There was an error in this gadget

Friday, August 9, 2013

Woolzies!

recently received a package of Woolzies dryer balls through a blogging promotion to try and review. Though I received the product in question free, this review is my own thoughts and feelings!


My only other experience with wool dryer balls is the homemade ones I made with wool yarn I found on clearance. Frankly, I wasn't sold. And then I sold my dryer because we were moving - and forgot my dryer balls! It was a tragedy for sure.


Then my Woolzies came in the mail. When I opened them, I was impressed. They're quite a bit bigger than the ones I made and they're a lovely shade of off white. They're also completely smooth and springy feeling. They would make excellent cat or baby toys! But, into the dryer they went.


First lad, I could tell a distinct difference in the softness of my clothes. But, at the same time, I also started putting a bit of apple cider vinegar in the fabric softener cup of my washer, so I still wasn't convinced. Next load, I left the vinegar out and relied on the Woolzies to do the work. My clothes were still super soft!


Here's a secret: I've been fibbing to my partner about our laundry. I told him I started using fabric softener again, because he noticed that the towels weren't stiff anymore. He's very much not crunchy, and thinks I'm just too cheap to buy 'real' stuff, but he completely believes me. That's how great these are!


Woolzies retail for 33.95 on amazon, for a pack of six. They are guaranteed to last for 1000 loads, though I think they will last much longer than that. (In comparison 40 loads of Downy is 9.94 on Amazon. It would cost 248.50 for 1000 loads. Even with coupons/sales, its still way cheaper to buy Woolzies!). Add to cost the fact that you don't have any plastic packaging, far less production cost, ect. These are definitely a winner in the Eco friendly category!


To really test them, I washed three old pillows. I assumed they would come out lumpy and ready for the trash - they were already flat, so no real big loss. I was right about one of them - but it's tag said do not wash. The other two came out looking better than they went in! Thanks, Woolzies!


You can like Woolzies on Facebook, here: https://www.facebook.com/Woolzies?ref=ts&fref=ts.

And on twitter, here: https://mobile.twitter.com/Woolzies.

You can also find them at www.Woolzies.com!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

$50 Amazon gift card giveaway!

At GiftHulk users can earn gift cards, electronics and other cool rewards by doing things they already do online – searching, answering surveys, watching TV ads and more! GiftHulk offers users different ways to earn Hulk Coins! These include Offer Walls / EZ Coins, Surveys, Invite your friends, GiftHulk TV, Search, Tasks, Guess the card, Sweepstakes and Fountain of Youth and more! Currently GiftHulk is open to users from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Ireland. Chips_withShadows_200 Why GiftHulk? “Time Is Money.” However, when it comes to surfing on the Internet we totally forget about it and spend our time refreshing Facebook and Twitter to see if there is a fresh update. We all do it. GiftHulk established a way to make it possible to gain from surfing the web and your online daily activities! The main goal is to allow people the things that they really want and need – for absolutely FREE! That is the main reason they offer such a huge selection of gifts, from department and fashion stores to online shopping cards to premium game account cards and even cool gadgets! The idea is that every person will be able to enjoy GiftHulk! Featured on CBS, at GiftHulk you can earn Rewards The EZ Way! To date over $500,000 in prizes given out to users! GiftHulk Giveaway

The GiftHulk Giveaway Event was organized by Mom Powered Media.

Please take a moment to also visit our lovely co-hosts, whom without them great things such as these would not be possible: Mom Knows It All, Keeping Your Cents, The Write Mama, Mew Review and Secret Southern Couture.

Four lucky winners will each receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

Giveaway ends July 29th at 11:59pm, open to USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Ireland residents, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:5 Cats and a Baby is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact teri@mompoweredmedia.com with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ibotta

So, I use Ibotta to save money for Christmas for my little.  We're on a pretty tight budget as grad students, so it helps that I can save money while buying things I can use or items I can get for free with coupons anyway.

If anyone wants to do me a solid, the can join Ibotta using my referral link.  Ill get extra money and you can check it out! Help buy Nibs Christmas.

http://ibotta.com/r/VAsyFQ

Packing Outgrown Baby Clothes, Consignment and Memories

Today, I've been packing up parts of the house, so I decided to go through the Rubbermaid tote that I put all of Nibs clothes in when she outgrows them.  It's a bright pink tote, perfect for a little girls cast aside things, and it is stuffed full.  The top layer is the infant inserts to her car seats - those hold nothing for me, but I'm keeping them incase I need to pass along her seats in the future, so I tossed those aside to see what else was in it.

