GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes


“I participated in a Blog Blast Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GB. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”


A car seat is one of the most important big-ticket items parents will buy. Our little bundle of joys are worth the time it takes to research – and to put in properly fitted – car seat. The back support leg feature is brilliant!

GB places their priority on safety and is introducing their new Asana35 Infant car seat. Their unique 3-way FirmFit System provides Mom and Dad the ultimate peace of mind.

To celebrate the launching of their new line, GB is hosting the GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes


If you would like a chance, be sure to enter using the app below or you can visit the website directly.

GB Travel Safe Sweepstakes

World Prematurity Day & Protecting Children From RSV


Disclosure: “I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, Ford, I lived in the blissful world of first time pregnancy – Earth Mom out in her garden, planning this a-ma-zing natural birth in a backwoods hippy birthing center. I was 24 and pretty oblivious.


I had it all figured out. I was going to have a glorious pregnancy where I glowed (hah), an easy birth (can I snicker now?) and then Earth Girl would flitter through life with a wee one.

Well, Mother Nature played a good hand on me, and instead gave me a preemie baby, after a bad bout of Preeclampsia –


While I was grateful he wasn’t as small as some preemies (he was 5 pounds), and that he was able to come home quickly. It was late fall and turning cold.


My OB doctor and the baby’s hospital pediatrician left me with a pleading “Do NOT take this child out, unless it is to a doctor appointment!! He needs to get older and stronger.” I listened to them. He was so tiny! People complained about not meeting him, but wasn’t his health more important? 17 years later, I know I made the right decision with this. I had a healthy baby, who grew to be a healthy young adult!

World Prematurity Day is November 17th and for those with preemie babies, protecting them from a common seasonal virus isn’t just important, it can save them from severe sickness – or worse. Premature babies are at an increased risk of contracting RSV and developing a severe case of it, and twice as likely to be hospitalized with issues from it.


RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common virus that affects young children commonly (most children will have had it by the age of 2). While normally it causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy children, and is prevalent in November through March (the indoor months!), in premature children, with their often hampered and not fully ready immune systems, it can be very severe. This was why Ford’s doctors asked me to not take him out and about, nor to let people touch him – or even be near him, till he was bigger (and as well, spring came). RSV wasn’t talked about much in 1997, but yet, it was a real issue. I didn’t know exactly back then what I should be worried about, but I knew that for him to be healthy we followed the doctor’s guidelines:

  • Hand washing – this was mandatory before anyone held him, or prepared bottles.
  • If you were sick, you stayed away from the baby.
  • Staying at home until warmer weather came.
  • No smoking and no smokers around the child.
  • Washing clothing, bedding and other items often and in hot water.

If your little ones do get sick, keep an eye out for severe symptoms of RSV:

  • Persistent coughing or wheezing
  • Bluish color around the mouth or fingernails
  • Gasping breaths
  • Fever

And even though my next two children were born much bigger (8 and 10½ pounds), they were born at 37 and 38 weeks. With them, I also protected them the same way. Better safe than worrying, and not testing their young immune systems too early!

With the croup season upon us, visit RSV Protection to find out more information:

  • Talking to your child’s pediatrician about risk factors
  • Learn how RSV is affecting your region
  • Stories from families’ who have dealt with RSV

Here is to staying healthy this winter!

The World Is Waiting – Urbini Mom Voyáge


“I participated in a Blog Blast on behalf of Mom Central for Urbini. I received information from Urbini to facilitate my post as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”


I think it is very interesting to see how others view pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing around the world. What I might experience in the United States isn’t the same for a family in Norway, or The Netherlands or even more so, in India or China.

Urbini Mom Voyáge is a community of mom bloggers, hosted by Urbini Baby, talking and sharing about their experiences in motherhood from all corners of our world. It is funny to realize how we can be thousands of miles and many languages apart, yet some things never change, such as pregnancy myths! When I was pregnant with my first son I would have loved to have had a user-friendly/relaxed way to learn – and share. But, it being the dark ages (1997…eek!), I was stuck reading ancient pregnancy books that were lacking. I much prefer reading about how others have done things or what they hope for. So less stuffy!

Wander over and take a few minutes to check it out – and be sure to read the posts on pregnancy cravings. I still need to find out what “bitterballs” are 😉 There is more shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as well.

5 Tips Smart Parents Love


Disclosure: Thank you to Huggies for sponsoring this post, and helping me share my time, money & sanity saving tips!


