Friday, July 29, 2011

Energy Bites - Fun with Food Friday

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to this week's Fun with Food Friday
(ALERT: Read to the bottom for extra bonus entries opportunity!)

This delicious recipe comes from reader Lauren Kane-Sample!



  • 1/2 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, sunflower seed or another other nut/seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey or other liquid sweetener (be careful of thinner sweeteners as they might not hold together as well.)
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (you can toast for a nuttier flavor at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes)
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (you can substitute any dry ingredient for this: wheat bran or germ, oat bran, ground flax seed, (I wouldn't recommend using an entire cup of flax seed,) any ground nuts or seeds. For a cookie dough type bite, try adding a few tablespoons of your favorite whole grain flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp your favorite spices or spice combos (optional: I skipped this)
  • pinch of sea salt if needed
  • 1/2 cup other add-ins (any whole or roughly chopped nuts/seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.)
Directions from Lauren:
In a large bowl add the nut butter, honey or other sweetener, vanilla and salt if needed.  If all your ingredients are room temperature you should be able to stir to combine.  If this is difficult you can warm in the microwave for a few seconds or even place the bowl in an inch or two hot water for a few minutes to soften everything.  

Once this is combined add the remaining ingredients.

In this case I used almond butter and for my addins I used equal parts sesame seeds, poppy seeds and mini chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Once it’s all combined place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Then remove from the fridge, scoop out some dough and roll into a ball.  I find it’s much easier, and works better to squeeze the handful together to compact it and then roll it into a ball.

If yours are too sticky you can considering adding more dry ingredients into them or rolling them in something like ground nuts, coconut, etc so they aren’t as sticky.  Place the balls in an airtight container either in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy snacks.

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I started by making some dairy-free chocolate chips with coconut oil. I'll have to write a review on that recipe sometime. They were good, but very dark chocolate. 
And coming from me, that's saying something, 'cause I like my chocolate dark.
Anyway, they worked well in this recipe, so I was happy, and my poor chocolate-deprived daughter was very happy.

I was pretty in-exact in my measurements, mostly because I hate trying to measure things like peanut butter.
I used about half almond butter and half peanut butter. I think I'd prefer them with 100% almond butter, but I didn't have much, so I combined them.

These are very similar to a recipe I have for "Power Balls" from a friend, (the mother of 7 boys that just had their first girl!)

They are a great snack to have in the freezer. Perfect for when I'm pregnant and/or nursing, and a healthy and deceivingly cookie-like option for my toddler.

I rolled most of them in a unsweetened coconut/sesame seed mixture and left some of them plain so as not to be so messy for Katie to eat.
This pan is sitting in my freezer now, and when I get around to it, I'll put them in a container back in the freezer for easy access!

Thanks, Lauren, for this healthy and delicious snack!

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See what Michelle at The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Second Time Mom has cooked up this week!

Please check my archives for more delicious recipes!

You can get 10 extra entries into any ONE giveaway of your choice for each recipe you submit, (you can send me as many as you like!)

Just send the recipe(s) to and add the entries into the appropriate box on the giveaway entry form.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keeping Your Toddler Busy - Toddler Talk Thursday

Check out the hosts of this fun weekly link-up, Family and Life in Las VegasCrazy about My Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom!

This week's topic is:
"How do you keep your toddler entertained in difficult situations - grocery store, doctors' office, etc?"

It doesn't take much to keep Katie entertained. 
Keeping her entertained and quiet is a whole different issue...

Grocery stores and even doctor's offices aren't usually too difficult for us, just so long as she can talk.
She is a talker.

Church is the hardest for us right now, because of her chatty personality. We have worked on this a lot with her and we're starting to see success! 
We keep her involved during the service as much as possible, and then during the sermon, (which is usually 45 minutes long!) we bring out her special "purse" that contains a special toy or two and some crayons and paper and maybe a little book.

She at least whispers when she feels the need to communicate, and she mostly plays quietly with what we've brought.

Where it isn't essential for us to be quiet, (waiting in doctors' offices, etc,) we read books, or I'll tell her stories, (or she tells me stories, which is much more entertaining! She has an amazing imagination for a 2-year-old!)

