Family

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A few weeks ago, we bought a potty for my 18-month-old. And she promptly refused to sit on it. Unless she’s wearing clothes, of course. She has a great time lounging in the bathroom when she’s fully dressed, but when we take off her diaper and try to get her to sit on it, she’s not having it. At all. She’d prefer to stand 2 inches away from it and pee on the floor — which she has done on quite a few occasions. Toddlers.

All this to say, it looks like we’ll have to continue using diapers for a while, so when Walmart offered to send me a few boxes of my favorite brand, along with a couple of baby snacks, I couldn’t say no.

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Huggies Little Movers

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We tried Huggies Little Movers diapers a few months ago, courtesy of Walmart, and we’ve been buying them ever since. Seriously, they’re the best among a bunch of diaper brands we’ve tried, and every time we decide to buy a different (often less expensive) brand, we regret it.

Juliza tends to pee a lot all at one time, which can lead to leaks in the wrong diaper. Huggies Little Movers are really absorbent, and the waistband and leg holes are both flexible and secure, which means that she can run and jump and climb and do all the things she does without worrying about an uncomfortable fit.

Plus, come on. How cute is she toddling around in these?

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Honestly though, we’ll continue using these until she finally gets comfortable with the idea of sitting on the potty. Wish us luck in that department.

Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts

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We also received Gerber Graduates Yogurt Melts to try. Juliza is definitely a snacker. She won’t eat much all at once, but she likes to graze from everyone else’s plate or grab something she can eat on the run. Every now and then, I need a break from chasing her with an arrowroot cookie in her hand (and all over her face and clothes and hair and…you get the picture). I like to sit her down in her high chair and dump some snacks on the tray. These yogurt melts are just the right size for her little hands, though I will say she’s gotten really great at picking up the tiniest things — like random crumbs from the carpet that I’d need a magnifying glass to identify.

I like the fact that they contain fruit and yogurt, though I wish they were organic. She likes feeding herself. I call that a win-win.

PediaSure Shakes

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The last product we received was PediaSure shakes. They’re designed to act as a nutritional supplement for kids ages 2+ who may be picky eaters and therefore not getting all the nutrition they need from the things they will eat.

My goal for the PediaSure is a little different. The thing is, I’m still nursing Juliza. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out with her this long, but I’m also wondering when she’ll wean, because some days, I really just need a break. I’m hoping PediaSure will help with that. At the moment, she’ll drink water and juice from a cup like a champ, but she flat-out refuses to drink anything that even closely resembles milk unless it comes directly from the source. The child knows what’s up. She wouldn’t drink the PediaSure from her own cup, but mama’s smarter than that. I put it in a cup for myself, and then she was only too eager to taste it. She seems to like it, so I’m hoping that when she’s old enough, I can get her to drink it in her own cup, and we can cut back our daily nursing sessions to first thing in the morning and bedtime. That would work for me. I love our special bond, but at some point, I’d like to be able to be away from her without worrying about her screaming for “titi.” I’m not in a huge rush, but I admit that I’m hoping that by the time she’s 2, we’ll be done. God, help us all.

Nursing mamas, how did you help your little one wean? Or did you let them completely self-wean? I’d love to get your advice in the comments!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

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I can’t believe that summer is already coming to a close. Seriously. Where did the days go? Working from home means that my kids are with me all day every day, so usually at this point, I’m counting the days until my daughter goes back to school. This year is different, though. I’m actually going to miss having her here. Probably because she’s an awesome big sister and helps me out a lot. Anyway, when Walmart asked me to share a cool summer story, I decided to have a mini bubble party for my little ones, who both love blowing bubbles. Yes. Even the 9-year-old.

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We blow bubbles often, usually with the little wands or the long, skinny bubble containers. This time though, we wanted something a little bit fancier. We headed to Walmart and picked a couple of really cool bubble blowers. Essentially, they’re battery-operated fans that are a lot more effective at blowing bubbles than we could ever be on our own. Coupled with some snacks, we had a great time picnicking in the back yard.

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The only thing missing was a cooler full of ice cold drinks. But at least we had bubbles. Lots and lots of bubbles.

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The larger blower actually creates huge bubbles with smaller bubbles inside. You can pop the larger bubble and the smaller ones will float away. It’s kind of awesome.

