Shark Tanks ZipadeeZip Review & Giveaway!!!

It's been way too long since I've posted and what better way to start the New Year than with a review and giveaway. 

I love watching Shark Tank on ABC network. There were years that this was one of the only shows I actually watched outside of Netflix. One of the companies that premiered on this show on 9/26/14 and left the show with a deal from the Sharks was "Sleeping Baby" featuring the Zipadeezip swaddle transition for infants. 

"The Texas couple, Brett and Stephanie Parker, created this business in an effort to provide their daughter with the cozy, womb-like sleeping environment she loved, but the freedom to roll around safely and freely." (http://abc.go.com/shows/shark-tank/episode-guide/season-6/01-season-6-premiere-sleeping-baby-hammer-nails-amber-and-bombas)

I contacted Sleeping Baby to tell them that I would be writing a review of their product that my son loved so much and they sent me a flying squirrel (which is just like the Zipadeezip but with open hand and leg holes for toddlers) as well as a couple of their trendy teethers. 

At the time this episode aired, I was about 1 month pregnant with baby number 6 and knew this was something I wanted to try when he was ready for it. Before his birth, I ordered the Woombie swaddle (http://www.24sevenmommy.com/blog-native/woombie-swaddle-review). He used that swaddle until he was around 2-3 months old and then I began to transition him to the Zipadeezip.

Sleeping Baby recommends that you wait until your little one starts breaking out of the swaddle , which usually happens around the 3 month mark. I ordered two size smalls - one in the regular cotton fabric and one in their lighter material for summertime. It took a couple nights for him to adjust from the woombie but as soon as he did he was sleeping through the night. I was in shock! None of my other kids slept through the night at such a young age so I was immediately impressed. Because the Zipadeezip is looser than a traditional swaddle it acts somewhat like a blanket while keeping baby safe. It helps prevent baby's arms from extending completely which can wake a baby up so they learn to soothe themselves back to sleep. It is roomy enough that can even place baby into car seat safely while they are still wearing their zippy (which we do for road trips). 

Bedtime routines became much easier and quicker. It was almost as if as soon as I finished zipping up Mister's Zipadeezip he automatically knew it was bedtime. As he got older, every time I would say “it’s bedtime” and pull out his Zipadeezip, he would clap his hands and run to me so I could put him in it. We would laugh so hard as he would then run around our house with it on, looking like a little penguin since his feet were stuck inside the zippy. He also loved bringing his hands covered in fabric to his mouth when teething. He wore his Zipadeezip until he was about 16 months old. He then transitioned into the Flying Squirrel and loves it just the same. 

After baby 7 was born and hit 2.5-3 months, I began putting him into the zipadeezips that Little Mister wore. It has been cold at night here so I have him wear traditional warm pjs with footies and then at bedtime put him in his zippy over the pjs. If I had the winter fabric zippy I would probably keep him in something cooler underneath. He has also been sleeping through the night minus a handful of days since he was about two months old. He is now starting to teeth and also enjoys putting his hands in his mouth while wearing the zippy. He wore it in the car when we road tripped South for Christmas and I always make sure to bring it whenever we go anywhere overnight.

I was given a teether to review as well. My older son used it a couple times but he was already 16 months when we received it so when I introduced it to him he used it a little but not as much as I would have liked. I will be introducing this teether to the new baby soon and hope that he likes it and that it helps him. 

Overall, I'm very impressed with Sleeping Baby. Their products are awesome and their customer service is great. I purchased and my sons love three of our own Zipadeezips before being given the Flying Squirrel and teether. Both my boys slept through the night at very young ages thanks to their zippy and I love having something that they can wear that keeps them warm and comforted.

Sleeping baby has some great sales and discounts going on year round however Stephanie, the creator of the Zipadee-Zip has generously offered to give away a Zipadeezip to one of my lucky readers. All you have to do is enter through Rafflecopter below. It's really easy to use. All you have to do is login, so that I know how to contact you once you win. Then just simply complete one or more of the tasks, depending on how many entries you want to submit. Yes you can enter multiple entries! Winner will be chosen on Sunday, January 15th. Good luck everyone!

If you're not our lucky winner, but still want to purchase a Zipadee-Zip, go to https://www.zipadeezip.com. Also, everyone can get a free customized sleep report from sleepsense.net.

Be sure to visit Zipadeezip on facebook (Like them to enter their monthly giveaways), twitter and youtube with the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zipadeezip-Slumber-Sacks-wwwzipadeezipcom/140978145992706

http://www.twitter.com/Zipadeezip

http://www.youtube.com/user/ZipadeeZip

Bottle or Boob? You MUST Choose!!!

