Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Review: Tide Pods Detergent

Tide Pods are a simple and easy way to do laundry.  They are your detergent and stain remover all in one.  Just drop them into your washing machine with your full load of clothes and they come out clean.  These are basically the same thing as the dishwasher plastic-like filled pods of dishwasher detergent that have been around for a few years now -- except for laundry.  

  • Easy to use, kids can help!                          
  • Cleans well (like any other Tide)
  • Easy to take along if traveling                    
  • You can visually see how many more loads you can do before running out of detergent
  • Pretty to look at

  • Unable to do different sized loads because the pods are not adjustable.
  • Skeptical on the right detergent to water ratio since everyone’s “large” load can be a different size.
  • Even though it states it works in any water temperature, I use all cold and had an issue with my water
  • draining for a few days and I suspect the Pods are the culprit but I do not know this for sure.
  • Expensive
  • You can visually see how many more loads you can do before running out

Would I use them again??
Probably not.  I would feel obligated to keep regular liquid tide in stock at my home as well because our whites are not always a full load as well as other clothing from time-to-time.  I purchased my Pods at Sam’s Club so they were considerably cheaper than even Walmart, which made them more affordable for me.  However, I still feel they are overpriced for my lifestyle.  It’s not much more time saving than pouring into a cap and dumping it.  On top of all of that, I don’t feel it cleaned any better.  Cute idea… great marketing.  It’s just not for me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Heavy Heart

Every day has a “climate”, if you will.  For me, I am feeling a day late and a dollar short on things.  I am a working mother for a few great reasons and a bunch of not-so-great reasons.  All working mothers can probably relate to the direction this blog is heading….
I miss my children.  There.  I said it.
I miss them terribly, hopelessly, and with enormous weight.
My weeks are spent working, trying to get home, trying to get dinner on the table, trying to get laundry done, trying to get bath times managed, and trying to get the kids in bed and a decent hour so they are not miserable tomorrow.  It’s a rat race and it stinks.  I pine for them at work.  I want to kiss their little hands, make them giggle, and play like it’s my job.  I wish to be surrounded by sunshine, paints, and paper mache.  However, by the time I get home all thats left is the race.  All week long it’s a race, and there is never enough time to really slow down and enjoy my kids and I truly hate that.  It’s a harsh reality that I consistently try to think myself out of.  The truth is, I only have moments.  Moments of softness, happiness, and playfulness… just moments.  I have learned to be happy and make the most of the moments but today… today I am sad and I decided that it is ok.
I wish I had more time during the week with my Olivia, but not all of her time.  I know she needs her peers at school and her friends do her immense amount of good and bring her happiness.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a whole day each week to love her, to make her laugh, to do art projects, to play outside? 
And my Blaine.  This make my heart ache more than ever.  My precious and perfect helpless son who is just now starting to learn the world around him… is learning the world through someone else.  With Olivia, I was a single mother and I never even thought about the “what ifs”, but being happily married and knowing my child… my LAST child… is being raised by another truly shatters a part of my soul.   I want to teach him how grass feels on his feet on a warm day.  I want to learn all the ways to make him smile and giggle and I want to be the first to see these small displays of happiness.  I want to teach him to sit, to crawl, to walk, and to love.  Sure I can have a hand in these a couple hours a night and some on the weekend.  Truth is… it’ not enough.
I want my children’s hearts and I want them to have my whole heart.  I ache to be stress free and a loving and wonderful mother.  I used to think stay-at-home moms were weak… or that their worlds were too small. Now, I realize they just made the right choice. 
Love your children with all you have.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Baby Food Makin'

After reading all of the reviews out there on all of the different baby food makers, I was really torn.  They all have decent reviews and most of them all have negatives especially in the malfunctioning department.  So I learned one thing, I wanted to buy this item new and not used in case I needed it replaced. 
After all of the mixed reviews for all of the products that are $99+ my decision was sealed when I saw one of the contenders on Kmart’s website on sale for $48!  What a steal!  It was $48 and their site was free shipping with $49 purchase, so I also got Olivia a pair of play shorts for $3. 
The one I purchased is the Baby Chef Ultimate Baby Food Maker by Kids Line.  Unlike some of the other ones, this machine has one place to steam and another place to purée.  I really don’t care about the extra movement of transferring from one container to the next.  This isn’t a big deal for me.   The machine works great and purées to a very fine baby food-perfect thinness.  Of course, the more formula you add or water the finer the puree.  I was able to test it on some sweet potatoes this weekend.  My little Blaine was very appreciative for this step up from the cereal.  I can’t wait until we can visit the farmer’s market for some yummy produce. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reviews: Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny Gear

I decided to start writing some reviews of items, mostly ones I love.  When you become a parent there is soooo much information to take in and every few years products change so drastically. 

