Back to School Essentials

Well, it’s that time again, back to school!! My oldest is going into his last year of preschool so I thought I’d share some of our favorite preschool (or primary school) essentials!

First, every preschool kid needs a backpack. Even though they aren’t doing any heavy text book lifting or major homework, there are a few things they will need a backpack for. Most preschools recommend bringing a change of clothes (even though preschoolers are potty trained), a lovely, water bottle, and snacks (on their snack rotation day). They will also need to bring home important handouts or artwork, and book orders throughout the year. I know that sounds like a lot for a little preschooler, but keep in mind that they aren’t ready for a full size backpack and everything mentioned above will fit neatly into a toddler sized backpack. Our personal favorite is the Skip Hop Zoo Packs. The Zoo Packs are adorable and come in 18 different designs, so I’m sure your child will find one that fits their personality. The zipper is easy to open and close, it has padded adjustable straps, there is an outside expandable cup holder, an outside insulated zipper compartment, a write-on name tag on the inside, and it is BPA and Phthalate-free! The Zoo Pack easily fits standard size sheets of paper or coloring books. The best part of the Zoo Pack? They are only $20!! 
Find your favorite one here. 



Our next essential is a good, NON plastic water bottle. We try and stay away from plastic drinking bottles for our kids so finding a cheap plastic alternative is important to us since we recently switched out all of our plastic for stainless steel. We’ve tried several different ones and some have been better than others. Our current favorite is the FUNtainer Bottle by Thermos. It has a flip top lid, flexible drinking straw, a carry handle, and it keeps drinks hot or cold much longer than plastic water bottles. It is also BPA free and dishwasher safe. My sons favorite feature is that they come in various designs and feature popular characters. They cost around $15 depending on where you buy them. 
Check out all the designs here.

If your child goes to a preschool where kids bring their own lunch or snack you will need a lunch box. Our absolute favorite lunch box is by Yubo. Yubo lunch boxes are bento style boxes that are BPA, lead, and phthalate free, recyclable, and dishwasher safe. They come with interchangeable faceplates, three spill-proof containers (one large, two small), and an icepack. There are also add on accessories available. These lunch boxes eliminate the need for baggies, and they keep food separate and fresh. They also completely break apart so they are MUCH easier to clean than traditional lunch bags or boxes, which helps keep that funky lunch box smell at bay!
 I’ve heard people say that this lunch box is larger than regular lunch boxes, but I can personally attest to the fact that it fits (with room to spare) in a toddler sized backpack. The best part is that when your child outgrows their favorite character you can just order a new faceplate instead of buying an entirely new lunch box! How genius is that?! Check them out here.

Now that you’ve got the perfect lunch box, it’s time to actually fill it. If you’re anything like me, you dread making lunch, and you don’t have time to make 5 course meals for preschool! You need something that’s creative and healthy but also easy and quick. I have been scouring Pinterest for lunch ideas and my favorite list so far is from Primal Bliss. It’s a full MONTH of FREE real food lunch ideas, with pictures!! They are easy, quick, and healthy alternatives to my kids usual lunch of PB&J! 



My final back to school essential is remembering to get a good first and last day of school photo! I found these awesome FREE chalkboard printables from Yellow Bliss Road. They look like real chalkboard drawings, look great framed, and go all the way from preschool to 12th grade. I also use this FREE printable school interview from Thirty Handmade Days every year. It’s a great way to remember each stage of your child’s school journey!

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I hope you enjoyed my list of favorite back to school products and that your child’s first day isn’t filled with too many tears – from either of you!! Happy Back to School!

busybeingMOMS blogger Stacey

Rochelle’s First hand experience with Ovulation Kits!

Hello all! I have been dying to write about Ovulation kits for the last 8 months! Okay maybe not dying to but I have really been wanting to share my experience with everyone, but I have had to keep mum about it.

As some of our readers know, I have one little girl, Jael who will be 2 this week. What you may not know is we found out in July that we are expecting baby #2 in March and we are so excited! I got off of birth control pills October of 2013 and at that time my husband and I decided we would wait till December to start trying for another baby.

