A new way to grocery shop: Walmart Grocery Pickup

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Grocery shopping is the errand that all parents dread (I do at least). It never seems to go smoothly, there are always crying children (sometimes mine), and it’s just overall stressful. It’s like there are set scenarios that always play out: the toddler falls asleep one red light from the store parking lot, a diaper explodes in aisle 9, or there is a choir performance from the older kids full of repetition of “I’m bored”, “can I get this?”, “can I go to the toy section?” or “are we almost done?” It can never be a simple, quick trip to the grocery store. Until now.

I saw a posting about Walmart and their new online grocery pickup on Facebook and had no feelings toward it either way. I didn’t see myself grocery shopping online and then have someone else load my groceries into my car for me. I don’t even let the baggers at Publix or the Commissary take my bags to my car, so why would I let someone else do my grocery shopping, bag all of my stuff and bring it out and load them in my car? It seemed like the lazy easy way out. But then it clicked. It’s not lazy, it’s convenient. I work 40 hours a week, get off at 5:30pm and have a 40 minute drive home every single day during the week. If I stop to grab groceries on my way home, I typically don’t get home until almost 7:45 – 8:00pm on a good day.

They don’t offer online pick up at the store in my town yet, but they do in the town where I work and where my mother-in-law lives. We just so happened to be heading to her house on a Sunday and I happened to need groceries, so why not give it a try?

Let me start by saving you $10 off your first order. Use promo code RCMUR0YA (that’s a zero not an “o”) at checkout on your purchase of $50 or more and you will automatically save $10! 1

It was a rather simple process. I went to Walmart Grocery online, put in my zip code, signed into my walmart.com account and viola! It allowed me to choose my store, secure a time slot to pick up and then add items to my cart. You can search through the “store” by department,

2 or search for the items you know you need by name. I quickly added items to my cart (it shows the total in the corner and there is a $30 minimum) and when you’re ready to check out, you simply put in a credit or debit card number, check out and then you receive a detailed list of your order and pick-up instructions via email.

The instructions were quite simple. In short, “Go to the grocery pickup location. We will call you 15 minutes prior. Call us back 10 minutes prior to your arrival and again when you get here.” It even showed me a cute little map of the store and where the parking locations were in the parking lot which were marked as well.15469435 It was that simple.

So I called 10 minutes before and again when I got there. Not even 5 minutes later, two sweet young ladies brought me my groceries and I never even had to get my kids out of the vehicle. I received a “Welcome” bag containing some grocery and health care full size samples such as After-Sun Aloe wipes, Sea Salt Covered Raisins, Cucumber Ranch and some other goodies. They loaded the items into my car, I signed the delivery receipt and I was quickly on my way. I hesitantly added produce and eggs to my list and surprisingly had no issues. They showed me my eggs before placing them in my car and my bananas were handled with care and not bruised.

I did figure out that if the store is out of stock with the item you want, they will offer you a substitution at no extra cost, if available. I wanted a 1lb bag of Gala Apples, but since they were out of stock, they gave me a 3lb bag of Gala Apples for no additional cost. Also, if they don’t have the item or a substitution, they immediately issue you a refund for that item.

Overall, if I had to give a star rating, it would be a 5 out of 5. Quick, easy, convenient and so worth it. I would definitely recommend it to busy moms if it’s available at your local Walmart!

– Kirstyn

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Baby Spring Float by SwimWays {Review}

BurritoBuzzBabySpringFloatI have been prepping like a mad woman for our end- of-summer vacation! Taking BK#1 &#2 on vacation is not going to be an easy task. I have been diligently researching and trying to make sure we have all the essentials to make this an enjoyable and fun vacation! I might be wound a little tight, but my anxiety kicks in and I kinda loose it thinking about a 10 hour car ride, miles of open play areas, sleeping arrangements, making sure we don’t forget anything,  oh and safety!

Obviously, I have been looking into beach safety, but I have really been worried about the pool! We don’t have one at home, so my babies aren’t around them often. Besides that, they are 1 and 2! Rules don’t mean a whole lot to them right now! When I came across the SwimWays Baby Spring Float (Whale), I was so relieved! Most baby floats have a weight limit that my oldest child exceeds and usual pool floaties are only safe when your child is at least 30 pounds, so my toddler can’t use ones like the Puddle Jumper! SwimWays covered that 20-30 lbs gap that most floats don’t.

About the Spring Float:

  • No weight limit.. within reason. Don’t try and put your 4 year old in it.
  • Ages 9-24 months
  • It comes in  different color patterns and they are all adorable!
  • Low seat provides secure center of gravity
  • It has their patented “inner spring” for better stability in the water.
  • Flat area around them to put toys on or to splash without flipping into the water.
  • Folds flat and compact for easy storage and portability – it’s perfect for travel! I was going to wait and post this review in my Beach Babies post, but it’s too awesome not to share now.BurritoBuzzSpringFloathowto
  • Very light and comes with a mesh storage bag.
  • Some styles comes with removable and adjustable sun canopy.Burritobuzzswimways.jpg

This float is priced fabulously! Only about $18. The construction of this float is superb and I’m sure it will hold up for a long time! Even though the price point is affordable, they didn’t skimp on quality.

