Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers {Product Review}

imageYour resident coupon queen here at Burrito Buzz recently struck gold on a diapers deal. During a Super Doubles event at my local Harris Teeter, I was able to pick up Seventh Generation Free & Clear Diapers (normally $9.99) on sale for $8.99. I then had a $2 off coupon that doubled, making the diapers $4.99. Then I received a $2 rebate from Ibotta for a final purchase price of $2.99. Um, jackpot!

We have been very fortunate that our daughter has had very minimal sensitivities both to foods and materials against her skin. I’ve used several different brands of diapers and wipes with no problems at all. I had heard of Seventh Generation before, needed diapers, and got such a killer deal that I decided to try them out.

PROS: The main thing that I really appreciated about these diapers that tend to fail me in other brands is the length, durability and stretchiness of the straps. imageThey had so much give to them that provided a snug, complete fit. There is nothing worse than crappy straps that break off, are too short or don’t stay put.

During the time that I was testing out these diapers with my 15 month old, she had the unfortunate experience of her regular check up and vaccine run. You know what that means, nastyyy diapers. And to Seventh Generation’s credit, these suckers held it all in there. I was highly impressed. I mean, these BMs were bad. Not once did she leak out the sides or up the back.

CONS: Not that it matters, but the color is dreadful. It looked like I was wrapping my baby up in a brown paper bag. I know that’s part of their thing- no dyes or coloring. But yikes, not visually appealing at all. But again, not important.

The weight of these diapers was interesting. They were naturally kind of heavy which make checking her for wetness a challenge. Several times I felt like she was very wet and needed changed, only to find out that she really wasn’t and it was just the diaper making her feel heavy. They are very sturdy and almost hard to the touch which is why when you do the bum grab to see if they’re wet, you’re mislead by the thickness of the actual diaper.

In going with the thickness of the diaper, I found them to be not soft at all. This is not a diaper I would recommend for a newborn with extra sensitive skin. I mean clearly they advertise themselves as “free and clear” so chemicals and additives are left out, so I’m assuming they wouldn’t cause a rash due to an additive. But I could see them causing some irritation due to simple lack of softness against the baby’s skin.

Overall, I’m neutral on this one. They did the job, had some nice features (especially if you’re really into all-natural products) but they didn’t wow me. They generally tend to be slightly more expensive then your basic Huggies or Pampers so I will probably only be purchasing them again if I get another “WOW” deal. Does the job, not something I’m going to go out of my way to get.

-Chelsea

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Connected {Military Wives & Deployment Part 2}

I wanted to do a short blogging series reaching out specifically to military moms. We are a small army (ha.) of women that experience a lifestyle that not many can relate to or comprehend. We experience long absences from our men filled with worry and stress. And we also take on a role of solo parenting. We definitely aren’t single moms, but we also have to learn to speak as both parents and guide our children through their emotions and confusion. This series will be focused on letting you know that you are definitely not alone and that there are many skills and resources available that will help you get through.

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1. COMPASS

Start here. The mission of COMPASS is to educate and train new military spouses on the ways of the land. Aka the roughly 8,392 abbreviations you’ll mostly smile and nod when you hear, why you can’t just roll up on the ship and drop off cookies, education opportunities and benefits, how to get a military ID, what to wear to certain events and how you can and can’t behave on a military base. There are courses you can sign up for regularly to get you jumpstarted on this crazy thing called the military and all its qwerks.

2. FRG

FRG stands for the Family Readiness Group. This is your contact for your spouse’s specific command. If he’s on deployment, these are the people you go to with questions and information on dates, events and how to send packages. FRG’s vary from command to command. Some are extremely helpful, wonderful groups of people that look out for imageall spouses, keeping them updated and hosting activities to mingle and meet people. Some are just there to fulfill a duty (the head of the FRG is usually the responsibility of the command leader’s spouse) and you never see them. But more often that not, this is a wonderful resource to keep updated while your DH is away

image3. MWR

You will find the MWR on basically every military installation. This is the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Center that is there to provide you with things like a rec center, bowling, golf, tickets for local events, travel information, lodging and activities for children. You can find local activities for military families that will cost you next to nothing and also purchase tickets to sporting events, theme parks, etc for a heavily discounted price. Winning.


