Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Udder Covers Nursing Cover Gift Set Giveaway [CLOSED]

I discovered Udder Covers through email deals from Planning Family and bought a nursing cover gift set in the Maria pattern, as shown in the photo. I loved it so much that I hosted a giveaway for a nursing cover. Now Udder Covers has agreed to do another giveaway, this time for a gift set, which includes a nursing cover, a matching Milk Bands bracelet, and 2 pairs of cotton nursing pads.

Milk Bands are flippable bracelets that allow you to track which side your baby last nursed from and what time or how long your baby nursed.

*The nursing covers are made from beautiful fabric patterns and lightweight, breatheable material. They are wide enough for complete coverage and not too long.
*They are machine washable and retain their shape after washes.
*They are small enough to fit in your purse, where I kept mine.
*The Milk Band was very handy during the first few months of breastfeeding, especially at night when I was half asleep. All I had to do was feel the grooves to tell if it was on the left (inscribed letters) or right (raised letters) side.
*It comes with extra sliders.
*The cloth nursing pads are soft and eco-friendly.

*The nursing covers shrink a little in the dryer. Or maybe it just looks smaller compared to a growing baby? Probably both.
*The Milk Band sliders break easily. I went through all of them really quickly.

Udder Covers will be giving away one nursing cover gift set in the pattern of your choice! If you would like to buy one, use the coupon code "Family2012" for a $32 discount.

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

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Wednesday, March 7. The winner will be announced Thursday, March 8. Please leave your email in one of your comments so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Good luck!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

How to Afford a Baby: Food

Babies eat frequently. Their tummies are very small and process food quickly. In the beginning months it may feel like you do nothing all day but feed your baby! But your wallet will be fed too by following these money-saving tips:
  • Breastfeed your baby. It costs zero dollars. Breastmilk is always at the right temperature--no need for a bottle warmer. It's always available--no need to buy formula late at night because you ran out. It goes wherever you go--no need to buy bottles and insulated travel packs. It requires no cleanup--no need to buy bottle brushes and drying racks. (Some expenses if you choose are nursing covers, nursing pads, nursing bras, a nursing pillow, a breastpump, and bottles.)
  • Once your baby is old enough to eat solid foods, read my other article on cheap and easy baby food.
  • Make your own baby food. You don't need a fancy machine! There are plenty of resources online to help you out.
  • If you do buy things like bottles and baby food, look for coupons. For accessories like nursing pillows and breastpumps, you can find good deals online.
  • If you can sew, make a nursing cover for yourself. You can also just use a lightweight blanket.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Easy Stroll One-Handed Stroller Grip Giveaway [CLOSED]

I am a runner and I almost always have to take my son with me. I use a regular, cheap Graco stroller. Since that stroller was not meant for running on bumpy roads, it is hard to steer. Even if I had a jogging stroller, it's hard running without using my arms. I try running with one arm and steering with the other, but it is difficult and hurts my forearm after a while.

That's when I remembered the Easy Stroll, an ergonomic, one-handed stroller grip I discovered in a giveaway last year. The Easy Stroll was invented by a father who had one child sleeping in the stroller and the other demanding to be held while at the mall. I contacted the company and they sent me an Easy Stroll to review.

*Supports proper posture. I'm really short, so a hunched back is not normally a problem, but when I run I do have to hunch over for more pushing power. Now I can use one arm comfortably and thus run faster.
*Requires no effort. Just relax and walk normally, and the stroller will follow your movement.
*Makes it easier to talk on the phone and to open doors and push a stroller through.
*Clear installation instructions and video.
*Padded where the handle rests on your arm.
*Every level of its production happens in the U.S.
*Free shipping if you want to buy one!

*Although the instructions were easy to follow, I had trouble getting the handle on the rings. My husband, however, did not.
*I still prefer to use two hands when I can. But you taller mamas may prefer it all the time because it's ergonomic.

One of you lucky readers will win an Easy Stroll in the color of your choice, a $30 value! You can also try it risk-free for 30 days--the company pays for return shipping.

Mandatory Entry: Like Easy Stroll on Facebook.

