I'm an Amazon Mom

If you have a baby–listen up. Or just listen up anyway.

So you know, diapers are expensive. We use cloth diapers much of the time, but for convenience, leaving the house, wash days, and during diaper rashes, we use disposables. You’re not supposed to use diaper rash cream with a cloth diaper, and we do leave the house on a regular basis, so we do go through our share of disposables.

All babies are different shapes and sizes, as you know if you happen to have one, so different babies fit different diapers differently. In a different way. For different babies. Some babies can only really fit into a few or one brand of diapers. Lucky for us, Mouse is one of those babies! He can only wear one of the most expensive disposables on the market: Huggies Little Movers. Not Luvs, not the Target brand or any other store brand, not even Pampers which seems to have a lot better coupons than Huggies. In fact, our most disastrous diaper experience came with Pampers. It was complete ADF (Atomic Diaper Fail). We were in Europe, and that’s exactly what you want while on vacation in a foreign country: ADF. So we’re a Huggies family. And not even Huggies Snug and Dry which they sell at Costco and are relatively cheap. Nope. Huggies Little Movers. Which cost more. Because apparently that’s what Mouse is. A Little Mover. I hope that doesn’t mean he’s in for a promising career as a Big Mover.

My child does not look like this, but isn't she cute?

Anyway, so we are also Amazon fanatics in this house. We have an Amazon Visa and use it for everything and get tons of points (= $$$) from Amazon. So I like to buy things from Amazon. I also like buying things online because it’s like Christmas when it arrives on the doorstep. And sometimes when it takes a long time, I’ve even forgotten what I purchased so it’s like a nice surprise. The only member of our household who does not like Amazon is Digory the beagle, who is convinced that the UPS guy is going to invade the house.

Amazon has a handy little thing for ordering diapers called Subscribe and Save. The name is kind of self-explanatory–you save 15% on diapers and they automatically come to your house for whatever time you’ve specified. I have always avoided Subscribe and Save in the past because I was never sure how long Mouse was going to stay in a particular size of diaper, plus I hate it when things automatically get charged to my card and sent to me and I forget that’s going to happen. But then I learned about Amazon Mom.

Amazon Mom is a free program that 1) gives you an additional 15% off Subscribe and Save diapers, 2) gives you free Amazon Prime shipping for 3 months with the opportunity to extend that, and 3) sends you annoying emails to try to get you to buy more stuff. Obviously for Amazon, numbers 1 and 2 exist so that they can send you 3, but for the benefit of 1 and 2, I’m willing to put up with some emails (and actually I haven’t even gotten one yet).

Amazon Prime shipping is free 2-day shipping. Well it’s not free–you have to buy a subscription to Amazon Prime which I think is like $70 a year and then you get 2-day shipping on qualified items. I’ve never purchased Prime because I’m cheap, and because most items that qualify for Prime also qualify for Super Saver shipping, which is free standard shipping with a minimum of $25. Super Saver shipping can take a while, but I’m willing to wait if it saves me $70 a year. However, I’m not going to turn down my nose at free Prime, so I’m happy with that Amazon Mom benefit. Plus for every $25 you spend in a single order of Baby items, you get an extra month of Prime. And since I still buy baby stuff…

The 30% off diapers is really the best deal. Now I know some moms do the super-duper-uber coupon thing where they buy several papers and wait and stack coupons and scour the web for awesome deals, and I have to say I’m in awe of those moms, but I am not one of them. I try to use a coupon whenever possible, but for the most part I don’t get those really serious bargains. Which is why 30% off diapers is a big deal for me.

With Amazon Mom, our Size 5 Huggies Little Movers come down to 23 cents a diaper. Perhaps I could do it cheaper the above way, but quite frankly, 23 cents a diaper that get delivered to my house without me having to move a finger is just about as awesome as it gets. Especially compared to sites like Diapers.com, which I think is one of the biggest rip-off sites on the web. They suck you in with a first-order coupon but if you pay attention, their Size 5 Huggies Little Movers come out to 40 cents per diaper. I mean, REALLY??? I could go out to 7-11 and get them for cheaper, practically. Drugstore.com has them at 37 cents/diaper, Walgreens will send them to you for 39 cents/diaper, and Babies R Us are happy to drop them off at 33 cents/diaper.

In other words, if you’re lazy, totally brand-loyal out of necessity, don’t like hunting down coupons and shopping several different stores at different times, and like things showing up on your doorstep in 2 days, I highly recommend Amazon Mom.

Now yes, you do have to subscribe. However, you can choose 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, or 6 months delivery, and you can cancel any time. I chose 3 months so in December if I have too many on my hands, I’ll just cancel. Or I can always bump up the subscription. Amazon makes it very easy to cancel, as long as you remember to do so.