While doing research on it, I found some people were upset because water got on top of the float. I didn’t have this problem, but I did see some photos where people didn’t blow up the little air pockets. It is designed like a pop up kid’s play tent, but you still have to inflate it! Be sure to follow the directions when you use it.

I am very happy with the Spring Float and it is definitely a must-have for summer! Keep a look out for an update on this post. I will probably add some more pictures when we use it at the beach!

– Amanda

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences and we never guarantee a positive review.**

Week On. Week Off. 


I feel obligated to tell people I meet about the fact that we have week on, week off custody of all three children. The reasoning is so when they try to make plans and I reply with “if we have the kids”, they don’t give me the crazy stare and wonder where I would be stashing my children for the night-and “their mom (or Dad in C’s case)” is not an acceptable response to “whose watching your kids?”

Divorce is ugly. Divorce with children is even uglier. Essentially, the only people who lose are the children. Our parenting plans are set to up to maximize visitation to the benefit of the children. Week on, week off. Sunday to Sunday. Holidays are split up as well. So breaking it down in a non-legal fashion, we have all of the kids one week and 0 kids the next. Holidays are dictated by a piece of paper.

At first, we had C full-time, so although E and K got picked up at 6pm, C kept us in “parent” mode per se. Then things changed. The first Sunday exchange with C was terrible.  He was a little over a year old and had no idea what was going on. I shut the door, turned around and burst into tears. An eerie silence flooded the house. It was unnatural to be away from him. My DH, who had been doing this for 5 years, knew the feeling all to well and explained that it never gets easier.

You’re probably thinking how awesome the break is and yes, while it’s nice sometimes, deep down it sucks. It allows for the scheduling of the doctors appointments without having to find a babysitter, it allows for me to get my house clean and laundry caught up and it allows ample travel time (which we do often), but it also allows me to miss milestones, school projects, football practices and school dances. It allows me to be secretly (and sometimes not so secretly) judged by the gaggle of moms at the park who want to set up a play date, for “next week”…

So having only have 182.5 days a year with your children, how can you maximize the time?

  • Plan accordingly

 I have it on my calendar in my phone when we pick up the kids. It allows for me to easily see when to schedule appointments, family vacations, and sleepovers. It definitely helps me keep track of everything and when to plan things.

  • Don’t waste valuable time 

When the kids are home, we don’t like to sit in the house. School nights are slightly different, but we at least try to play family games or watch a movie together. Weekends are a different story though. We plan fun things the kids will remember that get us out of the house and active.

  • Be involved

We go to (almost) all school programs, events, and class parties whether the kids are with us or not. We also try to go once a week to eat lunch with the kiddos at school. They love it and so do we. That extra 30 min on a random Tuesday definitely helps break up the week.

  • Be flexible

At some point in time you will have to celebrate a birthday the week before, do thanksgiving dinner 4 days before, or move Christmas until the next day. Don’t worry, it will be okay. It’s not so much about the date, but the memories and meaning behind it.

My husband was right, it never gets easier. As a parent, being away from your child for any reason is unnatural. However, making up for lost time is quite possible with proper planning and a positive attitude.

-Kirstyn

Hyland’s Homeopathic Halloween Costume Contest!

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You put all that time and effort into the perfect kid’s costume, why not win some awesome prizes?? Hyland’s Homeopathic is running a contest for the best children’s costume. Three winners with the best costumes will receive Hyland’s products for the whole family as well as a $50 Target gift card!

Entering is super easy! Click here to fill out an entry form: http://bit.ly/1MnpTET

And tag your costume pic on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #HylandsHalloweenCostumeContest

Good luck! Be sure to tag us too so we can see all of your adorable littles in their costumes!

-Burrito Buzz

Who Doesn’t Love Grocery Shopping?!

I never knew food was so expensive until I became the SAHM who takes care of all groceries. (I also never knew packing lunches was the most miserable “mom” task ever).

We have a family of 5. I shop only at  big name stores (Publix and Kroger) and we have a $500/month grocery budget. If we break that down, that is $100/person…it seems like a lot of money but to some it will seem impossible. However,  I stay at or under my given budget most of the time. Have there been months where I have spent $800 on food? Absolutely. But there has also been months where we’re barely touching $350. But trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

The question is how?

  • Planning-both trips and meals

I typically spend Sunday’s planning my meals for the week (Yes, I grocery shop every week). While I’m planning my meals, I also write my grocery list. Going to the store without a list is asking for trouble. You’ll most likely wind up in the candy aisle trying to decide which chocolate wrapper will be quieter when you’re trying to sneak it from your children. But no really, a list is necessary. I don’t make a fancy list with aisle numbers on where everything is but I do try to keep it organized and grouped together by food group. Also, there is an amazing app Grocery IQ that allows you to input your grocery list either via typing, barcode scanning, or voice. The app also lets you put in the quantity you need, and the aisle category it in is. It also keeps a history of past items so if you’re like me and buy most of the same stuff every month, it saves you a little bit of time. Best perk of them all, it’s free!