With 3 boys, running a house and trying to keep up with my business (two blogs, a website, writing books), I don’t have a lot of spare time. And honestly, how many of us parents of young ones do? And while getting out of the house and running errands is a great time waster, it doesn’t get my work done. And neither is it relaxing. (I have this recurring fantasy where I go shopping by myself and float on a cloud of heaven.) A few years ago I realized I needed ways to spend more time with my boys, and make my business time count, rather than spend all day feeling frustrated and getting nothing done.

My Time-Saving Tips:

  1. Prep as much as you can before you go to bed. I made myself a promise when Walker was born, over 4 years ago, that I would make sure the dishes were washed, kitchen tidied up, garbage hauled out and laundry dumped into laundry room – before I went to bed. With the boys in bed, and the quiet in the house, the work goes fast. Most of all, I don’t lay in bed feeling guilty. And when I wake up, I am ready to go.
  2. Disconnect everyday. I will be very honest: I am very much over connected online. The internet going down is like losing a connection to the world for me. But I am not going to be all hokey and claim “We have a device free weekend”. Yeah right. Not. Rather I make an honest attempt every day that after I do my morning business work (emails, taking blog posts live, social media), while the boys eat breakfast and watch Sesame Street, that then I shut my computer off. And we go do things. Now I know I must make my time count. Then we go do errands, go to the park, go walking – or hang out in the yard!
  3. Order books & DVD’s online at the local library. Why? Well…..I love libraries and so do the boys. But oh, it is awful taking them there. I feel eyes shooting daggers at the back of my head when I come in with them. They have no concept of indoor voice and think the library is just fantastic for running up and down in. So, when I am online and see something I would love to see/read, I go online to the library and see if they have it. If they do, I request it. Then I can go in and pick up what I want quickly. Sure, I’d love to have time to wander and linger, but that won’t happen for a few years. Our library system also has a free magazine system, and I can download them onto my mobile phone. For free. At home.
  4. Always dual-task when you work out. Working out is a good thing. Getting time to do it isn’t easy. If I am at the gym, in the cardio room) I take my glasses off (so I can’t see the TV’s!) and catch up on books on my phone. Or I do emails. Or texting. I get my workout and other work done. This is a win-win. If I am out walking with the younger boys in the stroller, sometimes I put my phone headphones on and call people I need to talk to. Again, I get a workout in without guilt.
  5. But most of all, my biggest time-saving tip is one that changed my life: shopping online. When we moved, I made sure to say hi to the UPS and FedEx guys early on. Turns out we have the same OnTrac guy 😉 Kirk knows I come back from the store frazzled and annoyed beyond belief nearly every time I take the boys shopping. There is something so simple about having a shopping list and knowing prices, so I can shop from home. When it is quiet. A lot less impulse buys to say the least. And wait for my items to show up. Even a simple trip 1 mile away to the store eats up an hour. If I buy what I need, that takes a few minutes. Time we could be out in the yard, harvesting strawberries. Or going hiking. Or just relaxing. Without me foaming at the mouth that I am going to call Dad, and they can talk to him, when one is howling and whining.


Buying diapers was frustrating for me – and a big time sucker. Watching the weekly flyers, trying to see who had what on sale, and hoping I could find coupons to stack on. Then going shopping with one kid in the shopping cart seat, and one in the main basket. (because he won’t quit grabbing items and pleading his case. Over and over.) And wondering where I was going to stash the big boxes of diapers, while I still tried to fit in the rest of the groceries. Buying diapers online was a genius move for us. And the prices are often considerably lower than in person. Especially if I had to go to “the big town” 15 miles away, each way, to get deals. Gas is expensive! And so is my time.

Have you tried ordering diapers for your little one online? If you haven’t, is offering an amazing deal to first time customers! You can receive $12 off any case of Huggies diapers using code “WOWHUGGIES” at checkout – and first time members also get free shipping on their order of over $49! I have used and been very happy with their service. Quick, easy and ding-dong, here is your package!

With all my children, Huggies Diapers have been my main choice. They are designed well, have great leak protection and well, anytime I am doing less laundry means I have more time to be with my family. If your wee ones are active, give ordering online & Huggies a try!

Stylish Baby Wipes For Looking Good On The Go


FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

If you have kids, there is something you nearly always have with you: baby wipes. Heck, even if you don’t have kids you should have them along! I always have a package of wipes in the van, in the truck, travel packs in my purse, my hiking backpack and so on. But what do all of them have in common, besides cleaning up messes so easily? Those packages are soooo unattractive! Especially as your kids get older, or if you are like me and you don’t carry a diaper bag….

So how about a more stylish baby wipe? One that doesn’t say baby all over it. And that is ready to grab and take with you? Or to hang in the van, off the headrest?