 

The military does a good job providing several resources for military families to keep you informed as well as providing recreational activities. Don’t hesitate to google your spouse’s specific base or command and get a list of phone numbers and addresses for everything from free legal advice to the nearest commissary for grocery shopping. Use the resources that are there for you!

I personally think that once you’ve connected with the command and familiarized yourself with basic military procedures, it’s so important to connect with your community. Sometimes you’re stuck on a base overseas and it’s not possible for you to venture out into the local civilian world. But if you’ll be in once place for any extended period of time, I strongly recommend investing in the area around you.

1. Know Your Neighbors

Get to know the people across the street. Whether they become lifelong friends or someone you simply chit chat with every now and then, it pays to have people nearby in an emergency when your closest family may be states away. I’ve even had a system before with a fellow military spouse across the street to turn our bedroom lamps on when we got home to let the other know we were safe.

image2. MOPS

MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers but it has grown into far beyond that. This is a nationwide organization for moms of younger children simply looking to just get out of the house and meet other local moms and do fun activities. Great way to meet new friends and provide social interaction for your littles.

image3. Volunteer

I’m that nerd that knows the librarian’s names at the local library. Besides the free books, I love using it as a resource to learn about community events, food drives, school supply donation events, whatever. Getting yourself out of the house and doing something simple to give back will not only set a great example for your children but it will draw you closer to the locals and help you not to feel like a nomad that will only be here for a year and then move along to the next town.

4. Find a Church

Finding a local church is not only a great way to meet like-minded people, but also a way keep yourself healthy spiritually. It’s so easy to drown in feelings of hopelessness and lacking in purpose when you’re trying to get through a deployment. Staying connected at church will help nurture your emotional well being and find that joy in your faith that you may have lost in the middle of the frustrating circumstances surrounding you. If you aren’t interested in the religious aspects of church, this is still a great resource for volunteer opportunities and events for children. Check it out, you may be surprised by how renewed you’ll feel after an uplifting service.

Being a military spouse is not something I’ve conquered. I still have no idea what the majority of those acronyms stand for and I don’t think I’ll ever come to a point in my life where deployments are a breeze. But I’m trying. I’m determined to strengthen my family with each separation. It’s so important to me that you know that military life, though foreign to most outsiders, can be a rewarding, uniting experience. Embracing the community around each new assignment and working with your spouse to create a parenting environment that is positive and united is possible.

This won’t be the last you hear me talking about this crazy military life, but I’d love to know where you struggle the most or traditions your family has to stay connected? Let’s get better and better at this military life together.

-Chelsea

For part one on dealing with the emotions of deployment and separation, head here:

http://www.burritobuzz.com/2015/11/03/uniforms-in-the-laundry-military-wives-deployment-part-1/

 

ZZZ Bears: Product Review

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In continuing with my deployment series, I need to tell you about this incredible organization called ZZZ Bears. Whether you have a child that is terrified of the dark, or one that is confused and missing a deployed parent, ZZZ Bears has a unique and incredibly creative solution.

The story behind the adorable Sgt. Sleeptight is simple. The founder’s child was afraid to sleep at night. In order to ease her anxiety, the parents found a teddy bear wearing a Marine uniform and presented it to her as a protector. The story of protection and safety blossomed into a business with the mission of protecting against all monsters, boogey men and thunderstorms, as well as giving back to military children.

imageWhen I received Sgt. Sleeptight to share with my daughter, I basically had to stop myself from bawling all over the box when I saw the passion and attention to detail that clearly went into this package. For about $29.99, you will receive a quality, soft teddy bear dressed in full “Sgt. Sleeptight” uniform complete with instructions on how to put Sgt. Sleeptight on duty, standing guard so your LO can dream peacefully. They go as far to as provide your frightened babe with a door hanger to let outsiders know that Sgt. Sleeptight is on duty as well as include silver and gold “Slumber Stars” to be awarded after successfully making it through the night.

So not only are these the most creative people on earth, they also have huge hearts. They donate a portion of their proceeds to the Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation,image assisting those children that have lost a parent in the line of duty.

