The Bouncy House Rules!

Well, it's not perfect, but we had SO much fun! Our Mama's Group (officially: Attachment Parenting Play Group) went to The Party Place this week for our weekly play group. This place has about 8 huge inflatable 'bouncy house' style toys. Two big slides, two big bouncy houses, a few bouncy obstacle courses, the baby bouncy area, and a basketball bouncy. You pay for a two hour chunk of time (which is MORE than enough time to overstimulate your children), take off your shoes, and bounce away! They also have a snack area, free popcorn, and party rooms that you can rent when it's time for that big bouncy house birthday party.

Ophelia had so much fun, I went ahead and bought her 10 passes at the discounted holiday rate (which was $2 off the regular pass rate!) for her Christmas stocking.
The only drawbacks were that there wasn't any adult seating in the snack area (although those little kid sized picnic tables were perfect for the kiddos) and that there wasn't a kid sized bathroom (that we saw). When we attempted to go to the potty, Ophelia looked in there and said "There's a big scary flusher in there. I don't want to go on the big scary flusher." I must also suggest a changing station in the family bathroom - I was befuzzled at the lack of one, considering this is a place for kids and families to go. My final suggestion would be a giant bouncy "exit" slide that deposits the kids right next to your car - so to make it easier to get them out of there without a fight! Ophelia was NOT ready to go home when it was time to go.

Rockin' Green Rocks!

Last month during The Great Cloth Diaper Hunt, I discovered a new detergent for washing my cloth diapers. Now, you may be thinking "Big Whoop! Detergent is detergent!" Well, when it comes to washing cloth diapers that couldn't be further from the truth. Most commercial laundry detergents contain whiteners, brighteners, fragrances, dyes, softeners, and other chemicals that can be harmful to your cloth (not to mention that precious baby bottom!) - so it's important to find one that has none of that - and doing that at the local grocery store or big box store can actually be a challenge. For the past two years I've been using a Free and Clear version of a fairly popular detergent. It did OK, but I had to do an extra rinse cycle after every load and the detergent was STILL building up on my cloth diapers. And when you get build up, you get repelling (the diapers don't soak up the pee and poo) and stink. Oooooh, the stink! Pee-U!

Then I discovered Rockin' Green. I was seeing it on all these websites while I was diaper hunting. And I was seeing nothing but good reviews in all of those places. Not only were people happy with how clean their diapers were getting, but they were able to reclaim old diapers that they thought had been ruined forever by simply Rockin' The Soak! Turns out, Rockin' Green was able to de-funk those old diapers by getting all of the old detergent residue and funky buildup out of the precious cloth. The diapers were no longer leaking! The diapers were no longer stinky! I had to try it. I busted out my Diaper Hunt Discount Code and got myself a Rockin' Green Bundle. It included a 45/90 Bag of detergent in my choice of Soft Rock (for sensitive bottoms) or Classic Rock and my choince of yummy scents, an 8 oz. Shake It Up! Pail Freshener in the same scent, and a wooden laundry scoop that is the perfect size for a load of laundry.

Then I waited. I did a little dance of excitement every time I saw the mail truck coming down the street. I was so excited to try out this stuff! I didn't wait long - my Rockin' Green package arrived a mere 4 days after I placed the order. And MMMMMMM! Lavender Vanilla smells heavenly! I started a Rockin' Soak immediately. Ophelia's diapers were in sad shape and I was still afraid that I wouldn't get the life out of them that I needed in order to pass them down to Rowan when that day came. I started with her night diapers - which were the worst of the bunch. Well, one overnight soak and those diapers were back in action. No more stink. No more leaks. And they feel soft again! Next I did Rowan's diapers - bam! like new! And then the rest of Ophelia's diapers - kapow! I WON'T have to buy a whole new stash of mediums for Rowan! YAY! Then I started looking around for more things to de-funk. The dog bed! Surely this Soft Rock could not bring life back into that horrid old dog bed. Drumroll please....that stinky, nasty bed is SO clean! Jim's jackets that reek of smoke and man spray - clean and fresh again. This stuff really DOES rock! And an added bonus? No more extra rinse cycle - because Rockin' Green rinses clean with the first rinse.