Now back to the meal planning, I only plan dinners. Breakfasts are usually cereal or something quick and easy for the kids before school. Lunches are typical as well so it’s easy. A typical week in our house goes something along the lines of cook, cook, leftovers, cook, out to eat, cook, cook. I also plan quick, easy (healthy) meals that I know my kids will eat. Meatloaf, homemade pizza, tacos, quiche, spaghetti, chicken fajitas, sausage and rice, and chicken fried rice are just some of our daily meals.

  • Skip the prepackaged items

Just because it’s prepackaged doesn’t mean it’s the best way to go. Companies typically hike up their prices (and preservatives) for prepackaged food because it’s convenient. People pay for convenience. When you break it down, you can roughly get more than twice as much product for generally the same price and it’s typically healthier.

For example, you can buy a box of (4) Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches for $5.44  -or- you can buy (12) English muffins for $2.28, (12) eggs for $1.98, and (12) sausage patties for $3.96. So for $8.92, you can get 12 sandwiches (that freeze and defrost perfectly)

  • Stock up on non-perishables

Especially when they’re on sale! I have enough cans of green beans in my house to survive the end of the world…twice. Seriously, there is a lot. If something is on sale, and it won’t go bad, save yourself some money (and time) and buy it. I recently just purchased 5 containers of juice as they were on sale from $3.98 to $2.00. So not only did I save myself almost $10, I saved time on shopping trips because I have juice for at least 4 weeks. Most items that you keep in your pantry, won’t go bad for quite sometime as long as they’re closed and sealed properly.

  • Buy in Bulk when practical

We have a Sams Club Membership and it’s fantastic. I typically buy bulk items there. It is definitely worth the money we spend on the membership and keep an eye out because sometimes they do free memberships or passes.

Buying in bulk is initially more expensive. Calculating it out however is more cost effective and beneficial. We typically buy non-perishables or foods we go through quickly from Sams. Buying in bulk again helps save time and money.

Believe it or not, it is cheaper to buy (1) 3lb container or peanut butter than it would be to buy the equivalent in single jars.

  • Coupons

I was the crazy coupon lady for a little while. I was getting shampoo and conditioner for $.33, toilet paper for $.10 and free toothpaste. It was fantastic! I then realized that companies rarely put out coupons for everyday food items. They’re typically for paper goods. Sure, you can find some ones for food and absolutely use the ones you find. Because essentially, cents leads to dollars.

Saving $.35 on cottage cheese two times per month is a yearly savings of $8.40…that’s almost enough to make homemade breakfast sandwiches!

I know grocery shopping isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but it’s a necessity. With a few tips and tricks you can make it almost, almost pain free.

-Kirstyn

Product Review- Comfort and Harmony Cozy Shopping Cart Cover

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PROS: This product is very versatile. It can be used to cover a shopping cart seat as well as a high chair at a restaurant. It has 3 pockets on the back and 3 cloth loops in the front that are perfect to hook toys or pacifier clips to.

This cover is very easy to clean, just throw it in the wash or quickly wipe it down with a wipe. The material is very soft and cushioned, perfect for smaller babes that are just learning to sit up on their own. If they start to lean to the side, the cushion will catch them. I also love that this cover really does actually cover the entire seat. Any area within reach of slobbery mouths is protected.

Finally, I appreciate that is has a buckle on the inside. It keeps baby in place and is adjustable so it is like the one baby product on earth you’ll be able to use for several months and never need a bigger size.

CONS: The sheer size of this thing is ridiculous. It is a royal pain to cart around. The cushion of the cover does NOT fold up well. If I was going out by myself with Callie to the grocery store and had to carry both her and my diaper bag and there wasn’t a cart immediately next to my car? Forget it. If they could make a version that was still soft and cushioned but maybe a more quilt-like style that you could fold up? Perfection.

I’m calling this a “new mom” item. Something cute you find and put on the registry (they have it at Babies R Us). It’s great in theory and yes, it did keep my baby safe from nasty grocery carts and germs. However, now that she’s a full blown toddler that’s walking running everywhere, I’m not wasting my time carrying it with me when I’m on high alert in a parking lot. It’s a good item, well-designed and does what it claims; I just wish is was more practical to throw in the diaper bag.

-Chelsea

Please Don’t

…no seriously, please don’t randomly touch my kiddo. It’s creepy. It’s weird. It’s rude and completely unsanitary. No, I’m not a germophobe but I have no clue when the last time you washed your hands was and they don’t need to be all over my kid’s face. End of story.

