Saturday, September 28, 2013

PITS! Natural Deodorant by Thinc Skin

I LOVE this deodorant by Thinc Skin!  I've tried so many different natural deodorants and this is not only the only one that worked for me, but I really do like the product.
I try to use more natural body products whenever possible and it's particularly important to use a safe deodorant.  Though there are arguments whether the aluminum in conventional deodorants/ antiperspirants is dangerous, I won't risk it, especially as a breastfeeding mother.  Besides the aluminum, there are many other nasty chemicals like artificial fragrances and petrolatum and ingredients I can't pronounce or know what they are.  The ingredients in the PITS deodorant are natural oils and butters, with baking soda and arrowroot to help combat wetness.  I've seen many DIY deodorant recipes that use similar ingredients but I haven't been successful in replicating this product.  I continue buying this product as I love it so much and I can help support my favorite local business (Kissed by the Moon) as well!
Although I didn't expect this product to prevent perspiration like a conventional antiperspirant would, it does wonders with preventing odors.  I used to use a "clinical strength" deodorant as I sweat a lot and eventually if I sweat too much, I would start to stink!  Though I still sweat a bit now, the lavender and tea tree oil in the SUPER Fresh! scent help to kill the bacteria that cause odor and with the other oils, make for a really lovely natural fragrance!  I've found that it will even cover up any existing odor as well without creating a weird mix of body odor and perfume that smell terrible, like my conventional deodorant would.  One day when I was out with my sisters, I realized it'd forgotten to apply the PITS deodorant that I'd brought with me in my purse and I needed it, if you know what I mean.  I went to the bathroom and when I came back, my sisters asked if I'd just used a lavender perfume.  I said no, that it was actually my deodorant and I'd been smelling a little funky just a minute before.  They asked to see it and I passed the glass jar around and one even applied it as a hand lotion.  Because it is made up of oils and butters, it is very moisturizing as well as a great deodorant.  I even rub the excess on my dry elbows and my hands, instead of washing it off.  It's best to use an applicator or stick to get the product out of the jar to prevent contamination, but I just use my fingers to get the product out and also apply it with my fingers.
I'm so happy that I tried it based on the suggestions from my friends in the Kissed by the Moon chat group.  I had tried so many other "natural" deodorant options and the ladies in the group were raving about the new deodorant at KBTM.  So when I got a gift certificate for KBTM, I finally ordered it.  Of course it arrived quickly, as their shipping is so fast!  I wasn't sure about the application when I first got it but once I had enough with my other options, I tried it and loved how it worked.  Whenever people ask for suggestions for natural body products, I recommend this.  No, it likely won't keep you completely sweat-free but it will control odor and can even double as a light perfume!
If you're looking for a deodorant made from truly natural ingredients, I wholeheartedly recommend this one.  There is even a scent for men and one for sensitive skin. It is available at Kissed by the Moon for $7.50, what a deal!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Breastfeeding Update at almost 17 Months

I have now been nursing Robbie for almost 17 months!  I never had an end date in mind so I'm not surprised that we've made it this far and considering Robbie's personality, I don't see him stopping anytime soon!
Considering Robbie eats much more food and drinking more water since my last update at 8 months, I would think there would be many changes to his nursing but there really isn't.  The biggest change is a few weeks ago I stopped going home during work to nurse him.  I thought my "accommodation" would end at 12 months and was ecstatic when my supervisor said I could continue to go home as long as Robbie was breastfeeding.  Recently things changed and my supervisor asked me to pick an end date (of my accommodation) for scheduling purposes.  I told him at this point we would be fine with ending the accommodation now.  So it ended.  Of course I am sad about it but I really didn't expect to get the almost 4 extra months that I did.  And I do run inside to see my sweetie when I get home!  I am usually pretty full of milk when I get home, even though I only work 5 hour shifts.  He still nurses many times during a 5 hour period so that is why, which is unusual for some children.
If I had to put a number on it, I would say he still nurses at least every two hours, but not necessarily for a bellyful of milk.  If he's tired or hurts himself or even bored, he will "ask" by signing "more" or "milk" and I really don't mind since I'm just hanging out at home.  When we are out of the home, he asks much less since he's so busy with other things.  I rarely nurse in public and am usually more discreet than the above photo (for my own preference) but he wanted to nurse right then and I was busy!  I was a little bit nervous about how the woman doing my nails would react but she didn't even flinch and even looked at him and praised me for nursing him!  It was an awesome nursing in public experience.  For some people they may be shocked to hear he nurses every two hours, "like a newborn," but as a newborn, he nursed like every hour!  I do not mind nursing him at home whenever he wants and I don't consider him spoiled for it.  As for nighttime, I can't be definite on the number of times he nurses.  It really varies especially when he's sick or teething.  His sleep is really affected by teething.  Lately, he has been sleeping relatively well.  I've mentioned before that we cosleep/ bedshare and lately I've been nursing him on the same side as long as he's content with that and even leaning over and giving him the other side without rolling over.  I find this disrupts everyone the least.  I feel much more rested this way.  For whatever reason, he's also starting to sleep in again, like he did before spring made him a relatively early riser.  Today he slept til 10:15!  I love it, haha.  If I think about last night and tried to think of how many times he nursed, it's really hard!  Which means it was a good night!  The worst nights are when I know I woke up this many times, at this time of night.  I would say, maybe four times but we both barely woke up at all, which I'm totally fine with.  Of course I would prefer if he slept through the night, but he doesn't, so last night was a good night ☺.
He eats food about 4 times a day: breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner.  He's not a big eater but eats a large variety of things.  Since I started eating chicken, he's been better at eating meat.  He will eat my serving of chicken sometimes!  I mentioned in my "Vegetarian No More" post about our Instagram; if you want to see what my toddler is eating, go follow us!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sign Language Update (9-3-15)

