Thursday, March 31, 2011

1/2 an hour left

Don't forget to enter to win the Glad Rags Nursing Pads... resuable and organic... oh, and very absorbent
Drawing will be at noon today

http://jencrum.blogspot.com/2011/03/gladrags-organic-cotton-nursing-pads.html

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour Review & Coconut Oil Giveaway

Comment #33 wins!
Congratulations Mrs. Smitty!

You may recall that we have some food intolerance problems at my house.  Crackers is allergic to eggs and peanuts, Monkey has trouble with gluten, and I have trouble with milk!  This makes our menu a pleasure to concoct each week as we work around everyone's difficulties.  Honestly, I do enjoy coming up with creative solutions to our various needs, and I love trying new food products to help with that!

Recently, my dear cousin Erika sent me information about Tropical Traditions.  At first I did not recognize it as anything more than a great source for healthy, organic food products, but as you search their site, you can find so much more.  Tropical Traditions sells everything from Coconut flour to pet products!  Seriously, you've just got to look at their site to grasp all that they have to offer that will improve the lives and health of your family.

Here is a quote directly from their site about how they select products:
We have a strong commitment to family farming and organic standards. We stand firmly against genetically modified foods (No GMOs). But the organic label is not enough for us. We research and find out where the products are produced, and how they are produced. We find that some organic standards too loose for our trust, so we look beyond what is claimed on a label. We find out as much as possible about those who provide the products. And if a certain quality of product does not exist, we will work with others to produce that product and offer it to our consumers.


I have had the opportunity to sample and review Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour.  It is gluten free, high in fiber, and high in protein.  Did I mention that it smells fantastic, AND it tastes good?  My first attempt at cooking with coconut flour was an interesting venture.  I thought that surely I could just replace my regular flour with coconut flour in a recipe to make something delicious.  Monkey and I decided to make egg-free chocolate chip cookies with the coconut flour.  I would offer to share my recipe, but I promise - you don't want it.  They didn't taste bad, but had a weird texture.  After I figured out I had done something wrong, I decided to do a little reading about coconut flour... read first, bake later!

While I was reading about why my cookies were so weird, I discovered that you can use coconut flour as a fiber additive in foods, or even as a fiber drink.  It doesn't take much to make a tasty, thick fiber drink.  Tropical Traditions offers a whole page filled with coconut flour recipes.   I can't wait to try some more of their recipes.  I know my family will love them (they loved the cookies even though I thought that they had an odd texture).  For more coconut recipes, check out the coconut recipe blog.

You can get a copy of Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil Book for free.  Here's how:  When you make an order on the Tropical Traditions website, choose "referred by a friend" and enter the ID number 7349089.  The book will automatically be added to your order.  (I get nothing for your orders other than a smile and the knowledge that you got a free book).  If you have any difficulty placing your first order, use this link to contact customer service

WIN IT
  One of my readers will win a quart of coconut oil!  This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  Winner will be selected using random.org at noon EST on Saturday, April 9. 

 Mandatory Entry

Additional Entries
1) Follow Tropical Traditions on Twitter
2) Follow me on Twitter or "like" Crum's This N That on Facebook
3) Follow this blog via GFC or Networked blogs
4) Subscribe to my email newsfeed (upper right corner of my blog)

Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.

Wholly Guacamole and The Biggest Loser Contest!


Feel like you need reinforcements in The Battle of the Bulge?
Does The Biggest Loser®  give you inspiration?
Wholly Guacamole is celebrating Battle Buddies with an awesome giveaway!
Go to eatwholly.com/thebiggestloser
and, in 200 words or less, tell them how you and your Battle Buddy inspire and support each other in your weight loss journey.

They're giving away tons of prizes including a trip for 2 to attend  The Biggest LoserCouples season finale, a trip for 2 for a week's stay at The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge Malibu® and airfare allowance!  And don't forget to watch The Biggest Loser: Couples, Tuesdays 8/7c! 
Click here to learn more!

Should I feel guilty?

I babysit at 19 month old.  He does not eat for me, well - not much.  Today I gave him a quarter of a quesedilla, 2 pieces of pickle, and a third of a banana... he ate about half of the banana and probably will refuse snack.

I give him the same foods that I feed my boys (I try to keep their preferences in mind for lunch time)... the kid just doesn't want to eat.  His parents say he likes fruit and snack foods.  I won't serve my kids "snack foods" for lunch, and rarely for snack.

Should I feel guilty that he refuses to eat?  Should I feed him differently than I feed my own children?

Powwow = Wowwee!

Before I share some thoughts and pictures about the Powwow that we attended over the weekend, I want to share just a bit from the handout about what a Powwow is.

"A Powwow is a celebration of unity of all the Indian Nations of the Americas.  It honors the earth and as we dance we give blessings back that the earth and Creator God gave to us.  The Powwow teaches respect for the earth and for others."