My real reasoning for going through this tote was to set aside the things that I can put in the upcoming consignment sale so that I can put that money towards winter clothes for her.  I've done this for the past two years in order to keep the cost of clothing her down, but I do set aside some things that I'd like to keep, whether for a possible future baby or just for sentimental reasons.  The pink tote is reserved for those sentimental and keep items, but I thought that perhaps there were a few things that should be sold, that I no longer had an attachment to.  (There were, but that's not really interesting, is it?)

There are the usual sentimental outfits - the onesie she wore for her first birthday (the tutu I made is framed in a shadowbox and hanging on her wall), her first christmas onesie, the outfit she wore home from the hospital - but there are other, different outfirst that I had no idea would make me feel so nostalgic.  There's a little white dress with bloomers, and orange and yellow flowers on it.  It is an outfit I never would have picked out, the colors too bright, bought by my mother in law.  I remember holding Nibs, dressed in this tiny perfect dress and marveling at how beautiful, even as a tiny, tiny baby she was.  How much she looked like her dad, but so undeniably girly.

At the bottom of the tote, there was a yellow pacifier with a bee imprinted on it.  Nibs never took much to pacies, prefering her BoBos to anything made of plastic.  But this one, she liked sometimes, would suck it deep into her mouth and smile around it.  I have a picture of her, lying on our couch fast asleep, wrapped in  a blanket with this paci  in her mouth.  It is, quite possibly, my favorite picture from those days.  I remember watching her sleeping, loving her more than I have ever loved any one thing in the whole world.  I thought then, I better take a picture, in case I don't remember this.  I did, but it turns out I didn't need to.  I'll never forget.

Even when I look at outfits she wore not that long ago - the outfits that start to become little girl outfits, not baby outfits anymore - I wonder, next year, will I be able to get her to wear footie jamjams?  Will she still want to fall asleep on my lap?  Next month, next year, I will be sad when these things that frustrate me so much in the moment are gone.  Ten years from now, when I have to sneak into a little girl bedroom to watch her sleep, when there are no more early morning, milk-breath smiles and cuddles, I will wish wistfully for one more lap-nap, for one more tug at my tank top to nurse.

So, tonight when she crawls up into my lap to sleep, I will not get frustrated with her when she doesn't fall right to sleep.  I will try not to get mad when she wants to pat my chest, when she needs to breathe my smell to sleep or when she wakes in the middle of the night seeking me out if only to flop her legs across my back. I will smile and hold her tighter.

I'm trying, baby girl.  I really am.

Packing the Bookshelf

As a writer, I have a ton of books.  I have a five shelf bookshelf that lives in my bedroom that is cram packed full with three types of books: books I have had to buy for classes, books I buy because I think they may come in handy some day when I'm a professor, and pleasure books.  (Okay, sometimes the books fit more than one of these types.)  So packing up that particular bookshelf is always a pleasant walk down memory lane.

In my undergraduate career, I was blessed to have many professors that I loved and was able to bond with. I can remember exactly which books I bought for which classes and why I loved them, or at least the many pleasant memories that each of those classes has.  I can pick up the book that one of my favorite teachers, and favorite writers, signed for me and I remember very well sitting in her classroom, goofing off with one of my friends - and remember that she is the reason I'm on the path I am today.  Inspiration is always best when it's a person who has succeeded at what you want to do with life.

And then I picked up Lolita.  It was shelved with almost every other book from the same class, but Lolita is special for me.  It was reading it that really taught me to slow down a savor a novel, not just for what impact it could have on my writing, or for whatever deeper meaning other professors might want me to be able to dig out of it.  But  to really enjoy a book for exactly what it was - for carefully chosen words on paper that have stood the test of time.  Thanks, Pamela.  Thank you for teaching me that.  (Re-teaching, perhaps, because surely this is what a reader does in the beginning?)  Thanks for everything.

Best wishes,
Jessi

Friday, July 5, 2013

Zucchini bread in the bread machine!

