the Sigg Sport Bottle and really like them, they seem to keep drinks colder longer and the Sigg Kids Bottles are super cute! Perhaps the narrow necks would make cleaning more difficult and having to make especially shape ice cubes may not be a great use of time but these may be more fun for the girls and luckily they're big water fans so these would only be used for that so no making fermented apple juice (hard cider anyone?) in left behind cups. However, the Sigg bottles run about $5 more per bottle than the Nalgene ... Hmm .. I guess we'll be taking a trip to REI next time we're headed to Ann Arbor and we'll let the kids decide!