It started at the mall (only like the most germ filled place ever because no one covers their mouths and they bring their plagues in with them just to get all the good sales.) C was happily in his stroller continually asking me 150 times for Mickey Mouse on the iPad while I was shopping. I didn’t have the iPad, so in order the keep the peace, I settled for my phone. So there he sits, singing along to Season 2, Episode 9 Mickey’s Color Adventure at the top of his little baby lungs and out of no where his bubble is popped. Not a literal bubble…but his personal space bubble. I looked around in  dismay as to why this random lady was touching my child…and it’s not like it was a you’re-cute-I’m-going-to-pat-you-on-the-head touch. I’m talking like full palms to his cheeks, lots of squishing, making kissy faces and overly excited expressing how “precious” and “handsome” my child was.  Now, I’m not typically a mean person, I’m not confrontational and I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings but I stared at this lady like she had 3 heads and before my mouth could even open, poor C shrieks “ow! no touch me!” And she laughed..logically, first reaction would be to remove your hands from the now screaming child’s personal space but no, she laughed and proceeded to exclaim how “daggone adorable” he was. Oddly enough, none of the things she is calling my son (precious, handsome, adorable) require any sort of tactical anything. Keep your hands to your self.

Like my mom always told me, “you look with your eyes, not with your hands”.

They make signs for it because obviously it’s an ongoing trend. You can pick one up here.

Moms, it will happen. Everyone and their brother will want to squish your LO’s face and tell you how adorable your kid is (like you don’t already know). A simple “please don’t touch him/her” may sound mean, but it’s for the best because you really have no clue where their hands have been.

-Kirstyn

Fruit with a side of ketchup

As parents we always try to do what is best for our kiddos, especially when it comes to nutrition and eating. With C’s gluten intolerance it makes me slightly harder but we’ve figured it out…except when he wants to be picky.

Seriously. This kid will ask for crackers and only eat the cheese out of the center and then stack all of the slobbery crackers up and say “ew momma” but if you give him plain cheese he won’t eat it, but he will devour plain crackers…whatever, the crackers are the least of my worries, especially after last week.

No exaggeration…the kid would only eat:

  • Fruit snacks
  • Oatmeal
  • Hot dogs
  • Ham
  • Chicken nuggets
  • And fruit…but only if he had ketchup to dip it in. :gags:

I’m seriously trying to figure out how he survived on 6 items all week…and even more so, why I let him!

This goes back to the “pick your battles” scenario. Is it worth fighting over? Is it really that bad that he will only eat his pears if they’re dipped in ketchup? No. At least, no matter how disgusting or redundant the meal may be, at least he’s eating.

So let your kiddos eat their 6 special items all day every day, because trust me, it will change and soon they won’t like those either.

Graco imonitor Vibe Digital Audio Baby Monitor Review

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Let me just start out by saying that this monitor does not have good reviews! We received this monitor as a baby shower gift and I have never been a fan of video monitors, so we kept it. Below are the reasons why I rate the monitor a 4 on a 5 point scale.

Pros

  • User friendly (even my husband can figure it out)
  • Clear signal- we have never had a problem hearing anything.
  • Good range- we use it around our 2000 sq foot house and never have a problem. (Even in our back yard it picks up well)
  • Great features- I love that you can use a vibrate option since my husband is a very heavy sleeper so it always wakes him up.
  • Comes with 2 units- we never use them outside of the bedroom and living room.

Cons

  • We live in a ranch so we are always on the same floor but we still experience feedback at times.
  • The battery life isn’t great; it needs charge pretty much every night/day.

As I said before, we love this monitor and plan to buy another for BB#2!

-Kayla

Travelling with a Baby {Painful Truth Edition}

derek-imageOh man guys. I know I need to tell you all about this while it’s fresh in my mom-brain, but even thinking about it brings back a flood of stress and anxiety. If you’re a parent looking for tips that will help you travel with your LO: I warn you. This will both help you, and make you want to barf. #Sorry

We embarked upon a 12 hour, multi-state drive with my parents this past week. I really thought I had prepared for everything. Beach cabana for baby, travel DVD player, toys, blah blah blah. And let me tell you, no amount of prepping for this trip could actually PREPARE my mind.