The Snugabunny line are adorable, plush and neutral.  They have a swing, papasan seat, and a sleeper.  I have purchased both the swing and the sleeper for Blaine.

Fisher Price Snugabunny Deluxe Rock N' Play Lightweight Plush Sleeper
First of all, I LOVE the sleeper concept!!  This is fairly new I believe, they never existed when my daughter was born.  This is the 'deluxe' modle meaning its a little extra soft instead of just cotton.  I purchased this at target for $65 and I absolutely love it.  If we are downstairs and he falls asleep we simply carry him in it upstairs.   

  • light weight, foldable (easily carried with one hand)
  • extreamly portable
  • baby sleeps at a safe incline without propping him up (great for spit up babies or acid reflux babies)
  • very affordable
  • gender neutral
  • made to be bed height and built to be easily rocked by parents hand
  • soft, cuddlly, utterly adorable
  • I wish it were bigger so he could stay in it even longer

Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing
Every parent knows just how important a great swing is.  This one was perfect for us.  It had everything we felt was essential.  Also, I just feel Fisher Price makes great baby gear!  I bought mine from for $126 out the door, it was considerably more than that at Babies R Us and other local retailers at the time.  This swing is in the same neutral colors as the rocking sleeper as well as the same lucious materials.

  • has a plug in adapter so you dont need to use batteries, unless you want to
  • sound options are music, music + nature, birds, water and several of each
  • swings both side to side and front to back
  • can be adjusted to sitting up OR laying down
  • has a mirror where baby can see himself
  • quiet when running and controls are digital

  • I wish it had a play bar or something stimulating other than just the mobile and mirror
  • would rather have more music options and get rid of the bird and water sounds

Laundry, Littles, & Lost Time

What happens when a family of 3 becomes a family of 4?  I’m so glad you asked!  Mass chaos and utter destruction, that’s what!  While we were planning the arrival of our second child, it never occurred to me that it would change our lifestyle very much in the beginning.  I figured what’s the big deal?  There are two of us and two of them and for months all he will do is eat, sleep, and poop, right?  WRONG!  My house was a well oiled machine before Blaine.  My husband got home from work two hours before I got home with Olivia and so he would have the house clean, some laundry done, and dinner on the table when we walked in.  We then went through our evening ritual and after Olivia is in bed we would sit down and discuss our days and spend time together.  Imagine my surprise when this trend wasn’t exactly the same once we had Blaine. 
Before Blaine came around the house was always clean, a nice dinner was always made and on the table at a reasonable hour, laundry was always done and where it should be, all bedding was washed every week, and there was always time to play with Olivia.  Now everyday when I come home (at what feels later than normal) it’s a race to get dinner made, Olivia into a bath and to bed at a reasonable hour, spend something that resembles quality time with each child, and to keep Blaine fed and happy.  The last one is especially tricky because he will go from happy and cooing to pissed off and starving to death in 0.5 seconds.  He never wants to eat at a consistent time so it’s a guessing game and it usually occurs when you are in the middle of the previously mentioned activities.  He truly has a knack for this level of inconvenience.  For example, if you are starving because you missed lunch he will most certainly begin his descent into starvation right as you sit down to the table.  Similarly, if Olivia is getting a bath and being difficult about it and wanting me to do everything for her, this is when the bottle will call.  When I am finished with the nights activities and both kids are finally in bed I will look around at my house which is no longer ever clean, as well as the piles of laundry, the floor that desperately needs a vacuum, and my loving husband whom I miss terribly… and we choose sleep--sleep which is ever illusive and always interrupted by more starvation. 
I find myself laying in bed at night holding my husband’s hand and missing my kids.  I miss having endless time making Blaine laugh.  I miss long conversations with Olivia about something silly and nonsensical.  I miss my children and there just aren’t enough hours in the day… until the weekend.  Even on the weekends, there just aren’t enough of those days either.  So I find myself waiting for the weekends for life to resume at a normal pace.  Perhaps we just haven’t found our footing yet?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Back in the Saddle