And if you don’t choose the “right” one, as a first time mom you may feel the following symptoms: guilt, shame, anxiety, exhaustion, worry, fear….. did I mention how much crying you may experience as well? Yeah, that too!

Before my oldest baby was born I did as much research as I could on feeding my new baby. Seeing moms all over the place with covers as they quietly nursed their newborns, I could only imagine when I finally got to hold my baby and do the same. “Breastfeeding is Best!” was the Mantra I continued to hear and read everywhere I went. I so badly wanted to breastfeed, I mean it was the best and right choice for my baby’s future development after all. I was given pamphlets on the “dangers” of formula and what it could do to my baby’s future wellbeing. I knew my only choice was the boob. That was the only choice if I wanted a happy healthy baby.

Fast forward to his birth day…. Why is he having trouble even latching?

Oh no! The nurse is giving me a supplement to feed him so he would stop crying. Should I stop her?

Over the next couple of weeks, I had many visits with the lactation consultant to help him latch and was given some weird plastic device to put from a bottle into his mouth all while trying to then place him on my boob so he can latch properly… in the middle of the night this was extremely challenging.

He’s finally latching properly!!! But he’s lost weight and isn’t regaining it. No matter how many hours I “feed” him, how much my boobs hurt (and no one ever told me about chapped nipples before the baby – seriously OUCH) there is still not enough milk supply!

Feeling so guilty, so exhausted over trying to do what is “best” and most natural for my baby. I finally give into using a bottle and alas…. He is not crying, I am not crying! Woohoo! I did not know how my emotions would be like a roller coaster these first few weeks and how TIRED I’d be just simply trying to feed my baby!

I took him to the Pediatrician for a checkup and told her about my whole dilemma. I mean, my sister not only has enough breastmilk for her baby but an overabundance of milk to store. So why do I have to supplement? She then said “Sometimes some cows are good baby producers and some cows are good for making milk!” Hearing this made me realize that no matter if my baby gets the boob or the bottle as long as he’s happy and healthy that’s all that matters. We then tried a handful of different bottles until we stuck with one and I continued to supplement with breastmilk but he was a hungry boy and enjoyed his bottle.

Fast forward to the other five children. Did I try to breastfeed? Of course! And I usually did that first before giving the bottle for at least the first couple months of their life. Feeding times took longer and I always had to make sure to be prepared with a cover-up and a bottle everywhere I went. With each baby, that little bit guilt I would feel about giving my newborn a bottle went away and all the “fears” associated with it also went away. My children are all happy and healthy and at the end of the day I’m so glad I chose to just not give into the pressure of what others are doing or feel like a bad mother for not being able to do the same. At the end of the day, before we know it our babies are drinking out of a cup and all on their own. My boys especially would push me away at even a couple months old and down at least 8 oz of formula or more after I tried to breastfeed them. But they were well satisfied with the bottle. And that’s okay.

When baby 6 arrived, I was the happiest I had ever been during the newborn stage. I couldn’t wait until his midnight feeding to hold him, cuddle him, kiss him and just enjoy being with him in the quietness of the night. I wish I had not allowed inadequacies to steal me from truly enjoying every moment with my other babies as newborns.

If you are struggling with having to supplement with formula or feed out a bottle completely, being a first time mom or even a veteran mom be encouraged! Hold that beautiful baby and know that boob or bottle, your love and comfort matter more than making the choice between one, the other or both. I’ve heard the saying “the days are long but the years are short.” The days seem especially long sometimes with a newborn. Don’t let guilt and fear rob you from experiencing joy in this season! Try to really enjoy those moments of aloneness with your little one as you feed him in whatever way is best for you and for baby.

I want to thank my friend Gina Davis over at http://www.babybluemom.com for allowing me to write this post for her blog.

Let's connect by commenting below. Did you bottle feed? How did you feel about it and has that changed? Have any tips or encouragement for new moms that have to bottle feed?

The Deep Well of God's Peace

We go to church and experience peace, we have someone pray for us and we experience peace, we listen to a sermon or some worship music and God shows up and provides exactly what we need in the moment. Unfortunately, we live in a world where having peace can be so fleeting. That profound moment that we had at the altar last week is suddenly forgotten by the sudden demands of life. Your fighting with your husband, someone you know is terminally sick, your kids are hurting or can’t get along, you feel lost or alone, someone said something and rubbed you the wrong way. Those things begin to chip away at your soul, and moment by moment the cares of life have completely choked out all of the momentary peace that you felt.

