Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby Carrier Reviews!

My first ever baby carrier was a Baby Bjorn. Oh did that leave a bad taste in my mouth! Those suckers are SO uncomfortable! While they're pretty simple to put on, my back hurt within 10 minutes (even with a newborn!). (To their defense I'm sure their carriers have evolved over the years.)Anyway, I've been super skeptical of other carriers since then, but I totally shouldn't have been! I've actually had GREAT luck with some carriers and I would love to share some reviews with you. So, without further ado here is some insight from my IRL friend and myself.

(This post is duplicated with permission from my beautiful IRL friend Chelsea over at "From My Front Porch")
I adore baby wearing.
I started because I was obsessed with my precious baby and didn’t want to put her down. Oh, and for the bonding. I still do it because it makes her happy, it allows me some freedom, it’s cute, and it beats pushing a stroller. It is handy when you don’t want a hundred people to ask to hold your baby, or when being close to you is the only thing that soothes your babe. There are many, many benefits and I plan to do it as long as she’ll let me. {and then I’ll start in on her brother(s)/sister(s)} But like most anything in the baby product industry, the selection out there is overwhelming. I’m certainly no seasoned expert, but I AM opinionated. So I’ve reviewed every carrier I’ve tried.
Furthermore, I’ve asked my real life friend Kristin over at iDocument, who is a mama to three handsome boys to review her carriers.
Hope our babywearin’ can give you some useful guidance...

Carrier- Moby Wrap
Approximate Cost- $40
One Place to Buy- Full Circle Baby (New Braunfels!)
Weight Limits- preemie-35 pounds (even twins!)
Carry Options-8 holds including front, back, and hip
Pros- This wrap is extremely soft and customizable. It comes in a bunch of great colors and is affordable. It seems to be the most comfortable for baby since you can adjust so many different aspects of it. The instruction book shows countless tying/positioning options. Feels very secure while moving about.
Cons- It is a lot of fabric and takes a little practice to get good at tying it. In the summer, it is just too hot for Texas. The Baby Daddy won’t wear it. (even though I got burnt orange!)
My Take- Great for winter as it keeps both of you warm. It never hurts my back because the weight is evenly spread and can be adjusted. Also, you can spread the fabric to cover up post-baby blubber. When I wear it at church I tie it on the side so the knot doesn’t dig into my back while sitting. You can put the baby on your back alone, but it is much easier with help. I adored the breastfeeding hold when Kherington was younger because I could walk around buying groceries while she discreetly nursed and then nodded off. I can still breastfeed in it, but it isn’t hands-free. A-

Carrier- Balboa Baby Adjustable Sling by Dr. Sears
Approximate Cost- $60
One Place to Buy- Target.com
Weight Limits- 6-25 pounds
Carry Options- 4 holds including front and hip
Pros- Adorable patterns. Well padded shoulder strap, adjustable ring. Comfortable to sit, stand, or move while wearing. There is a pocket on the outside for keys, phone, etc. The Baby Daddy doesn’t mind wearing it. No spare fabric in the way, like some ring slings.
Cons- You only wear it on one shoulder at a time, putting more strain on your back. Only goes to 25 pounds.
My Take- This is my “go-to” sling because it is so easy to throw on. Kherington loves the hip hold, and it allows me to use both hands and get things done. I wear her in this sling for hours and get loads of compliments. I breastfeed in it, too. A

Carrier- Infantino Wrap & Tie
Approximate Cost- $30
One Place to Buy- Amazon.com
Weight Limits- 8-35 pounds
Carry Options- 3 holds, front and back
Pros- Shows tying instructions on the inside, so even Baby Daddies can figure it out. No adjustments, clips, or rings to worry about.
Cons- It says babies can face outwards, but I have found it too uncomfortable for Kherington because the fabric is so wide that she is doing the splits. Only two color/pattern options. Knot can only be tied in the back, which hurts if you sit down. Also, the straps make back fat and love handles more noticeable.
My Take- This is fairly comfortable and ideal for 3-4 month olds (front) and then for 8-10 month olds (back). I got this as a free replacement for the recalled Infantino Sling (which I loved). I’ll use it since I have it, but probably wouldn’t buy it again. B-

Carrier- Hotslings Pouch-Style Baby Carrier
Approximate Cost- $40
One Place to Buy- All Modern Baby
Weight Limits- 8-35 pounds
Carry Options- 3 holds including front and hip
Pros- Simple. Instructional DVD and demonstration card.
Cons- Fabric feels cheap. It is not soft or stretchy. The padding is minimal.
My Take- I hated this sling and returned it right away. To be fair, mine was too large, even though I used the sizing chart on the back of the box. Still, this sling was not comfortable for me. C

