Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Stop Nagging Your Husband

The new year is just around the corner--time to think of resolutions. I am the queen of nagging and want to dethrone myself this year. The following advice I have gathered from numerous resources to help me in my quest to stop nagging my husband:

When the hubby first comes home...
  1. Greet him with a smile, hug or kiss, and hello.
  2. Ask him about his day (unless he's not the talking type).
  3. Avoid talking about your day until after he has shared his and has settled in.
  4. Give him 20-60 minutes to relax before asking him to do anything.
When you need something done...
  1. Ask rather than command.
  2. Use a friendly tone of voice. If you sound mad, he will feel resentful and not do it or do it with attitude.
  3. Give him time to do it.
  4. If it isn't done within that time, remind him much later rather than right away. If it is something that needs to be done immediately, explain so he knows why. Ex: "Could you please take out the garbage as soon as possible? There is rotten food in it, stinking up the house and attracting bugs."
After he does what you ask...
  1. Thank him sincerely and enthusiastically.
  2. If he didn't do it perfectly, focus on what he did right. Then the next time he does that thing, remind him specifically what you want done.
  3. Let time pass before asking him to do something else. If he views this as interruptive or inefficient, then group small requests together.
  4. Do something he requests in return.


The two Skoy Cloths Giveaway winners are #26 "I now follow your blog :D" by Cory and Cherise and #16 "GFC follower" by pmj. I will be contacting you shortly. Enjoy your new cleaning cloths!

Several new giveaways are coming next month! Everyone was busy for the holidays, but now some great things are going to be given away so check back soon!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Making Cards on a Budget

I love to make cards, but I can't afford all the fancy stuff to make cute, artistic, scrapbooky, professional cards. So I do what I can with what I already have. You'd be surprised what you can use to make cute cards without spending a dime!
  • Cut off the front of a greeting card you've been given and glue it to cardstock to use as the front of your handmade card.
  • Cut out or remove cute items from other handmade cards or invitations you've received.
  • Keep the punched-out paper from a hole puncher.
  • hole-punched paper and buttons
  • Cut out words and pictures from magazines.
  • Search your junk mail for useful items. For example, Disney sends out a package to join their club to get discounted DVDs and includes Disney stickers inside.
  • Save ribbons from presents and packaging.
  • ribbon on the outside and inside
  • Take stickers your kids get from the dentist, doctor, daycare, or school if they don't want them.
  • Use extra buttons that come with clothes or remove buttons from clothes to be made into rags.
  • button and stickers
  • Keep any cute, scrapbooky, or small item you find randomly in your house: a fake flower petal that fell off, leftover wrapping paper, a scrap of fabric, etc.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Five Love Languages and Blogging
The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, is a book about how to speak love to your partner in the way he or she understands it. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. Each has its own dialects as well. For example, quality time could mean doing an activity together or engaging in meaningful conversation. You can usually tell what your love language is by how you show love or by what you ask your partner for the most.

 The five love languages also apply to blogging:

Words of Affirmation: You feel loved when people praise your blog and give you blog rewards and recognition. You feed off encouragement and appreciate when people leave comments. You most likely enjoy writing reviews.

Quality Time: You bond through discussion and sharing ideas. You feel loved when people read your posts and respond with their own thoughts. You also like feeling part of a group of people with similar interests and consider those people friends.

Acts of Service: You like blogging for the free services (advice, products, recipes, etc.) you provide and receive. You like to help promote others and have them promote you.

Gifts: You love when companies give you products to review or give away and you, in turn, enjoy giving them away. If you don't host giveaways, then you like entering them for yourself or others.

Physical Touch: Tough one. Perhaps you enjoy blog conferences and meeting in person all the new friends you've made online.

My love language is quality time (though acts of service is a very close second!) and my primary dialect is conversation. That is why I blog. Right now I use giveaways to bring people to my blog, but I hope one day my content will be more effective in winning me readers. I want this to be more of a discussion blog than a giveaway blog; I want the giveaways to be the icing on the cake. So please comment and share your ideas, especially if you're like me and quality time (conversation) is your love language.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Skoy Cloths Giveaway [CLOSED]

When I entered giveaways, almost every blog featured Skoy cloths--reusable, biodegradable cloths to replace paper towels, dish towels, and sponges. I thought, What's the big deal about them? So I decided to review them myself. I wasn't even sure I would use them because I only use paper towels for drying fruits and vegetables and cleaning up spills on the floor, I like using sponges for washing dishes, and I hate dish towels. However, after using it this morning to clean my kitchen, I'm now a believer!

