Category Archives: parenting

BzzAgent: Comforts for Baby

I was recently able to review a variety of products from the Comforts for Baby brand, thanks to BzzAgent.  These products are exclusive to the Kroger family of stores.  No matter what stage your little one is in, Comforts for Baby has a product that’s right for you–they have a wide range of diapers, wipes, accessories and even food!

The first product I reviewed were the Spill-Proof cups.

Since I have a three year old who runs, never walks, anywhere, it was so great to be able to use a sippy cup with a lid!  These cups held just the right amount of liquid, not too much or too little.  I also loved the vibrant colors.  The only issue I had with these cups was that you had to screw the lid on just so or the cup would leak like crazy.  But other than that, I am glad to have discovered these sippy cups!

I also tried the Comforts Training Pants.

These are a GREAT value–the mega size with 58 in the package was priced at only $14.99!  Sometimes training pants that are not one of the national brands can fit a bit smaller.  But these fit great!  I actually got a size up than what my son wears in his clothing, and they turned out to be a little big.  We use these for nighttime since my son is completely trained during the day.  These training pants are super absorbent and don’t leak, even overnight.  The sides are super stretchy, and my son had no problems pulling them up or down to go potty.  The only issue I had with these was that the pants are a bit crinkly and loud when you put on a new pair, but that’s a minor thing since my son only wears them to sleep anyway.  I will definitely replace my other brand of training pants with Comforts!

The last product I tried was Comforts Baby Wipes.

Since we are potty trained, these wipes are used mainly to clean up hands and face when my son gets messy.  And they work perfectly for that!  They are strong and durable–I never had a wipe tear or poke my finger through one.  They are very soft, but tough.  And they are a great size.  I also like that they are fragrance free, so my son can eat right after I wipe his hands and I don’t have to worry about him licking weird fragrances off his fingers.

Overall, I think Comforts for Baby is a fantastic line!  They offer many essential products at an awesome value.  I will definitely be using many more of their products!

*Disclaimer:  I was sent these products to test because I am a member of BzzAgent.  I received no compensation besides the  products I tested, and my words and opinions are my own.

The Underside of Joy by Sere Prince Halverson: Goodreads Review

This was another novel I got from Net Galley.

The Underside of JoyThe Underside of Joy by Seré Prince Halverson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ella is perfectly happy living her small town life with her seemingly perfect husband and 2 young stepkids. That is until her husband drowns. While she is in the midst of grieving for her husband, she realizes there were some things he was hiding from her. Very important things that she cannot afford to lose after she’s already lost him–the store they ran, which has been open over 60 years, and most importantly, the two kids…whose birth mother is suddenly back in the picture after three years.

The two children were abandoned by their mother after the birth of 3 year old Zach. Ella came into the picture shortly after that, and for the past 3 years she has been the only mother the two kids have known. After her husband Joe’s funeral, the kids’ birth mother, Paige, shows up and seeks custody of them.

Ella, with the help of her loving band of friends and family, has to buckle down and turn her life around while she struggles to keep her stepkids and the store. There are plenty of rough moments and breakdowns along the way, but it all ends in a way that seems to work for everyone.

I was intrigued when I read the plot synopsis of this book on NetGalley. But the major conflict of the story, Paige showing up to get custody of the kids, doesn’t happen until halfway through the story. The first half is just Ella dealing with the sudden loss of Joe and trying to help the 6 and 3 year old kids cope as well. The plot moved quite slowly until the appearance of Paige, then it seemed to move in double time.

I liked the other characters in the story, but I felt they were somewhat stereotyped. A big, loud Italian mother in law? A tough, macho Italian father in law who refuses to talk about anything dealing with emotions? The gay best friend who is an awesome cook and wine connoiseur? Blah. I know Paige was supposed to be the villain of the story, but at least her background was somewhat interesting.

I’m still not sure how I felt about Ella. I couldn’t decide if she had a harder time with the loss of the kids than that of her husband, or if she lost it because the kids were the only things keeping her grounded after his loss. She seemed a little too naive to me at times, especially for someone of her age who had already been through a divorce.

Overall, I could feel both Paige’s and Ella’s pain because I am a mother, and I would hate to be in either one of their situations. But, this story was a bit too Lifetime movie for me. The writing was very flowery and descriptive, and sometimes I skipped over whole long paragraphs because they were simply (over)detailing the scenes. The book was just mediocre to me…I saw what was coming. I finished the book, and mostly it left me with a sense that this story has been done before.

View all my reviews

Things I’m Loving Lately

I had a really great, but BUSY Christmas season.  I have been baking and cooking up a storm, and spending lots of quality time with my family.  There are a few things I have discovered lately that I’m really loving, and I thought I’d share them with you today :)

Babycakes Cupcake Maker

I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond a couple of days ago and found this cupcake maker on the “As Is Merchandise” shelf.  It had been a display model, so it was marked down to $14.99 from $29.99, and I also had a 20% off coupon.  So I paid $13 for a $30 appliance!

