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July 30, 2015

Summer of Fluff – AppleCheeks Swim Diaper Review + Giveaway

I was gifted this diaper in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission from your purchase, but it will not affect your price.

UPDATE: Congratulations Allyson!

The Summer of Fluff continues! 

Cloth Swim Diapers

 This time with an AppleCheeks swim diaper in Beth of Fresh Air (lavender)…

The Summer of Fluff continues!

But before we talk about how great this diaper is, lets review some basics:

1) You do NOT have to be a regular cloth diaperer to use cloth swim diapers.  From a financial perspective, they just make sense.

2) Cloth swim diapers are different than regular swim diapers, in that absorbancy is not important.  The point, simply put, is to keep the poop in.

Now on to these beauties:

 AppleCheeks cloth diapers are designed and manufactured in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  They like to say they “didn’t invent cloth diapering, they simply perfected it!” AppleCheeks swim diapers are made with two layers of a very soft polyster material that allow free flow of water (so they don’t get saggy and waterlogged like disposable diapers do).  This makes for a comfortable and lightweight diaper, that has the feel of a swimsuit bottom.

AppleCheeks Swim Diaper 

When I first  started trying to squeeze it over my marshmallow girl’s chunky legs, I thought it was going to be too small, but it ended up being a perfect fit.  Tight enough to keep the poopoos in, but not so small that she starts sporting a plumber’s crack.

AppleCheeks Swim Diaper Review and Giveaway

My favorite part of the swim diaper is the set of adjustable snaps at the waist and thigh, which allows me to customize the fit (because a perfectly fit is SO important in cloth swim diapers).  It makes so much sense to have these snaps on there, seeing as how my 19 lb chunker fits a diaper very differently than my friend’s 19 lb string bean, even though they would both fit the same sizing requirement.

Apple Cheeks

The diaper had a nice snug fit and was very trim under a swimsuit (I’m continuously amazed at how lightweight swim diapers are compared to my regular cloth stash!) Overall, I literally can’t find a single bad thing to say about the AppleCheeks swim diaper. We’ve used it a ton this summer and have had nothing, but a good experience with it!

You can purchase one online HERE

Want to win one?

Enter below!

AppleCheeks Swim Diaper Review and Giveaway

AppleCheeks Swim Diaper

July 16, 2015

Keep Your Baby Close…Even In The Pool!



I was gifted this sling in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.  No other co-hosts were compensated. 

Water Sling 6  

I’ve never been much of a water person. I love our pool membership and I really enjoy hanging out by the pool (at least in the shade…because I’m also not much of a UV person), but I’m not one to cannon ball in as soon as we get there.  To use my sweet mother-in-law’s term, I’m a “sensory sensitive” person.  I dislike being wet and hate being cold, so generally me and pools don’t get along too well.

But then the southern heat wave hit.

Let me tell you, if you’re at a pool, and your option is 100+ degrees out of the water, or perfectly pleasant temperature in the water…well that’s an easy choice.  So in I went…and now all of a sudden I’m LOVING the water. 

We’re at the pool several days a week, and this week, I even worked up the courage to take two kids by myself..  The toddler does pretty well on his own (well, with floaties), but the baby? She obviously needs to be held the entire time.  Enter my secret weapon — my water sling. (THESE are my fay-vor-it!)

Water Sling Giveaway

 Y’all know that I love baby keeps babies happy and gives mom a good measure of hands-free freedom.  So when we got a pool membership, I knew I wanted to get my hands on a water sling…because everybody needs an 11th baby carrier, right? (That’s right, I now own 11 carriers – hashtag obsessed)

But really, I just thought it was a want and not a need…something to indulge my baby wearing obsession.  Because I mean, I could just hold her right?  Or get one of those baby floating things.

AHEM…as I found out when I took her in the water without a sling, big. fat. NO.  These are definitely a need. (or at least a first world one).

Reasons Why A Water Sling is a MUST

1) She loves it.  The chubby little monkey absolutely loves being the water sling.  She’s close to mama (which she also loves), but gets to splash to her hearts content.