So if you’ve got a kid in diapers, definitely check out Amazon Mom. Or even if you don’t care about any other benefit, sign up for Amazon Mom to get 3 free months of Prime shipping!

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We Remember: Kids Incorporated

Stacy Ferguson AKA Fergie

by Kaia-Gurl

Long before there was Glee, there was a little show called Kids Incorporated. If you never saw it, this show was ahead of its time. It featured a (mostly) talented group of young singers and dancers performing 80’s hits. The only other show doing anything like this was Disney’s New Mouseketeers featuring Britney, Christina and Justin. My folks never would spring for cable, though, so that show passed me by. Jennifer Love Hewitt was a Kids Inc regular. Mario Lopez from Saved By the Bell was a dancer. And then there was Stacy Ferguson. AKA Fergie from the Black-Eyed Peas. I never made the connection until I read about it. She was such a cute, fresh-faced kid with a big voice. If any of them were going to make it big, it would be her. Check her out.

Eventually even the Disney people picked up on the cool vibe of the show and bought the rights to it. Sorry to say, the show then went to the Disney channel, never to be seen by yours truly again. Boo!

 

We are no longer posting on this site, however, you can find me on my new blog: www.jedismama.com

Weaning the Reluctant Toddler

When Bugster’s 1st birthday hit in March, I couldn’t believe that I was still nursing her.  To be honest, I was really ready to be done with it all. But, it was clear that she was showing absolutely no signs of stopping.  She wouldn’t take a pacifier and wouldn’t go to sleep any other way (except for the car, but that’s not incredibly convenient at 3:00 in the morning).  I even asked the pediatrician for ideas.  His response?  “If you want to stop nursing, just stop nursing.”  I didn’t see it as being nearly that easy. 

Now, she’s almost 18 months old.  I’m preparing to leave the girls for a long weekend with Dear Hubby in a couple weeks and was going to wean her that way.  But, all of a sudden, on Saturday night, I decided I was done.  I nursed her for a few minutes, stopped, and then looked at her and said, “I’m done.  That’s the last time you’re ever going to do that.  Sorry.”  I hadn’t planned on it stopping so suddenly, and I hadn’t discussed it with Dear Hubby.  But, upon hearing my proclamation, he didn’t try to talk me out of it.  Instead, he took Bugster from me and attempted to put her to sleep, because she wasn’t all that pleased that her human pacifier suddenly called it quits.  She really wasn’t happy with me at all.  She fell asleep for him, and it went pretty well.  Bugster woke up in the night, and that’s when the real temper tantrum began.  I refused her attempts to nurse to go back to sleep, and that was a serious lapse of judgment from her point of view.  However, I am happy to report I stood strong.

I think she held a grudge for a couple days.  There have been a lot more requests for Daddy in the middle of the day than usual, and she pretty much gave me the cold shoulder in to Tuesday.  But, the hard part is over.  She occasionally still tries to get me to cave when I’m putting her to sleep, but never for more than a few seconds.  Bugster also still likes me rocking her to sleep, and we’ve already fallen in to a new routine. 

I have no regrets.  I think she was actually ready, or it wouldn’t have gone so well.  I felt bad at first, because it was such a radical change in her life.  And, she also had a cold this weekend, making me think it was really rotten timing on my part – but I then realized there is no such thing as the right time to do something like this.  However, I suppose some of my mommy guilt was probably erased by the kahlua I have been drinking this week. . .

I honestly didn’t think she would ever wean.  But, it turns out that her pediatrician really is a wise man; it was as simple as just stopping.

Encouraging Your Child’s Musical Interests

When is the right time to enroll your child in music lessons? According to various “experts” whose advice I read when researching this question for myself, it can be anywhere from 18 months to 7 years old. Come on, can a toddler really learn an instrument? Well, probably not, but that is the time to expose them to rhythm and movement. They can learn to identify instruments and how they sound. Good information but that wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to know when is the time to start playing an instrument. All I knew was that my then 3-year-old seemed to have an inclination towards musical instruments that I wanted to encourage.

Rocky at the piano

What I did find out is that most children who start very young begin with either piano or violin. Apparently they just don’t have the lung capacity/lip movements for horns and woodwinds and many strings require much more dexterity than little ones have yet. My grandfather gifted us a lovely upright Steinway piano. I’d start there.

Once I decided on an instrument, I began calling various music schools. Interestingly enough, only two called me back. Though they offered to send someone to my home, the prices were too rich for my blood, upwards of $140 for 4 half hour lessons a month. Frustrated, I went to talk to the owner of a local music store for guidance. He assured me that if a child could recognize his letters, he could learn to read music and play piano. He recommended someone who had experience with young students and her prices were reasonable. My son liked her and so we began the journey.

