Friday, January 2, 2015

Get Fit on a Limited Budget

**This post contains affiliate links.
In a perfect world, we could all afford gym memberships, personal trainers, nutritionists, and more. Heck, maybe you only dream of being able to order Shakeology and the various Beachbody programs out there. And that's ok! You don't need ANY of that to get into better shape. Those are just perks.
Some of you are probably like me, just getting by. And I know we can't afford to spare money on a bunch fitness programs that may or may not get completed.
If you have absolutely zero money to spare, don't sweat it! You don't need expensive programs, diet products, or even a scale to get into better shape.
Start by simply moving more. I won't say "eat less" because I don't know your diet. If you're a calorie counter, throw out the "1200 calorie" expectation, and check out a personalized calorie calculator that takes into account your weight, height, and how active you are. I like the IIFYM calculator. You can join a free website like MyFitnessPal to keep track of your intake while also keeping track of your activities. Be aware that MFP's estimates (for calorie intake and for calorie burn) are simply estimates.
Free activities you can do to get active are going for walks, running (check out the free program/application C25K if you're not a runner), playing games with your kids, or even weight lifting. Right now, you might be thinking that you can't afford weights. That's OK! Do you have a child? They can be used as a weight. So can bottles or jugs of water, or pieces of furniture.

Some free workout plans include, but are not limited to the following:

Some inexpensive workout plans include the following:
Biggest Loser: Weight Loss Yoga

One of my resolutions is to actually complete all of the programs I currently have. The only one I've finished is 30 Day Shred, which gave me great results! Then I got pregnant. So now that Oliver is about 9 months old, it's beyond time to get back on the wagon. I'll be starting with PiYo, which I bought last summer.

If you've resolved to lose weight or get fit this year, how do you plan on getting there?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt (10/15-10/31)

Welcome to The Great Pumpkin Scavenger Hunt! Halloween is right around the corner so Cloth Diaper Addicts and some blogging buddies decided that it would be fun to do a fabulously spooky giveaway with a twist!

Hidden around our blogs, there’s a jack o’ lantern or two. Find the jack o’ lantern and enter it in the Rafflecopter form for 10 points! Not to worry, every good scavenger hunt comes with hints to find the goodies. One lucky winner will come away with a brand new bumGenius Freetime Jules!
This giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States and Canada, ages 18 and up. Here’s your hints. And don’t forget to come back for the daily entries to increase your odds of winning! Good luck!

Don’t forget to visit Thinking About Cloth Diapers and The Parenting Patch, too, for more daily entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Simple Homemade Play Dough: Halloween Style

Last week, our playgroup was cancelled because the room we use was unavailable. I had made some play doh to take and test out. Instead, I got together with a couple friends to let the kids play with it.
I made four different recipes. Two were no cook, and the other two stove top. My big mistake was trying to multitask and do it all at once, but everything turned out ok.

The first recipe was Pumpkin Spice Marshmallow Dough, which is technically a fondant. This one involves no cooking and is edible, so I enlisted my toddler to help. Evan was excited. I started by putting the ingredients together and getting them somewhat mixed, then I handed the bowl over so I could get started on the next one.

The next recipe for was Night Sky Play Dough. It was supposed to be astronomy themed, but I figured black with glitter could totally be Halloween. I wanted to keep it fairly edible since the playgroup is for younger kids (most are under 18 months), so I used Wilton black gel food coloring for a pure black.
Now, this is where I got frazzled. I was busy at the stove when I noticed Evan dumped all of the flour into the marshmallow dough. I obviously had to take care of what I was doing first, but then I scooped out as much flour as I could salvage. What I did get out of it, I figure I can use to make a cloud dough some time soon.

I couldn't get all of it, and I knew I had to moisten the dough somehow. My first thought was coconut oil. Don't do that. I did, and while it turned out fine, it reacts with the other play doughs by seeping. It was fine at the time, and even a few days later, but within minutes of being smashed into the other play doughs it got gooey and sticky. I can't wait to try it again and see how it it supposed to turn out.

When I turned back to the black play dough, I was worried I had ruined it. It wasn't well mixed, so I just did the rest by hand after it cooled.
 Then I added in the glitter.

When I made the third dough, it went a lot smoother. I made sure I had all the ingredients together before starting, and got my husband to keep an extra eye out so I could focus. The third recipe was Pumpkin Pie Scented Dough, and believe me, it smelled amazing. I threw in a bit of extra spice, and the color came out perfect I think.

Lastly, I made the commonly found conditioner/cornstarch play dough (recipe here), but used lotion from the dollar store instead of conditioner. This one was pretty fun. I split it in half, keeping some white, and dying the rest neon green. A few days later when I went to use it, it had become crumbly at first. I can't describe the texture. I probably should have used more lotion, to be honest. One person hated it and compared it to player, while another loved it. I loved it too. I'll try it again with more lotion some time and see how that turns out.
Meanwhile, Evan started decorating the Marshmallow dough with fake leaves I had laying around. Such a creative kid. He was having a blast with that fondant.

When we brought them all out to a friends house a few days later, Evan's favorite way to play with it all was to smush all the types together and cut it. I had brought some other objects to play with, but he preferred to keep it simple.

My favorites were the two stovetop recipes, of course, while the others loved the marshmallow dough. The kids and moms enjoyed tasting it. Even Oliver, who is currently doing baby-led weaning and loving food, got to taste the play dough.