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I genuinely wish I’d made video of how happy Juliza was to play with the huge bubbles, and how happy Ja’Naya was to humor her. It may have been the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. This week :)

But bubbles and snacks weren’t the only things we brought to the party. To celebrate the end of summer, we’re also planning to go see the new Minions movie. In honor of that, we picked up a bit of Minions merchandise. For Ja’Naya, how could we NOT love this “Perfect is Boring” Minions t-shirt? Isn’t it amazing?

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And because we couldn’t find any Minions tees for toddlers, we grabbed a pair of sunglasses, so baby Juliza could be styling too.

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I can’t help but think the Minions would enjoy a bit of silly fun blowing bubbles in the back yard, so it seems fitting.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

We’ve reached the point in the summer when the days feel really long and I’m struggling a bit to keep the kids occupied. All day. Pretty much every day. So sometimes all I want to do is sit everyone down and find something funny to watch. We pop popcorn and laugh until our sides hurt — also known as Movie Night.

We’ve been a little short on new material, so when Walmart sent me Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 on DVD, I knew that my daughter — who absolutely loved the first movie — would have no objections at all. 

 

The second time around, Paul Blart is back at it again — taking his low-level security job waaaaay too seriously, and having that somehow lead to him stumbling his way through saving the day. This time, the action takes Blart and his daughter to Las Vegas. And by action, I mean Blart running into, falling off of and rolling over things. That’s honestly the best part of these movies: Seeing just how much punishment he can take. That, and how oblivious he is to the fact that everyone else thinks he’s a joke. Also, #nospoilers, but it’s SO worth waiting for the last few seconds of the movie.

Anyway, to celebrate the hilarity that is Mall Cop 2, we all took #Blartstache photos with the fake moustaches we received with the movie. How ridiculous do we look?

Juliza may or may not have had to be coerced to make this happen.

Those photos will forever make me giggle. We also received a couple of fanny packs, but I don’t think I’m quite enough of a good sport to be caught in a photo wearing one of those O__o

You can actually get both Mall Cop movies in an exclusive 2-pack at Walmart for just $24.87, starting tomorrow.

You can also participate in a Q&A with Kevin James at the official Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 Facebook page tomorrow at 7pm ET. I can just imagine the questions he’s going to get, but it promises to be hilarious!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Every year, my family and I say that we’re going to take a vacation. Away from home. Preferably somewhere warm with white sandy beaches and clear blue water. And every year, we don’t. Time, money, circumstances, and a bunch of other variables usually leave us finding ways to have fun at — or near — home. Not much has changed this year — except that we’ll have company for our staycation. So last weekend, before to the Fourth of July, we’ve been getting our home ready for company. Here are some great tips:

A comfy place to sleep

We’re fortunate enough to have an extra bedroom. What we do not have, however, is a comfortable sleeping situation for adults — much less two. We have a twin-twin bunkbed that works when kids are coming over, but notsomuch for anyone older than 16. The first thing we did was invest in a raised queen sized air mattress.

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It’s 18 inches high, which is a lot better than the smaller camping-sized air mattresses that basically amount to sleeping on the ground. Outfitted with some nice sheets, pillows and a comforter, it will work great for our guests, and it rung it at just under $50.

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New towels, anyone?

The next thing on our shopping list is new towels. What is it about having guests that makes you realize how — ummmm — well-loved every towel in your linen closet looks? Seriously, we’re going to do our guests a favor and deliver new towels and washcloths, pre-washed, of course, to get rid of any pesky towel lint.

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These inexpensive towels by Mainstays from Walmart look great, but won’t cost a fortune. A 6-piece set costs less than $18.

Make outside comfortable, too

Who wants to spend the Fourth of July sitting inside the house, right? Luckily for us, we invested in a great popup canopy from Walmart before Memorial Day, so we have the shade situation in our backyard covered. Literally (haha!).

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But if you’re in the market for something that you can take with you when you head out to the lake or park, or something temporary for your back yard, Walmart has a great Ozark Trails canopy for right around $50. I know that in Georgia, when that afternoon sun hits, shade is an absolute must, so $50 sounds relatively inexpensive if it means you can spend more time outside during our staycation.

So what about you? What are your summer essentials for a staycation or having guests?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Weleda. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.

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When it comes to baby Juliza’s skin, I have no choice but to be very particular about what we put on it. First, there’s the fact that there are a lot of questionable ingredients in a lot of products, but there’s also the fact that her skin is very sensitive and prone to dryness. So when I got the opportunity to test Weleda’s new Baby Derma White Mallow Collection, designed specifically for sensitive skin, I thought we’d give it a try.

