Why I Love Babywearing (And a Tula Baby Carrier Giveaway!)

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Wearing my babies in a carrier has been a big part of my life. It’s almost emotional for me when I think back to how I started. I was a young mom of 2 boys, and it was the lowest point health wise for me. I was exhausted all the time (thanks to adrenal fatigue), struggling with mild post-partum depression and just trying to survive everyday. I had a 2 year old and a newborn baby.

One day an Above Rubies magazine came in the mail and there was a whole article on baby wearing. Besides the usual Baby B’jorn carriers that didn’t look comfortable, I had never been introduced to the idea of baby wearing. I hesitantly ordered this expensive (to me) Ergo carrier, and fell in love with it. Finally I was able to cook dinner and do dishes while holding my new baby. It was something that made me feel like I was going to make it through the new baby stage without totally losing it. Yes, it was a rough time for me.

Now that I’m a mom of six children, wearing my babies is just as important to me. I struggle with mommy guilt often. Trying to juggle a business, homeschooling, a marriage, and family is not easy, and I don’t want my new baby to get lost in the shuffle of life. Of course I hold the baby whenever I breastfeed, but I want to hold them other times as well.

I’ve tried several different carriers, and found I prefer a more structured carrier versus a wrap. I do like using a pocket sling when they are little, and I don’t have much experience with ring slings. When I put a carrier one I just want to throw it on and go, and not spend time wrapping. I know there is a huge community out there of ladies who love to use wraps and that’s great! It’s just good to figure out what works for you and go with it!

Tula Baby Carrier Review and Giveaway!

Just when I thought I couldn’t fall in love with a carrier any more, I discovered the Tula baby carrier.

Besides being probably the most adorable carrier I’ve seen (the different prints you can get are amazing!), the feature I love the best is how high it comes up in the front. When I’ve worn an active baby in the Ergo, several times they have leaned backwards and I’ve felt like they could have fallen out. With the Tula I don’t have to worry about that.

The padding on the shoulder straps are the thickest I’ve seen. They are so comfortable! The padding on the waist area is awesome. It is the best carrier I’ve worn at hiding my mommy tummy. 😉

I love my Tula baby carrier! A fantastic carrier for newborn through toddler!

This carrier works for a new baby, you just need to use an insert or wrap up a baby blanket and put at the bottom. I’ve found that Sophia prefers facing out so we have used the Beco Gemini baby carrier during this phase.

If there’s one thing I’ve found after having had 6 babies, it’s that being flexible is best. You might prefer one type of carrier, but your child prefers another. Most of the times it is just a short phase. I have every expectation that Sophia will adjust to being in the Tula more in another month or two. Most of my little babies have preferred facing out in the beginning.

I always suggest owning a high quality baby carrier over a stroller, if you have to choose. I’ve used my carriers multiple times over versus my stroller. If you are searching for a new carrier, I would highly suggest trying out the Tula!

Snuggling with my baby in a Tula baby carrier!

Sweetbottoms was so kind to send me this carrier to try. I love their online store, they have everything from cloth diapers, baby carriers, nursery items, pregnancy and postpartum items, and much, much more!

You can use the code: MODESTMOM for 10% off your next order! Fine print:  Excludes sale items.  Manufacturer exclusions apply.  Not valid on gift cards, previous or pending orders.  Limit one coupon code per order.

Sweetbottoms is giving away a Tula baby carrier to one of my readers! I’ve been extremely excited to offer this to you!! To enter use the rafflecopter entry form below! This giveaway is limited to USA only.


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Natural Cleaning Products for Less Than A Dollar!

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Coffman Family 2013

Hi! It’s Angela Coffman, mom to 6, and blogger at the Grocery Shrink where I write about sticking to a modest budget. Today I’m visiting to tell you about some amazing natural cleaning products. I gave some samples to Caroline who will be popping in at the end to tell you her personal opinion of them.

For years I made my own cleaning products. They were super cheap and safe for my family. They didn’t work as well as the name brand cleaners, but I was willing to give up some efficiency to trade for safety. The main ingredient in most of my formulas was vinegar—and it smelled. I told myself the smell wasn’t too bad, but I noticed I was cleaning less and less. Just thinking about smelling the vinegar smell again was enough to give up on basic chores. Plus, I kept a bottle of Tilex on lock up for the times when I had tough cleaning jobs. I knew it wasn’t safe, but it worked…what to do?