Have you tried making your own play dough at home? What's your favorite recipe?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Diaper & Go Giveaway

Welcome to the Diaper & Go Giveaway
If you're a cloth diapering mama chances are when you go out you love to show off your adorable diapers. When heading out to the doctor or to a friends house you usually pick the cutest ones. Here's your chance to add them to a gorgeous wet bag you can take anywhere you go! Maxwell Designs is Canada's leading purse & accessory designer. Maggie, the creative genius behind Maxwell Designs, makes the cutest most versatile purses and accessories around. You will not only find amazing purses but some of the cutest prints around. Check out some of the fun wet bags you'll find at her store!
Courtesy of Maxwell Designs
 Need a purse or a clutch? Maxwell Designs has you covered :)londontotetrio_grande
Courtesy of Maxwell Designs
 Aren't all of them gorgeous? Here's your chance to win your very own Maxwell Designs wetbag along with 3 BumGenius 4.0 Cloth diapers! One winner will get their choice of 3 solid color Bum Genius 4.0 diapers in their choice color and a Surprise Maxwell Designs wet bag chosen by Maggie herself! This giveaway is open to US & CA and ends on 10/27 at 11:59pm. Good luck!!
Disclosure: This giveaway is in no way associated with, sponsored, administered, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest or any other social media network. All opinions and experiences are Conservamoms. Open to US & Canada must be 18+. Confirmed Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be drawn. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of the giveaway. Conservamom will be responsible for prize fulfillment. The disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. For questions or to see your product featured in an Event you can contact Elia At Conservamom

Maggie has graciously offered 15% off all wet bags from today until October 16th - code "giveaway15"

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Newborn Diapers - Do I really need them?

My newborns only come in size large. Evan was just over 8 pounds at birth and Oliver was exactly 10 pounds. However, I bought and used newborn diapers with both boys, and I will use them again with any future babies.
With Evan, I bought mostly used. We didn't have much money, and I knew I wanted to use cloth right away. I had prefolds, some newborn covers, Kissaluv size zero fitteds, one work at home mom fitted, and a size one all-in-two that was discontinued before I ever got it. I also had size small BumGenius all-in-one's and a couple Kawaii pure and natural. Spoiler alert: I gave the Kawaii away because they never fit right.
Evan fit in his newborn diapers for months, which I attribute to his slow weight gain. While he gained a pound in a week at the beginning due to formula supplementation, after that he only gained 2 oz by a month old. So there really is no surprise that he was leaking in one-size diapers until around 3 months old. BumGenius 4.0 were the first to fit out of our one size diapers at the time.
My newborn diaper stash as I prepared to have a second baby, not including prefolds. We had gotten rid of many after Evan outgrew them.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant with Oliver, I got started buying newborn diapers again. I ordered quite a few from a co-op to start with. Then with sales I picked up some Thirsties size one shells and Grovia's old style newborn diapers. I also added Grovia prefolds, a few work at home mom fitteds, and finally Applecheeks. Oh, Applecheeks, where have you been all of my diapering days? Prior to this, I only had one size two AC for my toddler. I didn't have any Applecheeks until around when Oliver was born. His first Applecheeks diaper was an Easter gift, since he was an April baby.
One other thing I bought after finding out I was pregnant was newborn wool shorties, but we didn't use them. They are by a discontinued work at home mom line, Monkey Snuggles, and in girly colors. We decided to save them for our someday girl as they aren't easily replaceable. If Monkey Snuggles hadn't closed up shop, we would have used them though. I have no shame putting my boys in pink and other "girly" things.
Less than a day old, wearing a newborn co-op diaper.

All of these newborn diapers fit Oliver when he was born. The ones that didn't last very long were all-in-one diapers from the co-op and Grovia. By the time Oliver got back up to birth weight, he was leaking out of the newborn diapers. He was growing like a week, so unlike Evan! I would be willing to try the newer Grovia newborns next time, because I love Grovia, but I'm only planning on keeping one of the ones we already have, because I love the print. I already sold the co-op diapers.

About three weeks old wearing Applecheeks size 1 on the left, and a one size Flip cover over a prefold on the right.
So by a month old, Oliver was wearing one size diapers along with his size ones and prefolds. However, he was limited in what one size diapers he could wear, between some of our stash having relaxed elastics, and big brother's desire to wear diapers forever.
I'm definitely keeping the Thirsties shells, and probably getting more, as well as the prefolds. Those lasted us months, and then I only quit using them because I was worried about over use. The newborn prefolds still occasionally come out to clean up big brother's pee accidents, or be used as a doubler. They are so versatile. I really really love Grovia's bamboo prefolds. I went and bought the next size up too, despite having a whole stash of Econobum. That is how much I liked them.
Oliver around 3 months old, wearing Applecheeks size 1.

Another one I'll be using next time around are Applecheeks. I love them. The transition from size one to size two isn't the best, but the size one fit so well, for so long. I retired these at the same time I retired my Thirsties shells because Oliver had a couple blow outs. I had never experienced cloth blow outs before. I did learn that if I double checked the rise and the legs each time I put them on, there wouldn't be leaks, but as big brother started potty training, we no longer needed the extra diapers in our rotation.
One thing that my favorite diapers, the size ones, don't have would be umbilical cord snap downs. For this reason, and more, I would like to get more work at home mom fitteds next time around. I love these. They are pricey, but to me it's worth it. They are absorbent, forgiving as far as newborn poop goes, and in my experience, generously sized. I love the pretty prints available, though the ones I had this time around were solid colors. I also like knowing I'm supporting a mom, a family, not just some corporation.

My newborn diaper must haves:
Thirsties duo shells
Grovia (prefolds)
Applecheeks size 1
Work at home mom fitteds ** Luxury item, not really a necessity

If you're still wondering if you really need to invest in anything other than one size diapers, look at this size comparison:
Thirsties size 1 laying on top of an Econobum and Flip cover, both of which are one size and snapped completely down in this picture. I also make sure the back of all the diapers was lined up. A one size Grovia shell is to the right.

Did you cloth diaper your newborn? If so, how soon did they fit into one size diapers? If not, would you next time around?