Not only is this a clever way to bring peace of mind to a child that struggles to sleep through the night, but it also brings a sense of familiarity and comfort to a military child. The language and tone set by the bear and kit that you receive Is sure to comfort a child that is afraid or missing a parent. Knowing Sgt. Sleeptight is watching over them even if mommy or daddy can’t will no doubt be a comfort.

Even though my LO is a mere 15 months, she knows what daddy’s uniform looks like and she surely knows how to snuggle a soft teddy. As we’ve been discussing, deployment isn’t easy for any member of the family. I have no doubt that as she grows, the story of Sgt. Sleeptight will help to ease her little worries as she struggles to adjust to daddy being away.

I am so thankful for companies like this that take the unique needs and fears of military children into consideration when creating comfort items. The story you can create with your little one will let them know that this isn’t just another stuffed animal. If he’s on duty, it’s one more encouragement that everything will be ok and it’s safe to get a good night’s rest.

Thank you ZZZ Bears! I will surely be sharing your product and story with all of my military friends as well as parents of any child struggling to sleep through the night.

-Chelsea

For more encouragement and information on coping with deployments, check out our deployment mini series. Start with Part 1 here:

Uniforms in the Laundry {Military Wives & Deployment Part 1} | A Busy Parent’s Guide to the Latest Buzz
https://burritobuzz.com/2015/11/03/uniforms-in-the-laundry-military-wives-deployment-part-1/

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

Uniforms in the Laundry {Military Wives & Deployment Part 1}

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I wanted to do a short blog series reaching out specifically to military moms. We are a small army (ha) of women that experience a lifestyle that not many can relate to or comprehend. We experience long absences from our men filled with worry and stress. And we also take on a role of solo parenting. We definitely aren’t single moms, but we also have to learn to speak as both parents and guide our children through their emotions and confusion. This series will be focused on letting you know that you are most definitely not alone and that there are many skills and resources available that will help you get through.

My grandfather has been a counselor for a program called Grief Share for many years. I’ll never forget the summer that my family and I lived with him while our new home was being built. I was in high school and my boyfriend (now DH) had just left for bootcamp to begin his career in the Navy. One day shortly after we dropped him off, my grandpa caught me sitting on the floor in his hallway, crying. He immediately came over, embraced me and simply said “I’ve been expecting this.” He explained to me that military life with the constant separation, is not unlike the grieving process. That really resonated with me and helped me accept the range of emotions I was experiencing as normal.

imageLater, as I began to study in the field of psychology, I discovered how true his words really were. There is a model you may have heard of called the 5 Stages of Grief. It is based on the premise that everyone experiences the stages of mourning and loss in the same way. I think every military spouse and family can relate to this broad spectrum of emotions and thoughts we go through when facing a long separation. For me, seeing my experience of what feels like absolute chaos explained in a way that is logical, to be expected and with hope found at the end is incredibly comforting. I give you…

The 5 Stages of Separation:

1. Denial

Whenever I learn of an upcoming deployment, my brain immediately goes into this protective mode. I’ll tell myself, “Nope. I didn’t just hear that. Not the “D” word. We’re just going to pretend that conversation never happened. Carry on then..

This is the time when I am the best “military wife.” I say phrases like “Well it’s the imagemilitary, deployment is a part of it” and “It’s a hard life but you learn to adjust.”

I’m really, really good at the Denial stage. I can cruise in denial until about 2 weeks before he leaves. Yes, I’m making preparations like purchasing items he’ll need and stocking up on the abundance of lean cuisines that I’ll be living off of for the next x amount of months. But I may as well be planning a backyard BBQ.

2. Anger

The Anger Stage irritates me in so many ways but for some reason, I only notice it in other people. Funny how that works. Something about the plank in my own eye. In the anger stage, it’s all about you. When someone is in the Anger Stage, you’ll hear a lot of how “no one understands” and “how dare that girl complain that she misses her husband when he’s just leaving for two weeks!” No. No, that woman is allowed to be upset. Yes, your husband may have been to Afghanistan and you had a baby while he was gone and it was absolutely horrendous. But that should never diminish someone else’s pain. Anyone can experience that debilitating loneliness, no matter how long the separation. This isn’t a game of “whose husband has been gone the longest.”

The Anger Stage is ugly. While you’re in it or around someone else that’s in it. It blows.