Recently, while we were home visiting, my partner and I found several Mennonite farms that sell produce on their porches.  It was an awesome day! I've always been fascinated with the Amish and their off-shoots, and it was very neat to pull up to houses and buy fresh from the garden produce.  They even had pickles and jams and one very nice lady had handmade soap!

I wound up buying a cabbage - turned it into kraut, which is still fermenting in the kitchen - as well as a ton of squash, a bar of citrus soap for the kitchen, and one very, very large zucchini.  Problem is, I had no idea what to do with it.  I like grilled zucchini, but we are currently without a grill, so that was out.  So I decided I was going to make zucchini bread! Here's the recipe I used, I found several online and took what I wanted, added a few things, and made it my own.

1/2 cup of applesauce/oil - I use mostly applesauce and a splash of olive oil and it turned out perfect. Next time, ill try all applesauce.
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp allspice - next time, ill probably use more
Nutmeg - I just grated it straight over the pan, not sure how much.
1 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/3 cup walnuts - I actually put more than that, a very heaping 1/3 cup.

Add ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine and select quick bread.  With my machine, there are no options with quick bread, but I think 1 1/2 lb loaf would be right if yours does.  Mine beeps when it's time to add the walnuts, but you could add them at the beginning or after the first mixing.  I also took mine out about fifteen minutes before the machine cycle was over, I don't like super browned bread!

It turned out delicious! It's not too sweet, and the walnuts are perfect.  It's great warmed in the microwave with a little (real!) butter.  So yummy!


GiftHulk Summer Event!


 GiftHulk Summer Event
 Organized by: Mom to Bed by 8
 Prizes: Four $50 Amazon Gift Cards
 Event dates: 7/15 - 7/29
 Bloggers Wanted ~ SIGN-UP HERE!

Chasing Fireflys

A few nights ago, Nibs and I were outside playing after my partner left for work for the night.  It was getting dark, but she was having so much fun playing with her chalk that I decided we could play a little longer.

And then it happened: the first firefly of the season lit up, right above her little head.  The smile on her face was huge! She loves bugs - don't all kids? - and she immediately started gibbering about the buggy.  And then I caught it.  She gasped when I spread my palms and there it sat - lit up, wings spread - it was a perfect moment.

I remember a night just like that one, sitting outside my grandmommy's house, making mud pies or helping granddaddy in the garden. I couldn't have been very old, less than ten.  I loved to chase the Fireflys that gathered in the honeysuckle bush on the fence next to the garage.  I can smell honeysuckle, the sweet scent mingling with the man-sweat smell of my grandfather.  (I will forever associate that smell with manliness, and immense love.). Grandmommy made me a jar to keep my bugs in, a pickle jar probably with holes poked into it with her ice pick, the one granddaddy made for her.  (Momma has it now, but someday Ill take it.)

Nibs and I chased fireflies until she was exhausted and we had to go in and brush our teeth and put on jammies.  That night, as she lay on my lap, legs dangling, too big, really, I cried.  I remembered, in these days of terrible twos and her trying my nerves, why I decided to parent the way I do.  I want to chase fireflies.  I want, someday, for her to look back on her childhood with fondness.

Never for a minute do I want this precious child I've been given to question that I loved her, that I will always love her, no matter what.  I don't want anything to stop me from chasing fireflies, or kissing boo boos, or stopping to s,ell a flower she picks for me, even if its just a weed.  I want to be the kind of unconditional love in her life that grandmommy's was for me.  So, from here on out, when I'm frustrated, and think I can't stand it anymore...

I'm going to close my eyes, and smell honeysuckle and see fireflies.  I'm going to picture my grandmommy and know that 'this too shall pass'.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Moving with Cats/Kids

Before I say this, understand that I am just as partial to my fur babies as I am to my daughter, though I do love Nibs just a tiny bit more than the others. (What mom doesn't have a favorite, though, right?) We're getting ready to relocate again because the lease on the townhouse we rented when we moved here is up July 31st. Yay!

 But I can't say I'm excited. This means boxing up the house, yes, but that doesn't bother me at all. What really bothers me is moving the cats. My cats don't ride in cars. They go to the vet once a year and that is never more than a few minute ride from our house. I don't regularly take them out for drives - why would I?

