Monday, January 19, 2015

Healthy Snack Review: Mum-Mums

Like most kids, my kids LOVE snacks.  Given the choice my oldest would survive solely on snack items and never eat another meal.  To get them to eat healthy, I do sometimes pretend that a banana is a “snack” but frequently they will tell me they want “something crunchy” (although they do love fruit).  When my oldest was a baby I remember a friend having these snacks called “Mum-Mums” so I was excited when the company asked me to do a review of some of their different products.  When the box came I was pleasantly surprised about all of the different options that are available for kids from 6 months to 5 years. 

What are Mum-Mums?  Their website shares that they are made of non-GMO Japonica rice as the base.  I checked out the ingredients of the various types before feeding them to my kids and was glad to see that frequently there were less than 5 ingredients and they were all things that I could identify and pronounce.  The baby versions were simple but delicious (I tried them all too ;)) and the toddler ones had fun flavors like strawberry banana and apple cinnamon (my 22 month old’s favorite).  One of the best parts of trying out this product was that it was easy to share.  We love having play date with our friends and since Mum-Mums are free of the most common allergens I knew we could share with everyone without worrying too much.  They are also conveniently individually wrapped so that you can just throw them into your diaper bag or purse and go!
Of course the real test is if my girls like them. The first ones we tried were the toddler strawberry ones and they were begging for more.  Over the next few days we tried out the other flavors and even the baby versions, all of which were a success.  I even had my niece over (11 months old) and she loved them, so it was a big hit all around.  My 3 year old even came home from church the next week upset that they didn’t have any Mum-Mums for snack time!
As a mom of course I like that they are non-GMO, organic, few ingredient snacks that my kids like but an unexpected positive that they aren’t so filling that they keep my kids from eating meals.  They are perfect for that late afternoon snack that keeps your kids from being hangry by dinner time but also doesn’t get in the way of meals.  Mommy rating: A+!
**Sample products were provided for my review, all opinions are my own**
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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jamberry Review and GIVEAWAY!

On this blog I love to cover natural parenting things; breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.  As parents committed to what is best for our babies we sometimes forget to do something nice for ourselves.  One of my favorite relaxing actives pre-parenthood was getting manicures and pedicures but as a mom of two little girls (who are now 3 years and 21 months old) I find that I am so busy that I don’t have the time or budget for this activity anymore. 
I thought I was destined to have boring hands until a friend introduced me to Jamberry a few months ago and it has been love ever since.  I love that in about 20 minutes I can have beautiful nails that can range from fun to professional.  These also are super durable and last 1-2 weeks for me even with all of my house hold chores, sewing, playing with my kids and typing on a computer at work.
Haven’t heard of Jamberry yet? Jamberry is a line of nail products that started as nail wraps (applied with heat and pressure) and has since expanded to nail care products and even nail lacquers. 

So the big question is how does this relate to a natural lifestyle?  While leaving your nails completely natural is obviously the best when it comes to avoiding chemicals, I think that Jamberry offers a very good option when you want to have nice looking nails.  Jamberry nail shields are non-toxic, cruelty free (not tested on animals), vegan and made in the USA.  The nail lacquer is also “5 Free” meaning that is free from 5 of the top toxic substances: Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor.  
Over the past few months I have tried out the shields and recently my friend Melanie who is a Jamberry consultant also provided me with a nail lacquer to try out, here is what I think of each one. 
I love the wraps because they are so easy and nail polish ALWAYS chips on me within about 24 hours.  They come in over 300 designs and I think most people like the really fun ones but because I work in a business setting I really prefer the more subdued ones.  I recently put on the French tips and they were pretty easy and they look amazing.  I also like that they are economical, each sheet is $15 on its own or are always buy 3 get 1 free making them $11.25 each.  From each sheet you can get about 3 manicures (or 2 manicures and 2 pedicures) plus have a few accent nails left over making the total cost per manicure $3.50-$4.  Jamberry also sells sets for children that are smaller wraps (and they sell Mommy and Me sets!).  My daughter is 3 and while she loved it when I put the nail wraps on her, because she wouldn’t let me prep her nails well they fell off within 24 hours so in my opinion waiting until you child is about 5 is probably better.  Overall though the nail wraps are my favorite Jamberry product because I love how easy they are, how nice they look and how well they last!  There is a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy.