Women cleaning a window 3

A friend gave me a few bottles of safe “green” cleaners to try. I was skeptical, but agreed to give it a go. I was surprised to discover they not only worked, but smelled amazing. Would they be affordable?

She explained that a bottle of concentrated cleaner was $5.69 and diluted to make 6 spray bottles of cleaner…or $.94 a bottle. Then she showed me how I could get extra discounts or profit share with the company. It all of a sudden didn’t make sense to make my own products any more.

They make more than 400 products; I chose these for Caroline to try:

  1. All purpose cleaner: cleans up everyday dirt and grime anywhere—counters, tables, appliances, even natural stone—using no caustic chemicals.
  2. Bathroom cleaner: It melts away soap scum and hard water stains with minimal scrubbing and no harsh fumes or abrasives. This one is amazing….my secret stash of Tilex is officially gone.
  3. Disinfectant: An EPA approved disinfectant that combines thyme oil and citric acid as active ingredients. It’s good for doorknobs, toilet handles, cutting boards, and toys. Stop illness in it tracks before it can spread!
  4. Glass Cleaner: Fingerprints gone, no streaks…..love it.
  5. Dishwasher packs: My toddler comes running when he hears me reaching for the dishwasher pack bag. It’s his favorite job to help with. These enzyme powered packs dissolve fully and leave your dishes sparkling clean, even the glasses. No need for rinse agents.
  6. Vitamins: I know these aren’t cleaning products, but they changed my life. These vitamins bind the minerals to fiber and protein so the body absorbs them more readily. They’ve been proven to significantly reduce free radical activity. After 3 days, I was a new energetic person. With everything Caroline has on her plate, I really wanted her to try them.

Normally a lifetime membership to the company costs $29, but they are having a New Year Special. Until January 20th memberships are just $1. Click to find out more.

Caroline here ~ I really like the cleaning products I’ve tried! I’m very sensitive to smells and often get products with no scent, which isn’t any fun! I actually enjoy the smells of these cleaning products (which only happens when they are natural products).

Beyond the nice smell, they actually work! Our son told me they make his job of cleaning the bathroom so much easier, which is a huge plus! The dishwasher packs work great. Our oldest son loads the dishwasher, and isn’t quite as careful about how he loads it as I am. They came out shining clean using the dishwasher pack, so I was happy!

So many natural cleaners are really expensive, so I’m thrilled to find something that my children can safely use, and that is super affordable!

My Favorite Things Giveaway!

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Come enter 12 different giveaways full of our favorite things as bloggers! Each stocking stuffer giveaway has been put together by each blogger to share with you!
1. Thriving Home 2. Happy Home Fairy 3. The Nourishing Home 4. Heavenly Homemakers

5. Meaningful Mama 6. Slugs and Bugs 7. Seeds Family Worship 8. Jennifer Ebehack

9. The Generous Wife 10. The Modest Mom Blog 11. My Humble Kitchen 12. Kara Chupp

13. Motherhood on a Dime

I’ve been looking forward to this giveaway! A group of bloggers decided to get together and individually put together a giveaway of some of our favorite things. I’m excited to share this with you!

My Favorite Things Stocking Stuffer Giveaway! Come enter to win a beautiful art print, L'BRI pure and natural skincare and makeup, Lilla Rose flexi clips, Halftee tank,  Usborne Child's book,  ABC Say it With Me DVD, and Red Raspberry Tea!

You can enter to win all of the above items, plus more not pictured!! One winner will receive all of these items!

My Favorite Things Stocking Stuffer Giveaway

Story_time with mama art print

1. Story-time with Mama Art Print (frame not included, I found mine at Hobby Lobby!), by The Breezy Tulip Etsy store.

This is probably my favorite picture in my house. I have it hanging in my living room, and every time I look at it, I am quickly reminded on what kind of a mother I want to be. It think that is why I love it so much – it calms and inspires me.