When I was trying to get pregnant with Jael it took me 8 months to actually become pregnant. Getting off the pill messed my cycles up tremendously and I was having cycles of upwards of 65 days. With the help of two prescriptions of Provera (progesterone medicine) and ovulation kits, I finally was pregnant with my first.

When we decided to get pregnant again, I was hoping for a less stressful time at it. I mean you hear the sayings, “Oh it’s easier to become pregnant after the first one.” and “You will be fertile Myrtle this time.” Gotta say wasn’t the case for us. Yet again cycles out of whack, had to take the Provera again, luckily only once this time, and using tons of different types of ovulation kits, and the last month Vitex, which is a natural supplement that is supposed to help regulate cycles. After 6 months of trying I was just ready to throw in the towel. Many of my friends were getting pregnant so easily and I believe the stress of trying for our baby was making me depressed. Looking back I feel so bad for the jealousy and anger I was feeling about those friends being pregnant. In July I was about 55 days late, the latest I have been in about 3 months and something inside me pushed me to take a pregnancy test. It was probably the fact that I was going out with some girlfriends that night and knowing I would probably have a couple drinks I thought I should probably take one just to make sure. If I wasn’t pregnant the plan was to call my doctor to get in to see what the deal was. Sure enough 4 minutes after peeing on that stick I got the word “Pregnant.” I was in complete shock! After all this stress I was finally going to have my second baby!

Now, on to the point of this blog post. The ovulation prediction kits (OPK) I used. With Jael I used only the First Response ones (I believe). With baby number two I used the First Response for one month, the clear blue digital for a month and then for the rest of the time I used what people on the forums call “Amazon Cheapies” the real name is Wondfo ovulation kits. Now there are many, many more types of ovulation kits, they all do the same thing, they measure your Luteinizing Hormone or LH that is in your body between 12-36 hours before you ovulate. A positive on the test is supposed to indicate that you are in your Peak Fertility window and should probably “do the deed” in the next 12 hours to conceive. Now please remember I am NOT A DOCTOR and this information I have told you I have only read on google and on the directions that come with the ovulation kits.

Now here is the experiences I have had with the 3 kits I used this time around, First Response, Clear Blue Advanced Digital and Wondfo.

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First, was the First response Ovulation kits, you can find these at pretty much any grocery store (that has a pharmacy type section) or pharamacy and also online on websites like Amazon. They are not the priciest of the 3 I have tried, on amazon right now you can find a 7 day test kit that also comes with one pregnancy test for about $20. There is also larger quantities too. I bought mine at my local Kroger just because it was close by and I really wanted to get a pack asap. I liked these ones because they are easy to read. If the two pink lines were the same shade of pink it was positive. Easy.

clearblueopk

Now the second one I tried was the Clear Blue Advanced Digital Ovulation Kits, you can get these at the same places that the First response ones are at.  I found that at the stores they are a little more pricey than the one above. I think I bought these because I ended up going to Walmart and they were out of First Response. These work a little differently. It still measures the LH in your system but also measures the estrogen in your system too, which increases in the days before your LH surge. They say on their website that because they measure both of these hormones they can identify 4 peak days instead of the normal 1-2 days the other ones do. This test will show a blank circle which means you are not in the fertility window, a blinking smiley face that means “high fertility days” and then finally a solid smiley face that will stay on your window even after taking the pee stick out of the monitor for 2 weeks and will not let you test again for those two weeks. If you get a solid smiley face it means to “do the deed” within the next 12 hours. In my opinion this was the most confusing of all 3 tests. I would get blinking smileys for days and days and then never have a solid smiley. I searched all over for information about these kits and many people were having issues with them doing the same thing, having duds or saying that it takes at least 2 months for the test to figure your cycles out. I just couldn’t see the point of spending so much money for one of these and it being so confusing. So unless you have cash to burn I would just keep away from these.

