May 26, 2017

Magical "Fun In The Sun" Educational Giveaway

Magical "Fun In The Sun" Educational Giveaway ~ 1 Winner (Ends 6/16)

Deliciously Savvy is hosting a giveaway in which one lucky winner will receive a My Fairy Garden™ Magical Cottage ($30 RV) plus a Num Noms Lights Freezie Pop Maker with Food Playset ($22 RV). This is a super fun and educational giveaway that is perfect for the Summer months! Enter Today To Win and Good Luck To You!


Sponsored By:

Play Monster

&

Num Noms


Hosted By:

Deliciously Savvy


Co-Hosted By:

Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews // Missy's Views and Savings Clues // Easter Babe's Theory // Cats in the Cradle Blog // My Silly Little Gang // Michigan Saving and More // Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains // Capri's Coupons // PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies

Plus a big thank you to all of the amazing blogs helping to promote this giveaway to their amazing readers!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Details:

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive a My Fairy Garden™ Magical Cottage ($30 RV) + a Num Noms Lights Freezie Pop Maker with Food Playset ($22 RV)!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And Now To The Giveaway!

Giveaway Dates: 05/26/2017 9 PM EST until 06/16/2017 11:59 PM EST
Entrants must be 18 years old to enter and giveaway is open to US residents Only
Any Questions Email Me At mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com.
This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook,
Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway is valid only
in the United States. Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter.
This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM (EST) on 06/16/2017.

Good Luck Everyone! Enter Below.


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Deliciously Savvy did not receive any form of compensation for this giveaway. Once a winner is selected via the Giveaway Tools process, the winner will be notified. The winner has 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. No other blog associated with this giveaway is responsible for the product shipment. Play Monster and Num Noms will be providing the prizes above to the winner and please allow up to 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. Thank You for stopping by! Any Questions or Concerns email me at mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Is a Diaper Sprayer Necessary?

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. Any purchase you make using these links supports this site.

In my previous post "5 Cloth Diaper Must Haves" I had mentioned that you do not need a diaper sprayer, and while that is still true, we ended up getting a diaper sprayer and now I wish we had gotten one sooner!

Elsa started solids around four months, but we stopped a little while after when it became clear that she was not as ready as we had thought. She drools a lot, has great head control, and loves watching us eat, but she won't open her mouth wide enough for a spoon. Feeding her the watery oatmeal was a mess and she was not getting much down, so we decided we would stop and try again later.

However, because she had started solids, we now have to wash her poopy diapers before putting them in the wash. We did not have a diaper sprayer for two weeks, so I used the dunk and swish method. I then tried using fleece liners, which made it easier to dunk and swish, but it was still time-consuming and a hassle, so we broke down and purchased a diaper sprayer.

While you do not need a diaper sprayer, it is the best thing ever for washing poop off diapers! I wish I had gotten one before Elsa was born as it would have been awesome for the postpartum period. The hospital gave me a peri bottle, which was great and all, but the diaper sprayer would have worked awesome for that as well, and would not have needed constant refilling.

We ended up purchasing the SmarterFresh Cloth Diaper Sprayer on Amazon as it had the best reviews. The downside was we had to wait for it to be shipped, but Home Depot and Menards only offered one hand held bidet, both of which were quite pricey and had no reviews. Bidets just are not that popular in America like they are in Europe.

My husband installed the diaper sprayer with no problem and we have had no leaks, so I highly recommend the SmarterFresh Sprayer if you do plan on getting a diaper sprayer.

If you do get a diaper sprayer, you will also want a spray shield, such as the Spray Pal, otherwise, you will be getting poop and water everywhere as in order to clean the diaper well, you will want full force. Some people have made their own using a plastic garbage can and cutting off the bottom, but we like the spray pal as it folds up and it has a nice big clip to hold the diaper on for you.

If you want to be eco-friendly, then I highly recommend the diaper sprayer instead of using disposable liners or fleece liners. Fleece liners have to be rinsed and washed before going in the washer, but I know many parents will often toss a fleece liner if it gets really soiled because fleece is cheap. However, fleece is not biodegradable, so you are just adding to the landfill if that is the method you choose.

If you are okay with cleaning poopy diapers with rubber gloves and using the dunk and swish method, or even using a spatula, then you do not need a diaper sprayer.

We like to make things easier so we bought a diaper sprayer, but we also figured we would find other use for it, like maybe actually use it as a bidet! I had my first cycle since having Elsa a couple weeks ago. The doctor was not lying when she said it would be heavy and the diaper sprayer worked great for that! So even if you are not cloth diapering, I recommend it for the ladies known to have heavy periods as it makes clean up a breeze!