*I love the way it feels when wet: not as if it's going to fall apart like a paper towel, and not grimy and bumpy like a sponge.
*It scrubbed well, which was unexpected since it is so soft.
*Skoy cloths are super green! They are made from cotton and wood-pulp cellulose and completely break down after 5 weeks.
*You will save lots of money. The package comes with 4 cloths, each replacing up to 15 rolls of paper towels!
*They are easy to clean/disinfect.
*The four colors (blue, red, green, yellow) brighten up the kitchen.
*The company is very PR friendly!

Frowns*When I first wet it, it smelled a little funny. But the odor did not last or transfer to the kitchen.
*I usually disinfect my sponges in the microwave, which you can do for these as well, but I decided to test the company's promise that they are washer/dryer safe. It was fine in the wash, but it shrank about a third in the dryer.

Skoy has generously provided cloths for 2 WINNERS!

Mandatory 1st Entry: Visit Skoy and read "Our Products." What do you like most about Skoy cloths?

5 entries: Blog about this giveaway, including a link to this post and to Skoy. Leave a link to your blog post.

2 entries: Put my button on your blog.

1 entry: Like Skoy on Facebook.

1 entry: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

1 entry: Follow my blog.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be posted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Sunday, December 26. The winner will be announced Monday, December 27. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Starlights Nightlights Review

Ever since I was little, I used nightlights. Then, because I was afraid of the dark; now, so I can care for my baby at night without turning on bright lights. The ones we use now are the cheap, ugly, clear plastic ones from Wal-mart. I would rather have one of the nightlights from the Etsy shop Starlights by Amber. I have never seen anything like them! This one would go great in my baby's jungle-themed room:

Turn it on and Wa-La!

My husband would prefer this one:

*Cute and creative.
*Various themes, including Twilight.
*Custom orders, including photos.
*Nightlights come with on/off switch and 5-watt bulb.

*As she notes on her shop: "DISCLAIMER: Although I adhere items (like buttons) to my night lights the best that I can please be advised that they could come off and become a choking hazard to small children. Night lights are not toys. Please keep out of reach of small children and babies."

Right now she is offering a Christmas special: $4 for shipping and handling no matter how many nightlights you order.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Naturalists vs. Traditionalists

After becoming a parent, I was introduced to the terms naturalist and traditionalist.

Naturalists practice natural parenting, meaning they home-birth with no medications, baby-wear, breastfeed exclusively and lengthily, cloth-diaper, and co-sleep with their children. They prefer all-natural products, toys, and food for their families. They do not believe in harsh discipline, purple crying (letting the baby cry themselves to sleep), circumcision, or all vaccinations. In my experience, many tend to be snobbishly judgmental of traditionalists. Of course, there are different degrees of naturalists.

Traditionalists are the complete opposite: they have their babies in hospitals, take medications, and often schedule induction; use disposable diapers; put their babies to sleep in their own rooms, perhaps letting them cry; and circumcise and vaccinate their children. They may breastfeed (most likely not lengthily), formula feed, or both. They tend to think naturalists are weird, extreme, and unwise. Again, there are different degrees of traditionalists.

I'm a babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, co-sleeping mother. But I also had my baby at a hospital (with a midwife and doula, though) and had him circumcised and vaccinated. So am I a naturalist or a traditionalist?

I consider myself neither; I am somewhere in between. And it turned out that way because I chose what I think is best for my baby and me. I birthed my baby at a hospital for insurance reasons. I wear my baby because I like to hold him close. I breastfeed because the benefits are numerous and undeniable. I use cloth diapers to save money. I co-sleep so I can get more rest at night. I circumcised and vaccinated my baby for his health.

I feel good about my choices. I do not believe others should make the same choices just because I did. Only you can decide what is right for your baby, family, and situation. I do not think we should judge others for their choices simply because they are different than ours. Nor should we feel ashamed or defensive about our choices for fear of what others will say. Do not let fear of judgment stop you from choosing your parenting style, whether it be more naturalist or more traditionalist or somewhere in between.

Melted Snowman Cookies

My friend shared the link to this recipe on Facebook. I totally want to make these! I'm usually not one for baking, but these are so cute! Learn how to make them on the blog Smashed Peas and Carrots.


The winner of the Udder Covers nursing cover giveaway is comment #38 "I like Carson" by Angelene. Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Quick & Easy Homemade Rice-a-roni

My husband loves my homemade rice-a-roni, as I call it. And I love to make it because it's fast and easy to make. I modified it from a rice pilaf recipe on the back of a Sara Lee rice package. Enjoy!

  • 2 tbs. unsalted butter
  • finger-width bundle of angel hair pasta or thin spaghetti
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus a couple ounces
  • 1 cup white rice
  1. Melt the butter over medium heat. Break the pasta into short pieces and saute in the butter for a few minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. (The extra ounces of broth are for the pasta or else the rice will come out crunchy.)
  3. Stir in rice, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 min.
That's it! So easy to double or triple this recipe. Cook time remains the same. Just remember to add extra broth to make up for the extra pasta.