  1. The Trip Down
    1. We decided to leave at 2AM. My LO goes to bed at 8, so we figured “great, he’ll sleep and we’ll sleep, and we’ll wake up to leave and he’ll stay sleeping.” Wrong. He was up and ready to party. Our pediatrician12065520_10205056619637005_1249445246177441679_n told us that we really needed to get him out of the car seat about every 3 hours to move around. HA. Do babies actually last that long in a car seat in the first place? So, the trip down was marked with many stops, lots of crying, and the occasional hour of constant entertaining to avoid screaming. (Photo is of my LO’s “comfortable” sleeping. He put the book there on his own.)
  2. Once at Our Destination
    1. Our condo had a pack n’ play and high chair provided. Sounds good, right? No. Just no. Though the condo was immaculate, the baby amenities were old, worn, and really kind of just sketch-city. Thankfully, I brought my own quilted pack n’ play sheet. If you’re traveling and have space, bring as much as you can. Bring your own pack n’ play, and something your LO can sit in to be entertained by (something you can fold flat for travel is ideal.)
    2. Don’t bring extra of everything. Bring enough to get you there, and then go to the grocery store for any food, diapers, wipes, etc. Same for the trip back: take what you need.
    3. The beach isn’t fun with a baby. Plain and simple. My LO had an interest level of ZERO in actually playing on the beach for more than an hour. And the ocean? HA. No. So we made short trips down to the beach, mostly to s12038538_10205056783961113_6812155279190095261_nave our sanity. We used our baby carrier and walked along the coastline often. Definitely the best/most relaxing part of our trip. (Photo is of me on the beach, with Lucas in his Tula.)
    4. SUNSCREEN. Tons of it. Also, swim diapers. You’ll be happy you can just tear the sides and throw them away when you’re done. I kept my LO shaded most of the time, so the swim suit with SPF was really a waste of money (considering you need to get the kind with “rash guard”, a thing I didn’t even know existed until last month.)
    5. Plan trips where you can use your stroller. If your LO is like mine, they love being carted around and seeing new things. We took our little umbrella stroller, and it was perfect. Malls, aquariums, places where you can move freely.
    6. When going to restaurants: go to places that are loud. Your LOs giggles, grumbles, and cries will be masked and others won’t be irritated with you. Also, bring a few toys, sanitary wipes to clean the high chair and table, and their food (my LO ate puffs often to keep him entertained.) Let them play with things at the table– our LO was entertained forever by a crumbly napkin.
  3. The Trip Back
    1. I was now a survivor. I prepared myself for the trip home. I learned from my mistakes. This momma was NOT going to lose her sanity again.
    2. We left a day early. This gave us two days at home to just get back into our “element” before having to go back to work. Best decision we made. Sure, we lost out on a day’s worth of condo rent… but totally worth it.
    3. We left at 8:30 AM. LO was fed, diapered, and in a good mood.
    4. I kept the atmosphere calm the entire trip. This helped not to get him super worked up, just to be stuck in his car seat for 10 more hours.
    5. We sat in the farthest back seat, where I could be right next to him.
    6. Toys. Just a few toys that are good for travel. Nothing to big that will be a hazard if a wreck should happen.
    7. We avoided the portable DVD player and just had some constant, steady music going.
    8. When he got tired, I wrapped him in a blanket and gave him his binkie. He slept much more the trip back than the trip down.
    9. All-in-all: our trip down was infinitely more successful. No stress, and our LO did great.
  4. To the Moms
    1. I know you want to look good. Especially if you plan on date nights. BUT, take my word on this… find ways to just look casual and cute, or you’ll end up looking Like Suzanne Somers after a sweaty episode on Dancing with the Stars. Your LO will interrupt your beauty routine, and you’ll have makeup everywhere and end up half dressed.
    2. I took a few casual summer dresses, which worked out great. I twisted my hair into “mom buns” so that later in the day my hair would have some natural wave to it.
    3. Keep the makeup simple. Less is more.
    4. Take advantage of the time your LO is sleeping to do what you need to do for yourself.

Our Travel Bag Included:

  • Several onesies, for approximately 2 outfit changes per day. A sweater for cold weather. 2 pairs of shorts. 2 pairs of pants. Socks. 1 pair of shoes. 2 pairs of pajamas.
  • Bath Chair that folds flat for a suitcase (Summer Infant)
  • Bath supplies: wash, powder, lotion. Diaper ointment. Nail clippers. A few small bath toys.
  • 2 baby blankets.
  • Quilted pack n’ play sheet.
  • Several toys. Our favorite was the Leap Frog drum
  • Food necessities: Travel spoons (I like Plum Organic’s) Bib that can be wiped off, any bottles or breastfeeding supplies. Take your own formula! And if you prefer organic food for your baby, research your options prior to travel. We found plenty of organic supplies while on vacation.
  • Extra diapers/wipes for travel, (but we bought most of our supply while there.)
  • Medications. Tylenol, saline, Advil, gas drops. Our LO was teething, and we ended up using Tylenol several times.
  • Teethers, if teething.
  • Video monitor. Our LO went to bed before we did, so this was great to keep an eye on him, and didn’t take up much space in our luggage.
  • Sound machine. Our LO doesn’t typically use one, but he wasn’t used to the new sounds and the close proximity (he slept in our room, when he typically sleeps in his own at home.)
  •  Beach: Cabana or umbrella, sunscreen, swim diapers, hat, portable fan.

Best of luck, travelling parents! May the force be with you.

-Katie

Product Review: Boogie Wipes

If you’re anything like me, you cannot stand snotty noses. If it wasn’t frowned upon, I would wipe other people’s kids noses. I have actually offered other moms wipes to clean up their kid…I hate snot that much.

C is also over dramatic. I could touch his face with a feather and he would say “oww” and he really hates having his nose wiped. I’ve tried everything…Kleenex (both with lotion and with aloe), baby wipes, paper towels, my tee-shirt, his tee-shirt, my hand, toilet paper, everything and it was always the same “oww” response…and then by the grace of God, I remembered I had gotten some Boogie Wipes at my baby shower.

My initial thought was that this was just a fancy wipe with some grape scent to entice kids to not scream like banshees while getting their noses wipes. I was wrong.

Boogie Wipes are saline based wipes to help dissolve and clean up those (un)lovely dried up boogies that happen more times than not.