L'BRI Pure and Natural Deep Pore Cleanser. For normal, combination, oily and blemished skin: A deep cleansing, water-soluble gel enriched with Aloe Vera Barbadensis, Vitamin A, C, E and natural botanical extracts. Removes all traces of makeup, pore clogging oils and environmental pollutants from the skin. Works effectively to calm and soothe blemished skin. Easily removes eye makeup without irritation. 6-oz. 3 month supply.

2. L’BRI Pure and Natural Deep Pore Cleanser– for combination, normal, oily and blemished skin. This is what I use daily for my own skincare, and love that it is a natural, aloe vera based skincare line. There are no parabens in it. Plus, it is really affordable; this bottle will last for months! You can get a complete sample set for free – you just pay shipping! It will last you for 2-3 weeks. This is a great way to try this skincare line!


3. L’BRI Black Mascara – This is the mascara I use! It is gentle on your eyes.

L'BRI Pure and Natural Vitamin E Stick. Great Lip balm for rough winter months!

4. L’BRI- Vitamin E Lip balm StickThis fragrance-free sun stick with vitamin E and aloe soothes, protects, and moisturizes the most sensitive parts of your face, lip, and eye areas. This works well during the rough winter months and goes on smoothly! 

L'BRI Pure and natural Cherry Rose Lip Gloss

5. L’BRI Lip Gloss – I keep one of these lip glosses in my purse all the time! I like the color selections they offer and how they go on. I’m giving away a Cherry Rose lip gloss to one of you!

Lilla Rose Flexi clips are wonderful for all different hair sizes! They come in seven different sizes, and a large variety of sizes!

6. Lilla Rose Flexi Hair Clips – Beautiful yet practical hair clips for women and girls! These clips come in seven different sizes so there is literally a clip for almost every woman! I’m giving away the two clips pictured above in an x-small size, which works for most women. I love using these to pull my hair back in a half-up.

Hues of Blue flexi clip

*Brand new customers to Lilla Rose in the USA can order 3 items, and email me about getting a 4th item, $16 or under totally free!*

Halftee Tanks are wonderful for layering!

7. Halftee Tank – My favorite layering item! Reversable neckline, featuring a high or lower option. I use these all the time to layer under lower cut shirts or maxi dresses. These are excellent for women and maternity wear. Today through Friday you can get free shipping on all Halftee items at Deborah & Co. within the USA! The winner can pick which size tank they need!

Buy two princess dresses and get a free coloring book!

(We are running a special on our Princess Play Dresses this week only! Order any 2, and receive a free coloring book!).

Beautiful Sugar and Spice necklace from Mialisia!

8. Three necklaces from Mialisia! These can be worn long, or doubled up twice for a shorter length.

9. Usborne Books (not pictured above) – I’m hosting an online party for Usborne books that will close Friday night. There are so many excellent books, but beyond that there are many activity books that my children will love! I’m trying to choose from some of these below.

Usborne books has so many excellent activity books for children!

A lot of these are $9.99 or under! My boys are going to love the Doodle art books, and my girls have seen the cover of the wedding coloring book and are really hoping I get it. :)

Shine a flashlight behind these books and watch what happens! So neat!

Dusty, the Usborne consultant is giving away your choice of one of these “Shine A Light” books for children. These are so awesome! Children will love getting a flashlight to shine behind these books. You can watch the video below for more information. They are only $12.99 each! The winner gets to pick which one of the three titles they want.

Red Raspberry Tea is excellent to drink during a pregnancy, but also for fertility, and general woman's health!

10. Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew (not pictured above)- My favorite tea to drink! You can read how I fix it in this post.  My favorite blend is from The Bulk Herb store, and they are graciously sending a bag to the winner!

Look around and enjoy the sites of these incredible bloggers. I love this hand-picked group of blogs. If you like The Modest Mom,  you’ll like these friends of ours too! Go enter all the other amazing giveaways!

1. Thriving Home 2. Happy Home Fairy 3. The Nourishing Home 4. Heavenly Homemakers

5. Meaningful Mama 6. Slugs and Bugs 7. Seeds Family Worship 8. Jennifer Ebehack

9. The Generous Wife 10. The Modest Mom Blog 11. My Humble Kitchen 12. Kara Chupp

13. Motherhood on a Dime
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25 Days of Christmas Books for Children

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25 Days of Christmas Reading List!