It is Sunday, and here in the Boehmke House that means we start our day with a big breakfast, followed by church, naps, and snacking!  Sunday is mostly a restful day for us -- if you consider having a newborn, a hyper active 4 year old, a dog that constantly drops toys in your lap, and a husband that cleans and organizes constantly -- restful.  It's funny though, as every week winds down I always have plans of grandeur that usually involve a huge elaborate dinner, catching up on deep cleaning, and always involves reading a novel from the backlog of books that I keep on hand for "down time".  

You would think by now that I would realize I am completely deluding myself.  Instead of a big meal, the kitchen is a free for all and the kitchen table remains baron.  Cleaning rarely extends past laundry and picking up a few toys (except for my clean freak husband that I am oh-so-thankful for).  As for reading a book, that would assume that I actually have a home quiet enough that I can hear myself think and a family that doesn't need my constant interaction.  Considering I cannot even use the bathroom without an entourage, this scenario is highly unlikely -- which you would think I have figured out by now.

Today, however, is not just any Sunday.  This is the wind down of my baby moon, tomorrow I will be back in the saddle.  That's right, tomorrow I will return dutifully to work and join the week long grind with the rest of my peers.  No longer will my afternoons be filled with picking up, catching up on old TV series', naps, and shopping.  Instead I will be returning to rush hour traffic, short lunch breaks, child wrangling, throwing together dinners, and rushed night time routines.  This time is definitely bittersweet for me.... it feels good to return to my normal routine and be among other adults but it is definitely difficult to let someone else help raise my child in my absence.  Luckily, we are truly blessed and have found a wonderful woman to watch Blaine.

Blaine:  8 Minutes Old    to   8 Weeks Old

Friday, February 3, 2012

Neurotic Little Things

Part of welcoming a new baby into your home is purchasing all of the baby gear. You choose patterns and prints... Lions or monkey? Jungle or zoo?

You get delighted when you put your bundle of joy in the swing or bouncer for the first time but lately I have been zeroing in on all of the tags hanging from all the cuteness. Sure my son is mesmerized by the adorable blue elephant hanging above him. But perhaps he would enjoy it more if all those ugly tags weren't hanging out of the elephants butt. Or the lions next to him. What's with all the highly visible tags that rob these expensive pieces of baby gear from their cuteness they deserve?

Today I am cutting all the tags. The tags from the bouncer, the swing, the Playard, and anything else. It feels a bit renegade like cutting the tag off a comforter. However. I'm cutting them all. :).

Slightly neurotic? Definitely.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

So much for going green...

When preparing for the coming birth of my son, I decided to explore all of my baby-needs options thoroughly. When you are a first time mother, often you get hung up in reading reviews and pondering possibilities on all of baby's needs just to give in to the "norm" because it feels safer. The tried and true, so to speak. This time, I decided, I would do my research and be an advocate for my child's health as well as the planet. This time I would make green choices for rearing my baby.

I had decided I would attempt a VBAC completely natural using only the Bradley method for pain control. I would make sure breastfeeding was successful, since the last time was anything but. I would use cloth diapers through a service (because I certainly wasn't going to wash them!  We are talking green here... not crazy!).  Lastly, I would invest in the highest reviewed glass bottles to ensure the safety and health of my child.

You would have thought, being a second time parent that I would know better than to make presumptuous claims without having met my baby or tried any of the above.  But I am a mom... a warrior, right?  Wrong.  I'm a mom... I am fallible, and I live by trial and error.