Rocky was just turning 4 when he started and I didn’t know what to expect. Would he lose interest? Could he physically sit still long enough to learn? Were his fingers strong enough? These were all issues when my sister tried to teach her little ones piano. They were just not having it and there she sits with a background in music and a fabulous baby grand that the kids don’t want to do anything with but pluck the keys now and again. Which just goes to show you – you can’t force a child to learn an instrument, he has to want to learn it. At least a little bit.

Surprisingly, Rocky turned out to be one of those kids who wants to play piano. One year later, he is making amazing progress and genuinely enjoys his lessons. I’m not going to lie, getting him to practice on a regular basis hasn’t always been easy. I’ve resorted to bribes and even threatened to stop taking him to lessons (fingers crossed – don’t call my bluff!). At 5, he’s now gotten to the point where he sits at the piano for his own pleasure. He even asked for a metronome for his birthday. Recently he started singing and playing at the same time. If you’ve ever tried to do this, it is challenging. I sure hope he sticks with it longer than I did (still stuck at the easy level music). I don’t expect him to be a full on musician, though he can if he wants to be. I just want him to have the background to pursue it just for the joy of it at any time in his life. Maybe one day he can teach me!

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com

WFMW Conveniently Green: Diaper Pail and Carpet Deodorizer

Stinky diapers are a part of life when you have a diaper-wearer in your family [insert bad poop+stink pun here]. It’s never fun to walk into the room and be hit with the Wall O’ Stink in the morning or after a naptime. But it’s even worse when the Wall O’ Stink continues after you have removed the diaper from the bottom.

There are all kinds of fancy diaper pails you can buy that claim to contain the stink, although personally I have walked into peoples’ houses and smelled that stench only to see that they already have one of those expensive diaper pails with the expensive refills that aren’t in the least bit Conveniently Green or even Inconveniently Green.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get on your case about disposable diapers. We use them too sometimes. But if you want to make the switch to cloth part-time or even full-time, start here and here.

Anyway, we use a stainless steel regular trash can with a plastic inner. Every once in a while the plastic part of the can will absorb some of the smell. I usually wipe it out with a Clorox wipe and set it out in the sun, or swish it with a bleach solution, but that’s not really Conveniently Green and also not what I’m writing about today. I’ll work on that for another post.

The cast of characters

What I’m talking about is how to cut down the stench while the diapers are still in the pail. Now nothing can really eliminate it, but you can help. And the good news is that it’s cheap, easy, and Conveniently Green! You can buy various pail powders online, but let me fill you in on a secret: it’s baking soda and essential oil. The baking soda naturally absorbs odors and the essential oil can both add a nice, pleasant scent, and also work to fight the stink. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Baking Soda
  • Bowl
  • Fork
  • Some kind of shaker
  • Essential oil(s) of your choice
  • Dirty diapers (not pictured)

Items in the picture you do not need for this deodorizer: two BPA-free reusable water bottles (pink), peanut butter, sippy cup, snack catcher (times two), fruit leather, garlic holder, bag of pasta, mysterious piece of paper. See? I just cut your shopping list WAY down.

To make the pail deodorizer, simply pour the baking soda into the bowl, add 10-20 drops of essential oil (use your nose to judge the amount), mix it all up with the fork so that the oil is evenly distributed, give it a few minutes to dry, and put it in your shaker container. You can use an old parmesan cheese container (reuse! recycle!), or I bought this little shaker at Ikea for some ridiculously small amount of money. I actually like it better than my old parmesan cheese shaker because I feel it’s easier to get the right amount of powder out.

Right at home with my cloth diapers

You can use any oil you like, but I love Tea Tree Oil. It has all natural deodorizing properties and is super-easy to find (bascially any natural foods store like Trader Joe’s, or even some drug stores have it). When I run out of powder, I often will just put a drop or two of TTO on a piece of toilet paper and drop that in the pail, and it works quite well. I’ve also used lavender, and that’s a lovely scent as well. If you want to go crazy with other scents, knock yourself out.

The best part is that you can use this powder all kinds of places. Feel free to sprinkle it in with your cloth diapers–it can go right in the wash. Smelly gym clothes? Booyah! You can even sprinkle it on your carpet and vacuum it up later (that second part is important) and leave your room smelling nice and fresh. Provided you have a decent vacuum. And carpet.

Conveniently Green diaper pail deodorizer: works for me!