The Babycakes lets you make 8 mini cupcakes at a time, and it only takes 5 minutes.  Using this really couldn’t be easier.  All you do is put the liners in, spoon a heaping tablespoon of cake batter into each cup, and let the machine work its’ magic for a few minutes.  This is perfect for when you just want a little sweet snack, and you don’t feel like turning on the oven.  I used this yesterday, and my three year old helped me decorate the cupcakes.

Pinterest

Yes, I was quite late getting onto the Pinterest train!  But now that I’m on it, I can’t believe how many great ideas and recipes I’ve already found.  People are so creative.  I think I joined Pinterest last Monday, and within a couple of days I had already made 3 recipes I had found on there!  How cute are these Santa hat pretzels that I made?

While I’m not one of those people who will spend hours and hours on Pinterest, I love that there’s always new inspiration to be found there whenever I need it.

Professor Layton and the Last Specter

This was a Christmas gift from my husband.  I LOVE this series and I have beaten all the previous games at least twice.  The Last Specter is the fourth game in the series, and serves as a kind of prequel to the previous three games.  I am about halfway done and the puzzles on this game are the most challenging yet.  I also love that there are more minigames in this one, so even when I beat the main story, I can still get hours of enjoyment from this game.

The Caster Chronicles

A couple of weeks ago I was stuck in bed with a stomach virus, and I read the entire 600 page Beautiful Creatures in about 15 hours.  I am currently in the middle of Beautiful Darkness.  The novels are set in the small Southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina, where everybody knows everybody’s business, and anybody different is not welcome.  So when the beautiful and mysterious Lena moves into town to live with her infamous recluse of an uncle, everybody takes notice…especially Ethan Wate, who is exasperated with his small town life since the death of his mother a few months prior.

I am liking this story because of the fact that the writers put so much detail into everything.  I hate YA books where everything just magically falls into place, and the love between the two main characters seems to happen instantly.  It’s just not realistic.  In the Caster Chronicles, events happen in a more leisurely pace, and I really like it that way.

I Am a Reader, Not a Writer

I Am a Reader, Not a Writer is a book blog I discovered a few weeks ago.  It is run by the awesome Kathy, and she hosts many blog hops and always has several giveaways going on!  I am hoping to be able to participate in a few of the blog hops in the upcoming year.

 

Let me know of anything you are loving lately!  Wishing all of my readers the best in the New Year!

What I’ve Been Up To…

So I’m not really sure if anyone is reading or checking this blog on a regular basis, but if you are, you may have noticed that I’ve been MIA for the last couple of weeks.  Some of this is because of Thanksgiving and spending time with family.  But mostly it’s because I haven’t mentally been up to posting anything new.  I’m hoping this will change very soon.

Without getting into it too much, I’ll just saying that I have been struggling a lot lately with anxiety (which I’ve been having for years), and more recently, depression…which I honestly had no idea I had.  I just knew I hadn’t been feeling like myself lately and wasn’t enjoying things in life the way I should have been.  After an ER visit a couple of weeks ago where I was having a panic attack, I talked to my regular doctor yesterday.  I’m going to be taking a couple of (expensive!) medications that I’m hoping will help me get slowly back to normal.

I actually have many people in my family on antidepressants, and for that reason I always thought I could handle things on my own–I was strong enough to not need to rely on medication.  I’m still a little angry at myself for needing to be on it.  But right now, if it can help me, I need to accept that fact and take it.  I just want to be the best person I can for my husband and especially my son.

I think there are a lot of stay at home moms who silently suffer from anxiety and/or depression.  It gets very repetitive doing the same things day after day after day, especially if you live in a small town like I do, where there’s nothing for you and your kids to do.  I know I am hardly ever alone, but I am also fortunate because I only have one child.  I think that moms with more kids may have it harder.

So, I’m sorry for not being myself the past couple of weeks and keeping up with the blog!  Hopefully my medicine will start helping soon, and I will try to post more.  It may be once a week, twice a week…but I will TRY.  I know I usually keep it lighthearted on here, but I really feel better now that I’ve put this into writing!  If you need help, or even think you might be in a little over your head, talk to your doctor.  Medication may not be the answer for you, but often just talking about your feelings can be.  As moms we have to be our best as all times :)

Do You Live with Chronic Pain?

I do.  I don’t think anyone knows about it except my husband.  But lately I feel like it has been getting worse and worse and I don’t know what to do about it.

It started a couple of years ago.  I was shopping in a grocery store, which have hard concrete floors of course.  I was wearing flip flops, and slipped in a puddle that was on the floor.  I fell on my back and my butt, HARD…onto the concrete.  I had x-rays done and everything.  They only showed a hairline fracture in the coccyx.