Pros:

  • Alcohol free so they don’t dry out little noses.
  • Available in different sizes; 30 count or individual for on the go.
  • Saline based so they’re softer on the skin

Cons: 

  • In comparison with baby wipes, they’re pricey. It’s roughly $5.00 for the 30-count pack and if it’s allergy season, this adds up quick.
  • They’re not very absorbent. If there is a lot of snot, best bet would be to use a Kleenex first, then the Boogie Wipe.
  • The Fresh Scent is very strong and overpowering in comparison to the grape and unscented.

Overall, I’d definitely have to give a 4 out of 5 stars. They’re fantastic for those dried on boogers, but for a truly runny nose, grab your kleenexs too.

-Kirstyn

Product Review: Munchkin Nursery Projector & Sound System

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PROS: I’ve used this sound machine since my LO was about a month old. It has 6 different sound options from classical music and nursery songs to nature and white noise. I’ve kept it on the ocean track for the majority of the time. The blue part on the bottom is a built-in nightlight that isn’t too bright and can be tapped to turn on (perfect for midnight bathroom runs!) It ALSO has four different rotating scenes that can be projected onto the ceiling. The cartridges for these scenes conveniently store in the side of the unit. There is a timer for the sound option (I leave it going nonstop) and it also has the option for voice activation so if your LO wakes up crying, it will automatically turn on.

You get all this in a compact unit that has a good length of extension cord and plugs in to an outlet. I’ve used this an average of 3 times a day for over a year and it has never had any issues at all!

CONS: Really the only con I can think of is that is does need to be plugged in so there is a cord risk if it is not put up during the day or in a higher up location.

This sound machine will cost you about $29.99 and in my opinion, it is totally worth it. This has become a staple in our bed and nap time routine and my LO loves it! It’s easy to travel with and has been reliable in spite of CONSTANT use. A winner in my book!

-Chelsea

Breastfeeding Glossary

Antibodies- A substance that protects against infection

Areola- The circular area of pigmented skin that surrounds the nipple

Breastfeeding.

  • a. Exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment and fluids at the breast.
  • b. Almost exclusive: Baby receives all nourishment at the breast except for small amounts of supplements.
  • c. Partial: Frequent or regular supplements.
  • d. Token: Minimal breastfeeding

Breast shell – a plastic shell that fits over the nipple, used to correct flat or inverted nipples.

Breast shield – a thin silicone shield that is placed over the nipple and areola during nursing.

Colostrum- A concentrated fluid secreted by the breast at the end of pregnancy and shortly after childbirth that provides nutrition as well as protection against disease

Engorgement– fullness, swilling, and enlargement of the breasts.

Foremilk– Low-fat milk that leaves the breast first during breastfeeding or pumping; the longer the time periods between breast drainage, the lower in fat the foremilk becomes

Hindmilk– Higher-fat milk that comes later during a breastfeeding or pumping as the breast becomes more fully drained

Inverted nipple – a nipple that retracts into the body, rather than protrudes when the areola is compressed.

Jaundice – caused by an excess of bilirubin, jaundice causes yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin. Jaundice is relatively common among newborns, and is treatable.

Lactation -The action of producing and secreting milk

Lanolin- This cream is a savior to many breastfeeding mothers who experience sore, cracked nipples. It can soothe and protect, but make sure that you only use a pure form of lanolin to prevent allergies to the toxins that come in impure forms

Latching On – Latching on is when the baby takes the nipple and areola properly into his mouth to begin nursing. Proper positioning is critical, because your nipple needs to touch the roof of your baby’s mouth to stimulate him to latch on, suck and swallow.

Let-Down- This is the process where the brain tells the body to produce milk and make it available in the breast. Let-down occurs when the baby’s sucking action on the breast sends a message to the brain. The message stimulates the hypothalamus gland, which in turn stimulates the pituitary gland. Hormones are then released that act on special cells in the breast to produce the milk and send it toward the nipple where it is available for the baby.

Lipase – An enzyme that breaks down fat in breastmilk. In rare instances, some women may have it in higher quantities in their breastmilk, and it can cause breastmilk to develop a bad smell or taste when frozen.

Milk ducts – ducts in the breast that carry milk from the alveoli to the nipple.

Mastitis – generally occurring in breastfeeding women, mastitis causes the breasts to feel hard, sore or uncomfortable. Mastitis is caused when bacteria enters the breast through a break or crack in the nipple’s skin (such as those caused by chapped nipples) or by a plugged milk duct

Oxytocin– the love hormone, in both mom and baby which helps with bonding, stress relief and makes you relax.

Plugged (milk) duct – often caused by mastitis, plugged ducts occur when small milk ducts in the breast become blocked.

Positioning – The way a baby is held or situated when breastfeeding. There are different breastfeeding positions, and you may have to experiment to determine which one is most effective and comfortable for you and your baby.

Prolactin – A hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is responsible for milk production within the alveoli in the breast. During pregnancy, prolactin makes the breasts grow, and after giving birth, it stimulates the milk production. Prolactin is made in response to nipple stimulation when the baby suckles at the breast. Low prolactin levels can affect the mother’s milk supply.