Now, before you start wondering why a church would host some gathering where people are "honoring the earth", stop to think about native culture.  Native culture is tied to the earth in a way that contemporary culture only strives to grasp.  We are just now starting to realize how important our resources are and that we need to be taking better care of the earth if we want to continue using it.  The earth is a gift to us and we have treated it very poorly.  Why not take some time and be thankful for the food and resources that we get from earth?

It is also important to note that the church should be a place of healing.  The Powwow is a place for recognizing unity among people that are often divided.  I think the church should maybe start following the native plan for hosting celebrations of unity, maybe we could learn a thing or two about getting over past hurts and differences and learning to support each other in our own cultures and beliefs.  Hmm.. could Baptists and Methodists have a Powwow to celebrate that even though they have different beliefs, they share a common God?  Maybe they couldn't dance, well.. at least, not the Baptists!

So anyway.  The Powwow.  Amazing.  So much fun worshiping and celebrating.  We were honored to be part of such an amazing event.  Relationships were formed and renewed.  There was healing of hearts and lives.  Wow.. just, wow.  I'm going to share a few of our pictures.  Take some time and listen to the sermon podcast, it was wonderful.





Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jeremy Plays Guitar: Review & Giveaway

Congratulations Brooke Anna!
Comment #18
You win!  

Are there any songs that you learned as a kid that still stick with you?  I have so many old songs in my head that pop up at funny times.  Some are serious, some educational, some just plain silly!  Jeremy Plays Guitar: Use Your Words is filled with songs that will stick with your kids.  


We love music.  I especially love music that helps my children learn.  I was super-excited when I found Jeremy Plays Guitar!  I loved exploring their website - they offer CDs and books, they also have shows!  I would love to see Jeremy Plays Guitar with my boys.  One of my favorite features on their site is the song of the month - each month they select a story about someone's children (and everyone is invited to submit stories about their children) and write a song for someone's story.  How fun is that??


I've played Use Your Words several times for my boys and the boy I babysit, they LOVE the music.  I love the lyrics.  I love that they're learning manners and that it's okay to make mistakes, even if they don't totally get what they're hearing right now, the words are soaking into their little minds.

Buy it:  You can buy Jeremy Plays Guitar: Use Your Words for only $13.99 on their website! Their book and other CD are there too.  Check it out, listen to the music.  Your kids are going to love it!

Win it:  One reader will win a copy of Use Your Words to share with their family!  This contest is limited to residents of the United States.  Contest will end on April 7 at noon EST.  Remember to leave 1 comment for each entry and include your email address in each comment.

Here's how to enter:
1) Join the Jeremy Plays Guitar mailing list.
2) "Like" Jeremy Plays Guitar on Facebook, or "Follow" them on Twitter.
3) Listen to the song clips from Use Your Words, tell me your favorite song.
4) Subscribe to Crum's This N That via email (this will help you know about great upcoming promotions)
5) Follow Crum's This N That on Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Beginning Bible: Gideon

I am changing the way I do my curriculum, in the past every activity has been focussed around our weekly Bible Story.  It's getting nice out and we want to be outside a lot more.  I'm still doing a lot of focus on the story and relating other "subjects" to the story as much as possible, but we're going to veer away from only learning through the Bible story for the time being.  The story of the week will continue to be a major daily focus though.

Story – Gideon
Pretend play with instruments
Pretend Play with little people
Make horns
Campfire craft
Letter G worksheet

Math concepts
Counting rocks
Sorting toy cars
MonkiSee Shapes video
Measuring while cooking

Science
Nature Hike/Exploring
Planting Seeds
Foods
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Slicing banana





Neoteric Diabetic Skin Care: Review


You may not know this (yet), but I am diabetic.  One problem that many diabetics have is dry skin.  My biggest problem areas are my elbows and my feet.  (I've always had dry elbows).  Recently I had the opportunity to try Neoteric Diabetic Advanced Healing Cream.  I have to admit, I was skeptical - I've used all kinds of lotions before with little long-lasting results.

I have used the cream on my elbows for 2 weeks now, only once a day, and have seen a notable difference.  The skin on my elbows is healing and feels much smoother.  It's a nice feeling!  I also have been making my husband use it on his dry, cracked feet.  He says that they are not so rough or dry since he has been using it.

You can buy Neoteric products on the Neoteric Cosmetics website.

I strongly urge my friends and family with dry skin to try this cream, whether you suffer from diabetes or not it is an investment in healing your skin!

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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Enter to win Thirsties NOW - 2 hours left

Oh my goodness, I can't believe I forgot to draw my Thirsties winner yesterday!  My bad... I'll give you 2 more hours if you haven't entered to win, that's right - you have until 2:15EST today... good luck!

Here's the link

(By the way, the Best Bottom Diaper contest ends tomorrow)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Advice...

Does anyone have advice about how to exterminate invisible snakes that live under the beds in our house?  They seem to be keeping Monkey awake tonight, as he wants to play with his friend the snake.... oi.. 2 year olds!

Pow Wow Tomorrow!

If you're in Fort Wayne tomorrow, or want a reason to go to Fort Wayne, check out the Pow Wow at Heartland Church! 