3. Bargaining

In this stage, I’m like a child that knows she can’t get her way but is making up crazy alternatives just to try. I say things like “well maybe the deployment will be canceled” or “what if you broke your arm or needed a surgery or something? Could you get out of it then?” It’s a pathetic, pointless segway into….
4. Sadness

This stage always hits me unannounced. For some reason it’s usually the laundry that does it. I’ll be folding a basket and putting away something of his and think to myself “Only a few more baskets and I won’t see his uniforms in the laundry anymore” Yea. Highway to depression.

And then he’ll be gone. In some ways the sadness never completely leaves. In the happy moments, the sadness is “wow, he would have really loved to have been there for this.” In the broken moments it’s “I really, really need him right now. Right this second. And he’s not here.” Even in the everyday moments like “if I seriously have to touch that nasty garbage can and bring it to the curb one more week I’m going to scream!”

This is when deployment is truly like grief. When you aren’t sure what to say to your toddler that hears the garage door open and says “Dada? Dada?” over and over. When people ask you how you’re doing and you robotically reply “Oh we’re getting by!” Because your spouse, your partner, your co-parent isn’t there and the worry that you constantly push out of your brain of where he is or what he’s doing weighs on you daily.

Sadness is the worst.

5. Acceptance

I guess you can say this is what separates the ones that can from the ones that can’t. Because some truly can’t make it in a life that is constant coming and going, unpredictable schedules, worry, trust issues, solo parenting. It’s hard. It’s really, really hard. But this is where the opportunity lies for truly thriving in such a chaotic lifestyle.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about the several phenomenal organizations available for military families to reach out to for support, education, and friendship. There is a unique community that actually, truly does know what you are going through. Please don’t miss the followup blog on several resources to take advantage of!

 

The bottom line is, it’s ok. It’s ok to feel sad, angry, lonely and even depressed at times. The important thing is that we are constantly growing stronger and closer. If we, as military spouses allow these emotions and struggles to overwhelm us, it can result in tragedy for our personal lives, our marriages and our examples as parents. You are not alone. Making it through a deployment and coming out as a stronger, better person and family is possible. Even I need to hear that reminder, especially during those Anger and Sad days where I just feel like falling to pieces. Let’s move forward and embrace this life that is so important and is not for the faint of heart.

-Chelsea

Read more about staying connected during a deployment in Part 2 here: http://www.burritobuzz.com/2015/11/04/connected-military-wives-deployment-part-2/

Shoeboxes and Leftover Candy

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I’m willing to bet that you have an abundance of leftover candy and a few shoeboxes lying around your house right now. I have a great way for you to get rid of both and get your children involved in an awesome gesture of giving back this holiday season.

My DH and I always said that we didn’t want our children to be obsessed with things. That they would know the joy and importance of giving. I wanted to share with you one organization that offers a great way to actively get your children involved in giving back.

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Operation Christmas Child is a program run by Samaritan’s Purse, a nonprofit organization that provides aid to victims of war, natural disaster, disease and poverty all across the globe. Around the holidays, they begin Operation Christmas Child. The idea of the program is that you fill a shoebox with toys, arts & crafts, candy, imagehygiene products, stuffed animals, sports items, anything a child with very little would be overjoyed to receive.

  • Wrap the shoe box in wrapping paper,
  • Label it based on the appropriate gender and age for the items you’ve placed inside.
  • Drop it off at a pick up location (you can find this on their website) with a small donation of $7 to ship it across the globe to be given to a child in need.

My home church has participated in this program for longer than I can remember. Each year I got so excited to collect school supplies, toothbrushes, candies and toys to give to a child like me on the other side of the world. The organization encourages you to write a letter or include a photo of your family for the child that receives the shoebox. I’ve even received thank you notes from the children I’ve sent items to! I’ll always remember the experience as an exciting, interactive way for a little kid to give back to someone in need.

This isn’t a blog about the greatness of any one charity or organization. I’m writing simply to share with you an easy, hands-on way to get your child involved with giving in a season often centered around getting. I can’t wait to fill up a couple of boxes with my LO. I hope this is a small way of showing her how blessed we are to have a roof over our heads and items to spare. Let’s start this holiday season off, not with plotting our Black Friday attack plans, but with taking a minute to be thankful and to teach our children through example. Let’s educate them on how important it is to humbly give back.

