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Charlie Banana…

Being a complete novice at cloth diapering means I can truthfully tell it how it really is… And I really don’t know what all the fuss is about, I’m loving cloth diapering, it’s not rocket science, today with these fancy diapers! I bought 4 cloth all in one cloth diapers, one Bumgenius and a pack of 3 Charlie Banana ones, so far the Charlie Banana ones win hands down, the poppers are so much nicer to use, the pads are soft and wash well and the fit is perfect for my 3 month old baby boy and we have tried them on his 3 year old sister and they fit perfectly too!

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Now I know I only have 4 diapers at the moment to wash but it’s so easy to get into a routine, once the diapers are used I pull them apart, rinse them if they need it then place in a bucket, every other day I spray the stained ones with a stain remover, now I know you are not meant to do this and my plan is to mix up a vinegar and water stain spray, but for now I’ve been using resolve and I only spray them a tiny bit, I place them in my super new washer with a couple of towels to balance out the load, set my machine on delay wash, to be ready for when I get up, I only use the laundry detergent, and I only use a free and clear, safe for the environment detergent, no softener, I set the washer on a long cycle and extra rinse and they come out perfect! I tumble dry the inserts, again no dryer sheets just two dryer blasts to help fluff and separate the load, on a low heat and hang the outer parts out to dry!

Again I know I only have 4 diapers but I don’t understand the problem with stuffing the diapers, so far I have stuffed them as I need them, it doesn’t take long, about as long as opening a disposable! It is true that my little boy needs changing more often, I haven’t taken him out in a cloth diaper just yet, or let him sleep through the night, but I do use them throughout the day when we are at home! My plan is to buy the box of six Charlie Banana diapers and I would like to try to pre-folds and covers, I bought all of my cloth diapers so far from Buy Buy Baby using my 20% off coupon! I tried Babies r us, but their cloth diapers consist of trainer pants and a pack of flat terry diapers old style, a waste of time, Amazon seems like a good place to get all things cloth diapering and from my research there seem to be some good websites out there! Etsy have some cute handmade diapers that I have been looking at, so I have plenty of options for my next purchase, but this is definitely an ongoing project… So far I have reduced my consumption of disposable diapers to half, so I am a little bit greener than I used to be, but cost wise I’m not quite breaking even just yet as I have had the outlay of the diapers to take into consideration, but so far so good… I am loving my little boy in his tiny cloth diapers!

Now onto the subject of disposable diapers, if you are like me and hate the thought of all the chemicals that go into each disposable diaper then the more natural made diapers are the way to go, I have tried babyganics, seventh generation and the Honest Company… I have to say my two favorites are Seventh generation and The Honest Company, but now the Honest Company Diapers just got better, they are now sold in Target and the best thing about Target is that they are $2 cheaper per pack than anywhere else… Yay, this made me very excited! I also like the Honest Company shampoo and body wash, this is sold in Costco, two large bottles are $14, but if you wait a while there is usually a coupon, so I purchased two bottles for $11… A bargain price!

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Coffee in bed…

When I wake up I need my coffee, two cups to be exact otherwise I feel like I cannot start my day and function properly… This must be something in my head, a habit because I drink decaf 99.9% of the time, so there is nothing in my cup of coffee that will actually wake me up, just my head telling me I really need it! The question is could I switch to a morning smoothie instead, I have been having smoothies most mornings but after my two much needed cups of coffee. I have been sneaking in healthy veggies along with the fruit and yes I have to say I am loving them as part of a breakfast routine but seriously could they replace the coffee?

Breakfast is another issue, most researchers say breakfast is a vital part of your day, but I struggle with breakfast, firstly it makes me hungrier much faster and secondly it seems I am cramming a lot of meals into my day, maybe just the smoothie is just the answer, although I am loving my new Kashi cereal from Costco, 2 packets of a fruity whole grain that is gluten free and very delicious!

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The dairy free milk that I am loving the most is the rice milk I bought in Shoprite last week, we have used it in hot drinks, milkshakes and cereal, it tastes good, slightly different from cows milk but on the whole I think it’s taste is the nearest to my usual fat free organic milk, the price is good too, so I would say this is a success!

Coconut milk products are a good dairy free alternative to my usual yogurts, ice cream and milk based sauces… Coconut products like oil, water and milk seem to be the new super foods to use in all your cooking and baking, I usually have them on hand but they are not my usual go to products, but I am planning on this changing in the future! I have made pizza dough using coconut oil instead of olive oil, it worked really well, I have also replaced cows milk with coconut milk in cheese sauces, again it worked well but I have never had coconut water which is meant to be great for your digestive health, so something to try!