So - if you have cloth diapers and are not totally satisfied with your washing routine - you HAVE to give this stuff a try. You can start with a Sample if you aren't ready to commit to a whole bag like I did. It comes in Classic Rock or Soft Rock - and a soon to be released Hard Rock (for those with hard water); in either a big bag (90/180 Loads) or a little bag (45/90 Loads); and in a nice array of wonderful scents. And that scent? It's there when you start your wash load, but it's gone when the wash is done - leaving your dipes (or your clothes) smelling just clean!

Rockin’ Green is:
Dye  free
Comes in several yummy scents (& an unscented version for sensitive skin)
No fillers
No enzymes or optical brighteners
100% Phosphate free
Great for sensitive skin
Easy rinsing formula
Approved for military use
Works wonders on microfiber stink!
Perfect for cloth diapers
HE compatible
Reusable packaging
Great for all water types
Economical at .13 cents a load!
Made in the USA by a Work At Home Mom!

Kids to Sleep: Five Tips and Tricks

Sleep. The universal parenting challenge! How to get those kids to sleep on their own. How to keep them sleeping all night - or at least keep them from getting YOU up at night when they do wake up. We all want the answers. Well, unfortunately, there is no magic answer that will get your kids in bed and sleeping through the night with no issues EVERY time...but this is what works for us MOST of the time:

1. Early bed time. When Ophelia (now 2.5) was still co-sleeping with us, she went to be whenever we did. And her sleep habits were horrid! Then I started a bedtime routine with her - and the first step in that routine was a consistent and EARLY bed time. 6:30 pm to be precise. Now that she is a little older, her bedtime is 7 pm. If she stays up much later than that, she starts to get overtired and that leads to The Crankies and Bedtime Battles. Now - I've found that we can make bedtime even earlier if we have had a long day - but making bedtime later almost always ends badly. This tip also has an added bonus for the parents: a few hours of 'kid free' time before we have to hit the hay ourselves!

2. Routine, Routine Routine. Now don't roll your eyes and say "I've heard it all before" because this is a definite MUST in getting kids to bed without a battle. Children really do behave better if they know what to expect. And having a solid bedtime routine helps kids know exactly what is going down every evening - no surprises (well, except maybe a special new pair of jammies on occasion!) Find a routine that works for you and your kiddo and stick to it. Here is what works for us: Dinner, Nakie Time, Bath, Lotions and Potions, Jammies on, Night Nights (we have a silly routine of saying goodnight to various things on the way to her room), 3 Stories, In Bed.

3. Stories. We are lucky that Ophelia LOVES her stories. She loves them so much that we actually had to set limits at bedtime or we would be reading until dawn. She gets THREE stories of her choice - long or short - but THREE is the limit. This is a great way for her to settle in a bit and wind down for the evening. Most nights dad does her stories so this is also good 'dad time' - as he is working most of her waking hours during the week.

4. Comfort Items. Personally, I think we have gone overboard on this one - as some nights there is not much room left in bed for Ophelia - BUT I think that having a comfort item (or 2) that helps your child feel safe and calm can help at bed time. Ophelia has her Taggie Blanket that is the ultimate item, but we also have Water Cup and Twilight Turtle and Sleep Sheep and Snuggle Pig and Lambie and Duckie and Pink Bear ... and we have music for her to listen to as well. And books. She always wants books in her bed with her when she goes to sleep at night. We have relented - as sometimes she will sit and read to her dolls after we leave the room - BUT we have limited to a short stack so as not to bury her in an avalanche of books in the middle of the night!! Oh - and night lights!! Don't forget the night lights!

5. Stay Calm. When Mom and Dad are calm, relaxed, and cool as a cucumber, bedtime always goes better. Whether a trip to grandma's or the big game has made bedtime later than normal or if a missed nap or a bad day at school is causing meltdowns or if you have a midnight waker, the best way to approach the scenario is with the utmost serenity - even if your head is about to explode. There are so many things that can throw bedtime into a tizzy: teething; potty learning; illness; under/over stimulation. As parents we have to learn to take it in stride and not throw a fit: after all, kids learn by example, right?

Sometimes, however, you just have to take sleep however and wherever you can get it!
If you want to read more sleep tips from more great moms, check out this Blogging Contest sponsored by St. Eve Kids and Twittermoms! Check out  Drama U sponsored by St. Eve Kids!
And hey, if I win, one of my readers will win too! All you have to do is post a reply to this post to qualify!


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