So how do you keep your toddler entertained during times when they need to be quiet? 
I would love your tips!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Little Mama (Wordless Wednesday)

I adore this picture.
Katie found a jar of baby-food peas and then eagerly asked me for a "soom!"

Then she took her dolly to the couch and gave her some lunch!
She was so sweet:
"That yummy, baby? Taste good? Take a bite!"

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of my favorite options for breakfast, and I discovered recently an easy (and delicious) way to eat it regularly!

Use your crockpot!

The night before you plan to eat your oatmeal, in a glass measuring cup, (or any heat-safe bowl.) combine:

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 cup rolled or steel-cut oats
1 Tb butter
dash of salt, (optional)

spices, sweeteners, and fruits if desired:
brown sugar
chopped apples

Fill your crockpot half-full with water and turn it onto "Keep Warm" or "Low," (depending on the crockpot...experiment.)

Voila! Delicious, hot, perfectly cooked oatmeal waiting for you when you wake up in the morning!
This is doing wonders for my recent commitment to make sure John has a home-cooked breakfast every morning, (no matter how early he leaves for work!)
He loves oatmeal, (especially the Tropical Traditions Organic Thick Rolled Oats...he commented on how good they were before he knew I was supposed to be reviewing them!)
I love knowing that he has a healthy breakfast when I know I will not be remotely conscious when he leaves for work.

I am also looking forward to using this regularly when I am pregnant (Lord willing!) again someday! You know how hard it is when you first wake up in the morning to even want to think about food, let alone try to cook something?
This handy hint solves that problem for ya! (Assuming, of course, that oatmeal sounds remotely palatable in your pregnant state. You can do this with any hot cereal: cream of wheat, 10-Grain (Katie's favorite,) steel-cut oats, you-name-it.)

Another handy feature of this method is the ability to cook more than one kind of cereal at a time.
Katie does not care for oatmeal, but she loves 10-Grain, so along side our oatmeal, I sneak in a little half-pint of 10-Grain cereal mixture, (using the same proportions, and with almond milk to keep it dairy-free.)

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Organic Thick Rolled Oats - Tropical Traditions Review & Giveaway 8/9

After winning a bag of Tropical Traditions Organic Thick Rolled Oats at ABCs & Garden Peas, I was thrilled when Tropical Traditions offered to giveaway away another bag to one of MY readers! (By the way, ABCs & Garden Peas has a giveaway going on right now from Tropical Traditions for their natural deodorant! It still has super low entries and ends August 1st, so your chances are good!)

I've already shared with you my love of Tropical Traditions premium coconut oil and their raw honey, and I'm excited to tell you about another of their excellent products!

5lbs/$10.65 - 10lbs/$21.35

"Oats provide high quality, well-balanced protein. Thick Rolled Oats and other whole grain oats are a good source of soluble fiber. Tropical Traditions Thick Rolled Oats are most commonly used for oatmeal, and cook in about 15 minutes. Thick Rolled Oats can also be used in granola and of course oatmeal cookies."

Oatmeal is one of my favorite options for breakfast, and I discovered recently an easy (and delicious) way to eat it regularly!

Find out how to use your crockpot to have a hot breakfast waiting for you in the morning!

  John and I both love these oats. The extra thickness gives them a pleasant chewiness, and they have a great flavor! We have enjoyed them a lot lately, (thanks to my latest crockpot discovery,) and we're hooked!

Tropical Traditions also carries organic wheat, spelt, barley, millet, (another good breakfast cereal!) and rye grains among the premium quality foods they stock.

To get delicious recipes for using Tropical Traditions' excellent foods, check out

Tropical Traditions is giving away another 5lb bag of their Organic Thick Rolled Oats to one of my lucky readers!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Recipe Linky! - Fun with Food Friday

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to this week's Fun with Food Friday

This week I didn't get around to trying a recipe ahead of time, and I'm leaving to go camping for the weekend today, so we're going to try something new!

Today, I want you to link up your own recipe blog posts!
I will leave this linky open all week for you to continue adding.