My biggest challenge with reducing my dairy intake has been cheese… If anyone out there can point me in the right direction for dairy free cheese, you would make me extremely happy, as I love cheese of all kinds… And I am missing it!

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Tate's milestones

Tate…

Tate Jude was 3 months old yesterday… Can you believe 3 months have been and gone already… I really can’t, it feels like I blinked my eyes and suddenly he is 3 months old! Of course this means that this is the month last year that I started my pregnancy, one year ago this little man started his journey into this crazy world!

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Tate Jude is such a good baby, at 3 months old he has started sleeping through the night, it’s been about a week, but I’m loving my sleep again, long may it continue… He usually nurses all evening, but around 9pm he begins to close his eyes and then at 10pm he is in a deep sleep and I can lay him in his soon to be too small bassinet. He then usually sleeps until 6am’ish, although this morning it was 5am, a quick nurse and then he usually goes back to sleeping his own bed until anything from 8am to 10am… Fingers crossed this routine continues but as we all know with a very young baby things can change very quickly… But for now, I’m loving it!

This little boy loves cuddles, he loves laying out in his stroller, but most of all he loves to be worn in my mei tai carrier, snuggled up against me, he looks so cute, I never thought I would say this… But I love babywearing, it has been a life saver with my bad neck, it has meant I have been able to carry my chunky monkey around with support for my back and my neck! Baby wearing also helps me out when Florrie is tired, she can sit in the shopping cart and I can carry my little man around… Perfect!

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This little boy is the cutest little smiler, he looks at me and every time a cute little grin comes across his face followed by the beginnings of him talking… It melts my heart every single time! The absolute love that I feel for this tiny person is unbelievable, even after having had 7 other children it still amazes me!

Florence has fallen in love with her little brother, well both of his big sisters are totally in love with him… Florence reminds me very much of Dominic when Lewis came into our lives, he began becoming reliant oh him to give him confidence to do things like play in the garden, yes Dom was scared to play in the garden alone, but suddenly when I put Lewis out there he played happily… Now I see this happening with Florrie and her little brother… So cute, she loves him!

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My little Tate is such a wriggler, when he is awake he is constantly on the move, he can spin himself around in a half circle and he is trying to roll ove, I’m not quite ready for that just yet so he can take his time! He loves laying down in his stroller looking around at the world around him and listening to all the sounds, his favorite place to lay is in the middle of my bed, he lays there for a while just kicking, wriggling and talking!

Tate is my first child to be cloth diapered… Today, I have put my first cloth diaper on him, let’s see how it goes, it feels weird already, but I’m sure we will both get used to it… And these new diapers are more like trendy disposables that just need to be washed…

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I am a breastfeeding Mama these days, after bottle feeding my first 4 children, I found out that I love breastfeeding and my last 4 children have been solely breastfed… So it goes without saying Tate is solely breastfed, he occasionally has pumped milk in a bottle, this happens when like yesterday I left him with a friend for a couple of hours so Florrie and I could have some one on one time! He is a good nurser and he is certainly growing well on all of this good milk!

We are still following up on some health issues from birth with Tate, we are seeing a Gastric and intestine doctor at a local hospital, this children’s hospital is amazing, it is beautifully decorated and equipped for children of all ages and so far we are very impressed with the medical staff! Tate’s bilirubin levels in his liver are still higher than they should be, all the blood work showed high potassium levels too, but they think this was caused by the heel blood they took and when his blood was taken from his arm the potassium levels looked good, but this set of blood work showed a high level of enzymes in his liver… So what this all means is that my poor baby has to have yet more blood work and an ultrasound on his liver… He is a very healthy, chunky looking baby, gaining weight, way too fast, his development is spot on for his age… So fingers crossed everything will be fine!

Tate Jude brings so much joy and love to this crazy family… 3 months have flown by, but I look forward to each and everyday of new milestones in this little boys life…

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Allergies and a pain in the neck!

Having a baby with allergies is proving a challenge…but a challenge this mommy is willing to take on! We visited a gastric pediatric doctor recently as there were concerns about Tate’s liver and his bilirubin levels… Thankfully his liver seems fine, but he does have a jaundice that is linked to breastfeeding, no big deal, or so I thought, but after several repeat blood tests we are now going to have several more tests done in the coming weeks… hopefully in time his bilirubin levels will drop as he begins to eat solid foods and less breast milk… What also came out of this visit though was his milk allergy, she took one look at his mucus poohy diaper and told me that he most definitely had a milk allergy, she explained how my reducing or eliminating milk proteins from my diet would help my baby if he was fussy, so after many sleepless nights I thought it would be worth a try and it worked… A solid 6 hours of sleep… BLISS!