Carrier- Ergobaby
Approximate Cost- $100 - $150
One Place to Buy- Ergobaby.com
Weight Limits- birth (with insert) to 40 lbs.
Carry Options- 3 holds including front, back, and hip
Pros- Very comfortable and can be worn for an extended amount of time. Easy to get on and off (very!). Child is very secure while in the carrier. It has a hood for sleeping baby, or to shade the baby. Can be worn by moms or dads without purchasing 2 carriers. Babies can comfortably sleep in this carrier. Truly handsfree.
Cons- Hard to sit while wearing the carrier/baby. It gets a bit hot when wearing your baby in the summer for long periods of time. Baby cannot face out while being worn in the front. The waist strap accentuates back fat. It's a bit pricey, but honestly you can get this carrier and purchase no stroller!
Kristin’s Take- This carrier is a lifesaver! I wear my 9 month old daily and on occassion my 2 year old and it is so comfortable . I highly recommend the Ergobaby. It is simple to use (with no help from others) and is very comfortable. To me this carrier has been priceless. A++

Carrier- Zolowear (ring sling) Solstice
Approximate Cost- $90
One Place to Buy- Zolowear.com
Weight Limits- birth (with caution) to 35 lbs.
Carry Options- 4 holds, including front and hip
Pros- It's great for sitting or standing. It's easy to use (once you get the hang of it). It is stylish and looks good with most outfits. It has a handy pocket for a pacifier, wipes or even a diaper. It's flattering (no back fat being squished!). It comes with an instructional DVD for ease of use. It's made in Texas! This carrier allows you to discreetly breastfeed.
Cons- Not so cute on men. It hurts your shoulders if worn for long periods of time. It's tough for older babies to sleep in this carrier.
Kristin’s Take- I love my sling, but I wear it only when I know it won't be an extended period of time. I usually wear this one when I'm more dressed up and when I know I'll be both sitting and standing. B

Others I would like to try: Babyhawk, Kozy Karrier, Karma Baby, Ergobaby (maybe I should just try Kristin’s on!)

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Thursday, July 15, 2010


Source: CSN Stores (this isn't my munchkin, but he's cute, huh?)

We've FINALLY put munchkin #3 in his own crib at night. This little gadget made it so much easier for me! It is amazing! I can't believe that we made it through 2 other munchkins with out it! I know, I know a lot of you don't see the need... but for me it equaled instant peace of mind!  I can see and hear him with out disturbing him  - even in the dark! I love it. No more worrying if he is okay or not. I can turn it on silent too, and just watch him!

Not only does it have night-vision, but you can play music from the handheld monitor with the push of a button! I love this little piece of equipment and I'll be using it for years to come!!  It will be so useful to put in the boys' room when I can't be in there to watch them! I can also catch them in their shenanigans when their older, ha!

You can get your own right here at one of CSN's 200 stores. 

Munchkin #3

Levana BABYVIEW20 Highlights
Source: CSN Stores

From the manufacturer:  There is nothing more important to you than your child’s safety and security. You want to be with them day and night to know that they are safe at all times. But with so much to do around the house in an average day, you know that it isn’t always possible. The BABYVIEW20 is Levana’s easy-to-use video baby monitor that ensures you’re always there for your loved one. This portable system allows you to watch over your child with a handheld monitor and be alerted whenever she makes a sound, even when the system is in standby mode. The night vision feature allows you to see your child when it’s dark, and you can play comforting lullabies directly from the camera. The BABYVIEW20 is the perfect solution for every parent - now you can rest easy knowing your child is safe! 

Levana BABYVIEW20 Highlights 

Set it Up in Seconds

Just switch on the camera and monitor and the system is ready to use. You will immediately see what the camera sees on the LCD screen. 

Watch Your Child with No Interference -- Clear Signal Technology

  • A digital wireless system ensures that you get a clear picture of your baby at all times.
  • No interference from cordless phones, microwave ovens, WiFi signals (from wireless routers), Bluetooth devices, or other wireless devices in your home.
  • All video and audio of your baby is kept private and secure -- a digital signal ensures a secure link that can not be intercepted.
  • Watch your baby anywhere in the house or outside (up to 150 ft).