I look forward to visiting your blogs and getting a peek into your kitchens, and hope you'll hop around and get some fresh ideas to spice up your cooking!

Visit my Recipe Archives for inspiration!


I {Heart} Rafflecopter

By now, I'm sure you've heard of Rafflecopter, and if you're lucky, you've already experienced first-hand how super-easy and quick it is for you to enter a giveaway on blogs that are using it!

If you haven't seen Rafflecopter in action yet, head over to my Thirsties cloth diaper giveaway to check it out!

This is truly an amazing break-through for those giveaway addicts out there, (myself included!) helping you spend a fraction of the time to enter giveaways!

Besides the obvious benefits to you, I am really more excited about the benefits to bloggers who host these giveaways.
I have been using Google Forms for a long time to make entering my giveaways quicker and easier for you enter, but using them is very time intensive for me. Lindsey at So Easy Being Green, (who also has been using Google Forms,) recently posted the pros and cons of Rafflecopter that she has seen so far.

A lot of work goes into setting up each one of the giveaways that you enter, and the Rafflecopter app saves hosting bloggers valuable time and ensures greater accuracy and detection of invalid entries or "cheaters."

At this point, Rafflecopter is a by-invitation-only application, and I have 5 invites left to pass on to any bloggers out there who still need one!

Please comment with your email address if you'd like me to send you one!
First come, first served! 

Update: All my invites are gone! Enjoy, ladies!

Moody Mamas Maternity Nursing Maxi Dress - Black


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Free Shipping at Lilla Rose!

Beautiful Life

Now through Saturday, July 23rd, Lilla Rose is offering free shipping on all orders of $20 or more!

If you've never heard of this amazing company before or want more info, check out my review of the Lilla Rose Flexi-Clip, and see how it works for hair of all kinds: from my sister's long hair, (below her waist) to my short and layered hair, to my 2-year-old's baby-fine hair!

Lilla Rose has something for every woman (or girl!) wanting to spruce up their 'do, including hair bands, bobby pins, hair sticks, and the new "You-Pins!"

Now is a great chance to try them out or stock up on your favorites!

Visit Lilla Rose on Facebook to keep up-to-date with specials and new items!

Toddler Meals - Toddler Talk Thursday

Check out the hosts of this fun weekly link-up, Family and Life in Las VegasCrazy about My Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom!

This week's topic is:
"How does your toddler's mealtime go usually? How do you deal with not eating, or picky eaters?"

Katie is not so much of a picky eater as a...NON-eater.
We have always had trouble getting her to eat much, even from the very beginning, when we struggled with her lazy nursing and lack of weight gain.

We can get her to eat a little bit of almost anything, but it is rare for her to want to eat what we feel is enough.
Two bites and she's "all done!"
Even the above ice cream cake we made her for her birthday she only ate about half of it before she was satisfied, (even though she loves ice cream, and is always excited to eat it!)

Victoria is another story, (thank goodness!)
She can stow it away!

Much of it still ends up on her face, bib...and thumb these days, however. ;-)

I've started to not worry about Katie so much...she is growing and gaining weight, albeit slowly.
She eats healthy food: some of her favorites include scrambled eggs, broccoli, and green beans, (!!) so we're good in that department.

I can always get her to drink quite a bit of a breakfast smoothie, so we do that pretty often.

Right now we are in the midst of a no-dairy trial period to see if it helps her constantly runny nose and congestion go away.
It has been difficult...I didn't realize how many of my go-to dishes included milk or cheese. Or chocolate! (Which almost always has milk in it.)

It will be worth it, though, if we find that it clears up these issues she's been dealing with.

In the mean time, I'd love any dairy-free recipes or tips you can give me!

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Victoria's Birth Story

Victoria is more than 5 months 8 months old as I finally sit down to finish writing this, and I know some details are already becoming blurred. I had to click "Older Posts" on my Facebook profile 3 billion times to get all the way back to early November's status updates just to remind me of some of the time frames of the labor!