What I really liked about the new Huggies Clutch ‘n’ Clean packages is the prints are adult and modern, the packaging is rugged, yet smooth (and no plastic-y odor either) and they come loaded with a 32 count pack of fragrance free Triple Clean Layers wipes. They are easily refilled with whatever wipe you prefer (I always use the fragrance free ones).


In 3 prints, there is plenty to choose from (I got the stripes for the boys, but I want the flower one for the van!).


With 2 sticky-fingered little boys, every time we get back to the van, it is hand-wiping time. Walker always walks to the back to get the package, but now we can hang them from the van’s headrest, so he can get them out for him and Alistaire.


(Please ignore the loaded n’ messy van!)

Or like Friday, when Alistaire squeezed out half a juice box on his toddler snack tray in the BOB Stroller while we were out hiking. Yeesh! Baby wipes to the rescue, no sticky residue left behind.


And where was the wipes? Not buried anymore! Rather, they were tucked into the storage pocket, proudly displayed and locked into place with the strap. Simple. Pretty. Functional!

Pull-Ups First Flush Ambassador: The Hard Months


“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”


I have enjoyed being part of the Pull-Ups® First Flush Ambassador Program these past months, because it has helped me to understand my child a lot better.

I learned some painful (to me) lessons, while attempting to potty-train my middle child. And I say attempt, because some of what I tried failed pretty miserably. He regressed a bit, becoming whiny and clingy, while I kept pushing. This wasn’t my normally pretty happy child. It took some real thinking to realize I was pushing too hard. Every child is different. He wanted nothing to do with a potty but will use the real toilet. Where as the youngest is highly fascinated with the toddler potty. Although I think he’d have loved this:


How cute is that? The First Years has a line of awesome 3 in 1 potties that convert for bigger kids – and make sounds. Training potty, big kid seat and a step stool. In a Cars design! I have a feeling that Alistaire will be getting one like this, it is very user-friendly. (Bonus? If you buy a specialty potty system from First Years, you receive a free sample of Pull-Ups Training Pants to get you started!) Where I found my middle child pulling back, and digging in, the youngest is excited to get started. My advice? If you get resistance, pull back and wait a week or two, then start again. Yes, being consistent is important, but pressing too hard (as I did), can do more damage. Make it fun for them. Set goals for things they need to be potty trained for. For Walker it has been that once he is trained fully, he can hang out in the ball pit at IKEA, at the play area at our local grocery store, he can go backpacking with me. Big Kid prizes really! I also get down to his level and we talk about all the things he can do that his baby brother cannot. Like how he doesn’t have to nap, because he is a big boy.

So as we work on it, I know we are far from being done, but I also know that child three will be a cinch, once I have mastered child two. And at least learned what not to do 😉

Do you need ideas? Help? Advice? Check out the Big Kid Academy online and Pull-ups Twitter and Facebook pages!

Challenge your diaper with Huggies Snug & Dry


When my middle son, Walker, was born in 2010 I never questioned what brand of diapers I would use. It would be Huggies, and nothing else. Kirk was scratching his head over that I am sure, but even with 12 years between Walker and Ford, I knew what I liked. With my oldest son, Ford, I had tried the store brands and other name brands, in the quest of “saving” money, only to learn my lesson. Huggies were often as economical, and many times less money. And I didn’t waste 3 to 4 outfits a day to the dirty laundry basket, all because of ill-fitting diapers that leaked. When Alistaire, our youngest, was born I took a pack of Huggies with me to the hospital, knowing the hospital only provided a sad excuse for diapers (scented…yuck, which gave him a skin rash). By then Kirk knew to load up the cart with red and white boxes of Snug & Dry. Good man!


“I can keep drinking all the juice I want if I get the good diapers!”

What were the features that caused total brand loyalty for me? 

  • No perfume. Seriously, who puts scents in diapers? The same people who scent toilet paper? Not only can I not use scented products, but I don’t want this on my children’s sensitive skin.
  • Side tabs that don’t rip off. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to put a store brand diaper and right as I go to bring the side tab over the front, the whole tab rips off. Yeah, because I don’t enjoy throwing away a NEW diaper that was a “saving” at 17 cents a diaper. No, I just wasted 17 cents! One batch of store brand diapers I had 10 of them do this in ONE package. I was steaming over it.
  • No plastic feeling outer cover. They leave the baby all sweaty. The even worse combination? Plastic cover and scented. Oy. That should be banned!
  • Diapers oddly cut. For me, somehow nearly no other brand is cut right. When they are newborns you don’t want thigh gap!
  • Preemie and Newborn diapers that are like velvet on their skin. When my oldest was born a month early, this was so amazing.
  • Not leaking, even on long car rides and sitting in backpack carriers while hiking. Like a happy Alistaire below!