"Honoring the Creator, His Son Jesus, and the First Nations Peoples. Bringing the colors and cultures together in the Heartland.

Mark your calendars for this historic gathering in Kekionga/Fort Wayne Indiana! This will be a two day event. Saturday and Sunday March 26th and 27th 2011

This will be a modified Powwow! This means there will be traditional and non-traditional elements and activities. This gathering is about bringing cultures together, First Nations style, and sharing and learning from each other.

Free event! Freewill offering will be received."

Check out the schedule on the Heartland Website!

I plan to be there with my boys, it's going to be a great weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mother-ease cloth diaper: Review

I recently had the opportunity to review one of the 3 Mother-Ease diapering systems.  Yep, you read that right, they have 3 different options for diaper system styles!  I chose to test the Sandy's Diaper with an air flow cover.  I chose a size 2 because it sounded like it would be the best fit for Crackers and Monkey.  When it arrived I was stunned.  I thought it looked enormous.  This thing has got some stretch power (I hear that it fit over the clothes of my 40lb nephew).
The legs are not too loose, Sandy's diaper is a success on Crackers
For the first couple of weeks I only used it on Monkey, and he only wears diapers for sleep time.  I had no leak problems at all on Monkey.  At first I used it with the insert, what an amazing capacity that diaper has!  I think it is the best overnight diaper we own.  He loves it because he can pull it up and down like underwear and does not need help to get it back on when he potties at night.  I haven't tried it yet without the cover, but I think that will be our next step to night time independence as far as potty training goes.

With much trepidation I chose to try it on Crackers, first he only wore it during the day and without clothes over it - I was afraid the legs and waist would be too big and leak all over.  I am glad to share that I was wrong, very wrong.  Mother-ease, though it looked big, fit both of my boys like a charm!  (In fact, Crackers is sleeping in it as I type this review).  The diaper seems comfortable and allows great movement.  We have not had any stink problems with this diaper so far, that is GREAT news as well.

I love the side-snaps that allow air to flow into the diaper and keep it from holding in a ton of ammonia, we've had a bit of the problem with some other wraps.  I also love the color and cover choices.  We had a hard time picking which cover was our favorite!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Practice Paper

Monkey is learning to cut!  We've been working on this off and on for a while and he just really struggles with the coordination, and getting the right angle on the paper.  It's a tough skill!  Tonight at dinner he noticed some scissors and picked up the tortilla that he decided not to eat.  He looked at me and said, "wanna cut".  You know what?  Kid's scissors work GREAT on corn tortillas for my little man.  Corn tortillas are stiff enough not to fold in half when he cuts, and soft enough that he can cut through them.  He had a fantastic time cutting his tortilla into little bits!


Wordless Wednesday: Pizza Picnic!

Fun Lunch

8 children ages 5 and under (3 are between 10 and 14 months)... all at McDonalds... the sweet little old men were stunned, "are they all yours?"... one man pointed at the "babies"... "are they triplets?"..

A wild bunch on a dreary day, lots of cheeseburgers and fries, smiles and noise... what a lunch!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

GladRags Organic Cotton Nursing Pads: Review & Giveaway

Congratulations Mrs. Smitty
You are our winner
Comment #41

The first thing you need to know is that I am not currently nursing.  However, I hope that eventually, when we have another baby, I will be nursing again.

I had the opportunity to test GladRags Organic Cotton Nursing Pads.  A challenge?  Not really.  I wore the pads for a day to see how they felt.  They were soft, they stayed discreet, I forgot I was wearing them.  GladRags Nursing Pads are a unique shape that helps keep them hidden.  They form much better to fit your shape than the traditional circle shaped pad.  They are washable, therefore reusable.  I like products that help me live a greener life.  When I am getting ready to nurse again, I will want a stash of these for sure.
The top side of the pad after 6 ml of water
I wanted to test the absorbency of these pads, so I decided to do a little science experiment.  I got out a 1 ml dropper and slowly emptied it onto one of the nursing pads.  The pad was sitting on a cloth napkin, so I could clearly see how much liquid it took before the pad started to leak.  It took 6 ml of water!  I can't imagine leaking that much milk without leaking through a disposable pad. 
The underside of the pad after 6ml of water - it has just started to seep through.
GladRags offers a variety of great green products for the women in your family. 

BUY IT:  GladRags has a number of great products on their website.  Nursing Pads are $12.99 a pair!

WIN IT:  One reader will win a pair of GladRags Organic Cotton Nursing Pads.  Contest open to US residents.

HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:
Leave a comment for each entry including your email address.  If I cannot reach the winner within 48 hours of the contest close, I will be forced to draw a new winner.  This contest will close on March 31 at noon EST.  Winner will be selected at random from all of the entries using random.org.

1) Visit GladRags and tell me which product you most want to try.
2) Subscribe to my email newsfeed, this will keep you up to date on new contests, giveaways, and articles.  To subscribe, enter your email address in the form at the top right column of my blog.
3) Follow Crum's This N That on Google Friend Connect or Networked blogs.  There are links to both of these in the right hand column of my blog.
4) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook or "Follow" me on Twitter.
5) "Like" GladRags on Facebook, thank them for the giveaway on Crum's This N That.