3 entries: Visit their site and watch the video. Tell me your favorite feature about the Easy Stroll.

1 entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

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

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

1 entry: Enter another giveaway.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Friday, March 23. The winner will be announced Saturday, March 23. Please leave your email in one of your entries so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to the U.S. only. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to Afford a Baby: Baby Gear

One of the biggest baby expenses is baby gear: car seats, strollers, and the like. Here are ways to save money on those expensive baby necessities.

Baby stroller, toddler stroller, and jogging stroller!
  • Have a friend or family member throw you a baby shower. Register at a baby store or make sure the person is aware of specific things you need so she can pass along the information or organize group gifts.
  • Search for coupons and sales online. My favorite is Babies R Us, which often has cyber sales with in-store pickup (no shipping costs) and trade-in events (trade in an old item for a new one at 25% off). Sign up for their emails for more information and great deals.
  • Buy from secondhand baby stores for gently used items that are up to current safety standards.
  • Read reviews and ask friends about baby gear before buying to get the best value for your money. But don't underestimate cheaper brands either. The stroller I have is a Graco from Target and is still in excellent shape even though I use it as a jogging stroller on various terrains!
  • Borrow from friends items that you only need for a short time, such as a bouncer, baby carrier, or baby swing.
  • Buy baby gear that babies can use into their toddler years, such as certain strollers, car seats, and cribs, to decrease future spending.
  • Enter giveaways, such as my current one for an ergonomic, one-handed stroller grip.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How to Afford a Baby: Pregnancy

Are you ready to have a baby only to find your bank account isn’t? Having a baby doesn't have to be expensive if you follow simple money-saving tips beginning now.

  • Start saving money immediately. Make changes to your budget and decide how much money you will save a month. Get a job (or second job) if necessary to avoid having to work a lot while pregnant or after the baby comes. If you are already pregnant and must work, find a job that is not dangerous to or stressful for you and your baby.
  • Get health insurance: medical bills are the most expensive part of having a baby.
  • Take care of your body to ensure as healthy a pregnancy as possible and limit medical bills. Eliminate stress in your life, get rest, exercise, eat right, and take prenatal vitamins.
  • Bring water and a variety of snacks everywhere you go to avoid spending money eating out due to spontaneous cravings and avoidable hunger (a mistake we often made).
  • Buy maternity clothes at the thrift store. You can also wear regular clothes in L/XL; they are frequently on clearance racks.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The winner of the Inspired Greetings & Designs $15 shop credit giveaway is comment #34 by Lesli. She was the FIFTH winner chosen because the others did not have the Etsy shop in their favorites or could not be found on Etsy under the username given. Very disappointing.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet & Simple Valentine's Day

For Valentine's Day, we invited my husband's brother and wife and another couple for a romantic dinner and dessert at our place, no kids. I decorated simply for lack of time and played some big band swing.

We all dressed up as if we were going out for a night on the town.

We have a special table my husband's grandfather made: it has a griddle in the middle. We made meat and vegetables dipped in a secret-family-recipe Asian sauce.

Next we played The Newlywed Game and we won! Yes, I wrote the quiz, but I promise I picked questions that I didn't know the answer to. The truth is we didn't do awesome, the other couples just did worse than we did.

We finished the night with some simple chocolate fondue. The night was a great success of free fun for everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012


Strange places my son has fallen asleep recently:

He is currently still sleeping here, for over 3 hours now!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

How to Show Affection

Whether you are married or still dating, showing affection will enhance your relationship by bringing trust, happiness, love, and romance. Here are fourteen (for Valentine's Day) simple ways you can show affection:

(one of our engagement photos)