What if I told you that God can offer you something so much greater but it does not involve changing your circumstances or making your life easy. Well that sounds nice, but in all reality you would wonder how is that possible? What if in the midst of your chaos God was able to give you the kind of peace that isn’t fleeting. I’m talking about the peace that is deep in your soul, anchored, strong, and steadfast. That no matter what kind of drama comes your way you have a deep sense of God’s peaceful and loving presence in the midst of your chaotic world. I want to share with you that kind of peace is reachable and is something that truly can be experienced.

It starts first by understanding that Gods plan for us is good. The scripture tells us that this in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you plans to give you a hope and a future.” We must start with the basics and with that is an understanding that God’s desire for your life is good. His plans are to prosper you and not to harm you. Do you believe that? A true belief in God’s goodness will give you a very different perspective when those challenges arise. When we lose sight of the good God has promised us it’s easy to take a victim mentality but when we hold tightly to his promises it gives us the strength and perseverance to keep going. In Romans 8:28 the scripture tells us, “And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  

Secondly, we must understand the power of obedience. Leviticus 26 talked about the fruit that comes from an obedient life.  Leviticus 26 3-6 says, “3-5 “If you live by my decrees and obediently keep my commandments, I will send the rains in their seasons, the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. You will thresh until the grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting time; you’ll have more than enough to eat and will live safe and secure in your land. I’ll make the country a place of peace”.  The fruit of obedience is sweet and has many rewards. God doesn’t want obedience just in some areas he wants a whole hearted surrender in every area of our life. Holding back and only partially obeying can prevent us from receiving some of the most wonderful blessings.

Lastly, we must hold onto God’s precious promises as true for our lives as we wait for our breakthrough. We must surrender our idolized tray of wishes, wants, and desires at the foot of the cross.  There are many times in my life that I have experienced God’s peace, but it has been in the midst of the harder seasons where nothing is going the way I would like, that I have found a much deeper more sustaining peace.

It seems to be so simple really. We must believe God when he says he has good things planned for our lives, obey his word, trust him and keep believing even when we don’t see breakthrough. Then the deep well of his peace will then begin to overflow abundantly into our lives. I can’t believe how many times I missed this just because I was stubborn, I didn’t want to do it Gods way or I just flat out got impatient at waiting. I would be uncomfortable and look constantly for ways to fix it.

Beloved, let the potter mold you when he adds pressure to your life. Yield yourself into the potters hands by letting him form something beautiful within you. In this life there will be trials and hard times. Waiting for God to meet us in an area of need can be extremely difficult. But in this same spot where we choose to surrender everything, is where God begins to sustain us with new levels of his peace and his presence.

Christina Moore - Loving wife, Mom of 2, Photographer of Christina Moore Photography and close friend.

History Unboxed Review

There are some great monthly subscription boxes out there for homeschoolers and I came across History Unboxed. With a subscription to History Unboxed, you will receive a new box each month including hands on activities that bring ancient history to life. I contacted the creator of History Unboxed, Mrs. Elizabeth, to find out more about this program. She is a mom of six, homeschooler and she is super friendly and extremely patient :). I was sent a box that studies the Scythians in return for an honest review. I am not an affiliate for this organization at this time. This box arrived in the mail just as we sold our home in San Diego and when we moved it took some time to get settled and organized. I was excited to finally open this box to see what it was all about!

Our box came with a sticker to add to a timeline, two crafts, wall sticker, coloring page and enrichment lessons. While I read about the Scythians and their way of life my older boys began cutting the pattern for their first Scythian wool hat and the girls colored. We had to section the sewing off in three parts so the boys all got a turn.

Once their hat was complete, they were all ready to show off their warrior faces in their new wool hat. Little Minnie smiled the first few shots so I asked her to give me her most "I'm gonna fight you" look and this is what she gave me! Oh those cheeks!

We learned that the Scythians sure did LOVE their horses! They made meat, cheese, milk, etc from their horses. They were also masters of gold work and so for the second craft, we got to make a gold horse. All of the kids like gold and they all like horses. This was a messy craft though so it was good I only let Lego do it. Lego finished the craft and then put gold on his arm to decorate himself as well.  

After our lessons were over I asked each kid what they thought about it. This is what they said:

Lego: My favorite part was making the gold horse.

Teddy: My favorite thing was sewing the Scythian wool hat. I learned that they sewed hats out of wool and they had a lot of precious gold. They died with their horses.