You can purchase the SmarterFresh Cloth Diaper Sprayer and the Spray Pal Spray Shield at Amazon using the links below!



Attribution: Image used in blog post photo does not belong to me and was found on Pixabay.




May 19, 2017

What Does Labor Feel Like?

Every new mom has this question, but the problem is that there are no clear cut answers as it varies for everyone. Even when I was in labor, I was not positive I was in labor, but I knew something was up.

Here is how my labor went and though it may not be the same for you, it will give you some tips on what to look for.

On December 23, 2016, I was having a contraction about once an hour, because they were so short and so far apart, I dismissed them as Braxton hicks. I also had some slight spotting and a lot of discharge, nothing looked like a mucus plug, but guessing now that I was losing pieces of it all day, so I never got the big disgusting glob that some women do.

Then on December 24, 2016, I woke up at around 2 a.m. to what I thought were really bad cramps, which then I thought was an upset stomach as I kept having to run to the bathroom. When I felt I had completely emptied my system, the cramps still continued and so I started timing them around 3 a.m. and noticed that they were occurring almost every 1-2 minutes and lasting 30-50 seconds, so I woke my husband realizing that maybe my cramps were actually contractions.

We called the hospital around 4 a.m. and the on-call doctor told us to wait another hour to see if they would subside, but they did not and only got more intense, so at 5 a.m. we headed to the hospital with the idea that it was better to be safe. After all, the worst thing that could happen is we get sent home. However, when we got there, we discovered I was already 6 cm. dilated! The baby was coming!

Shortly after arriving at the hospital, my contractions got way more intense. I could not stand and I was too exhausted from the pain to even move. At one point I did manage to lay on my side, but I ended up on my back for the birth. Everyone said you would feel the pain in your back or abdomen, but all my pain was in my thighs, so I was not prepared for that! I never knew you could feel labor pains in your thighs as no one ever mentioned it. Luckily, the nurse knew what to do to alleviate the pain, which was pressing down hard on my thighs. She showed this to my doula, and then my doula took over.

I went in with planning not to have an epidural, but I ended up begging for one. However, my labor was so fast that by the time they were ready with the epidural, I was ready to push, so I ended up having the birth I wanted and though I was upset at the epidural people at the time because I was in so much pain, I am now glad that they did take so long!

My water also did not break until just before my baby girl crowned, so do not count on your water breaking to let you know labor is starting! It is a common thing television shows and movies like to show, but only around 15% of women actually have their water break before labor (source).

Baby girl arrived at 8:10 a.m. on Christmas Eve, so my labor was just a little over six hours! However, that was probably just the active portion, as now I know that those "Braxton hicks" I thought I was having, were probably actual contractions and part of the beginning labor.

For a first time mom, I was super lucky to have such a quick labor and I have no idea how those women with 30 or 40-hour labors survive! Six hours was exhausting enough! Kudos to you and for anyone who is currently pregnant, may your labors be short!

I just want to reiterate that not all labors are the same, so what I experienced, you may not. Here are a list of resources for those want to know how to know they are in labor and what the signs of labor are:


Feel free to share your labor and birth story in the comments!

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May 12, 2017

Girls, Fashion, and Sex - One Mom's Turmoil

As a mom to a baby girl, there are many things I worry about when it comes to raising her in today's world, and one of them, unfortunately, is clothing. What is okay or not okay for her to wear? How will I be judged for dressing her? How will she be judged later on when she gets to choose?

Just recently I participated in a conversation with another mom who was upset by finding only short shorts (also known as "shorties") for girls at Walmart. She was upset with society sexualizing little girls. Yet, this same mom was planning on going to Hooters for a free Mother's Day meal (oh the irony!). For those who don't know what Hooters is, it basically is a restaurant that relies on "sexy" women to make a profit (after all there are plenty of restaurants that sell crappy burgers and wings without scantily clad waitresses), not really a family friendly place in my opinion. 

Her argument was that because the women who worked for Hooters are "adults" that have made "informed" decisions about what to do with their body, that it is okay for Hooter girls to wear "provocative" clothing, while a little girl relies on her parents to buy her clothing, and thus shorties were not okay. (She was also upset about the lack of choice, but I'll get to that later.)

I should make it clear that I am not a fan of Hooters. I do not support anything that only values women for their beauty, including modeling and cheerleading. It is easy to claim that these women choose to do these things and thus it is okay, but most of these women probably grew up thinking that all they were good for is being objectified by men. 