wondfoopk

Finally, my personal favorite, Wondfo (aka Internet cheapies or amazon cheapies). I believe the only way you can get these OPK’s is through the internet. I bought mine on Amazon. They have a pack of 40 of them with 10 pregnancy tests for $19.49 or a pack of 50 of them 20 pregnancy tests for $21.99. I think I used up a giftcard I had and bought the  bigger pack. It is a great deal. These are just little strips and they are smaller than the other ones. You have to pee in a cup and dip the test strip into the urine for 5 seconds and then let it sit for 5 minutes and then if it is positive the second line will be as dark or darker than the first line. They do not recommend urinating right onto the strip…I had a difficult time getting a result at all doing it that way. You can always use a throw away cup like a solo cup or a clean regular glass if you would like. I used a solo because I could just throw it in the trash instead of having to clean out a glass that I just thought was yuck. I thought these were easy to read, each package had a picture of what your test results should look like either positive or negative so you had it right there. If you had to use them as you were traveling they are in small packaging not a box that you have to bring with you. The price was really what got me because I wasn’t sure I was even ovulating some months I was able to use more through out the month so I wasn’t afraid of missing my ovulation if it was happening. Also, it came with pregnancy tests so you don’t have to pay even more money for seperate boxes! It was also sent in a amazon box so no one knew what you were receiving. Very discreet. Only con was that if I needed more I had to make sure I ordered them in enough time for them to ship to my house but that was it.

I hope this post was helpful for anyone who is looking into OPK’s and if you are trying for your own little miracle, albeit your first, second or whatever number good luck!!

Thank you all for reading!

Busy Being MOMS co-blogger,

Rochelle

Where to buy on amazon:

First Response Ovulation Test, 7-Test Kit Plus 1 Pregnancy Test” title=”1st Response”>

Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test 20 Count” title=”Clearblue Advanced Digital”>

Combo 50 (LH) Ovulation & 20 (HCG) Pregnancy Test Strips (1)” title=”wondfo Opk”>

SnuggyBaby Ring Sling

Infant seats are heavy to carry and over time carrying an infant gets tiring but no one wants to miss out on snuggles so what is a parent (or caretaker to do)? They can babywear! The ring sling in this review is from SnuggyBaby. SnuggyBaby ring slings are comfortable, cute, budget friendly, made in the USA, and made with natural fibers.

When I first started using the ring sling I had some trouble but the SnuggyBaby DVD that came with my ring sling was informative and before I knew it I was using it all the time. It is easy to put on and remove and easy to put baby in and take baby out. The ease of the SnuggyBaby ring sling is great during shopping trips with my toddler and preschooler. My toddler is 20 pounds and my preschooler is 32 pounds. Wearing my preschooler is comfortable for a good half hour before I start to feel the weight but with my toddler I can easily go for 2+ hours. Nursing in the ring sling is comfortable and easy too. If you prefer a cover while nursing, the tail of the ring sling makes a nice cover. The tail is also great for games of peek-a-boo, distracting a crabby infant or toddler, or protection from the elements.

ImageI cannot recall the pattern name of my SnuggyBaby ring sling but it is a green water color pattern that is beautiful. I love patterns and prints that are gender neutral and the price was under $100.00USD so this was an automatic win when I found it! SnuggyBaby provides gender specific or gender neutral colors and patterns ranging from $89.00USD to $99.00USD. When purchasing my SnuggyBaby ring sling I was excited to see that not only is it made in the USA but it is made in Fort Wayne, Indiana which is only a few hours’ drive from me. I also love that SnuggyBaby uses cotton and/or linen when making ring slings. Natural fibers are not only strong but they do not aggravate my toddler’s sensitive skin.

I have a small collection of ergonomic carriers and my favorite by far is my ring sling by SnuggyBaby. I have had the SnuggyBaby ring sling for over a year and it still looks new. I have used it secure my child to chair at a restaurant, secure my child in a cart with a broken buckle, and used to wrap up spare clothes on a quick trip out. It has been peed on, spit up on, and food dropped on it and it easily washes clean. It was been a blanket, it has been a lovey, but most importantly it has been bringing me snuggles from my babies since I purchased it. Thank you SnuggyBaby for the snuggles you bring!

Ergonomic babywearing is safe for baby and the individual wearing the child when it is done properly. For more information visit the babywearing institute.