Tank: My favorite part was sewing the hat. I learned that the Scythians ate horse meat and drank horse blood. YUCK!

Princess: My favorite part was watching my brother make the gold horse.

Minnie: The gold horse was my favorite part.

Overall, my children enjoyed learning about the Scythians and making the crafts. Because there was only two crafts and I had five kids involved, I had to figure out ways where they could all be hands on in some way. The girls colored the storyline strip that the box came with while the boys did the crafts. The boys, however, would have each loved to have their own hat and horse. While teaching, the littlest ones got distracted here and there so I think if I would have gone to the History Unboxed pinterest page for more fun ideas on this subject it may have helped captivate them for the entire time.  For me unfortunately, it would be too costly each month to purchase for my three oldest boys on my own, however History Unboxed is now a vendor for some charter schools. I think this could be really great gift for your child, grandchild or friend to receive in the mail each month.

HistoryUnboxed.com offers two types of monthly subscriptions available and you can choose from ages 5-9 or 10-15 with either. Both subscriptions start with a welcome box including: an interactive timeline poster, a welcome letter and coloring sheet, a time capsule kit to create your own historic memento and a worksheet to help students understand how to read a timeline. The lite subscription for $9.99 plus shipping ($7.99 extra for adding siblings) includes: a small souvenir, sticker for timeline, a coloring page, a learning sheet and a myth, recipe or additional enrichment item . The regular subscription box is $29.97 month plus shipping (an additional $19.99 per sibling if you wish) and includes 1-2 high quality crafts, age specific coloring sheet, sticker for timeline and 2-3 items of additional enrichment material. Interested in trying it for yourself? Visit www.historyunboxed.com for more information. You can also find them on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/historyunboxed

Let's Connect! Have you tried History Unboxed or any other educational subscription boxes? Would love to hear what you have enjoyed with your kids.

 

Woombie Swaddle Review

Having a baby soon? There are so many options to choose from when it comes to swaddling your baby right? I tried the normal blanket from the hospital fold swaddle with my firstborn and he quickly learned how to get his arms out of that thing! Midnight feedings and diaper changes took longer when I went to wrap him and find him unwrapped only a few minutes later. With a couple of my other children I tried the swaddleme where you put them into the swaddle and then have their arms down to their side and tighten it that way. My kids didn't take to it for too long since their arms were restricted. With my other five, no swaddles seemed to really work or help their sleep at all, so by baby six I looked for awhile before deciding on a swaddle. I wanted something that would make him happy and also help him sleep through the night. After searching online for some time I came across the Woombie swaddle and was excited to give this a try. I liked that it didn't restrict baby's arms but kept baby nice and cozy like the womb. Here is a photo of little Mister in the hospital after his birth in his woombie.

woombie

What I really loved most about the woombie was the ability to keep him swaddled on top and being able to open the bottom part on it's own for diaper changes thanks to the 2way zipper. Woombie.com says this about their swaddle:

Woombie Features:

·        Ergonomically shaped design allows a more natural approach to swaddling

·        Easy to use- 1 step swaddle, no origami required

·        Will not unravel like a square blanket, potentially covering the airway

·        Encourages back sleeping, as swaddled babies are more likely to maintain on their backs

·        Gently cocoons baby's arms,   keeps hands away from face

·        Promotes self soothing by allowing baby to hold/touch his hands inside the garment

·        Plenty of room to move hips and shoulders

·        Stretchy but snug fabric simulates the feeling of being held, touched & cuddled

·        Narrowed waistline gently compresses the tummy, providing tummy comfort

·        Multi-dimensional fabric snuggles & moves "with" baby, mimicking the womb-ike environment baby was  accustomed to

·        Allows natural arm and leg movement during sleep

·        Lightweight & breathable fabric

·        2 way zipper allows for easy diaper changes at night

·        Seamless interior provides more comfort for baby

·        Designed by a Certified Infant Care Specialist &  Nursing team

·        Can be used in strollers and swings (Convertible/Leggie's versions can be used in a car seat in the arms out position)

·        Eases the transition from womb to world

·        Easy cleaning/care

Above is little Mister at almost 2 months old still enjoying his woombie from birth. I loved the Happy Elephants pattern. He quickly began to recognize that once I put his woombie on, it was time for bed. He has been, by far, my best sleeper since birth. He wore his woombie until about 3 months old and I transitioned him then to the Zipadeezip swaddle which I will be posting about soon! I am happy I didn't give up on the whole swaddle thing and that I tried woombie! Want to try the woombie for yourself? Here is the link to purchase your own Original woombie : http://www.woombie.com/the_original_woombie.html

(I purchased the woombie on my own and this review is entirely mine. I am in no way affiliated with woombie.)