Basically, the cycle works like this: Little girl sees a Hooters waitress, a Victoria Secret model, or even just everyday women walking down the street in mini skirts and high heels; she gets the impression that this is what society likes about girls. The little girl then wants to be like these "beautiful" women thinking that women are only valued for their looks and next thing you know she's working at Hooters or worse a strip club, and the cycle repeats. 

An APA Study came to this conclusion after researching the effect of media on young girls: 
"The evidence reviewed in this section demonstrates that women and girls are more likely than men and boys to be objectified and sexualized in a variety of media outlets (including television, magazines, sports media, and music videos), in advertising, and in several products that are marketed to children."
Though they did not look at restaurants, I think it is safe to say that Hooters would leave a pretty big impression on young girls.

However, I found myself surprisingly upset with the idea that a little girl can't wear shorties or even a mini skirt without being sexualized. This totally contradicts my feelings towards Hooters.

I am a modest person. I prefer to wear clothing that does not show anything. Even when I wear dresses or skirts long enough to cover my butt, I still wear biker shorts underneath as a precaution. Also, for the short time I breastfed, I never did so in public. (Just to give you an idea about how modest I am.) Yet here I was arguing for the right for a little girl to wear a mini skirt or shorties, even though I probably would never dress my daughter in that.

So why was I so upset that this mom was frustrated with clothing for little girls? For one thing, it felt as if she was blaming the parents or little girls for their clothing choices, and not the boys and men that are sexualizing and objectifying them. After all, what is so wrong with shorties or mini skirts? They are still covering, not as much, but since when was showing leg an issue? It is not like she is going topless, which then got me thinking, why is it okay for a boy to go shirtless but not a little girl? Girls don't get breasts until puberty, and even then why can't a woman go topless (breastfeeding seems to be the only exception) while a man can?

This quote from the Odyssey article, "Stop Sexualizing Little Girls," really hit home for me:
"We are teaching little girls that being "modest" is more important than their education. We are teaching them that wearing shorts when it's hot out is wrong. We are teaching them that boys can wear whatever they want, but girls can't."
Though the author is referring to school dress codes and how they are sexist, this applies to what I am talking about. Instead of blaming little girls for wearing shorties or mini skirts, or whatever clothing they choose to wear, we should be teaching boys not to ogle and punish men who do.

Parents like to say by putting little girls in "sexy" clothing, that they are only encouraging pedophiles, rapists, and other creeps, but that's not the case as this Washington Post article states (I highlighted the important parts):
"It’s a common argument that invariably boils down to the same nonsense: If the victims were different, they wouldn’t have been victimized. It’s a comforting myth, guaranteed to make it easy to pretend that sexual assault is something that only happens to people who make bad choices. It’s also a myth that has been thoroughly debunked by the Justice Department, RAINN and many other organizations. A Federal Commission on Crime of Violence study found that just 4.4 percent of all reported rapes involved “provocative behavior” on the part of the victim. (In murder cases, it’s 22 percent.) It also found that most convicted rapists could not remember what their victims were wearing. Studies show that women with passive personalities, who tend to dress in layers, long pants and sleeves and high necklines, are actually more likely to be raped. In one study, 1 in 3 college men said that they would force someone to have sex if they could get away with it, and that has nothing to do with clothing."
Clothes have nothing to do with sexual assault! A pedophile or rapist isn't going to care what the kid is wearing. They are looking for an easy target!

It is not the clothes fault that a little girl is sexualized, but the boy or the man's fault for ogling them! Let's stop blaming the clothing, and start focusing on the real problem. We need to teach boys that objectifying women is not okay, no matter what they are wearing, and places like Hooters are just not helping.

What makes clothing "sexy?" Why are shorties sexy, but not cargo pants? Why is a bikini sexy, but not a one piece? I hate using the word"sexy" for clothing. It's as if we are saying that someone who chooses to wear a sweater and slacks is not as attractive as someone who wears a tight little black dress. "Sexy" is arbitrary as it depends on who you ask. Let's say that instead of shorties being sexy that boot cut jeans all of a sudden became the next "sexy" thing, would we stop dressing our little girls in jeans then? Or if all of a sudden turtlenecks are the next hot thing, would we ban little girls from wearing those too?

I don't think a girl or a woman should be judged by their clothing choices. There was a time when we didn't even wear clothes! We were all naked! This is where I think babies are lucky. They are allowed to be naked. They don't have to worry about what they are wearing. Half of the time they don't even wear pants; they get to wear onesies! Yet if an adult wears a onesie (also known as a bodysuit) it is seen as "inappropriate." Does this mean we should start covering our babies more?