Conveniently Green: Conveniently Organic

We all want to buy organic, right? I really think in an ideal world, we’d all buy fresh, locally-grown organic produce from extremely friendly people who set out little bowls of their cut nectarines and peaches in order to prove to you that their nectarines and peaches are better than the nectarines and peaches at the stand 3 feet away, and don’t even bat an eyelash when you go up and down to all the booths feeding your kid little sample pieces of cut nectarines and peaches because you timed it perfectly so that you don’t have to pay for lunch.


Still Life Fruit

Or maybe that’s just MY farmer’s market.

Anyway, in an ideal world we’d all buy organic, but the world is not ideal. And my pocketbook is certainly not ideal. Everyone I know is on a budget and has to make choices when it comes to food shopping. I mean, I know there are people with limitless funds, but I’m pretty sure they send their hired help to make choices for them, and I don’t personally know any of those people anyway (or their hired help).

I like to buy organic when I can. Mouse is a veritable Fruititarian–in fact, I have to save the fruit for last because serving him fruit is like the career-ending injury of food: he won’t eat anything afterward but will insist on more fruit–so I like to give him fresh fruit when I get the chance.

Generally even at the grocery store there is some organic produce, but I often don’t know if it’s worth the cost (especially when the difference is significant) or how to weigh one choice over another. Well good news! While reading through the wealth of information at Practically Green.com, a fabulous website you’ll be hearing a lot more about on Conveniently Green, I followed a link to a suggested action item–reviewing the Dirty Dozentm list of fruits and vegetables. The  Environmental Working Group has compiled a list of produce based on research of pesticide levels–which types of fruit and veggies are more likely to expose you to fewer pesticides. The “Dirty Dozentm” is a list of the twelve foods that are the most likely to expose you to pesticides.


This is a stock photo, not an actual image of organic fruit

This way when you’re at the grocery store, you can see that celery is on the Dirty Dozentm list, while onions are up on the top of the best list. So if I’m making a choice and want to minimize my exposure to pesticides, but I can only afford a certain amount of organic produce, I am better off choosing organic celery and conventionally-grown onions rather than the other way around. What a great way to help you prioritize!

And the best part for me is that I totally HATE celery, so now I can use this as an excuse not to buy it!

Here’s the Dirty Dozentm:

  • Celery
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Apples
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Kale/Collard Greens
  • Cherries
  • Potatoes
  • Grapes (imported)

If one of those is on your shopping list, mosey on over to the organic produce section and see if it’s available there. If you can swing it, try to select the organic version.

You can find the full list of 49 fruits and veggies in order of pesticide exposure here.

And–AND! There’s an iPhone app! What could be more Conveniently Green than an iPhone app?

Okay, there’s nothing inherently Conveniently Green about an iPhone app, but if you happen to have an iDevice, you can download the free app with the complete list here. If you don’t have an iPhone, you can either buy one, or jot down the Dirty Dozentm on a piece of recycled paper, or just write it on your hand like you used to do in high school.

Conveniently Green organic produce–just a little bit less!

And don’t miss this video from the Organic Trade Association. What’s there not to love about Obi Wan Cannoli and Ham Solo?

Birthday Bliss

Rocky is now officially 5. On his mid-week birthday, he sported a big button announcing his birthday boy status at school. His teacher added a crown and a sticker to his wardrobe so there was no mistaking just whose birthday it was on that day. My beaming child came home from school to find his grandparents from New Mexico had arrived for a visit. That night we ventured out to his favorite restaurant, Buca di Beppo, where he sat at the kitchen table (something he always wanted to do). If you’ve never been to this chain restaurant, everyone who eats there has to walk by this table to get to the dining rooms. My son was sure to point out his button and wave to the other guests as if he was royalty. The waiters (along with unsuspecting guests who happened to be in the kitchen at the right moment) sang, there were candles and a special dessert. In the age of digital photos, our children will likely expect every monumental moment of their lives to be recorded for all time. This time, I dropped the ball. Sorry, kid, no photos of your princely debut.

I got a chance to redeem myself the following Saturday when we hosted a space party at our house. Everyone we invited came and it was a feat to fit so many guests in our townhouse but we did it! We had a giant rocket piñata, a parachute game, a space cake and lots of food from Corner Bakery. We took out every space related toy and then some. And play doh. If all else fails, play doh to the rescue. Ditto balloons. Fortunately, things went pretty smoothly except for the fact that Rocky refused to don the NASA flight suit we got him for the occasion.

Let me just say if you are planning to host a party at home, it was WAY more work than I anticipated. So many details to remember. I really hope he can recall at least some of it when he’s older. I’m glad we were able to fulfill his request for a party at home but maybe next year I’ll have to talk Rocky into going to a bounce house or bowling alley. Perhaps just a special day. This may be tricky as he’s already requested another giant piñata from my parents next year – a clock!  Now that is random.

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com