I learned early on that when hiking with wee ones, you put them in the best. Otherwise, having a soggy diaper on a baby, especially when front carrying, is something you do NOT want to experience.

In addition to the same trusted Leak Lock® protection parents have come to love, only Huggies® Snug & Dry Diapers have SureFit*Design, to provide long-lasting fit for up to 12 hours of leakage protection.

Huggies_Snug & Dry
Features include:
• SnugFit* Waistband for All-Around Fit
• Now closer-to-body fit to move with baby’s twists and turns
• Now softer outer cover
• Vibrant, modern Mickey Mouse graphics

Available in 6 sizes, from Size 1 (up to 14 lbs) through Size 6 (over 35 lbs).

Suggested retail price of $9.99 for a Jumbo Pack and $19.99 for a Big Pack (diaper count varies based on diaper size). Available nationwide at retail outlets where diapers are sold.

And want a fun time-waster, that your kids will love to play with you? That can also help others?

Visit the Huggies Challenge website to take the Huggies® Challenge – complete challenges and win prizes. For every new challenge completed (4 are added each month!), Huggies Every Little Bottom will donate diapers to a baby in need. Which to me, is an amazing thing! I realize only too well how hard it is when you can’t buy enough diapers for your little one. I was a single mom to my oldest son, so it hits a spot in me hard. It is a horrible choice too many parents are forced to make.

Have fun, help others! Please visit, every baby deserves a dry bottom, and if you have a few minutes free time you can help out.

Like The Blueberry Breakfast game, that challenges you to find differences in the scene:



And yes, look who got her badge. I had fun, learned about products and helped out a child in need :-) And I kept playing games with Walker, he was having lots of fun.


When you take the Huggies Challenge, you can win Huggies Rewards Points, which can be used towards free diapers and free samples. Also, two lucky Testers will win Huggies Diapers & Wipes for an entire year! Drawings for these prizes will take place on May 12th and August 25th.

Until then, let your babes have fun goofing off – and not worrying. This diaper can handle it!


FTC Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies, but my love for Snug & Dry is all my own.

Big Kid Academy


“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

I recently was offered to become a Pull-Ups® First Flush Ambassador and after thinking it over, decided I could use the help! If anything, talking about our “adventure” might mean we get to the end of it! I’d love to be free of diapers.

You’d think potty-training two small children would be easy since I have done it once before…but you know it isn’t. If anything, it is harder. Because I know I have done it before, but yeesh, so many years have passed I don’t remember how I did it! When you start talking a dozen or so years….it doesn’t get any easier. And the oldest of the two young ones isn’t exactly happy with being potty-trained. He is fighting it every step of the way, and if it continues this way, his younger brother may be there first. Basically I am trying to get both of them trained at the same time, since the youngest seems interested. My theory is that they will get competitive and I win (maniacal laugh inserted here).

Have you checked out The Big Kids Academy? It has so much helpful information, that you will get inspired to try (or try again for the 20th time on a child).


A few weeks back, frustrated by a child that has ZERO interest in potty-training, I printed the Potty Training Progress Chart and have it posted in their bathroom. You cannot print out too many copies of this!


I backed off a bit, to let Walker settle into the idea, and to work on my training techniques. Obviously what I was doing was not working for him. It worked for Alistaire, but not for him. It can be so much easier to just cave, and let them wear diapers. And then that fear comes up “This kid isn’t going to be trained by school!”.

So…in the next month or so I am hoping that we will be a happy family, and find ways to get the boys to being big kids. Now…I am off to read up on rewards. And I think there is a large bag of Skittles needed. I am OK with bribery.

You can also find more help on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

PS: Moms, I’d love to hear your feedback, on what worked for you. Or how you worked with one that didn’t want to?

Baby B and His Birthday Cupcakes

It is hard for me to wrap it around my head that Alistaire turned a year old today. Everything that went so slowly with my two oldest just seemed to fly with him. Where they walked steady at a normal rate, little man tears around and barely teeters or falls, and has walked since he was 10½ months. I crossed my fingers he would fit in his 1st birthday onesie this morning, it was a tight squeeze 😉 It will be interesting to see his height and weight next week, at his 1 year checkup.

(Where does “B” come from? It was Walker’s name for the Baby, when he came home)


He was my biggest baby, 10 lb., 7 ounces born at 38 weeks and well over 22″ long. He came out ready to take on the world….or at least it felt like that. He is my little snuggler. If I was given a gift, it was getting a baby that loves me so much.