Rochelle’s childrens’ book review of “Magical Toys” a story about organization and taking care of your toys by Edith Ordan and Uncle Amos

Hello all! This is Busy Being MOMS co-blogger Rochelle. For this weeks blog review I am going to do something a little different, I am going to be reviewing a children’s book. As some of you know I do run a book blog but mostly it is Young adult novels, Romance, and New Adult Novels so when Amos Ordan (pen name Uncle Amos) asked if could write an HONEST review of his new children’s book I thought this would be a great place to write it. He did send me the Advanced Reading Copy (or ARC) of  this book and asked for an honest review, however I am not compensated at all for this review and it is my honest opinion of the book.

magicaltoysreviewBBM

Synopsis:

Ron doesn’t see why he has to put his toys away. After all, he’s just going to play with them again tomorrow! But when the toys have their say, Ron learns an important lesson about caring, being thoughtful, and keeping his room clean. A whimsical tale about friendship and getting things done, Ron’s Magical Toys will enchant children and adults alike.

My Review:

Magical Toys: A story about Organization and Taking car of your toys, is a children’s story that is written for ages 3-8. I have just one little one that is 20 months old and when I read it to her she loved it. Some stories I read to her she sits on my lap and listens to for a minute or two and then shes bored and gets down and goes play with something else. With Magical Toys she stayed interested and engaged. She loved the little pictures of the little boy and the toys. She was pointing things out and letting me tell her what is going on. We really enjoyed reading it and we will read it again and again. I think it does help explain to a child in a fun way that he or she should clean up their toys and take good care of their toys if they really care for them. I honestly think this is a great book for kids and it is on the kindle right now for .99 cents and I think it is worth every penny!

Thank you for checking out my first children’s book review everyone!

Co-Blogger, Rochelle

Important Info:

Buy HERE

Book’s Goodreads page:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21543525-magical-toys

Author’s Goodreads pages:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7399567.Uncle_Amos

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8080304.Edith_Ordan

Period.

Period, menstrual cycle, menses, aunt flow, and so many other names for this monthly visitor. Did you know that we have other options beside disposable pads and tampons? We have the option of reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups. I had heard of different types of cups available but was incredibly intimated by them so I just went on using disposable pads and tampons. One day I started my period and went to go get my tampons out only to realize I only had 3 left and I had just gone shopping two days ago. There was no way I was going to load up two kids and make a trip to the store for just tampons and as much as I love my husband I’m not letting him pick out my tampons. So I packed up two kids and went to a local shop that’s much closer and had a play area for the kids to pick up The Diva Cup. This has turned out to be a great choice.

I went home, read the instructions, and prepped The Diva Cup for use. It was amazing! I only had to worry about my period two times a day and even better there was no “period” smell! The first few cycles I had some leaking since it does have a learning curve with inserting it. With each cycle I had less leaking and now I don’t leak at all! When I wake up and before bed I empty The Diva Cup, that’s it. How great is that? I cannot believe I used to be intimated by it because it really is easy to use! Unless I have cramps I don’t even feel The Diva Cup. It is a simple contraption that does amazing work! Caring for The Diva Cup is really easy also. I wash my hands before and after emptying the Diva Cup and wash then sanitize at the end of my cycle. I then store it in its bag in my medicine cabinet.  The Diva Cup offers a wash for it but I have not yet used it. Next time I’m out and about I may grab some Diva Wash to try it out!

The only negative thing I could think of when I purchased The Diva Cup was the price point; it was a lot to spend up front. When I returned home and did the math of disposable pads and tampons versus the cost of The Diva Cup, The Diva Cup was cheaper. You will spend $30.00 to $40.00 USD for, on average, a year’s use of The Diva Cup and $5.00 to $15.00 (maybe more) USD on disposable pads or tampons per cycle. The Diva Cup is about $3.00 USD per cycle thus cheaper than disposable pads or tampons. Cost aside, The Diva Cup is a healthier and an Earth friendly option.

Whether you are looking for something easier, more cost effective, or making a transition to a more natural or Earth friendly lifestyle I highly recommend The Diva Cup. I wish I would have switched sooner. I hope to hear that you decided to make the switch and that you are as happy as I am with the switch too! Now raise your cups up high because heres to a happy period and a happy you!