Baby in bodysuit VS woman in bodysuit

Now I know a lot of people love to point out the lack of clothing options for girls that do not "sexualize" them, but I did my own searching and found tons of options! (You can view my findings at the bottom of this post.) Personally, I don't see how clothes can "sexualize" a girl as they are kids! They aren't meant to be attractive, so it shouldn't matter what they wear.

Also in a Live Science article, "30% of Girls' Clothing Is Sexualized in Major Sales Trend," this is what researchers found:
"Of all clothing items, 31 percent had sexualizing features, the researchers found. Most of these, about 86 percent, had childlike characteristics combined with sexy characteristics. Abercrombie Kids was the worst offender, with 72 percent of clothes featuring a sexualizing aspect. Neiman Marcus boasted about 38 percent sexualized clothing. 
Child-only stores like Gymboree tended to do well, though older girls might think of those stores as babyish, Murnen said. Target was one of the better stores, with 80 percent of their girls' clothes falling in the "childlike" category."
This shows that, yes there are "sexy" clothes, but there are still other options, and honestly 30% is not a lot, but I'm guessing these type of people think there shouldn't be any, so they like to amp it up like it's 90% of clothes, when the reality is there are options. I am not a fan of this article in general as "sexy" is a matter of opinion, so I am curious as to what all these clothing items were and what made them "sexy," but it basically proved my point that there are options.

Just as I choose not to go to Hooters because I see it as degrading towards women and sexist towards men (Hooters doesn't let men be waiters because they lack breasts, which is apparently an important aspect to Hooters waitstaff), parents have the ability to choose not to buy clothing they think is inappropriate. If Walmart only has shorties for girls, then go to a different store! If Walmart is the only store in your area, then order online, make your own, or go to local garage sales. Or hey, why not shop in the "boys" department? (But I won't go into the whole gendered clothing issue as that could be a whole post in itself!)

However, as I have said earlier, the clothing isn't the problem. It is the way we label women for the clothing they wear. It is the stereotypes that are problematic. A woman who wears a hoodie and sweats shouldn't be seen any less sexy than a woman who wears a low cut shirt and tight skirt. The fact that society sees one over the other as sexy is the problem.

So where do I stand now? Am I a hypocrite because I dress my daughter in what many would call "modest" clothing, but yet here I am ranting on about how shorties and mini skirts for girls are totally fine. Or would I be more of a hypocrite if I wore these things but refused to dress my daughter in them?