Pregnancy this time around was very difficult, and in the last month you might even say miserable.  I found myself being the stereotypical pregnant woman on television.  There were a few bouts of crying and yelling at my husband that it was, indeed, his fault.  These bouts were usually followed by bouts of demanding he get the baby out NOW!  It wasn't until about 38 weeks that the doctor confirmed what I already knew: this baby was big.  At just 38 weeks he was measuring 8.5 lbs.  After a brief discussion with my doctor, I had let go of my perfect VBAC notions and agreed to a cesarean section.  A week later, he was born at 9 lbs 6.5 oz and 21 inches.  I think I made the right decision.  Shortly before his arrival, breastfeeding also fell of the plan.  This one was particularly hard for me and for a while, made me feel like less than a woman.  Occasionally... this feeling still catches me off guard.

Also, a week before baby showed up, our cloth diapers also made their appearance on our doorstep as planned.  I was excited and brought them into the house and began putting them away.  At first I was taken back by the fact that the diapers and the wipes were awfully worn and not pretty, shiny, and new.  It was at this point that I reminded myself that the point of cloth was for the baby's health as well as contributing to the saving of the planet and NOT to be a fashion accessory.  Fast forward to the birth of my son and being in the hospital.  I was using the provided pampers with much disdain, even though I remembered I loved their powdery scent.  I felt like I was cheating, and requested that my husband bring up some of our cloth diapers to use.  We used exactly two cloth diapers and realized that we had a hard time telling when he was clean or not, that the snaps were extremely inconvenient and difficult to use on a crying baby, and that we were both very uncomfortable using them.  It was at this point we packed the cloth diapers away along with our notions of not contributing to the landfill and decided to go back to Pampers.

Back at home we proudly used out vented glass bottles that the reviewers had assured us would reduce gas and spit up.  We used these for over a week while we switched formulas 3 times trying desperately to reduce our sons painful gas,  when my husband suggested it might be the bottles.  I was appalled at his accusation, until I noticed he wasn't latching onto them correctly.  I decided to try out a BPA free popular brand that was also vented and touted less gas and spit up.  This seems to have really helped him, and thus contributed to the death of another hopeful green initiative.  It was at this point the Luv's commercial came to mind, "Live. Learn. Get Luv's".  While I wasn't using Luv's it did remind me that nothing is predictable as a mother and that everything truly is trial and error.  Often we have a vision of how things should go and we have a difficult time letting the vision go.  In the end, our child decides whats best for them most of the time... the others, our experiences open our eyes.  I love the image of the natural birthing, breastfeeding, green diapering and feeding mom.  I adore these women.  The reality is... I am NOT one of these women.

Goodbye green, at least for now.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Year, New Blog

In 2011, a lot of things have changed for my family.  Most significantly... we have gained two members, hence my need for a new blog.  For the past 4 years, my family unit has been a very happy party of two: me and the Liv Monster.  I have spent the past 4 years working hard, going to school, and being a single mom to my beautiful daughter Olivia.  Our old blog was centered around just the two of us and our adventures.  While we had a wonderful family just the way we are, we have been blessed and this past year have gained even more wonderful family, so a new and expanded blog has become necessary.

My husband and I were married in May 2011 and he has easily slipped into the father roll in our family.  He is a wonderful, doting father and an amazing husband.  In addition to my wonderful husband, we were also blessed with a son.  Technically, he was born January 13th, 2012, which means he was NOT exactly a change of 2011.. but I still consider him part of that year of change.  Blaine is a wonderful baby boy who mostly eats, sleeps, and poops at this point.  However, I have high hopes he will develop into a wonderfully charismatic boy through this next year.  :)

In addition to the family unit changes, we had uprooted from our long time home in Oklahoma City and moved to Denver for a few brief months before following my husband for yet another transfer here in Kansas City, MO.  Kansas City is still relatively unexplored for us, as it is easy to get wrapped up in family and work and stick to our own bubble.  However, I work in Overland Park, Kansas which is about a 45 minute drive.  In addition to lots of alone time in the car, working that far away from home has given me an opportunity to see a slightly trendier part of the metro area as well as some great dining opportunities.

In all, 2011 was a very exciting year for us with lots of change.  While it evolved me as a whole and added significant value to my life, I am ready for something that resembles something slightly more stable in the year to come.  I am sure my husband will agree.

So here is to a new year, lead by a new blog that is more appropriately fitting to our new life.  This year I intend to share my love of cooking, my poor attempts at crafting, my successes and failures in parenting, and my journey through marriage.  Hang in there... it is sure to be a bumpy ride.