Weleda is well known for their natural, holistic products — has been since 1921 — and this line is no exception. The average organic content of the Baby Derma White Mallow products is 93 percent. It features organic white mallow, pansy and plant oils, the combination of which promises to soothe irritated skin and provide natural protection from future irritation. It’s also designed to help treat eczema. While Juliza hasn’t been officially diagnosed, she does sometimes have dry patches like many eczema sufferers.

We received the White Mallow body lotion, face cream and diaper rash cream to try, and I was excited to put them to the test.

Baby Derma White Mallow Diaper Rash Cream

We’ve been fortunate in that baby Juliza has never had a diaper rash. I feel like I’m going to jinx us by saying that, but it’s true. The Baby Derma White Mallow diaper rash cream is clearly designed for protection in case of a rash. It is thick and coats the skin really well, and I can absolutely see how essential that would be if she had a rash. However, it is a bit much for everyday use if your baby doesn’t need it. Because it is so thick, it does leave a white residue. That mostly fades by the next diaper change, so that’s not a really big deal, but it does take some extra attention to get it off when I wash my hands after using it.

Baby Derma White Mallow Face Cream

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The skin on Juliza’s face has always been super sensitive, and as such, she winds up with scratches on her face more often than I’d like. She also has some dryness on her face, but we usually just use a little coconut oil to help with that. Now, it’s really great having a product specifically designed for use on her face. A little bit goes a long way, and just a smidge is enough to moisturize her whole face.

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Since we’ve been using the face cream, her skin has been a lot smoother. And maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the marks from previous scratches have faded. I can’t tell for sure if that’s because of the face cream, or just because enough time has passed that they’re not as visible, but the face cream certainly hasn’t hurt.

Baby Derma White Mallow Lotion

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We go through a lot of lotion, because we like to keep our skin well moisturized. For baby Juliza, this is even more important because she gets dry really fast. So any lotion we use has to do a great job of adding and sealing in moisture. The White Mallow lotion feels light, but goes on thicker than you might expect. I had to train myself not to use too much. It rubs in easily with no residue and moisturizes pretty well. I had to apply it twice a day, but that’s true of most of the lotions we use for Juliza.

It is technically fragrance-free, but it does have a really slight, sweet smell that I like a lot. It’s nice without being overpowering. This is really a great option with ingredients I can use without worry.

And really, that’s the most impressive thing about these Weleda products: The way they are made. The White Mallow Body Lotion is 95% organic, the face cream is 97% organic and the diaper rash cream is 86% organic. That is exactly what I want in products I’m using for my precious little one, and I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there who feel exactly the same way.

You can find Weleda products at Whole Foods Market, select natural health food stores, buybuyBaby and at usa.weleda.com. Plus, if you’re shopping at the Weleda website, use promo code WELEDABABY to get 20% off your purchase. The code expires on June 30, 2015.

Over the last several months, I’ve tried a lot of diaper brands. A LOT. And my initial instinct is that they would all work equally well. They’d catch what they were supposed to catch and that would be the end of it. Well, that’s somewhat true, but I’ve found that some brands definitely work better than others — and Huggies is at the top of my list of favorites. In fact, they’ve spoiled Juliza and I, so now I don’t want to buy anything else.

So when Walmart offered me the opportunity to try Huggies’ new Snug & Dry Ultra diapers, of course I said yes.

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As the name would imply, this new diaper is designed to offer even more protection for baby’s skin in a wet or dirty diaper. To do that, it has a unique quilted inner liner that lock in wetness away from the skin and prevent leaks. In fact, they promise to offer up to 12 hours of protection so baby will stay dry and comfortable longer.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Baby Juliza’s bedtime is around 8:30 each night. Sometimes a little later, but I give her a bath or change her into her pajamas about this same time each night. I usually don’t change her diaper again until about 7:30 the following morning, soon after she wakes up. That’s cutting it pretty close to the 12-hour mark, and in the past she’s woken up with her pajamas soaked through. Not really the best way to greet the morning.

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Since we started using Snug & Dry, she has not had a single soak-through or diaper blowout. To be fair, both of those are less frequent in general now that she’s older and doesn’t need a new diaper as often, but the performance is still great. Plus, like the other Huggies diapers, the fit is really great around the waist.

So again, this product test just solidified the fact that Huggies is now our favorite diaper brand for performance and fit. I’m not mad at that at all.