  • Hold hands when you are walking or sitting together.
  • Gently stroke the other's cheek.
  • Run your fingers through each other's hair, especially when kissing.
  • Softly rub the back, arm, or neck of the person driving.
  • Give each other a massage.
  • Vary your hugs: give big goodbye hugs; sweet, comforting hugs; and cuddly, playful hugs.
  • Kiss each other sweetly on the cheek, hand, or head.
  • Cuddle with each other on the couch, in the car, at the movie theater, in bed, etc.
  • Smile at each other throughout the day.
  • Look at each other with love and admiration.
  • Speak to each other in calm, happy tones.
  • Say kind and loving words to each other, such as “I love you,” “God blessed me with a great husband/wife,” or “Thank you.”
  • Compliment each other.
  • Men, be chivalrous. Women, praise your men in public.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Inspired Greetings & Designs $15 Shop Credit Giveaway [CLOSED]

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway for $15 toward Inspired Greetings & Designs by Stephanie Thompson. It doesn't seem much, especially for beautiful handmade cards. But I got these 6 gorgeous cards with envelopes:

She sells more than just cards. She also has flower hair clips and headbands and flower embellishments.

*One of the most beautiful greeting card shops I've seen
*Friendly seller
*Reasonable prices, especially for the quality
*Nicely packaged and shipped


Stephanie is giving one of you $15 store credit to her shop (and she'll pay for shipping)!

Mandatory Entry: Add Inspired Greetings & Designs to your favorite shops on Etsy. Leave your username.

2 entries: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect.

2 entries: Like The Hand That Rocks the Cradle on Facebook.

1 entry: Post this giveaway on Facebook.

1 entry: Tell me what you would buy with the $15.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry. All entries must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. MST on Friday, February 17. The winner will be announced on Saturday, February 18. Please leave your email in one of your comments so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to the U.S only Good luck!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The winner of The Shop at Pooh Corner Valentine's Day giveaway is comment #4 by Lillea. I hope you enjoy your gifts! And Trista Z gets the 50-percent-off coupon code for being the only one to give me feedback. Another giveaway is coming in a day or two. And sorry I haven't been posting; I've been busy crafting with my awesome sister-in-law instead!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Top 5 Pregnancy Tips

These are the top five tips I learned while I was pregnant:
  1. Carry food and water everywhere you go. Great snacks are nuts (they satisfy crunch, salt, protein, and fat cravings), granola bars (they represent many of the food groups), and fresh fruit (they are sweet, juicy, and refreshing).
  2. Buy maternity clothes. Biggest mistake I made was wearing my normal clothes with a small baby bump. They still got stretched out and are now permanent maternity wear. But at least I got to go clothes shopping after the baby!
  3. Get sleep now. You've heard it a million times and it's true: once the baby comes, sleep is a luxury. And the bigger you get while pregnant, the harder it will be to sleep comfortably.
  4. Change positions often. Standing too long can make your feet and legs swollen. Sitting all day can put your baby in the wrong position for birth. Alternate between moving around and resting in different positions.
  5. Spend as much time with your husband (or other children) as you can. It will be harder once the baby comes.
What tips do you have?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy

Got baby fever? Once you’ve decided it’s time to have a baby, you need to prepare your body for pregnancy. You never know when conception will occur, so prepare immediately to ensure as healthy a pregnancy and baby as possible.

Swimming is great exercise for pregnancy.
(Swimsuit from Motherhood Maternity.)

Talk to your doctor about your medical profile. It’s important to know of conditions and medications that may complicate getting pregnant or may endanger your baby. Be sure you completely know your medical family history as well. Then see an ob/gyn (obstetrician/gynecologist) for a physical and to discuss your medical profile and pregnancy.

Take care of all important medical procedures, such as updating immunizations and going to the dentist.

Start taking prenatal vitamins. Right at conception your body will have all the vitamins and minerals it needs, especially folic acid, to grow a healthy baby. Also consider taking calcium (Baby takes a lot) and vitamin B6 for nausea.

Improve your diet and lifestyle. Eat out less, cook from scratch often, and eat healthful foods, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of protein (nuts are a great healthy protein snack). Drink plenty of water; it helps with stretch marks too. Start exercising now if you don't already to limit unnecessary weight gain, prevent pain and injury, and ease labor.

Lose all habits dangerous to pregnancy: drinking, smoking, taking drugs, exposing yourself to environmental hazards, becoming stressed and sleep deprived, being abused, etc.

Good luck getting pregnant!
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