2) I love it, I do.  Free (and weightless) baby snuggles.

3) It keeps her restrained.  Without the sling, girlfriend just wants to lunge face first at the water.  She’s 8 months old, so that doesn’t work out too well for her, and neither of us really enjoy wrestling too much.

4) I can use the tail as a wrap to keep the sun off of her or my shoulders.

5) HANDS FREE!  Wearing her allows me to be hands free…so that I can use my hands to hold on to my toddler.  Ok, it’s a start.

Water Sling 8

I searched up an down for the perfect water sling, but most were either too expensive, or looked like those fishnet stockings you wore in college (oh wait, you didn’t wear those?  me neither. nope.)

Enter these beautiful slings by Cute Awaking.

Tasha is a mother of 4.  She’s a crafter at heart, so in 2012 she put her creative talents in action and opened Cute Awaking.  At first, it started out as mostly crochet projects, but when her youngest was born in 2014, she was introduced to babywearing and fell in love! She started making her own wraps and slings, and when she realized that people really loved her work, she became completely CPSIA compliant. She follows all current safety standards and is a member of BCIA.  

Her work is beautiful, well made, and affordable!

And she’s generously offering one Best of Baby reader the chance to win a water ring sling of their choice.

Water Sling Giveaway


Cute Awaking Water Ring Sling

June 18, 2015

Kiss Your Babies to Keep Them Healthy

Congratulations Elizabeth W.!  You were randomly selected through the Gleam giveaway app as the winner.  I have emailed you and you have 48 hours to respond before I select a new winner.

I was at the library the other day when the sweet librarian says to my baby “Ooooh, you’re so cute! I just want to eat you up. Mmm.  And sop you up with a biscuit!”

Weird, no?  But I kind of get it.  My baby?  She’s adorable and I have this instinctive urge to, well, not to eat her…but kiss her a billion times a day.  And I’m not kidding when I say it’s an urge…I literally can’t hold her without kissing her every few seconds.

Kiss your babies and eat local

Can any of your other mothers out there relate?  Of course you can!  But have you ever noticed that it’s more of a mom thing than a dad thing?  Sure, my husband kisses our little bubs aplenty, but he doesn’t seem to have quite the drive to smother them with smooches as I do. 

Turns out, that’s perfectly normal! 

I wrote about this before in this article, but it’s worth reiterating.  Breastmilk acts as custom-ordered immune guard for your baby.  When a mom interacts with her environment, her body will automatically create antibodies for any germs she encounters.  These antibodies are then passed on to the baby through breastmilk, thereby offering the little one a great measure of protection against sickness. 

Kiss your babies and eat local

(Y’all, can I just press pause on the breastfeeding stuff and comment on my hair?  I love me some natural beauty products, but not all of them are well…umm, good.  Like the shampoo I used the morning of this photo session.  Ugh…I felt like I was slathering lotion in my hair. Lotion that wouldn’t wash out…but I didn’t realize it until after we’d taken all the pictures.  If you want proof that my hair doesn’t always look this sorry, check out this post.)

Anyway, if you’re a mom, and you find yourself with an insatiable desire to kiss your baby all day long, smooch away! That desire is actually a biologically driven instinct with a very important purpose.  By kissing your baby, you’re sampling the pathogens on her skin and in her environment and signaling your breast milk to produce the necessary antibodies to protect your baby.  (source)

You read that right, you’re kissing your babies to keep them healthy!

Isn’t it amazing how awesome God created breastfeeding?

Kiss your babies and eat local 

To celebrate my love for breastfeeding, I’m partnering with Melissa from My Doula Made It for this sweet little giveaway.  One Best of Baby winner will get an “Eat Local” onesie and t-shirt from Melissa’s Etsy shop. (Available in different colors and sizes, though some colors/sizes may be limited). 

Kiss your babies and eat local

You can read more about Melissa on her doula website, but here is a little snippet:

Melissa is a Certified Birth Doula in Orillia with DONA International, and a mother of two. She has been a Doula for over 5 years and attended 25+ births.  With plans to go on to become a Lactation Consultant, she is a breast feeding advocate.  Through her Etsy store My Doula Made It, she expresses her creativity and shares her, and other Doula’s, hand made wares.