You have up to 5 entries for this contest!

Sponsored by Tomoson.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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The birth of creativity

I hope you love watching your kids as much as I love watching mine.  It is so amazing to see them grow and change before our very eyes!  It's wonderful and horrible all at once.  As my "baby" shifts from calling me "mama" to "mommy".  He becomes more and more independent every day!  This morning, he woke up, went to the bathroom, removed his diaper, and put on his underwear before trying to find out where I had gone.  I love that he's becoming a "big boy".

Over the last 2 weeks, this young man has had an amazing transformation.  He doesn't even know it has happened.  He has started to really dive into imaginary play.  Sure, he played with toys before, but now he's REALLY playing with them.  He likes to "cook" with the toy kitchen and "build" at the workbench.  A couple of days ago I caught his animals talking to each other, when little Elephant was asking Daddy Elephant to go to the store.  His play has changed so quickly and beautifully.  I just absolutely love it.

The other night as we were driving home from someplace, Monkey was tired and did not go to sleep.  He often sings when he wants to stay awake and started belting out the theme from one of his favorite television shows, "dinosaur train... dinosaur train... I wanna ride... the dinosaur train".  He loves it when we sing with him, so he stopped to have us join in.  Then was silent for a moment before grinned and said, "sing Dinosaur Truck, mama".  My boy has learned to change words in a song to make it his own.  Maybe that's silly to be excited about, but I just think it's incredibly cool that he has the ability to express some creativity.

That's it.. my boy's amazing.. like most other 2 year olds.. and he's awesome at playing. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Road Trip to Goshen

Snuggles with Erin

Checking out the chicks (and ducks) at Tractor Supply

Edna Spurgeon Reserve

First Hike of the year

What does it feel like?
Cheese! The perfect seat
Cool arch in the trees
"This is moss"
Potty (and ice cream) break at Dairy Queen
EXHAUSTED!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Bottom Diapers: Review & Giveaway

Congratulations Jessica
#179! 

Want to know the whole truth?  I absolutely love Best Bottoms Diapers.  That's it, the whole thing.  Just look at these cutie cousins in their Best Bottoms last week.  Stinky is modeling his "blue giraffe" and Crackers is in the "green giraffe".  (and it is oh so hard to get a picture of them together because they're ALWAYS moving).


I love Best Bottom Diapers for a number of reasons, and I am going to tell you why they're tops on his bottom!  Here goes:
1) Fit: Best Bottom is a one size fits all diaper.  It fits my little man snuggly around his legs and waist without being too tight or letting the "yuckies" out.  I have not had a single leaking problem with Best Bottom diapers.  They are slim and fit under Cracker's cloths nicely.  
2) Sytem: I love the "system" that Best Bottoms sells.  We got 3 sized inserts with our shell and they fit inside the diaper with no folding, no fanning, no guess work.  Even better - they SNAP in.  How wonderful is that?  This makes me more confident about Best Bottom when I leave him with other people, because they don't have to try and figure out another insert or prefold.
3) Insert: So I already mentioned the insert, but look at the picture below.  It has a snap at each end to hold it securely in place AND, (my sister pointed this out) it has a tag that reminds you which diaper it belongs to!  I don't even have to try to remember which insert goes with the Best Bottom diaper, because it tells me.  Each of the 3 sized inserts has a different color stitching around the edge so you can tell them apart if you're using them on multiple children!

4) Options: Best bottom offers sized inserts so they fit your baby at each stage of growing.  It comes in a variety of "ice cream inspired" colors and prints.  They also offer a choice between snaps and velcro. 

Check out all of the great Best Bottom Features!

BUY IT:
For a list of Best Bottom Retailers check their website.   Best Bottoms can be purchased online or in select stores.

WIN IT:
One reader will win their choice of Best Bottom shell and inserts!  This giveaway is limited to residents of the US and Canada only.  Winner will be drawn at random on 3/29 at noon EST.  Make sure to leave 1 comment below for each entry.  Leave your email address in each comment.  If the winner cannot be reached within 48 hours, I will be forced to select another winner.

HOW TO ENTER:
Mandatory Entry
Follow Crum's This N That via Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs.  These can both be found in the right hand column of my blog.

 Additional Entries:
 You may do any or all of the additional entries, each option earns you 1 entry (therefore 1 comment each). 
1) "Follow" Best Bottom Diapers on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway.  Leave the URL where you tweeted.
2) "Like" Best Bottom Diapers on Facebook and post about this giveaway.
3) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook or "Follow" on Twitter.
4) Subscribe to my email newsfeed to keep up to date on upcoming giveaways!  (upper right corner of the blog).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Time to rethink lesson plans

What's cooler then the garbage truck with a robotic arm???