Progesterone- A hormone produced by the placenta in large amounts during pregnancy that stimulates breast development and inhibits production of large volumes of milk.

Pumping – The method of extracting breastmilk with the help of a pump. There are both manual and electrical breast pumps. Pumping enables mothers to provide breastmilk for a caregiver to give to the baby while mom is away (for example, working).Pumping is also often used to stimulate production in a mother who has a low milk supply, to induce lactation or relieve engorgement.

Rooting Reflex-The rooting reflex occurs when touching your breast to the center of the baby’s lips or stroking his cheek causing the baby to open it’s mouth and turn it’s head to one side looking for the breast.

Suck, suckle– The baby’s milking action at the breast; in traditional usage, a baby at the breast “sucked” while a mother “suckled.”

Thrush – a common yeast infection of the mouth and throat caused by the fungus Candida albicans, marked by white patches in the mouth. Thrush can also occur in the gastrointestinal tract and can cause certain types of diaper rash in infants.

Product Review: Tommee Tippee Sippy Cups

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PROS: In the world of sippy cups, the only thing that matters is does it spill. This cup truly does not. Now I can’t guarantee you that your LO will not take a sip and bubble it all back out over the living room carpet. However, when she rolls it down the entire length of the hallway, it won’t leak.

The cup has a two part piece within the lid that prevents spilling. There is also a built in cover for the mouth piece that is right on the lid to further prevent spills. You can see it in the picture above. It also has textured, rubber sides to help those slippery baby fingers to grab on a little better.

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CONS: This cup is a little on the heavy side. I tried to give it to my LO when she was around 6-7 months and it was little too heavy for her when it was filled with juice or water. Also, it is dishwasher safe but you need to make sure that the pieces in the lid stay put after washing. They click into place so it’s not hard to put back in if it comes loose.  Lastly, it is a little on the pricier side when compared to other cups. It will run you anywhere from $7.99-9.99.

Overall, when it comes to infant and toddler sippy cups, this one is higher quality. It’s a little costly, but worth the investment if you want to prevent leaks. A good find, great to add to the baby registry!

-Chelsea

Keep Calm And Carry Epinephrine!

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The only words I need to see are “wheat flour” and “may contain peanuts” and the product gets put right back….depending on the child I’m buying for.

You might read labels to check how many calories you’re eating. I read labels so I don’t kill my children. I’m sure caloric intake would be far less frowned upon.
K has a severe peanut allergy. It’s manageable because it is often very clear what has peanuts and what doesn’t. I never leave the house without her epi-pen and she too knows to read labels.
C’s allergies started out in infancy when he had an adverse reaction to dairy…the red dye 40, gluten, tomato and corn allergies didn’t hesitate to follow… I knew nothing about food allergies and was so upset that my little baby would never be able to eat some of the best foods around!  I began making a lot of his food and purchasing anything that had the words “gluten free” and “dairy free” plastered on the front of the package. Of all of his allergies, his gluten intolerance was by far the worst. The littlest trace of gluten would disrupt his digestive system in such devastating ways. He would get so sick he would become dehydrated and refuse to eat or drink anything. He cried in pain. I could tell in my LO’s eyes that he didn’t care about the food, he wanted the pain to go away. When he started to get a little older, and we frequented restaurants more and more I began to wonder what people with a gluten allergy eat at restaurants! Everything seemed to have some sort of sauce, bread, seasoning or dressing on it and even the simple request of “on the side” became a daunting task because it was often messed up. It was frustrating.
So I compiled a list of resturants who off Gluten Free menus.  You will have to ask for it (if they don’t have it already listed) and you will get weird looks but it works. You and your LO can go out to eat like a normal family and eat (semi) normal food.
Here’s the list:
Applebee’s
Chilis
Red Robin
Claim Jumpers
Ruby Tuesday
Olive Garden
Baja Fresh
Moe’s Southwest Grill
Chipotle
Bonefish Grill
Red Lobster
Outback Steakhouse
Longhorn Steakhouse
Mellow Mushroom
P.F. Changs
Wendy’s
Arby’s
McDonald’s
KFC
Panera Bread
Subway
Denny’s
Starbucks
Coldstone Creamery
Dunkin Donuts
I hope this helps!
-Kirstyn

Octopus Hotdogs.

BigBlendedFamily.com_

Blend·ed Fam·i·ly
noun. a family that includes children from a previous marriage of the wife, husband, or both parents

Well, Merriam-Webster, you should put a caveat somewhere in your sounds-so-easy-to-do definition that truthfully explains well, that is not so easy to do and at most moments in time you will stand wide-eyed staring at your DH about what the in the heck just happened. It’s not like the movies and there is no “What to Expect When…” book.

Now, I will say I’m not a psychologist, therapist or an expert for that matter. I’m just another step-mom trying to figure out the secret, but this is what I’ve learned. (My focus initially is going to be more on the relationship with the older children, C is still to young to figure out or realize what is going on)

Our History

I got divorced from C’s father when he was just shy of being one. It was a huge change, but thankfully, he won’t remember most of it and although I’m sure it did, it doesn’t to this day seem to have an effect on him. His father and I are civil. We worked out a parenting plan that worked for us, we communicate freely as necessary, we’re flexible when it comes to times, days, etc for visitation. It’s great.