Hassle-Free Portable Monitoring

The battery-powered monitor makes carrying it around easy and convenient. The included rechargeable Lithium-ion battery gives you up to 4.5 hours of continuous use, allowing you to easily move the monitor from room to room. A low battery indicator lets you know when the battery needs to be recharged. Just plug the monitor into a wall outlet to charge the battery or for long term use. 

Around The Clock Monitoring with Standby Mode

Standby mode allows you to rest easy, but be alerted instantly. This feature shuts off the monitor’s screen and audio. It will only turn back on when your child starts to cry or make noise. You will be immediately notified on the monitor you when your child starts to cry -- the LCD and audio will switch on. 

Night Vision Allows You To Watch Over Your Child Both Day and Night!

See your child at night with built-in night vision. Infrared LEDs output light that is invisible to the human eye but can be seen on the monitor. The night vision will turn on automatically when it gets dark and allow you to see up to 15ft away. It also turns off during the day to save energy.

(I was NOT compensated for this opinion, it is all of my own accord!)
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Black bean burgers! DELISH!

These burgers are so easy and delicious, not to mention great for you!! You should totally try them out!

Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kosher salt
A few grinds ground pepper
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp Tabasco
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
A few extra tablespoons olive oil

For serving:
Hamburger buns

Add the beans to a large bowl and mash with a masher or your hands. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until softened, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add to black beans. Add oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, lime juice, Tabasco, garlic and bread crumbs. Stir well to combine.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add a few tablespoons olive oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Shape black bean mixture into patties and cook on each side for 3-5 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns with whatever condiments you like.

Yields 6 burgers.

NOTES: Instead of shaping the patties as big as a regular hamburger, I would make them small and thick. Once you bite into your black bean burger, the burger is going to spread and flatten. So making them smaller will leave room for spreading on the bun.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

There's an APP for that...

Okay, maybe not actually an APP... but it works!

We have no home phone in our home. Mr. Wonderful and I rely on our cell phones. He is never far from his phone, as for me... I loose it often! It's so frustrating for me at times when I cannot find it! I usually just wait until someone calls me, but I hate that! So look what I found:


This website lets you type in your phone number and it will call your phone so you can find it! Awesome! I've done it several times and have never had any problems with prank calls or any unsolicited calls! YAY! Maybe you can use it someday too!

(UPDATE: You may not want to actually ANSWER your phone when it rings... it may or may not be sex hotline. I was told this by my IRL Jenn friend. Just hit ignore!)

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fruit (and veggie) smoothies!

We love making fruit smoothies during our hot Texas summers. We don't really follow a recipe as such, but usually use the same ingredients. Basically we put a handful of strawberries, blue berries, black berries, a couple of bananas, a 1/3 cup of splenda, a handful of spinach (you don't taste it at all) one container of vanilla yogurt, 12 or so ice cubes, a dash of vanilla and a splash of vanilla soy milk! Dump it all in the blender and puree until smooth... instant refreshment!

Everyone in my family loves them and they're good for ya too! You should totally try it!
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Friday, July 2, 2010

Independence Day!

I hope that you all have fun plans for this weekend! We're excited to watch the city parade and fireworks and then set off some of our own!

Our little city is know for having the largest small-town parade in the world (okay maybe not world, but America?!). Seriously it goes on for hours! It includes lots of pretty floats and lots of low-riders. Some of those low-riders are pretty cool with their hydraulics or whatever it's called... but some roll through like they just accidentally got in the parade line, not a decoration or a bit of charisma in sight.

Since we'll be downtown watching the festivities I decided to make a couple of shirts for the littlest 2 munchkins to wear.  I used some old t-shirts that I had lying around to make the shapes and then adhered them with wonder under! I would have made big munchkin one too, but he said ummm they're cute mom, but no thanks!

I still need to sew around the shapes and then wash them, but they're almost done!

Fortunately we live out of the city limits so we can set off all of these:

We LOVE doing this... especially Mr. Wonderful and Munchkin #1. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with us, but if not we'll do it another night. We also love to sit outside and watch the city's fireworks. They are pretty darn good for a small town.

I'm going to attempt to make these tonight too... wish me luck!

I'm not going to add the icing on top... I think they'll be plenty sweet and cute with out that! If you'd like the recipe click this link: patriotic cookies.
source: http://jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com/

Happy 4th of July, y'all!

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

DIY wreath - on the cheap!

Can you guess what this is made out of?! Give up?

Lima beans!! Who would have thought?! 

Well I found the tutorial on this little guy on a great blog and just HAD to make one! I think they are super cute. Here is the link to the tutorial if you'd like to make one yourself! Just click the link below!

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