You can find Huggies Snug & Dry at Walmart in sizes 1-6, at $24.94 a box.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Remember how I recently said that I tend to be very brand loyal when it comes to the products I support? Well, if there’s one brand that could be a case study for that, it would be Shea Moisture.

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For years, they have been my family’s go-to products for our hair and skin, because we can trust them to be made with safe natural ingredients, and they’ve gotten a little more affordable and easier to find over the years. The fact that you can now buy them at Walmart is indicative of that. So when Walmart asked me to try Shea Moisture’s baby products, there’s no way I could say no to that. Especially since we’ve been using them since baby Juliza was born.

In fact, we actually put them on our registry before she was born.

We honestly love Shea Moisture products of all kinds, so we trusted that the baby products would perform just as well. And they have. Check out this video review of their Raw Shea, Chamomile and Argan Oil baby wash and lotion:

Juliza is prone to dryness, so it was important to use soap that wouldn’t dry out her skin, and lotion that would help seal the moisture in. The soap has been great at getting her clean without sucking all the moisture out, and the lotion is as thick and luscious as we expected based on past experience with their other lotions.

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In fact, my only gripe is that the lotion is so thick that it can sometimes be difficult to get it out of the bottle, even with the attached pump. When a bottle is almost finished, that means it’s really difficult to get to the lotion at the bottom without diluting it a bit with something like coconut or olive oil.

Other than that, we have no complaints. Shea Moisture baby products ring in at less than $10 apiece at Walmart, and we can make them last a couple of months for Juliza. They’re the products I put on my shopping list when we run out, and they’ll always be the first brand I turn to when I want to buy something I know is safe.

What about you? Have you ever tried Shea Moisture Baby products?

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.

Shopping for Baby, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I shared that I was trying to break out of my habit of buying the same products over and over again by trying a few new baby products, courtesy of Walmart. There is beauty in being able to go to one store and get pretty much everything I need for baby Juliza, but I never know if I’m missing out on something just because I’d never thought to try it.

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Like these three:

Pull-Ups Learning Designs

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I didn’t think Juliza was quite ready for potty training, but it can’t hurt to start early, right? Pull-Ups were an invaluable tool in my husband’s and my arsenal when we were potty training our oldest daughter, but we hadn’t really thought about using them for Juliza yet. We got the Pull-Ups Learning Designs training pants in size 2T-3T, and they’re still a bit big on her. Which means that though they didn’t leak when she was wet, they did when she pooped. I’m sure this won’t be the case once she grows into them. Juliza was really captivated by the idea of pulling up her own diaper. She’s not quite effective at it yet, but it’s easy to see that she’s going to enjoy being able to take matters into her own hands — literally. These are going in the closet until she’s a little older, but I imagine they’ll be invaluable yet again.

Johnson & Johnson Baby Bedtime Wash and Lotion

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Though I hadn’t used their products in years, when I think of baby products, Johnson & Johnson is still one of the first brands that come to mind. I usually don’t personally buy them because I’m not a big fan of the ingredients list, but I know a lot of parents do. And I tried their baby bedtime lotion and wash a few times just so I could give an accurate review. The good? They work. They work well. The soap and lotion both smell ah-mazing, the lavender fragrance really does help calm baby at bedtime and they are really moisturizing. Still, in the future, I’ll stick with products with fewer, more natural ingredients.

Gerber Graduates Grabbers Pouches

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Juliza is at the stage when she really likes to feed herself. As in she’ll throw a tantrum if we try to feed her instead of giving her spoon. This is fun for her, but tends to be messy for me. For those days when I’m not in the mood for a mess, these Gerber Graduates Grabbers pouches are great. They are available in fun flavor combinations like Banana Blueberry and Apple, Pear & Peach, and while messes are possible, Juliza already has gotten the hang of squeezing the pouch into her mouth, and so everywhere else. I’m still leery of pouches with contents that I can’t see, so I’ll always, always check the expiration date. Still, she really likes these, so I’ll let her have her fun sometimes.

I’m really thankful for this little product testing experiment. I learned some things. For example, Huggies diapers really are great and worth the money. And they’ve spoiled me for using any other kind. Aveeno has a pretty safe ingredients list and it’s an effective moisturizer. And Juliza will likely be ready to potty train sooner than we thought. So going out of my shopping comfort zone has its perks. I may have to try this again for other types of products too.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received product samples and compensation for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.