Climbing a tree might be cooler - if the garbage truck wasn't just over his left shoulder

Checking out the scene at the gazebo is pretty cool

So is swinging your feet on the big stone bench!

So, now that it's warm out I've got to amend my lesson plans that I've already worked on.  No problem, I'd rather them be learning outside anyway!

Thirsties Duo Wrap: Review & Giveaway

Winner is...
Comment #185
Congratulations ANDI
 
A couple of months ago I got my first Thirsties Duo Wrap.  I loved it so much that I asked Thirsties if I could review one of their diapers on my blog.  What impresses me about Thirsties is the high quality and low price of their wraps.  I also love how soft these are.  I feel like I'm snuggling Crackers in a t-shirt when I wrap him in a Thirsties!  The wraps come in 2 sizes so they fit your little one longer.  Crackers is a 22lb 14 month old and wears the size 2 on the lowest rise!  (They also fit my 31lb 2.5 year old comfortably).

Our beautiful, soft "mango" duo wrap!
Here's something really cool about Thirsties products:  They're made by work at home moms!  I was really surprised by this because I thought of them as a big company.  In fact, they're only 5 years old and the company was founded by a mom with just $100 and an old sewing machine.  What great quality they have achieved.  All of the moms live near the warehouse also, which cuts down on carbon emissions that come from moving the product into the warehouse.

Obviously, Crackers likes showing off his duo wrap.
I have to admit, I was a little confused and intimidated when I started looking at the Duo Hemp Prefold.  It is made differently than any other insert or prefold I have seen.  It is made specially to reduce drying time and help improve the wash.  It's really a brilliant design and not so scary once you've used it a few times.  It's also super soft, I think it would be my favorite, if I were the one wearing the diaper.

Check here for your nearest Thirsties retailer.
Order a Thirsties Catalog to be mailed to your home!

BUY IT:
You can buy Thirsties products right now (and I highly recommend considering it).  Check your local retailer, or your favorite online diaper source!  
I bought my first Thirsties Duo Wrap from cradlejoy.com - see my Cradlejoy review for details about a 15% discount.

WIN IT:
One reader will win a Thirsties Duo Wrap and a Duo Hemp Prefold in their choice of color and size!
This contest is open to residents of the US and Canada only.  It will end on  3/27 at noon EST.  Please leave a comment for each entry you are eligible for and include your email address.  If I am unable to reach the winner within 48 hours, I will be forced to draw a new winner.


How to Enter:
You may enter using any or all of these methods.  There are a total of 5 possible entries per person.
 1) "Like" Thirsties on Facebook.  (It would be polite to thank them for the giveaway on Crum's This N That). 
2) Subscribe to my email newsletter - top right column of my blog.
3) Follow Crum's This N That via Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs (right hand column)
4) Tell me which color duo wrap you would choose and who would use it.
5) "Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook or "Follow" me on Twitter.





































Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Heiny Helpers

Last week I saw that someone had tagged "Heiny Helpers" on Facebook.  Being a fan of cloth diapers, I had to check it out.  I was surprised by what I found.  I had anticipated finding a great new diaper made by a work at home mom.  But this.. is so much better!

Heiny Helpers is a very new organization, founded early this year.  Their mission is to help low income families by loaning them cloth diapers in good condition.  In less than 2 months, this group has helped 15 babies switch to cloth and they have a quickly growing waiting list - there were 11 on the waiting list earlier in the week, now 14!

Heiny Helpers educates families about how to use cloth diapers, how to care for them, and types of cloth diapers.  They offer choices regarding the type of diapers each family receives.  I am really very impressed by this program and would love to see it start in my home town also.  (I've still got to look into what it would take).

Here's the kicker ---- they run on donations.  There are 14 babies waiting for cloth diapers RIGHT NOW and the list is growing so quickly!  You can help Heiny Helpers by donating new or gently used diapers directly to them.  I would love to hear that some of my readers donated to Heiny Helpers.  I'd also love to hear about similar programs in your area.

I am asking my readers to consider donating 1 or 2 diapers that you don't use as often as the others (if you're like me, you've got some you prefer and others that get used absolutely last)... I am also planning a donation of 1 or 2 diapers for now, and next time I'm in their area, I've got a bag of prefolds to drop off!
First United Church
2420 E. Third St.
Bloomington, IN 47401

They also accept monetary donations on their website.

Subscribe to Heiny Helpers email list.

Pretzel Recipe Link

My friend Christine inspired me to make pretzels this week.  It is actually a part of our lesson plan, make letter W pretzels... so I found a recipe and WOW!  They're fantastic.  I have to share the link...

Mall Pretzels

Warning, they do take some time and patience.. but Mmmm, they're worth it.

Wordless Wednesday: Spring



Get your Entry in - Extra hour

Okay, so I know we're all busy, it's been a busy and fun morning at the Crum house with pretzel making, play-dough and pop-up tents!  (Not to mention the laundry, dishes, lunch making, etc. that has to get done every day).