It actually took a couple of months before my back REALLY started hurting.  I fell in April, and starting going to physical therapy in July.  I went for about a month, and then stopped because my back pain was much better, almost nonexistent.  However, in the last few months, it has returned and is worse than ever before.

Every morning when I wake up, my back is SO stiff, and it hurts to get out of bed.  Every night when I go to bed, I lay on the heating pad for a while, but it only makes my back feel better while I am still laying on it.  I can’t lay on the heating pad all day though–I stay home with my son and I’ve gotta get up and be with him.  I am determined to stay away from prescription painkillers if at all possible.  So I’ve tried ibuprofen, aleve, tylenol, excedrin, et cetera.  Nothing helps.

Of course some days are worse than others–when we go somewhere and are walking all day long, by the end of the night my back hurts so bad I can hardly move.  I am glad my son is now 3, because it means much less picking him up, and I know that was not helping the situation.  But I know that I am not being the best possible mom I can be because of the pain I am in, and I feel horrible about it.

I’m only 26 years old and I feel like it will only get worse as I get older.  I really don’t want that to happen!  So I’d love any advice anyone can offer me!  We do have insurance, but I don’t think we can really afford for me to go back to physical therapy every week–and I think it would also be a temporary solution.  I have also thought about going to a chiropractor–but the pain is in my lower back soft tissue, not in my spine, and isn’t that what chiropractors deal with?  Maybe I should start exercising more but I am not sure if the pain would get worse or better.  I’m at a loss.

I’d really love to hear from anyone else who suffers from chronic pain of any kind.  How do you deal with it?  We all just want to feel well.  :)

 

Are You SURE It’s Just a Phase?

As a parent of a small child, there are some things you secretly hope he will never outgrow.  How he wakes up in the morning, races to your bed, and says, “Cuddle you, Mom.”  The adorable way he pronounces some of his sentences: “I’m berry hungee!”  The way he almost instantly falls asleep at night even though he protests when you put him to bed.

Then there are those things you can’t wait for him to be done with.  The fact that he pretty much has no concept of inside/outside voice, especially in public places…like church.  That even though you are done with diapers, he still calls you from the bathroom for you to come wipe his butt.  And the pickiness.  The. Freaking. Pickiness.

My son will be three next month, and it has been a battle for the last half of his life to get him to eat anything.  Every time I bring him to the pediatrician, she assures me that since his weight is fine and since  he is steadily growing, his eating habits are not affecting him.  “It’s just a phase toddlers have, he will grow out of it.”  I’m always told to keep him on his multivitamins to “stimulate his appetite.”  But his appetite itself is not the problem–lately I’ve been seeing him eat more and more of the foods he does eat…he’s just not trying anything new.

Nate has a VERY limited list of foods he will eat–I’d say maybe 30?  And most of that list is fruit.  I have been told by many parents, “Well you’re lucky there–my kid won’t even touch fruit!”  And I am by no means complaining because my child eats so much fruit.  I just wish he would eat the same things my husband and I eat, so we could have meals together.  When we go out to eat, we have to look at the menu online before we decide on a place to make sure they will have french fries–pretty much the only thing Nate will eat from a restaurant.  I’m sure ya’ll know this, but food culture is HUGE in the South, and even more so in Louisiana.  We have big family dinners probably once or twice a month, and when we go to eat at my family’s home, I have to either bring Nate’s own food, or call and make sure they have something in the fridge he will eat.  Everyone is fixing their plates and sitting down to eat,  while I’m in the kitchen cutting up a hot dog for my son.

Like most mothers, I feel at least somewhat at fault for Nathan’s eating habits.  Was I wrong for feeding him organic baby food as an infant instead of skipping to table food?  Maybe.  But he is my first and only child and I honestly did what I thought was best.  Since I am somewhat of a picky eater, is it possible that it could be genetic?  Who knows?  On the opposite end of the spectrum, my husband eats almost anything, so genetics may not be to blame.

I have been given so much advice, both solicited and unsolicited, that I honestly don’t know what to do about the problem anymore.  One thing I have heard again and again is, “If he doesn’t want to eat what you want to give him, just don’t give him anything else.  When he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat it.”  This sounds unnecessarily cruel–I refuse to ever starve my child.  On the other hand, it seems like he’s getting old enough to where this picky eating problem needs to come to a halt.  I continue  to try to feed him whatever my husband and I are having for dinner, but he refuses even a bite.  I can’t very well force the food into his mouth.

As it is now, we seem to be at a stalemate.  Nate has his 3 year checkup in a couple of weeks, and I’m anxious to hear what the doctor will have to say.  In the meantime, I’m open to any and all suggestions anyone else wants to give me!

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