On the night of November 7th, I was puttering around on the computer wrapping up some blog posts and emails in preparation for the Merry Fluffy Christmas event coming up. 
John, Katie and I had all come down with a nasty cold/flu and were feeling very under-the-weather. John had gone to bed feeling nasty at 5pm, promptly passed out, skipped dinner and slept all evening.
I was chatting on Google Talk with my mama, telling her all the reasons that I was going to be happy to have this baby late. (Katie was a whole week "late," so of course I'd be late again, right?) 
  • we were sick - who wants to bring a baby into a house full of sick people? Who wants to be in labor while you're sick?
  • John's whole office was moving to a new location, and he was heading up most of the transfer of equipment, setting up phones and internet, and generally extremely busy.
  • My mama, (who was planning on staying with us for several days after the birth,) was in the thick of a kitchen and bathroom remodel project and all the decisions involved - not a good time to be leaving the house for a week

Besides, I'd had no Braxton-Hicks, (during my entire pregnancy!) No intuitions of impending labor. My last baby was a week late. My due date wasn't even for another few days.

After telling Mama how improbable and inconvenient it'd be for the baby to come on time, (trying to encourage myself to be patient and stay sane in my lumbering state,) I merrily posted the following as my Facebook status: 

    Johanna is thinking that this baby is staying in here for another week at least. We'll see...

  I was so proud of myself for feeling genuinely willing to wait another week or so under my less-than-comfortable circumstances.

 I wrote that status at 10:19pm. I shut down the computer, brushed my teeth, and hopped rolled into bed. Less than 5 minutes after lying down, I felt the first one. Before 11pm, I was on my hands and knees on the floor, dealing with pretty intense contractions, (all the pain was in my back, just like it was with Katie.)

  God just likes to remind us now and then that, yes, HE is the One in control.

  I didn't wake up John since I knew he wasn't feeling well and would need all the rest he could get if this was really happening. I also didn't want to jinx it by getting too excited.
 I waddled to the living room and moved between resting on the couch and rocking on my hands and knees on the floor during each contraction. They were still pretty far apart at 5-7 minutes, but intense.

  Still, I waited to wake up John. I turned on "Little Dorrit."
What better to help you get through the long early stages of labor during the wee hours of the night than a 7-hour movie?

  At 2am, apparently my laboring noises finally woke up John, and he stumbled bleary-eyed out of the bedroom, saw me on my hands and knees on the floor, and puzzled, (not to mention, half-asleep,) said, "What are you doing?!"

   "Um. I think I'm in labor."

  I don't know why I said it that way. To break it to him gently? I didn't think I was in labor. I was in labor.

  I was grateful that he was now with me, as I was really getting to the point where I needed someone to give me counter-pressure on my back.
 (Both of my labors have been 100% in my back. I guess I don't even know what a "normal" contraction feels like!)

  We decided to officially admit I was in labor and we should probably finish up those last things on the "Before Baby Comes" to-do list.
   By this time there was no way I wanted to do a contraction without John there, rubbing my back and giving me support. So in between each contraction, (they were still 5 minutes apart,) we worked together to get the water-proof mattress cover on the bed and change the bedding to the I-don't-mind-if-they-get-ruined sheets.
We shoveled miscellaneous clutter from counters and dressers out of the way into boxes and hid them in the closet, (partly to be out of the way for the midwives, but mostly so our room wouldn't look like a dump in the pictures that were sure to be taken and kept for eternity. Who wants your untidiness immortalized for eternity?)

I got into the shower to see if that would give me some relief while John finished up some things. I got out pretty was better when John was rubbing my back.

It was exciting, bustling around in the middle of the night together. I'd yell "another one's coming!" plop down on the floor and John would be there. When it was over, I'd get up and we'd bustle some more.

I think it was about 3am when we called our midwife, Carol. Things weren't going too fast yet, so she said she'd get a shower and gather her things and be over.

Carol arrived about 4:30. Our chatter woke up Katie, (way too early for a sick little girl!) She caught the excitement, though, and was cheerful. When I got down on my hands and knees for the next contraction, she joyfully exclaimed, "Mama! Horsey!" and John caught her just before she clambered aboard!