Baby & Me Gifts One Gift a Day Giveaway [CLOSED]

Baby & Me Gifts gives away a different product, from baby items to clothes for family, everyday. Their giveaways are simple to enter: all you submit is your name, address, email, and why you like the product. Click here to start entering!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 5 Nursing Essentials

1. Nursing pads: Avoid leaking in public or ruining a bra or shirt by wearing nursing pads. You can go cloth or disposable. If you choose disposable, I highly recommend Lansinoh. Their pads are large and very absorbent while remaining thin. They hold in place with two adhesive strips, whereas others only have one or none and thus don't stay very well. They are also reasonably priced. The best deal is to get them at Motherhood Maternity in the 36-count boxes.

2. Nursing cover: I think blankets are too risky to use for breastfeeding in public. Nursing covers are better because they work like an apron, having a strap around the neck and covering you and Baby. They come in cute patterns and some even have pockets. Go here for a coupon code for a nursing cover from Udder Covers.

Udder Covers

3. Nursing pillow: Nursing pillows are great if you want support while breastfeeding. They help hold up Baby to your breast, giving your arms a break and Baby something to lie on. Nursing pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Ask friends who have nursing pillows if you can sample theirs before buying one. Some popular ones are My Brest Friend and the Boppy.

Balboa Baby

4. Lanolin: Protect your nipples from--or treat them for--soreness, dryness, bleeding, and cracking by putting Lanolin on them. Lanolin is similar to petroleum jelly and is safe for Baby to ingest. Again, I recommend Lansinoh.

5. Night-time nursing bra: Many women nurse in a regular bra during the day, but night is a different story. You need something supportive but comfortable. A regular bra is uncomfortable and no bra makes sore nipples worse. Motherhood Maternity sleeping nursing bras are the perfect combination of support and comfort. They are soft and lightweight and make night-time nursing simple--just pull the bra back, nurse, and cover up again. I wear mine all day when I'm at home.

Happy breastfeeding!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Udder Covers Nursing Cover Giveaway [CLOSED]

It took me almost two months to feel comfortable breastfeeding in public. Once I did, I didn't want to just use a blanket to cover up because I was afraid of it accidentally falling. So I use an Udder Cover instead, a fashionable nursing cover that stays in place from a strap around the neck held by a d-ring.

*It is made from beautiful fabric patterns and lightweight, breatheable material.
*It is machine washable and retains its shape after washes.
*It is easy to pack and take with you in your purse or diaper bag.
*It is wide enough for complete coverage and not too long.

*This is just a personal pet peeve: I hate d-rings because I can never get them to stay! But I solved the problem by just tying the strap to the d-ring. It makes it faster to put on too: just stick it over your head and you're done instead of having to do and undo the d-ring each time.

Udder Covers will be giving away one nursing cover in the pattern of your choice. If you would like to buy one, use the coupon code "Family2010" for a $32 discount, which is the price of one cover. This means all you have to pay is shipping! Furthermore, this promotion gives you the discount off your total order no matter what you put in your cart, so you can buy something else instead if you want.

Mandatory 1st Entry: Visit the Udder Covers Web site and tell me which pattern you would choose if you won.

5 entries: Blog about this giveaway, linking to this post and to Udder Covers. Leave the link to your blog post.

2 entries: Put my button (top right) on your blog and leave the link to your blog.

1 entry: Become a follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect (see sidebar).

1 entry: Share this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be posted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Thursday, December 9. The winner will be announced Friday, December 10. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!


The winner (chosen by is comment #19 "Last one I swear! Clearly I really want to win!" by Kyle & Morgan. Congratulations! I will be contacting you shortly.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Make Your Own Blog Button

I always wanted a blog button, but I'm not html savvy. I looked it up on eHow and found this amazing article: How to Add a Blog Button with Text Box Underneath for Code. The directions are very clear and easy to follow. Just one comment on step 2: you can upload your photo to Google's Picasa Web Albums. Once uploaded, click on the photo and on the right click on "Link to this photo." Select the thumbnail size and check the box next to "Image Only (no link)." Then copy the html code under "Embed Image" (not under "Link"). I love my new button!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm a Homemaker, Not a Housewife

photo by Billy Alexander (
I hate the term housewife. I am not married to a house, nor am I only a wife while in a house. My life is not defined only by what I do in a house, such as cook and clean. Sure, my interpretations may seem silly; blame the linguist in me. And housewife carries so many negative connotations thanks to ultra feminists. Besides, when I hear it, I can't help but think of those sleazy, shallow women on the "Real Housewives" TV shows.