We’re starting a new tradition in December and I’m really looking forward to it! Our 25 days of Christmas books for children was created out of a desire to slow the month of December down and focus on what is truly important. I want to spend a lot of fun time with the children, building memories and doing meaningful things with them.

Every day in December we are going to read one book together. What makes it super special is that the book will be wrapped up with a number on it, and they get to unwrap the book that goes along with the day. Most of them will be about Jesus and his birth, but others will be on wintertime, or Christmas in general. We don’t do anything with Santa Clause so I don’t have books included with him in them.

I was able to request all of these through my library, so definitely check into that!

Our 25 Days of Christmas Book List

A Christmas Goodnight Book

1. A Christmas Goodnight by Nola Buck

“On a quiet but wondrous Christmas Eve, the nativity story comes to life, and families everywhere celebrate the miracle of Christmas.”

Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

2. Christmas in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Long ago, a little girl named Laura Ingalls lived in a little house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin with her Pa, her Ma, her sisters, Mary and Carrie, and their good old bulldog, Jack. Winter was just around the corner, and Laura worked hard to help make the little house ready for the cold days ahead. Soon there was frost on the windows and snow on the ground, but Laura and her folks were warm and cozy in their snug little house in the Big Woods.”

The Big Snow Book

3. The Big Snow by Berta Hadar

“The woodland animals were all getting ready for the winter. Geese flew south, rabbits and deer grew thick warm coats, and the raccoons and chipmunks lay down for a long winter nap. Come Christmastime, the wise owls were the first to see the rainbow around the moon. It was a sure sign that the big snow was on its way.”

Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey

4. Saint Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd

(We are not Catholic so I might edit this book slightly if I need to, I’m not sure yet)

“When Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals, encounters a donkey who is unhappy with his lot in life, Francis tells him a story that heals. True, long ago God punished the mischievous animal by giving him long ears, a loud bray, and heavy burdens to bear. Yet God gave the donkey something wonderful, too. For who was it that carried Mary to Bethlehem across rugged mountains and burning desert sand? And in the stable, who warmed the Baby Jesus with his breath? Whose love and devotion on the trip from Nazareth outshone even the gifts of the wise men?”

This Is the Stable

5. This is the Stable by Cynthia Cotten

“Wondrous things are happening in the stable. The animals are gathering. Shepherds and wise men and angels are coming from afar. All of them are flocking to see the Christ child, born this night in Bethlehem.”

6. The Tale of the Three Trees: A Traditional Folklore by Angela Hunt

(While they say it is an Easter book I’m going to use it for Christmas!)

“Featuring the wonderful illustrations of Tim Jonke, this best-selling children’s book tells the Easter story from a new and unusual point of view. Children will be deeply touched as they understand, perhaps for the first time, the significance of Christ’s life and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.”

Marlee's Surprise

7. Marmee’s Surprise, A Little Woman story by Monica Kulling

“Each of the four March sisters is special in her own unique way. Meg is a dreamer, Jo is a tomboy, Beth is shy and thoughtful, and Amy is a bundle of energy. But despite their differences, the girls pull together to get through a difficult winter holiday. Based on the first chapter of the enduring classic Little Women, this enchanting retelling will introduce a new generation of “little women” to the works of Louisa May Alcott.  “

Lift the Flap Nativity

8. Usborne Lift the Flap Nativity by Felicity Brooks

(My older ones will have to be patient this night – this is a book best for my 2 and 4 year old)

“This illustrated volume provides a sensitive telling of the nativity story which aims to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery in very young children. The detail of this flap book incorporates details such as mice hiding in the corner of baby Jesus’ manger.”

The Story of Christmas

9. The Story of Christmas by Pamela Dalton

“Deeply reverent, richly detailed, and teeming with life, Dalton’s images follow the story of the Nativity from the appearance of the Angel, to the shepherds who came from the fields, and to the three wise men who followed the star to pay respect for their new king. Working in a Pennsylvania-German folk-art tradition, rich with lovingly rendered animals and figures, Pamela Dalton has created a book that takes a deserved place among the finest celebrations of Christmas.”

Room for a Little One

10. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale  by Martin Waddell

“On a cold winter night, Kind Ox invites one visitor after another into the shelter of his stable–Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, who rest together in harmony. When Tired Donkey appears, he brings with him Mary and Joseph, and all of the animals welcome Jesus when He is born.”