Carol checked and found me at about 3cm. I'll confess I was secretly hoping to be a little farther along than that. The contractions were still 5 minutes apart, but they were doozies!

We discovered that the baby was still posterior, most likely in part due to my diastasis, (abdominal muscle separation) from my pregnancy with Katie. This position is likely to cause back labor...check!

We'd called my mama about the same time as we called Carol, and she packed her bags and started the almost 2-hour drive! My two sisters Bethany and Susannah came with her. Two of my bestest friends were on their way, too: Amanda, (my home-birthing buddy ;-) and Hannah, who happens to also now be my sister-in-law!

My mama-in-law arrived from next door shortly before the rest showed up somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30, and we started the par-tay!

Somebody made breakfast. Ladies came and went through the bedroom as I alternated between resting in my uber-comfy rocking chair and...the floor.

Carol's two assistants showed up sometime during that early morning, also.
We had quite the crowd.
I loved it. I know some ladies prefer to be more alone and focused in a private sort of setting. For me, it was wonderful to be surrounded by supportive people that I knew and loved.
Because of the 5 minute breaks between contractions, we were able to chat and generally have a jolly time.

I believe it was sometime around 8am when I got in the tub. I had Katie in the water and loved it and hoped to repeat the experience.
The baby, (I guess I should refer to her as Victoria, now, huh?) was stubbornly staying in awkward positions. Never quite the same, mind you. It seemed like every time we checked, she'd skooched a little that way or this way, but never to an optimal position. The hands-and-knees deal, besides being more comfortable for back labor, is supposed to help move a baby to a better position. Victoria was a determined little gal, though, and quite comfortable where she was, thankyouverymuch.

 I was at 9.5 cm when Carol got a call at about noon from another client in active labor, (45 minutes away!) She rushed off to check her out, (leaving me feeling calm in the capable hands of my husband and the assistant midwives,) ended up delivering that baby, quickly wrapping everything up there, and coming back to have me with still no baby at 2pm.
I'd tried getting out of the tub and standing/squatting during contractions to try to help move baby down and get some possible pushing leverage. I could just tell though, that it wasn't pushing time. My body knew it and I knew it. The contractions still kept up at 4-5 minutes apart, but they were getting nasty.

When Carol got back, she decided we needed to do something to help her budge. I got out of the tub and onto the bed. We decided to break my water and then we did a couple contractions on the bed while she held back the last bit of cervix to see if that would help any.
It didn't. I could just tell that any attempts at pushing were going to be fruitless...the lil' bugger was still stuck in the wrong position and she wasn't coming down.

I was getting frustrated. I wasn't so much at the "let's get this OVER with," so much as "can we at least get somewhere with this?" Contractions were still no closer than 4 or 5 minutes, but so intense each time, and we just weren't getting anywhere...I'd been stuck at 9.5 cm for over two hours now.

Looking back now, I am so grateful to have been home during this delivery. At most hospitals, I would likely have been having all kinds of interventions pushed at me by this point to hurry things up. Some of those interventions can lead to distress on the baby which can land you with a C-section before you know what's happening!

I later found out that during this time some of my labor-pals were starting to have thoughts that there could be a hospital transfer in the future. I'm glad this thought didn't enter my head, because it probably would have just freaked me out and made me start to think of all the things that might be wrong.

All the prayers that our family and friends were sending up were being heard, however, because I just seemed to know that we could do just might take awhile.

Carol suggested I get into an exaggerated "running" position on my side for a "few contractions" as it can be helpful to get posterior babies into a better position. I had to bring one knee up towards my chin as far as I could, and the other leg backwards the other direction as far as I could.

Oh. my. word.

This was the first I had ever had the feeling of "losing my mind." I literally had to go to another place to get through the next 45 minutes.

A "few contractions" turned into "several contractions" as Victoria would still not budge. I was so grateful at this point to be surrounded my so many loving, supporting people. Hannah was sort of my focal point, and somebody was holding my hands and there was someone supporting each foot so I had something to shove against to keep from writhing.
Just having everyone there holding me made the difference. I just might have officially gone off the brink without them.