So mamas, keep on kissing your babies and then celebrate the awesomeness of breastfeeding with these shirts. If you don’t want to take your chances on winning, Melissa is also offering a 15% off any purchase over $20 CAD (about $17 USD) using code BESTOFBABYLOVE.

Kiss your babies and eat local

Happy clicking!



Breast Feeding “Eat Local” Mommy and Me Shirts

June 11, 2015

Toddler Shoes for Healthy Foot Development

This post contains affiliate links.  I received a pair of shoes from Softstar in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. See my disclosure for more information.

Toddler Shoes for Healthy Foot Development

I was at the playground with my son a while back.  My sweet boy was glued to my side the first few minutes as he always tends to be…checking out the other kids, slowly warming up to the environment.  Just like his mama.  Anyway, those few minutes of pause before I helped him maneuver the play area gave me the opportunity to watch the other children playing.  You had your usuals…the girl dangling upside on the monkey bars (surely giving her mama heart palpitations), the boy trying to activate his inner Spider Man as he tried to scale the sides of the swirly slide…from the outside.  But there was one child in particular that really caught my attention — the little boy tromping around in shoes with soles that were 3 inches think and as inflexible as a brick.  I call him Clydesdale boy, because his feet just seemed so. heavy.

I cringed.

I hate to think what those awful shoes were doing to his feet.  Sure, Clydesdale boy seemed happy enough…but he didn’t know better.  He didn’t know that his feet were still developing, and would continue to do so for most of his childhood.  He didn’t know that the shoes he wears as a kid can impact the development of not only his feet, but his whole body.

Do you know these things? 

I didn’t either when my son first started walking.  I thought shoes were just supposed to be cute and comfortable…but the more research I did, the more I learned about the importance of a good shoe.  Here’s a very useful guide on foot-healthy toddler shoes, but it basically comes down to this: You want the most “un-shoe” shoe that you can get.

Like these Soft Star beauties.

Toddler Shoes for Healthy Foot Development

The bones in our feet don’t fully harden until somewhere between the ages of 12-18.  That means that they’re still very moldable, especially at a young age when feet still grow so quickly.  Honestly, BAREFOOT is best for proper foot development, but that’s obviously not always practical, so the next best thing is to have as minimal of a shoe as possible. For toddler shoes that promote healthy foot development, you want wide roomy shoes with thin flexible soles.

Soft Star’s website explains it very well:

Orthopedic specialists have long known babies learn to walk best barefoot. Growing scientific evidence shows that children’s shoes should be designed on this model.  Research on children walking barefoot or in minimal shoes shows:

  • Improved foot muscle strength / flexibility
  • Improved ankle function and strength
  • Improved balance
  • Improved strength recovery and muscle tone (particularly in the children who had previously worn rigid soled shoes)

Soft Star offers a variety of different well crafted, beautiful handmade shoes…sandals, moccasins, boots, everything your toddler could need.  (And they even offer adorable adult shoes!)

Safe Toddler Shoes

Personally, I chose the Rugged Rambler shoes for my son, since we enjoy trail hiking and I wanted a bit of extra protection for his shoes.

Toddler Shoes for Healthy Foot Development

Toddler Shoes For Health Foot Development

They are GAWGEOUS! Super soft natural leather (though they have vegan options too!), a flexible, but sturdy sole, and lots of room for his wide little feet to spread out and grow healthily.  Toddler shoes for healthy foot development?  Check!

Toddler Shoes For Health Foot Development

Bonus?  Because of their minimalist design (no artificial arches, heels, etc.), a spacious shoe is no big deal…it just means there’s room to grow and more time before he needs a new pair!

He loves them and had a grande old time playing around in these.

Toddler Shoes For Health Foot Development

And this mama had a grande old time knowing my son had some good, foot healthy shoes on him.

Check out all of their adorable boys, girls, and even ADULT shoes here…I’m so so tempted to buy these.

What about you?  Have you thought about the shoes your putting on your child’s feet?