Through the Animals Eyes

11. Through the Animal’s Eyes: A Story Of the First Christmas by Christopher Wormell

“From dogs watching over the shepherds’ flocks when angels appear, to a charmed cobra performing in Herod’s court as the king tries to deceive the wise men, Wormell’s trademark animal imagery brings a new perspective to the story of the first Christmas.”

The Legend of the Candy Cane

12. The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

(I’m going to get miniature candy canes and let them eat them while I read them the story!)

“One dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams. Now will she share what she has learned?”

God Gave Us Christmas

13. God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Bergren

“As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?”
Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that…Jesus is the best present of all.”

Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

14. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

“Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of his lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach him with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.”

The Crippled Lamb

15. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

“In this timeless bestseller, readers experience the tender love God has for those who feel alone and different. Joshua was a lamb with a crippled leg who felt left out because he couldn’t run and play like the other lambs. But God had a very special plan for Joshua’s life, as He does for all who feel alone. Readers can expect a gentle tug on their hearts as the little lamb’s prayers are answered in an amazing way.”

Itsy Bitsy Christmas

16. Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado

“Do you ever feel like you are too small or too ordinary? That is just how Itsy and Bitsy feel. When these two charming little mice hear that a King is coming to Bethlehem, they set off with great enthusiasm to find Him. Along the way, they are met with discouraging words telling them they are too little and unimportant for any king. Just when Itsy and Bitsy begin to believe that they really aren’t big enough for the new King, they learn that Christ the King has indeed come for everyone. “

Tonight you are my baby

17. Tonight You Are My Baby: Mary’s Christmas Gift by Jeannine Norris

“The miracle of Christmas began with a mother holding her child, filled with boundless love. Now the warmth and spirit of the first Christmas come alive in this Nativity retelling, perfect for mothers to share with their own little ones.”

Listen to the Silent Night

18. Listen to the Silent Night by Dandi Mackall

“It was not such a silent night when Baby Jesus was born. From the baa, baa, baaof sheep to the flut-flut-flutter of angel wings, it was actually quite noisy! “

One Wintry Night

19. One Wintry Night by Ruth Graham Bell

“A classic Christmas picture book, One Wintry Night tells the story of a mountain boy who is injured in a snowstorm and seeks refuge in a cabin. While he waits out the storm, the woman who lives there tells him the Christmas story. In a magnificent blend of a contemporary setting with the history of God’s redeeming love, Ruth Graham created a wonderful and unique version of the Christmas story.”

One Shining Star

20. One Shining Star: A Christmas Counting Book by Anne Kennedy

“Help your child learn to count using the most beloved story of all—Jesus’ birth! With gentle rhyme and number fun from 1 to 10, this book is full of shepherds, kings angels, animals, a baby, and a shiny star, all waiting to be counted before bedtime.”

The Little Drummer Boy

21. The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Keats

“A procession travels to Bethlehem, bringing gifts for the newborn baby Jesus. The little drummer boy comes along, although he is too poor to bring a present fit for a king. Instead, he plays a song on his drum for the Christ Child. Within the little drummer boy’s seemingly simple gift lies the true spirit of Christmas.”

Humphrey's First Christmas

22. Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer

(I’m going to make it clear to my children that the three wise men did not come to baby Jesus in the manger, but when he was a little older.)

“We’ve all heard the story of the three wise men who brought their gifts to Baby Jesus. But what about the camels who carried them? Here is the story of Humphrey the camel and his long, cold journey to Bethlehem. Humphrey has lost his blanket and schemes to acquire a new one. When the party reaches its destination, Humphrey is so drawn to the love surrounding Baby Jesus that he finds himself selflessly giving his new blanket to the Christ child.”

The Gift Of The Magi

23. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

“In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store.”

On This Special Night

24. On This Special Night by Claire Freedman

“On a silent winter’s night, one star burns brighter than all the rest. “That must be a special star,” Mother Cat whispers. When Little Kitten and Mother Cat join the animals journeying toward the starry light, they discover that it is a special star indeed — shining with peace, love, and joy on this very special night.”

25. The Christmas Story from the gospel of Luke in the Bible!

I can’t wait for December 1st to start this! So much fun and good memories will be taking place! :)