Danny got divorced from E and K’s mother in 2010. They were a bit older (7 and 3 at the time) so they remember a little more about life before the “Big D”. There is not a single drop of civility between Danny and his ex-wife and it’s truthfully not Danny’s fault. I could write a whole book about that situation and the effect it is having on the children who are now 12 and 8, but it’s honestly not my story to tell it’s theirs. It does however play a gigantic part in what goes on in our household because there is a lot of brainwashing, bad mouthing, and negativity being fed to them by their mother about Danny and I. I will however, spare you the details.

I met Danny in college in 2013. We instantly hit it off. We were very open and honest with each other from the start. He knew about C and I knew about E and K. We didn’t however introduce our kids into the relationship until we knew this was a for sure thing.

Our parenting plans match almost exactly. We have week on, week off, 50/50 joint custody. Broken down this means, all 3 kids 1 week and 0 kids the next.

So here it goes…

What I’ve Learned

  1. You are not their mother. They will make it known and it will usually be out of anger.

    Let me start by saying I am in no way trying to replace E and K’s mother. I know the maternal bond is a unique, strong, unbreakable one and I fully understand this. I would be lying if I said it didn’t suck because I love them just as I love my own.  It really hit me when K (in rebuttal to me sending her to her room) said to me “Just wait until I tell my real mom”. I’m 100% positive that she took my heart with her to her room and stomped on it. Repeatedly. I was speechless. It was one of my many wide-eye staring moments. I then offered her my phone, she refused, and stomped up the stairs and slammed her door. What do you do at this point? You breathe. You don’t take it personally. They’re testing their boundaries. They’re figuring out just how far they can push you. You know that you’re not their real mother but still hearing from their mouth is still pretty painful. Eventually, they’ll apologize and life will go on.

  2. There will be jealousy.

    It might be towards the kids or it might be towards the ex, but it will happen. You’re secretly (or outspokenly depending on your attitude) going to resent her because she gave birth to them…because she took off the fingernail polish that you put on your step-daughters nails to replace it with a color that matches hers..because your step-son has a picture of her and him on his iPad. The list could go on but trust me on this one, it will happen. You’re going to be jealous that your spot on your DH’s lap was taken while you were up getting a drink of water or that he is upstairs having a tea party instead of sharing a cup of coffee with you. Mark my word, it will happen.  Jealousy is such a difficult emotion to manage. I won’t lie, I still struggle with it everyday. It still hurts when K comes home with her nails blue instead of pink and with a huge smile on her face says “They match my moms”. I choose to join in her excitement and let her know that we will repaint them again when it starts chipping off KNOWING it will be taken off again the following week. Again, breathe. It’s trivial (most of the time) things that don’t have any lasting effect on your life. I’m sure 5 years down the road, the color of her nail polish the week of September 3rd won’t have any bearing on life.

  3. Your marriage will hardly ever come first.

    If you’re reading this for advice then it is safe to assume as some point in the not so distant past, you were single parent whose child/ren came first. It’s not easy to switch back to the focus-on-my-marriage aspect of life. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take time. What I recommend and what I have found to work for us is to set your alarm for 30 min before the kids get out of bed. Spend this time laying in bed, talking, catching up, drinking coffee, reading emails, etc. with your DH. On the weekends, they know after they wake up to play quietly in their rooms until Danny or I come to get them. It helps. Try it.

  4. You are set in your ways. More than you thought.

    You’ve been the only adult in life making decisions and things were done how and when you wanted them. Your husband is the same. Cram that all into one household, add in the children, and (in our case) the dog and hold on because things are about to get crazy. You will be used to sleeping with the door shut, he’s going to want it open. You’ll compromise with leaving it cracked. You make hot dog octopus with little beady ketchup eyes and he cuts them into slices. Seriously?! Slices?! Where is the fun in slices!? This is a pick your battles moment. Not everything is worth it. Let him cut the hotdog into slices, it’s less work for you.

  5. You’re going to love his kids.

    You’re going to love them more than you ever thought was possible. You will be proud of them, you will be sad for them, you will fight for them just as you would your own children. You will place them on the same pedestal as your do your own child. Eventually the word “step” will get left out and the fact that they aren’t technically yours will fade. The Mama-Bear will come out, the snotty noses will be wiped without second though and eventually you will be the one they are waking up at 3 am because they dropped their stuffed elephant and can’t find him.

    Lastly,

  6. There is no secret or answers.

    You can read books, you can read blogs, you can message me personally and I will happily answer your questions and give you all the advice in my mind but honestly, what will make it smooth is what works for you, your children, your SO, and essentially your family. There will be tears. You will yell and I am sure at one point in your wide-eyed stare you will wonder what you got yourself into. But at the end of the day, it’s not all bad. You may have taken your family of 2 and squished it together to make a family of 5, but that’s just more hearts to fill with love…and more octopus hotdogs you have to make.

-Kirstyn