-Chelsea

Making Your Own Baby Food- Way Easier, Way Faster Than You Think!

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Seriously, it is I promise! When I was about 5 months pregnant I decided that I needed to create enough baby food to last my child her entire life. I really went a little nuts with how much I made, but when the time came for solids, I was so glad I had everything prepped and ready to go! One less thing for my new mom brain to worry about.

I am really not a crazy organic/all natural person. Will I choose something that is GMO-free and all natural ingredients 9 times out of 10? Sure. But I’m not shopping at Whole Foods on the regular. I’m a sahm and military spouse, ain’t nobody got funds for that. I buy what is reasonably priced and what works for my family. When it came to my LO, I looked at all the prepackaged options out there and was just disgusted. It looked nasty, it sounded nasty and the price was outrageous. I started doing some research (thank you Pinterest) and realized that it is super easy to make your own baby food that can sustain freshness for months in the freezer. So I decided to get to work…

STEP ONE: Buy Food

Fruits, veggies, grains, you can even get a little wild and try meats. Fresh, frozen, canned…it doesn’t matter. Here are some recommended starter foods that most babies generally like (until they become toddlers of course) and are safe for baby tummies:

  • STAGE 1 (4-6 months old): Carrots, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes, Bananas, Peas, Apples, Pears
  • STAGE 2 (6+ months or when you and your pediatrician think your LO is ready for thicker purees and textures): Squash, Brown Rice, Blueberries, Chicken, Spinach, Lentils, Yogurt, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Rice, Mango

STEP TWO: Prep and Blend

Pick an afternoon (really you could do it in an hour) and gather a couple things together:

  • All your fruits, veggies and grains
  • Ice cube trays
  • Freezer Bags
  • Sharpie
  • Blender

Steam any fresh or frozen fruits or veggies so they are good and soft. Obviously canned goods are ready as is. Make sure everything has cooled before you start blending.

baby-bulletWhen I did my foods, I used a Baby Bullet. I registered and received one as a gift at my baby shower. Loved it. All of the accessories and storage containers are super helpful. I especially love the grinder attachment that allows you to grind grains, nuts, etc. to add to your baby foods (read: make your own rice cereal!). Is a Baby Bullet completely necessary? Not at all. Any good quality blender will do.baby food trays

Now you’re ready to blend all of your ingredients. I started simple. Carrots and sweet potatoes together, bananas, and peas and avocados together. You can also blend in rice cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, whatever other additives you want to your mixtures. I was too scared to try meat but I know you can easily blend meat and freeze as well. After everything is blended to a very smooth texture, pour the mixture into ice cube trays.

STEP THREE: Freeze, Label and Store

Pretty self explanatory. Once everything is frozen, pop them out, place into freezer bags and clearly label and date. If you have a deep freezer, this is optimal to ensure your baby food stays the freshest for the longest amount of time. Different foods vary in how long they keep while frozen. A simple google search will tell you how long each food you chose will keep.

STEP FOUR: Serve

To defrost, I simply place one frozen piece into a microwave safe bowl and put it in for about 15 seconds at a time until it was completely thawed but not too hot.

That’s it! I told you, simple! Not only is making your own baby food wayyyy cheaper, but you also have the peace of mind in knowing exactly what is going into your LO’s belly. This is also a very effective way to track any allergies or sensitivities your child might have. Starting with one food at a time for a few meals before introducing a new one will help you pinpoint the cause of any reaction very easily.

Now I’m no doctor, but I swear making my own baby food helped my LO be a more tolerant eater as she grew into toddlerdom. Her favorite food is still peas. She is much more likely to try new things as finger foods because she is used to eating all sorts of colors and textures as baby foods. We were also very lucky that she has had minimal food sensitivities throughout her transition into solid foods. Every child is different. In my opinion, what do you have to lose? Do yourself a favor, save the future new-baby-no-sleep-going-crazy you a little sanity and plan ahead.Especially if you are planning to return to work, this will be a lifesaver. It’s not rocket science and trust me, you’ll be so thankful you did!

-Chelsea