Let's connect!!! Have you swaddled your children? Which worked best for you!?

HelloFresh Review

Thinking of trying a meal subscription service? I recently tried a couple different ones and wanted to write a quick review. A friend of mine introduced me to Blue Apron a couple months ago before I tried HelloFresh. The meals I chose for the week with Blue Apron were Roast Chicken & Potato Latkes, Harissa Lamb & Beef Burgers and Tamarind-Glazed Cod. One thing I will say about Blue Apron is they got me to really eat outside my "comfort" zone. I was trying things I would have probably never purchased and tried on my own. I thought it was good and I've heard amazing things about Blue Apron. Like other meal subscription services, you are only able to choose your meals based on what they offer that week and every week changes. I have not tried any other weeks of meals with Blue Apron.  

I came across a discount code for HelloFresh for half off my first week so I decided to try that one as well. For about $35, I received three meals that fed 2 people. Since our family has 8 people, the nights I chose to do these meals, I made dinner for the kids separately and then made these meals for the hubby and I. Hubby and I would normally spend more than $35 on just one date night out so we got essentially three "date" nights at home and we both got to try things we probably wouldn't have ordered if we went out somewhere.

First off, opening the box when Hello Fresh arrived on my doorstep impressed me immediately. All ingredients (except meat) were organized into their own boxes so I didn't have to wonder which meal these ingredients belonged to. With Blue Apron the spices/sauces were in little bags but the rest of the ingredients were all just put into the box so I had to look for which ingredient went with which recipe. Every meal comes with all ingredients with serving sizes pre-packaged. This is one thing that I really love about meal subscription services in general. No forgetting an ingredient that goes into the meal, it's all there ready to go. Step-by-step instructions are included with photos so you can make sure that what you are doing is correct!

The first meal I made was Chicken Milanese with crispy potatoes, mixed greens and creamy lemon-chive dressing. This meal was awesome!!!! The potatoes were crispy, the chicken seasoned just right and the salad was tangy and delicious! Want to make this recipe for yourself? Yes, you'll have to purchase all the ingredients and all but it's still worth it - https://www.hellofresh.co.uk/recipe/detail/54e354ee6ced6e55428b4567/chicken-milanese-with-roasted-new-potatoes-and-chives/

My Second meal was a Pan-Seared Steak with roasted butternut squash and green beans almondine. Okay, now I LOVE steak but have never been able to cook it at home just right. Thanks to these handy dandy recipe cards my steak came out so good. Not rough and not undercooked- just perfect!!! And the sauce that went on the steak after..... mmmmmm good! A first for me was butternut squash. I know crazy huh? I had never tried this and the way they had me season and cook this I was wishing I had known about this for years!  The image above shows how much food I was able to make with this meal for hubby and I. These are not "small" meals and they definitely satisfy! This was my favorite meal of the week!

The last meal that came in my box for the week was Tuscan Sausage Linguine with zucchini, chilies and parmesan. This was a fun twist to a typical pasta dish. I have always stuck to "easy" pasta dishes without going outside the box too much so this was very outside the box for me. I had never tried zucchini in pasta and I was surprised with how good it was. I added more chilies on my hubby's plate since he likes everything spicy. Out of the three meals, this was my least favorite but it was still a good meal and my hubby really enjoyed it! You can find the recipe to this meal here: https://www.hellofresh.com/recipe/detail/54c908136ced6e811d8b456a/tuscan-pork-linguine/

Thinking of trying one but don't want to commit to spending $69 every week? No problem! You can cancel your subscription or you can pause weeks and then when you see meals you want to try you can unpause that week and pay for those meals. You can usually see about four to five weeks of menus in advance once you have an account. HelloFresh has different boxes to choose from including classic, family, and veggie boxes. You can find discount codes online to receive your first week for less. You can download their app and keep your account current and share discounts with friends as well! Every time you refer a friend and give them up to $40 off their first week of boxes, you receive $20 in credit yourself. Here is my discount code so you can save up to $40 and I can receive $20 off my next week of meals: P7SWYB. This discount is only good for first time HelloFresh customers.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Just looking at my photos makes me want to cook this again! Have you tried a meal subscription service? What did you like or dislike about it? For those wanting to try HelloFresh, I hope you do!