I prefer the term homemaker because it accurately describes my goal: to make a home. And "home is where the heart is," meaning it is more a feeling than a physical place. Homemaker covers all women, not just stay-at-home moms, and all worthy activities, not just cooking and cleaning. It defines any woman striving to create a safe haven for her family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Case for Cloth

Using cloth diapers is easier than you think and has many advantages. The biggest advantage that won me over is how much money I save! Buying your supply requires a lot of money up front, but then you quickly save. Cloth diapers last a long time (I'm using some my little sister had 13 years ago) and you can buy ones that fit from birth to two years, limiting how often you need to buy more.

With cloth diapers, there are fewer blowouts--or none at all--because cloth diapers cover more area. All the blowouts my baby's had were from the times he was in disposable diapers. Also, baby will have fewer or no diaper rashes because cloth requires more frequent changes, is gentler on the skin, and is chemical free. And of course, cloth is better for the environment. Best of all, babies look so cute with a big diaper bum!

The disadvantages to cloth diapers can easily be solved. The number one concern is cleaning them. You do not have to rinse them, though I rinse the poopy ones because it helps with the odor and with staining. (Once your baby's poop is more solid, you can just shake it into the toilet.) When I laundered them, the washer and dryer would smell like urine (cloth diapers require additive-free detergent, so no fragrant smell). The washer would be fine after another load of laundry, but the dryer would leave my clothes smelly. My mother-in-law told me to use vinegar as fabric softener, and it took care of the smell too! As for increasing my laundry load, I made sure I had enough diapers to only have to wash them every other day. Buy more if you want to do laundry less often. The last disadvantage I can think of is that packing cloth diapers makes the diaper bag heavier than disposables do and it doesn't get lighter since you don't throw the used ones away. But that is minor. Consider it an extra workout.

If you were hesitant or curious about using cloth diapers, I hope this post has calmed your fears. And if you decide to use disposables, try different brands and versions to find the best fit and style for your baby.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bugaboo Jewelry Giveaway [CLOSED]

When my friend lost her four-month-old baby, I searched online for a memorial gift for her. To my disappointment, everything I found was either really ugly or really expensive. Then I thought of Etsy and I found Bugaboo Jewelry, specializing in miscarriage, stillbirth, and pregnancy-infant loss. She made a necklace for my friend and a keychain for her husband, using the actual handprints and footprints of their baby:

*All her jewelry is beautiful and would make a perfect gift for someone who has experienced loss.
*Everything is personalized. The seller is very flexible.
*Excellent customer service: she was quick, exact, friendly, communicative, and understanding.
*Great cause. Until the last couple years, I was unaware of how common miscarriages and other losses are.
*Irrelevant, but I love the name because I call my baby Bugaboo!

*Honestly, none.

Bugaboo Jewelry will be giving away the one-inch, sterling silver "Forever in My Heart" eternity circle with birthstones, a $25 value. The swarovski birthstone crystals could represent conception, birth/loss, due date, or all three, to remind you of your little loved one and keep him or her close to your heart. The pendant is strung on a thin, eighteen-inch, silver-plated ball chain.

Mandatory 1st Entry: Tell me whom the jewelry would be for if you won.

3 entries: Blog about this giveaway linking to this blog and Bugaboo Jewelry. Leave a link to your blog post.

2 entries: Like Bugaboo Jewelry on Facebook

1 entry: Heart Bugaboo Jewelry on

1 entry: Become a follower of this blog via Google Friend Connect (see sidebar)

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be posted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Sunday, November 28. The winner will be announced Monday, November 29. Please leave your email address in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breastfeeding Tips

Breastfeeding is back in style! But it isn't always easy. The first month was a nightmare for me; now I really enjoy nursing my baby. The key is to stick to it; there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Here are five tips to help you out:
  • Find a comfortable place to nurse: a rocker, the couch, the bed, a recliner, etc.
  • Have a snack and water ready whenever you breastfeed. Baby's feeding time often bumps into mine, not giving me a chance to eat. A small snack is enough to hold me over and help milk production until I can get a full meal. Hydration is always important, but especially when breastfeeding.
  • Some experts say to feed on one side at a time, others to feed from both. I say follow your baby's cue: your baby knows his or her needs better than anyone else. If the baby seems content, stop breastfeeding. If not, offer the other side. Sometimes babies may take a break to burp, make a dirty diaper, or change positions, so try to nurse again after they are done.
  • Do something while breastfeeding to pass the time if your baby is a long nurser or you get bored: read a book, watch TV, listen to calming music or inspirational messages, talk or sing to your baby, take a nap (nurse in the side-lying position, a lifesaver at night). Once I found things to do (especially sleep!), I became less impatient and let baby nurse as long as he wanted.
  • If you think you are not producing enough milk, nurse anyway. It's all about supply and demand. Pump if necessary to increase supply. Make sure you are eating and drinking enough: breastfeeding uses a lot of calories.
Happy feeding!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...