It was lovely getting some sleep, well that was until Memorial Day Monday when we sat Tate in the shade on a friends deck whilst we had a swim, after a nap I noticed how snuffly he was, as the day went on he seemed to struggle with breathing slightly, this had happened the previous week too when we had done the same thing, there was a lot of pollen everywhere so it leads me to think there may be a link. It has taken several days of very limited outdoor exposure but Tate is definitely less snuffy, for the past two nights he has slept a full 6-7 hours before waking and he seems much more content!

After a week of being very careful with the dairy in my diet and limited pollen exposure I have a beautiful happy baby… Fingers crossed it continues, but who knows, each day is very different with a newborn baby!

Having a young baby means organization is important, so now that my Mum has gone home and salad season is upon us, I am implementing a new healthy eating campaign in our house and to do that I need a system of chopping all fruit and veggies when I get home from grocery shopping, that way salads and smoothies are so quick and easy, with a young baby and a three year old in the house who knows how much time I will have available for meal prep from day to day, and after some of the articles I have read recently eating cleanly and healthily, real food is important because who knows what secret ingredients lie in processed every day foods we buy from the grocery store!

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Kitchen prep has been a life saver this week, I woke up on Wednesday morning with an extremely painful neck, after a doctors appointment yesterday it appears to be a swollen disc that is pinching a nerve… Great, the doctor says it can take anything from one week to several weeks to heal! All my well thought ahead chopped fruit and veggies have meant that we still can eat healthily without doing too much! Lean green smoothies for breakfast are proving to be a healthy favorite for Florence, with hidden ingredients like carrots and spinach, she actually asks for a smoothie every morning! We have been having salad with everything this week, lots of healthy greens and chopped mushrooms make up a filling salad bowl each day, all completely dairy free and no gluten in sight!

On the subject of gluten, Costco’s are once again proving to be the best place for gluten free products, ranging from cereal for breakfast to burgers for the grill later in the day, all are very reasonably priced and taste delicious! Their huge box of spring mix salad leaves are organic, naturally gluten free and a bargain price for the amount you get! Another great shop for gluten and dairy free products is surprisingly Shop Rite, a large selection of everything dairy free from milk to yogurts to ice cream products, again all were very reasonably priced… I managed to get a large tub of vanilla coconut milk yogurt for adding to a big bowl of strawberries, a vegan mayonnaise and delicious coconut milk ice cream! My dairy free milk of choice this week was rice milk, so far I am liking it, but the true test will be when I add it to my new gluten free organic cereal I purchased from Costco this week!

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Dressing Florrie…

Friday, a week ago already, saw us traveling down to Somerset Medical center for more blood work for Tate, so of course it would have been silly not to call into Bridgewater Commons Mall… I can quite honestly say that I have only managed to visit 4 or 5 shops in this mall and the food court! I recently discovered that Bridgewater Commons has one of my absolute favorite childrens shops of all times… Naartjjie, and this is as far as I usually get into the mall… Thankfully for my pocket!

In 2005/2006 we were on vacation in California, we visited the Beverley Hills shopping mall and there was this oh so cute children’s clothes shop… Mabel was 4 and Blu was 6 at the time… All I can say is that I fell in love with all the clothes immediately, and of course had to buy a few items of clothing… At the time I thought this shop was higher in price for their apparel, but I have recently discovered they have a clearance rail and even better Memorial Day weekend saw 30% off all their clearance clothes… Yay, fun for a Mommy of a beautiful 3 year old girl and a handsome 2 month old boy!

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Leggings and headband by Naartjie, tutu skirt and top by Cherokee, Target!
Crocs by Crocs for Target!

There is definitely something very different in style about Naartjie, it’s unique style of clothes can be matched together easily with other pieces within the store or put together with clothes from other stores or clothes that you have hanging in your child’s closet! I’ve noticed that across all three age groups the styles are almost identical, for instance a 1-2 year old skirt with attached leggings is made in an older size but without the leggings attached, they also typically use a limited number of color schemes throughout the whole store for girls and the same is said to be true for the boys clothing, so each style of say one top can then be found in the several other color ranges to mix and match together with different items of clothing throughout the store!

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Price range is similar to the Gap, and like the Gap they have a sales and a clearance rail, they also add additional percentage off the clearance clothes regularly, so it’s worth signing up for their emails to know when this happens, this week they have had free shipping online and 40% off a range of clothing within the store… Don’t worry if there isn’t a store near you, like me, my nearest one is a 50 minutes drive away, everything is online and shipping is very reasonable!

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To say I love this store is an understatement… I REALLY love this store and now that I have found it again my two little ones will be dressed Naartjie style much more often!