I remember hearing a couple ladies asking Carol hopefully if I could maybe be done with that position now...I think it was pretty painful to watch, especially for the mothers there who could sympathize with my pain!

But Carol was pretty sure that this position was what would finally get the baby out, and I'm so glad she encouraged me to stay there, despite the hell discomfort I was experiencing.

She was right.

Suddenly, the baby was coming. It was the weirdest feeling to go from horrible, fruitless pain, to "woo hoo! This baby is a-comin' OUT!"
I didn't even have time to say anything or tell anybody what was going on. I just flipped over, (somebody must have got some pillows behind me right away,) and I started pushing that baby out.

Talk about the urge to push. There is no way on God's green earth that I could have stopped that baby from shooting out. Less than 4 pushes later, a little before 3pm, I was pulling sweet Victoria up onto my chest and we knew we had another beautiful daughter!

Amanda later wrote about the labor, and you'll get some more accurate details there, since she wrote it the day after (not 8 months later.) Coincidentally, she is 11...12? days overdue with her 4th as of today, which is probably why I've been thinking about labor which inspired me to get my rear in gear and get this posted.
When she was there with me during Victoria's labor, they had just found out about this pregnancy. Feel free to go assure her that no woman has been pregnant forever...not yet anyways.

2 weeks old
She was worth it, don't you think? ;-)

Raising Mighty Arrows

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Wordless Wednesday - Trampoline Hair

My sister, "Polka Dot" just wrote about her stay with us on her lovely blog.
Take a look to get a little peek into our lives!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted & Duo Wrap Review & Giveaway - 8/1

I have long been a fan of Thirsties covers, and I was recently sent one of their Duo Fab Fitted diapers and a Duo Wrap to review!

Duo Wrap in "Alice Brights" with Snaps

Thirsties is a small, (but growing!) cloth diaper company committed to greener parenting and Eco Friendly solutions, not to mention 100% USA Made quality! Erin, founder of Thirsties, started this business with an old sewing machine and $100 five years ago. Through her hard work and diligence, the company is now one of the leaders in the cloth diaper industry. Their diapers are now made by work at home mothers, and very close to the warehouse, reducing carbon output. Their customer service reps are experienced cloth diapering moms, an offer their knowledge to their retailers and customers alike.

I have nothing to say except good things about Thirsties and their products.

The Duo Wraps coupled with regular (cheap!) Indian cotton prefolds make up the main part of my "fluff stash."

  • Grows with your baby so you only need two sizes from birth to potty!
  • Leg gussets for advanced leak protection
  • Pliable, breathable ultra-comfortable waterproof fabric
  • Snap or Aplix hook-and-loop closures
  • Wipe clean between washings

During the first year and a half of cloth diapering, I used Thirsties original sized diaper covers, (and I am using them again now with Victoria,) and as Katie got bigger, I bought some of the size 2 Duo Wraps.

The occasional time that I have had one of my girls in a disposable during their breast-fed poo days, (sorry if TMI,) and we were unlucky enough to get a BM in there, it was pretty much guaranteed to explode up the back and out the legs.

The leg gussets and elastic around the waist on the Thirsties duo wraps or covers do a wonderful job of containing everything, and I almost never have leaks...especially from newborn poo, which is the worst kind of leak. 

For Katie, I pretty much cannot get a pocket diaper stuffed enough to hold up all night for her without leakage, so I regularly use a Thirsties wrap with doubled up prefolds and maybe an extra insert and the wrap holds it all!

I'm going to have a struggle now to stay content with my cheap-o prefolds now, though...
because the Duo Fab Fitted together with the Duo Wrap is now my favorite diaper system!

Duo Fab Fitted in Orchid with Snaps

With the Duo Wraps, this is a much trimmer way to diaper than using prefolds I have...and considerably less awkward to get on a squirmy baby than a prefold/wrap combo.

I tried size 2, which is recommended for 18-40lbs or 9-36 months.
It is working beautifully for both Katie, (27lbs/28months,) and Victoria, (15lbs/8months.) 