I think many moms of little girls face these dilemmas and I think we all have different ways of addressing these issues. For me I feel it would be wrong to dress my child in something I wouldn't wear, so yes that may make my choices more "modest," but that doesn't mean when she is old enough to pick her own clothes I am going to be helicoptering all her choices. I will, unfortunately, have to explain the implications of those choices that society has set in place, so she can make her own informed decision on what she wants to wear. I would like to think by then, society would be a little less concerned about women's clothing choices and more concerned about her intellect, but I think that might be a far of dream.

~~~


Here are some examples of various clothing at different stores with plenty of options for little girls. I chose not to focus on baby clothes because as I mentioned above, a baby gets a free pass to be naked and can go without pants, so I only looked at the toddler and girl's sections, but I am sure there are just as many options in the baby section as well.

Old Navy Toddler Girl Swimwear
This showcases two "extremes." The pink two piece on the left would probably be considered too "sexy" for a toddler, while the one on the right, basically covers everything. Honestly the two piece shown here and on most girls, tends to cover way more than the bikini's they make for women, so I honestly don't see the issue, but for those who do, you do have a choice!


 


Target Toddler Girls Swimwear
Here I wanted to show that not all two pieces are "revealing" and many do "cover up," but yes Target also has bikini's and one pieces for both toddler girls and girls.


Target Toddler Girl Shorts
I selected a few just to show that there are different lengths being offered at Target for girls. The top left image is probably what many would refer to as a shortie (but honestly I see nothing wrong as her butt is fully covered!), but the rest look like normal length in my opinion.

 

Kohl's Girls Swimwear
What I found unique about these two outfits was that they were being sold as a 3 piece set, so girls have the option of more coverage or less coverage.


Kohl's Girl Shorts (left) and Toddler Girls Shorts (right)
This was just to show that there are longer shorts available to girls, not just shorties, though Kohl's had those too, of course.


Sources

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May 5, 2017

Love Being a Kid Giveaway

Sponsored By:  

Safety Tat, The Magic Of My Name, ZumoepBuzz, ChanteurCozy PhonesMy Bright Family, and My Grandmother, Mi Abuela


Hosted By: 

Love, Mrs. Mommy

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive Over $230 worth of goodies!!

Plus half of the prizes are Winner's Choice! Details are listed under the descriptions...


Safety Tat

For nearly a decade, Safety Tat has been America’s leading choice for ensuring safe returns.
Their proven, award-winning temp-tattoo and labeling solutions not only provides a fun level of security for your little ones, but peace of mind for Moms and Dads as well. And SafetyTat offers a wide range of flexible products to fit your needs for literally any occasion. Winner can choose any 6-pack of write-on tats, a $10.99 RV!


The Magic Of My Name

In this book, each name generates a unique and fully customized story for each child. No matter if the boy or girl is called Carl, Mary, Egoitz or Brianna, everyone will have a book for their name! In addition, you can edit the physical characteristics of the main character of the story for free. You can also include a personal dedication without additional costs. Winner will receive a personalized copy of The Magic Of My Name, a $29.99 RV!


Zumoe

Zumoe's Mouthguard and Pacifier Cases add pizzazz to your very important items. The Carabiner assures safety in finding your mouth guard or pacifier a snap and the ID tag is a helpful feature. Other great uses for these cases include storage for your retainer, barrettes, jewelry and all the little things that mean a lot to you. Winner will receive a case of their choice up to an $19.99 RV!


pBuzz

Designed by a team of British musicians the pBuzz is a completely new musical instrument. The brightly colored, light and smooth curved edged product has been designed specifically for mini musicians’ little hands. Simple and easy to play the mouthpiece makes it the perfect introduction to brass playing for early learners. Winner will receive a pBuzz instrument, a $29.95 RV!


Chanteur

Chanteur started out by selling a few products to local shops, but has since expanded to produce and sell thousands of jewelry items per year. We can honestly say our brand represents a line of jewelry that is world-class, and is a perfect choice for the ones you love most. Winner will receive any item of their choice from their website, worth a retail of $94.95!


Cozy Phones

CozyPhones is a small family-owned business that started off by selling sleeping headphones on Amazon, then developed their own brand of fun, comfortable, kids headband headphones called CozyPhones™. They are a veteran owned, U.S. based business and promise a 100% satisfaction with their products. Winner's choice of any in stock kids headphones, a $24.95 RV!


My Bright Family 

​Teaching our children to be polite and have manners is very important. From the time my daughter was very little (yes, even younger than now, hehe), I always made sure to incorporate “please” and “thank you” into her daily routine. Now that my daughter is older, there is this great placemat to help teach her how a place setting looks and helps keep her place at our table clean. This adorable and very helpful placemat was made by My Bright Family, and was definitely a bright idea! Winner will receive a 60-pack of placemats! A $9.99 RV! Read more of my review here!
My Grandmother, Mi Abuela is a Bilingual children's picture book. My Grandmother, Mi Abuela celebrates the relationship a Granddaughter has with her Grandmother. As they both grow, the unconditional love they share for one another shines through the pages.This heartwarming story is sure to make you want to hold your own Grandmother closer. Winner will receive a copy of My Grandmother, Mi Abuela, a $10.99 RV!

Open To US - Must be 18+ to enter 
Giveaway Dates ~ 5/5 12:01 AM EST through 5/31 11:59 PM EST 

Remember we love it if you "like" us on Facebook or "follow"  us via other social media (black circles located in side bar at the top of this blog), but it is not required!

Good Luck Everyone!

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received products at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to reply before a new winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.

May 1, 2017

$50 HearthSong Gift Certificate Giveaway

Sponsored By: HearthSong

Hosted By: Love, Mrs. Mommy

Winner Will Receive: 

A $50 Gift Certificate to HearthSong! 

HearthSong began in 1983 and has been committed to helping parents find age-appropriate, wholesome, high-quality playthings ever since. They select and design the best in kid-powered, screen-free toys and games that the whole family can enjoy! Can I get a high-five?! My sweetpea loves princesses, fairies, and the magical world in which they live. With this in mind, I was inspired to put together a big-girl room, for my up-and-coming three year old!

Click here to read Love, Mrs. Mommy's full HearthSong Review!

Open To US and must be 18+ to enter
Giveaway Dates ~ 5/1 9:00 AM EST through 5/15 11:59PM EST

Disclosure: Love, Mrs. Mommy and all participating bloggers are not held responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill their prize obligations. Love, Mrs. Mommy received HearthSong products at no cost to facilitate the above-mentioned review. This giveaway is in no way endorsed or sponsored by Facebook or any other social media site. The winner will be randomly drawn by Giveaway Tools and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to reply before a replacement winner will be drawn. If you would like to participate in an event like this please contact LoveMrsMommy (at) gmail (dot) com.