For those moments when your nails need to match a cloth dipaer

Fun Holiday Nails

One of my favorites - Puppy Love!
I was excited to try the nail lacquer not only for myself but also for my daughter.  She loves having her nails painted so we paint them all the time with other child safe polish but it normally is completely gone within 12-24 hours.  I have always avoided painting her nails with regular polish because I don’t want her exposed to all of the chemicals so trying out the 5 Free Lacquer from Jamberry was a great solution.  For my 3 year old I put one layer of the Jamberry base coat and 2 layers of lacquer and it lasted for at least 3-4 days looking really good and a week later she still has a little bit of polish left. 

My Daughters Hand after 24 hours
For myself I tried out the lacquer a few different ways.  The first way I tried was with one layer of the Jamberry strengthening base coat and then 2 layers of the lacquer and then a topcoat I already had.  I also put an accent wrap on my ring finger to see how well the wrap kept up over the polish.  My nails are really weak at the tips so they chipped a little bit the first day, but I was surprised how well the polish held up over the next few days. I would say that it performs at least as well if not slightly better than regular polish.
Base Coat + Polish +Top Coat
The second way I tried it was with just two layers of the lacquer (no base or top coat).  Surprisingly the lacquer was really shiny on its own and lasted almost as long as with the base coat and top coat so I was really pleased that this could be an option for a quick fix. 

Two Layers of Polish
The last thing I tried was one layer of basecoat under some Jamberry wraps.  I loved this and will be putting the base coat under all my wraps!!!  For whatever reason it made the wraps really easy to apply, they seem to wear less and look really good for longer!  The only downside of using the base coat under wraps is that once you place the wrap you can’t lift it and try again because the base coat sticks to the wrap and will be peeled up.  Also if you use the basecoat under your wraps be sure to let it dry really well before you apply your wraps!!! 
French Tips over a Base Coat
Since I love my Jamberry wraps so much and since I really like using the basecoat under my wraps I have decided to do a giveaway of the basecoat.  Anyone that wants to try out Jamberry and places an order (here) before January 16th 2015 will be entered in a raffle for a free base coat!
If you would like to be kept up to date on any Jamberry information and specials make sure you like Melanie’s FaceBook page.
**post contains affiliate links**
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Monday, January 5, 2015

Diaper Trial Results: Grovia Hybrid Shell and Organic Cotton Insert

The Grovia All-In-One was one of the original diapers that I put through my diaper trial and it was also the first All-In-One style diaper that I ever tried (thus commenced my love of this style).  I had really good results with my Grovia All-In-One and I have wanted to try the Hybrid version for a while.  I love following Grovia, I think they make a great product and I love that they have partnered with Giving Diapers Giving Hope.  I also thought their Kickstarter campaign was brilliant and I can't wait to receive my O.N.E. diaper and put that through the trial!  For my test of the hybrid diaper I selected the Organic Cotton soaker pads since I prefer natural materials.

Results of the Diaper Trial:
Number times of uses: 15
Number of leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Big Booty factor: 3
Best Use: naps, travel, out and about

* Very unique colors and patterns
* TPU backed inserts makes it so your hands don't get wet with diaper changes
* Soaker snaps in at front and back of cover

* Might not fit skinnier babies (snap shell version)

Overall this was a great diaper.  I only had 2 leaks out of the 15 uses and one was really tiny (after 1.5 hours) and the other one was right after I put the diaper on so I think it was a fluke.  I love All-In-Two or Hybrid style diapers because they are more economical and for me if you are going to reduce waste it just make sense to be able to reuse the shell.  Like all of the AI2 diaper that I have tried, I am able to use the shell until my baby poops and then I like to use a new shell.  One of the great features of the Grovia Soaker pads is that they are backed with TPU.  I noticed that this served a few functions, first it contains the moisture and keeps the shell from getting wet but it also makes it so that when I am transporting the used soaker pad to my diaper pail that I don't have to touch a wet insert. 

I was very happy with the inserts but I also liked the cover as well.  I used the cover when I tried out the disposable inserts, including the Grovia BioSoaker, a few weeks ago as well as with other inserts/flats and was pleased with them all.  My only concern with the cover is that my 23 pound, 21 month old alternates between the tightest waist snap and the next snap down so I would be concerned that it might not fit on a skinny or very young baby.  My girls are tall and skinny though so this may not be a problem or might only be a problem for a very select few. 

I loved this diaper so much that I definitely plan on buying more covers and inserts in the future.  I love all of the fun colors and patterns that Grovia comes up with and I have yet to try a product of theirs that I don't like.    Have you tried Grovia Diapers?  What is your favorite Grovia product?
 **Support future diaper trials by purchasing through the affiliate links within this post**
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