I was particularly surprised to find it worked that well on Victoria who is a skinny, long little gal, (and 3lbs under the recommended weight!) but it is my favorite diaper combo for her right now!
It is more trim and so much less lumpy than a prefold!

For Katie, I can slip in an extra insert in the pocket of the Duo Fab Fitted for extra absorbency when she needs it, also!

There are six different color options at this time for the Duo Fab Fitted: honeydew, mango, meadow, ocean blue, orchid, and white, and there are even more options for the Duo Wrap, including four prints!

Duo Fab Fitted in Ocean Blue with Aplix

Buy Your Own:

Request a free catalog of Thirsties products!

Purchase directly from Thirsties or visit their Retailer Locator page to find a store near you or to find which of your favorite online diaper shops carry Thirsties products.
The Duo Wrap cost $12.75 for solids and $13.75 for prints, and the Duo Fab Fitted cost $17.00 each

Win Your Own!

Thirsties is giving away another Duo Wrap and Duo Fab Fitted in the winner's color choices to one lucky Mama Chocolate reader!

I am excited to use Rafflecopter for the first time! Please let me know what you think!

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New Photography Contest Site

On Top of the Tripod is launching today!

I just wanted to bring your attention to this brand new photography contest website, where you can come to vote or come to submit your own photos to be voted on!
Both the photographer and the voters get a chance to win Amazon gift cards! (Yay!)

Visit On Top of the Tripod for more details, and like them on Facebook to stay updated!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

WINNERS! T. Ashley Tart Warmer & Leading Lady

We have the some more winners!

The T. Ashley Candle Co. Tart Warmer giveaway ended with 259 valid entries, and the random number generator picked #108.

Entry # 108 is...Laura Jager!


The $30 Leading Lady gift card giveaway ended with 414 valid entries, and the random number generator picked #81.

Entry #81 is...Janelle Prentice!

Congratulations to the winners! 

Update: Both winners have responded and been confirmed!

Watch for exciting new giveaways coming soon!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Nutella Balls - Fun with Food Friday

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to this week's Fun with Food Friday
(ALERT: Read to the bottom for extra bonus entries opportunity!)

This delicious recipe comes from reader Anna Pry!



  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Anna used dark cocoa, I just used what I had which was regular)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I was out of oil, so I used butter!)
  • 5 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon flax meal, (optional, but highly recommended)
  • pinch of salt
Directions from Anna:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.
  1. In a food processor, add all ingredients - including the hazelnuts - and blend until the nuts are pretty much not nut-like anymore. The mixture should be thick.

  1. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop onto it heaping tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture.
  1. Eat warm, but I advise refrigerating beforehand. Will make them turn out more like balls. Keep cold and should last all week, (if you don't eat them first!)

So, not caring for the rather drab look of the balls, I got clever and rolled them in cocoa powder.
BAD idea.

For made them messy:

Secondly, 2-year-old Katie's first reaction was to tell me, "They not taste very good, Mama," and politely set it back on the counter, without having even bitten into it.
The cocoa powder on the outside was too bitter to her, and even to me & Suzy, the insides just aren't sweet enough to quite counteract the bitterness of the cocoa.

Once you start chewing, it's not a big deal. You get the deliciousness of the insides.

I cut one in half and persuaded Katie to try again. She still wasn't too sure, but she ate the whole thing, so I'm sure when I make them again, (and leave them alone!) she will be much more enthusiastic!

My cocoa-powder-fail aside, these are great treats, and come at a perfect time for us!
I just embarked on a 3 (or maybe 4 if I can make it!) week trial of no dairy and reduced white sugar for Katie. 
If I get myself some canola oil before I make them next time so I don't use butter, these will qualify! 

Thanks, Anna!

See what Michelle at The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Second Time Mom has cooked up this week!

Please check my archives for more delicious recipes!

You can get 10 extra entries into any ONE giveaway of your choice for each recipe you submit, (you can send me as many as you like!)

Just send the recipe(s) to and add the entries into the appropriate box on the giveaway entry form.

Linked up at ABCs & Garden Peas' Hungry Toddler Hop!

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Mama Chocolate: July 2011

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