After going through a 3-ring circus I got all the boys together and tried to get at least one photo where they all smiled. Oh well. Two out of three is just fine. Hah….


Alistaire (1), Ford (15), and Walker (almost 3).

Walker decided B needed balloons. Lots of them. We all know who is playing with them, right? Yes.


Cupcakes? Of course! I took a well-tested and favorite vegan vanilla recipe of mine, and changed it up a bit, decorated in blue for my little man.


Coconut-Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1¾ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ¾ cup Coconut Palm Sugar or my favorite, Wholesome Sweeteners
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners (used Reynolds StayBrite).
Stir the vinegar into the milk, let sit for 5 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the milk mixture, oil, sugar and vanilla together till smooth. Pour on top of the dry ingredients, whisk till combined.
Divide evenly between the prepared cupcake liners (use a disher for best results).
Bake for 20 minutes or a toothpick comes out clean – be careful they do not over bake.
Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Frost when cool.
Makes 12 cupcakes.


Vanilla Frosting



Beat sugar through salt together with a hand mixer, till smooth. Color as desired.

Frosting will be stiff, for piping. If desired, add more milk for a creamier frosting.

Pipe frosts 12, spread on, will cover up to 24.

The finishing sugar is via Wilton (the clear is dye free).

Little man enjoying the rare winter sun….



Fears, Rain & Cupcakes

The past 9 days have been unnerving to say the least. Alistaire fell backwards and smacked his head on my desk leg (the cool design from Costco was apparently not such a great idea, it has “X” legs). After a couple of Dr. visits to watch the lump on his head, and then x-rays on Tuesday (that was very traumatic – he howled and howled and I felt horrible having to hold him down), his pediatrician wasn’t sure. They couldn’t see any fractures and overall the baby was feeling great. After the Dr. had a conference with the specialist in Tacoma they decided to wait. But holy his head looked awful. He had a HUGE lump on the side/back of his head that only stabilized in size today.

Daddy’s hat covers a multitude of lumps!


Yesterday our Doctor called us and said he had a conference with another colleague, this time at Seattle Children’s Hospital. They recommended we bring him in for more testing, to rule out any internal pressure, under the skull. We took the risk of a CT Scan so we could get a better look.

The good news?

No internal pressure. No fractures. Just one hell of a swelling, which could be seen in the scans. For me, the scans were worth it. It allowed that tight feeling across my body and head to dissipate. To breathe again. To not be hyper-freaked that the swelling would get even bigger.

The downside is it is basically blood. And it is going to take a good amount of time to come down. He might get left with a small reminder of it above his skull, calcified. That’ll be a family lore to tell for years!

The happiness of my week was that. And then he walked last night!! By himself!! Those first steps :-) So happy!


“Coffee with Momma is the best!”

After so many stressful and sleep-deprived nights, filled with storms of thundering rain and snow, walking out of the hospital this afternoon to clear skies and dry roads was wonderful. And it seemed fitting to come home to what I had baked last night. I have said it before, when I am stressed, creating is an outlet for me. And due to my stress I had forgotten about a bunch of bananas. They were at that stage. The one where if you don’t make banana bread/muffins/cupcakes then the next day your compost bin is burping after eating up $3 of organic vittles (that might be the fat squirrels that chewed a hole into our bin)……So I got busy and made an inspired banana cupcake, moist inside with a snappy frosting on top. And oh yeah, they are vegan friendly to boot. And very toddler n’ teen approved.


Banana Cupcakes


  • ¾ cup really ripe banana, measured after mashing (about 2)
  • ¼ cup neutral oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp pure almond extract
  • 1¼ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup walnuts


Preheat oven to 350°, line a 12 count muffin tin with foil lined papers.

Place walnuts on a small baking sheet, toast in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool a bit, then finely chop in a mini food chopper.

Whisk wet ingredients smooth in a medium bowl.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl, add in walnuts, then wet ingredients, Stir till just mixed.

Divide evenly between liners, about ¼ cup per liner.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and tops are not damp. Let cool for 10 minutes, transfer to a cooling rack. Once cooled, frost as desired.

Makes 12 cupcakes.


Maple Cream Frosting



Beat shortening with a hand mixer until smooth. Beat in salt and maple syrup, then add in sugar. Slowly add the milk, as needed, beating till smooth and just spreadable.

Spread on cooled cupcakes as desired. If piping, add a bit more milk.

Decorate as desired. banana chips make a nice edible topper.


PS: Don’t forget to enter for a chance at a copy of Vegan Slow Cooking – 2 more days left!

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