Honest, non-sponsored Review from busy being MOMS blogger Katie

The Diva Cup

 

Healthy Baby Home Party

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Is there anything more important than the health of your child? I certainly can’t think of anything. Thankfully, there are companies that feel the same way.

Healthy Child and Seventh Generation are on a mission to bring safer chemicals to the market and to hold companies accountable for using unsafe products. As part of this mission, they gave moms like me the chance to host a Health Baby Home Party. Part of my home party is educating parents about safer products for their family and the overall dangers of toxic chemicals in everyday products.

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My family and I have been trying to live a more “crunchy” (natural) life since my son had a seizure almost 2 years ago. After that happened, I wanted to protect my children from everything I could. I wanted to clean their environment and remove anything that could damage their developing minds and bodies. This is a momentous and overwhelming task. I was shocked to learn how many toxic chemicals my children were being exposed to every single day. They are surrounded by a ridiculous amount of dangerous chemicals, chemicals that are linked to asthma, alzheimer’s, and even cancer. What’s even worse is that these toxic chemicals aren’t just in things that are obviously dangerous (like paint thinner, gasoline, etc) they are in products designed for use by children and even in the foods they eat!! This baffles my mind and is truly nauseating.

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The good news is that you and I control the market. You might think your shopping habits don’t have an impact on the market as a whole, but they most certainly do. Companies make products and people buy them, if people stop buying them, companies will stop making them. Seems simple enough, right? The problem is, lots of parents just don’t know that the majority of the chemicals on the market have NOT been adequately tested, or even declared safe for use by children or adults. Knowledge is power, and it’s time for this country to wake up and smell the toxic burden our society, and more importantly, our children have to live with. It starts with you and your family. You can make a difference for your family and the country as a whole. You can choose to buy safer alternatives, and you can educate your family and friends about smarter, better, and healthier choices. Buy organic when you can, support local businesses, buy hand made products, avoid fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and pesticides, and choose to spend your money on SAFE products. These small changes can make a big difference and will show companies that this country is ready to stand up and fight for safer products.

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Did you know that the The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) was passed in 1976 and it has NEVER been updated?! Crazy, right? What’s even worse is that at birth, you can find nearly 300 chemicals in newborns umbilical cords! This is NOT ok with me, and it should NOT be ok with you, or your family either. If you want to help make a difference, tell congress it’s time for a change, and stand up for safer chemicals by signing the petition here.  

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A Wake-Up Story from HealthyChild.org 

busy being MOMS blogger, Stacey

Driving Along in my Automobile

I am one excited mom this week! It is finally nice weather and we can get out and enjoy the sunshine and my little girl can enjoy her outdoor toys! One of those toys that I made sure that my husband put together for her first was her Little Tikes Cozy Coupe that she got from Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas.

cozycoupe

The cozy coupe is made in the USA and are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year. It is recommended for ages 1.5-5 years old and the weight limit is 50lbs. It comes with a removable foot board which I love because my little one hasn’t quite figured out how to push it with her feet yet so when we want to move her around in it we can put the foot board in and push her with the built in handle on the roof. The foot board is pretty easy to pop in and out but not so easy that a kid pushing on it while they are sitting in it will make it pop out (as long as it is put in properly anyway). It has a cute little ignition switch that they can pretend to turn on and off and if you are taking it to the park or something in the back it has cup holders for water bottles or sippy cups, however the small sippy cups with the handles do not fit too well in it but a taller cup will. They have a gas cap that the children can open and close, they do have little play gas station pumps at places like Toys R Us or on Pinterest they have tons of ideas on how to make your own little gas jugs to pretend with. The front wheels make turning pretty easy, my husband took her on the grass and did not get stuck at all.

Like the package says assembly is required, it comes with all the parts to build it and the tools, my husband did use his hammer lightly to get some parts together so they did not come apart. It probably would’ve taken him 10 minutes to get built if our little one wasn’t trying to help but then it only took him 20 minutes to build and she was ready to roll.

I absolutely love this car for her and I am so glad that I asked her grandparents for it for her Christmas present because I know it will get a lot of use for her and also for any siblings that come along.

Thanks for reading!

Honest, non-sponsored review from busy being MOMS blogger Rochelle