The trip here was approximately four and a half hours, including stops. The boys ride incredibly well - they were crated together, so they slept most of the ride and only meowed when we left them in the car - running, windows cracked of course! - so we could run in for a potty break. But hte three girls. Oh my!

First, there's Isis. She hates everybody. I call her the bedroom cat because she has confined herself to one bedroom and does not venture out unless it's in the hallway to get some love or let one of us know that her bowl needs to be refilled. She loves Nibs, lets her roll on her and love on her for as long as the baby is interested, but she just doesn't get along with the other cats. It makes me sad because she is one of the original two. She yowled the ENTIRE ride. There was no consoling her, even though she was in the backseat right next to Nibs carseat and I could hear Nibs cooing to her as they rode along.

 Then there's Sinnamon, who is a Siamese mix that we rescued from a feral cat population back home. She's a beautiful cat, but not particularly people oriented. Sometimes, she'll let me play with her. More often then not she's happy to just find herself a warm, sunny spot and only talk to us when she needs some food. She rarely lets anyone besides me pet her. The entire trip, she tried to pace in her carrier - but because it wasn't big enough for her to do that, she would up throwing it all over the floorboard of the front seat. She yowled off and on the whole ride, and she's a very vocal little girl!

 And last, there's my baby, Pandora. She is terrified of the car ever since we got her fixed. She pees. I know it's the car because none of my cats pee outside the littler box unless something bad happens. One time, Pandora got cornered by one of the boys, right after they first came to live with us and they had escaped their room while we were at work, and she peed them too, all behind my washer. But I understand, she's scared, she pees. It happens. I also had to keep my hand in her carrier the whole time so that she would lay down and stop crying. It made me sad. My poor babies.

 So, that's why I'm hoping the place down the street is within our price range when I call tomorrow. I would love to be able to just pack them up and walk them to our new house!

Jessi

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Kroger deli fried chicken


Ordinarily, Nibs and I eat a pretty healthy diet chock full of fruits and veggies with the I occasional meat and whole grains thrown in.  However, I was secretly excited to splurge on some fried chicken! I knew it wouldn't be quite what my grandma made when I was a kid, but it seemed like an ok idea for a lazy evening.

I was disappointed when I arrived at Kroger and there was only one 8 piece to choose from.  It really didn't look that appetizing and I was worried that I was making a bad choice.  I bought it anyway, nd I wasn't disappointed!

I paired our chicken with Annie's organic Mac and cheese and fresh carrots and broccoli sautéed in a little olive oil, to make me feel better about my choice.  We also ate leftover homemade biscuits from breakfast, because what's chicken without biscuits?  Initially, Nibs was hesitant, as she'd never ha a chicken leg before.  I had to show her how to hold it to eat it, but she caught on very quickly!  She cleaned her plate, which is very impressive for a two year old who often refuses everything except her veggies.

I was pleased that my chicken breast was still tender and juicy and not dried out the way that white meat chicken can sometimes be.  But most of all, I was impressed with the seasoning on the skin!  I have tried other grocery store fried chicken in the past and it was always bland and flavorless and dripping with oil.  However, the Kroger chicken was flavorful and OT at all greasy, even though it had to sit for about half an hour while I cooked the rest of our meal.

My only complaint was that it could hav been crispy, but I be that would have been solved with fresh chicken.

<


(I received free product from BzzAgents in exchange for providing my honest feedback on this product.  All thoughts that proceed are my own!)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Dance, baby, dance!

Today we took Nibbs to an outdoor concert, her first!  Now, we sing in the car, and I sing to her a lot, plus we boogie to kids tunes during showers and playtime, but this was her first experience with live music.  It was just a local band on the courthouse lawn of her daddy's hometown, but she loved it.  Watching my beautiful baby spin and laugh and throw her arms around was a magical experience.  She fell, but got right back up and kept on dancing - bows that for a life lesson from a two year old?

It lifted this Momma's spirits to see such joy, that's for sure. I hope I can keep her childhood that joyful and carefree!

Best wishes,
Jessi

Introductions

Welcome to my blog!

I am a stay at home mom to a 2 year old, better known as Nibbler, and five fur babies.  I am also a full time graduate student, majoring in creative writing and focusing on the short story.  I hope to share my parenting journey and everything I love with you! 

Best wishes,
Jessi