I've still got 2 boys to get down for naps and some more pretzels to finish, therefore, you have an extra hour to enter the My Comfort Cross giveaway, and I strongly urge you to do so, the Comfort Cross would be a great blessing to someone you love.




http://jencrum.blogspot.com/2011/03/comfort-cross-review-giveaway.html

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teaser

A quick teaser for an upcoming review and giveaway... this is currently scheduled for April!

This is the animal that WE got to review, it is NOT the one that ElJayPlushie will be giving away... check out her great Etsy shop, her animals and pillows are beautiful and super-soft.  My boys are in love already!

Oh, and order an animal while you wait for the review & giveaway!

Don't forget!

My Comfort Cross giveaway ends tomorrow at noon.

Who would this be great for?  Your mom; grandma; pastor; someone being baptized, confirmed, dedicated; someone who has recently experienced tragedy; a neighbor; children's church leader; scout troop leader; friend; spouse; cousin... okay, just anyone.  It's a beautiful olive cross that came from Bethlehem Olive Trees - how cool is that?!

Velcro: My newest nemesis

Okay, so ... velcro... ugh.

I love cloth diapers, some of my current favorite have velcro tabs to hold them closed.  They're great for taking Crackers to the babysitter during Mom Time or small group.  They would be wonderful for grandma's house.  They're so convenient because they're pocket diapers, so you just have to use them like you would a disposable.  Nice.  Oh, and soft, did I mention that these are incredibly soft?

A couple of days ago the wise mama in our house decided to put Crackers in one of these fantastic diapers at nap time.  It was easy and available.  He often sleeps in only a diaper, this was the case on that fateful day.

Velcro... did I mention the velcro?
This diaper is NOT the culprit, in fact, I don't even own this brand.

When Monkey woke up, he went to visit Crackers in the crib - this is often the routine.  Monkey started yelling to me, "Mama, Ca-ee yucky, Ca-ee poop"... I didn't think anything of it, I knew he had pooped, I heard it.  I was going to get there in just a minute, I needed to finish something first.  Monkey was persistent, so I left my task and walked into Cracker's room to find him sitting on top of his open diaper.... with poop on his hands... and his face... grinning.

UCK

So, I looked around and spotted a towel that had not been put away after bath time the night before.  I picked Crackers up by the armpits, poop fell onto the bed, I quickly swiped it up with the diaper.  I gently wrapped poopy Crackers in the towel and took him down the stairs where I washed him and diapered him in a SNAP diaper.

I had already sent Monkey downstairs to wash his hands (which also had poop on them).  When I looked around after changing Crackers, I couldn't find the Monkey anywhere.  Oh no.. where had he gone?

Moments later I heard thuds on the stairs.  YIKES, he had been upstairs, I hope he wasn't in the poop again!

I looked around the corner toward the stairs and saw Monkey appear, diaper folded neatly in his little hands, and he walked directly into the bathroom toward the toilet, where he was planning to clean it up.

I love that he knew just how to help out.  Even better?  He didn't make a mess when climbing in and out of the crib with the diaper.  What a great little man.  Thanks for helping me defeat Velcro Diaper!

Monday, March 14, 2011

NEWLANJOY

Newlanjoy
my emails keep bouncing back to me - send me a message at crumsthisnthat@gmail.com so I can contact you about your Wholly Guacamole coupons

Little One Books: Review and Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS JULIE!!!! 
Entry #47, you have won!

Do you ever feel bombarded by book choices when you step into the children's section at your local bookstore?  Do you wonder how you can find the best books that are fun (and maybe even educational)?  How do you know which books will be appropriate for your children at this moment?

Little One Books has helped take the guess work out of finding great books for your children.  I'm not just saying that.  This company was founded by a set of grandparents who felt just that way.  They have put together a team of fantastic reviewers and built an online bookstore with a selection of fabulous books.  The selection is even categorized by which age group they are most appropriate for.  Selection is fun, with commentary from the reviewers about why this book made it into the store's selection.  Each book has also been personally reviewed by Joan McCoy and Barney Cohen, the stores' founders!

Little One Books also offers videos and DVDs!   Even these are organized by age appropriateness!  What a great service they offer.

Our family had the honor to order from Little One Books.  They have so many good books to choose from.  They all sounded so good and I had a great time searching them to pick out what my boys would like the best.  We chose "Stinky".  It's a book about a garbage truck in New York City, who has his own special "Alphabet Soup".  My boys have really enjoyed reading it again and again!

Shop Little One Books today.  They're offering a special deal to my readers - buy any two Little One Books projects, and get a free "Good Morning" CD.  Use the code "goodmorning" at checkout to get your free CD!

WIN:
One reader will win a $15 gift certificate to Little One Books.  

Here's How to Enter:
Remember to leave 1 comment per entry (there are up to 4 entries possible).  Leave your correct email address in EACH entry.  If I am unable to contact the winner, I will have to choose a new winner.  Contest ends on 3/23 at noon EST.

Mandatory Entry: Subscribe to the Little One Books newsletter AND like them on Facebook.

Additional Entries:  
Subscribe to my email feed (upper right column).
Follow this blog via Google Friend Connect or Networked blogs.
"Like" Crum's This N That on Facebook.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Beginning Bible: Joseph

This week's exciting Bible fun has been from Joseph.  As noted below, we had a day off because of a doctor's appointment.  Monkey had fun learning and playing at his Aunt Elizabeth's house instead.  I'm working on transferring pictures from one computer to another, so haven't taken a ton for this week.

Monday
Story - Read Joseph Story from Adventure Bible Story book
Writing Skills - Practice Writing Letter "J", say "J" words
Reading - Watch MonkiSee, use Flashcards "circle, star, oval, square, heart"

Tuesday
Fun day at Aunt Elizabeth's House
Big mess with flour and cars, bath with cousin Bugsy
(Visit to the doctor for Crackers)

Wednesday
Story - Veggie Tales "Little Joe"
Math - Counting Brothers
Reading - Watch MonkiSee, use Flashcards "circle, star, oval, square, heart"

Thursday
Story - Read Joseph from a level 1 reader
Art - Design special coat with stickers
Reading - Watch MonkiSee, use Flashcards, "circle, star, oval, square, heart"

Friday
Story - Read Joseph story from one of our other toddler Bibles
Free play - Acting out the story
Reading - MonkiSee, use Flashcards, "circle, star, oval, square, heart"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Seeds of Compassion

Maybe you remember, maybe you don't.  One of the key words I want Monkey to know about himself as he grows is "compassion".  I watch with joy as this little man notices people who are sad and wants to do something about it.  He tries so hard to comfort his brother, and has recently adopted the phrase "poor guy" - I'm not really sure what he means when he uses it, but he's starting to identify with people who are hurting.

Today our neighbor girl fell off of her scooter and hurt her leg.  Someone thought she might have broken it and called to have an ambulance come so she could be examined (her mom was not home and they had no other way to get her to the hospital).  We watched the ambulance and talked about what was happening.  Monkey and I said a prayer for Marissa as they wheeled her into the ambulance.  He told her bye, see you later, and feel better.

He didn't just feel pity for her in the moment.  See, this happened more than 6 hours ago.  It has been on his mind all afternoon and evening.  Monkey keeps telling us, "Marissa sad, Marissa hurt leg, Marissa go hospital."  Even at 2 1/2 my sweet man is learning to care about others.  I think tomorrow morning we will make a card for her and deliver it.

The truth is...

I'm intimidated by chicken.

There.  I said it.  I am all for conserving money on food, and living more green, and eating a bit more healthy... but I just can't figure out what to do with a chicken that has skin and bones.  Maybe I am just spoiled.  It just makes me want to gag when I think about it.  Ugh.

Any advice on getting over my fear of chicken with skin and bones (but no head or feathers).

Intellectual Baby: Review & Giveaway



The complete MonkiSee kit!


Congratulations Lesli, Comment #77, you are the winner!
Both of my boys love books.  They love to "read" and to be read to.  When we had the opportunity to review Intellectual Baby's "MonkiSee" program, we jumped at it.  What a fantastic addition to our home preschool curriculum!
Enjoying shape flashcards
MonkiSee is a learn to read program for children 3 months - 4 years old.  This great program helps parents tap into their children's learning potential, by implementing videos, books, and flashcards.  The products can be used individually or as a set that reinforces itself.  They are great quality products that babies and toddlers love using.

I could hardly believe how quickly my boys fell in love with MonkiSee products.  My Monkey wants to watch the videos every day.  His favorite is the shapes video.  You know what?  He's actually learning his shapes.  This morning he was able to identify several shapes that we had not worked on with flashcards yet (hexagon, diamond, pentagon...)  

The videos are simple and cute with a VERY catchy theme song.  We find ourselves singing it all day long.  I was surprised by the simplicity of the videos, but the boys absolutely love watching them.  I hear Monkey repeating a lot of what they're saying as he absorbs it as well.  It took Crackers a little longer to get interested, but he really does not enjoy television very often.

The books are simple with wonderful pictures.  The pages with the "story" are blank other than the words.  I love this about them because it helps us focus on the words before we connect them to the pictures (which also have a couple of words on them).  Monkey brings the books to me again and again.  He especially loves the one about colors.

The flashcards are great quality with big words and pictures to match.  Monkey actually wanted to do the flashcards this morning instead of watching a television show.  He's a television lover, so it's rare for him to give up an opportunity to watch it.
Testing Monkey to see what words he recognizes.
Do I think that MonkiSee makes my children smarter?  Nope.  I think it helps me find new ways to tap into their brains and help them store information.  It gives us a great way to spend some 1 on 1 time.  It gives them words for things they see every day. 

Overall, I think that Intellectual Baby has made an incredible product and I would recommend it to anyone with small children.  I think any family, that cares about educating their children early, would benefit from MonkiSee products.

BUY IT:
You can buy MonkiSee products HERE.  Take some time to look through all of their great products.

WIN IT:
One reader will win a set of all 3 MonkiSee videos to share with their family!  This giveaway opens immediately and will end at noon on March 22.  Remember to leave entries in the comment form below and add your email address to each comment.  Open to residents of the US.

Here's How to Enter:
Mandatory:
Follow my blog, leave a comment below telling me why you want to win.

Additional Entries: 
Leave 1 comment for each additional entry.
1) Visit Intellectual Baby and tell me something you like about their products.
2) Subscribe to my email newsletter (upper right hand column of my blog).
3) "Like" Intellectual Baby on Facebook.
4) "Like Crum's This N That on Facebook, OR "Follow" me on Twitter.

That's it, up to 5 entries in this giveaway!  Good luck.

Sweetest Wool Booties

First off, you should know that I LOVE Etsy.  I could spend hours looking at all kinds of amazing hand-made products in great shops.  I love it that shopping on Etsy allows me to support artists, stay at home parents, grandparents, second incomes, hobbyists, and incredible talent.

The other night, as I was browsing Etsy, I came across these:
Knit Lush Mouse Booties
OH MY GOODNESS!  I love them.  How sweet would these be for any baby!  (Have I mentioned I have 2 pregnant cousins and several pregnant friends?)   Everyone NEEDS a pair of these!  They're felted wool, so they'll be durable, and come in 3 sizes - tiny newborn up to 12 months.  Crackers has big feet, so I don't think they would fit him but OH how I wish they would! 

Update: I just talked with Knit Lush and she said she CAN make them in bigger sizes if requested to do so!

I wrote to Knit Lush and asked her about where she found the pattern.  She told me that she developed the pattern herself.  The first pair she created were the "lucy" booties for her best friend's baby girl.  Isn't that sweet?  They loved them so much that she created these sweet animals.  Right now her shop features cute bunnies, sweet mice, and an adorable raccoon!  (For the record, I think Crackers would need raccoons in his big foot size because he's a rascal).  

"Knit Lush specializes in highly unique and chic knit and felted wearables for all ages. Our "Inspired by nature, Made by hand" mission inspires all things Knit Lush; from patterns to final product we passionately uphold a promise of a quality handmade product. From felted bunny baby booties to knit fingerless gloves, there is something for everyone at Knit Lush and can now be shipped worldwide!"


Knit Lush makes other products too.  I also like their"spats".   I didn't know what those were, so I checked them out and I think they would be amazing for winter in Indiana.  Look at these:

Check out the Knit Lush shop today.  Order a pair of wool booties for someone you love.  Order some Spats for me! (=

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thankful for...

Walking Aids!

Enter now!

Don't forget to enter the Swashbuckling Pirate Party Giveaway... This is a FANTASTIC party planner and the giveaway ends at noon!!!!
ENTER HERE

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"No Wuu You, Mama"

Do you ever feel like a bad parent?  I do sometimes.  I'm not just saying that because my Monkey told me "No love you mama" tonight.  I say it because I don't always make the best choices, and sometimes I have a short fuse.
He picks his own stylish outfits.. those aren't what make me feel like a bad mama either! 

So why do I think I'm a bad mama tonight?  Well, okay, as a whole I don't think that, even tonight.  I know he told me "no wuu you mama" because he did not want to leave a friend's house.  I whispered in his ear "I love you", and he thought that was the cue that it was bed time.  That's where I kick myself.... he thinks "I Love you" means bed time.  I'm sure I tell my boys all the time that I love them, but I guess he's learned  mostly to associate it with "Good night."...

So there it is, my kids need to hear more "I love you"s when it's not bed time.

Wordless Wednesday: First Time

LAST CHANCE

Last Chance to Enter to win 2 itti bitti cloth diapers
Last Chance to Enter to win a Go Fish CD

These both end at NOON TODAY!

Don't forget to subscribe to my email newsletter so you don't miss out on some of my outstanding giveaways that are coming up.

Also, check the reviews & giveaways tab, I have 3 more giveaways posted right now and 2 to come this week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Handlebar Shopping Cart Cover: Review


I recently had the opportunity to review the Happy Handle Bar Shopping Cart Cover.  Crackers loved having the cute bug print on his cart and really enjoyed having his toys within reach during our whole shopping trip.  I liked that I did not have to worry about him picking up more germs from the icky handlebar, or loosing toys while we shopped.  He was completely entertained by having his toys close to him.

I did have a small problem with the stitching on one of the toy loops.  Happy Handle Bars assured me that they would gladly replace it at no cost to me.  They strive to run the business with integrity!
Happy Handlebar is on Facebook!
I liked that there were convenient pockets for my keys and phone, an elastic strap for holding cups.  I did not have a cup to try during my grocery shopping experience.

Here are some great features:
The Happy Handlebar Shopping Cart Cover is compact, it rolls up inside itself and can fit nicely into a purse.
It is easy to clean and even machine washable.
It has a lot of room for gadgets.
There are 6 cute choices for fabrics.
They're only $20
BUY ONE HERE


Look at the Happy Handebar Shopping Cart Cover website.


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. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.