For the past two-ish weeks, Robbie had been refusing to sign milk!  He would sign "more" and when you tried to get him to say milk he would get very irritated.  It was frustrating because he's signing "more" for everything and I want him to be able to tell me distinctly want he wants.  Finally last night he signed it and did again today.  He'll still sign "more" first but will sign milk when prompted.
He now signs (including his older signs):
  • Milk (also signed while "babbling" in sign)
  • More
  • Food/ eat
  • bug
  • horse
  • dog (he also woofs!)
  • apple (when showed how)
  • cracker (again, when showed how)
  • (maybe) dada 
With Dada, he'd been rubbing the back of his head almost like his sign for horse.  I'm not sure if he's even signing a word in particular, but when we show him how to sign "dada," his result is similar to the head rubbing.  He also has been patting his chest but I'm not sure if he is signing a word at all.  It might be dog!
I love sign language!  When he signs "more" to me in the middle of the night while still asleep, wanting it nurse, it literally makes me smile.  I can't wait until he learns even more signs so we can communicate even more easily.
The signs we're working on now:
  • water
  • mama
  • dada
  • thank you

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Infant "Stylish & Secure 6 Foot Extra Tall Metal Expansion Gate"Review

For the first 14 months of Robbie's life, we didn't have baby gates.  Even when he was newly mobile, we got by with distracting him or after a while, with obstacles...  It was hideous!  We used the Jumperoo to block the cabinets under the sink and a huge Rubbermaid container full of baby clothes to block the pots and pans.  We left him a little cupboard to play in with plastic food containers.  Eventually we had to move the food containers higher as they were getting spread all over the house.
I don't know why we put off buying a baby gate for so long.  One reason was I didn't want to have to drill holes in our apartment walls and the opening was too large for a standard pressure baby gate.  I finally gave in as it was impeding on our cleaning as there were so many obstacles for us too and Robbie would always be underfoot.  He also began to push the Jumperoo and Rubbermaid container out of the way so they weren't helping anymore.
I researched many gates and we bought the Summer Infant "Stylish & Secure 6 Foot Extra Tall Metal Expansion Gate" And now we love it!  It was pretty pricey to us (that was definiely a deterrent as well) but we had a gift card and it has already proven worth it.  Now it's so much easier to cook and clean and we don't have to dodge either the baby or large objects.  It is a dark bronze color and it really quite nice looking, especially considering how baby tend to look.  The opening between our kitchen and dining room is about 58" so we use one of the two extensions pieces that is included with the gate.  This gate will fit opening between 44- 72".
The gate itself doesn't actually screw into the wall.  Small plastic pieces are anchored screwed into the wall and then pieces on the gate slide into the plastic pieces.  This makes it easy to temporarily remove if necessary.  In my opinion, it also seems less likely to damage the wall or that Robbie will actually rip the gate off the wall.  And he does try!  Every once in a while, he will stand at the gate and shake it with all his strength.  I wince every time but I haven't seen him damage either the gate or the wall this way.  At some point if you kept adding extensions it would affect how sturdy it is.  Right now it's pretty tight still.
The opening mechanism took about a day to get used to.  Surprisingly it is much more difficult to open with two hands than with just one, as least for me.  When I copied how my husband was opening it, sliding the "lock" with the thumb and lifting up, all with one hand, it was much easier.  There is a piece that runs along the bottom, attaching the two sides and at least two people have tripped over it.  They got used to it after the first time but it did hurt!  We're used to it now but I was worried I was going to hurt myself with that part.
It was pretty easy to install, for us.  The hardest part was attaching the plastic pieces on the wall.  It required (in the order I did it) attaching the bottom plastic piece, then sliding the gate into place to figure the height (well I guess you could measure the gate and then measure the wall), then attaching the top piece, on both sides.  I knew I needed the one extra extension and then had to add screws to connect all the gate pieces together.  It took less than an hour and really it would take about 30 minutes if we had the drill more handy.
I wish I had bought this gate much sooner.  Even when Robbie could be entertained by the Tupperware in the kitchen, he would still be underfoot sometimes while cooking and cleaning.  It can be dangerous to have him in there with water boiling and such.  Now he can be safely blocked out of the kitchen and we don't have to worry about him.  I definitely recommend this to friends and family that need a gate for a larger opening than a doorway.

YouTube on Plex for Roku

We just bought a Roku player.  Previously we had our computer hooked up to the TV so it was so easy to pull up whatever I wanted to watch (YouTube, Hulu, Netflix) and watch them. But my husband started school again this week and wanted to move the computer in the bedroom for privacy to study. So we wanted somehow to watch TV in the living room.
We were debating between a smart Blu-ray player and the Roku. The smart player has all the same apps as the Roku plus YouTube (at least the Samsung one) which is one of the channels I use the most so it was a tough decision. We were looking at the basic Roku which is $50 and the Blu-ray player was $90. Since we're on a budget the Roku seemed the better option but I kept debating whether we needed the actual Blu-ray player for playing discs and also whether I could find a way to watch YouTube. Since my husband wants to get a PS4 (Robbie beat our PS3 to death) in the next year, I didn't want to waste the money on the actual player. $40 may not seem like a lot of money to some people but I didn't want to spend the money if we weren't gonna use the player in a few months. Plus the Roku is small so we can "hide" it from Robbie.  The Blu-ray player would have to lay flat and we'd have to figure out how to keep it out of Robbie's reach, as he literally killed the PS3 by hitting it (sounds so violent!) 

So we chose the Roku (Target didn't have the base model so we got the Roku 2 HD for $60) and rigged it above our TV out of Robbie's reach. I had Googled how to put YouTube on the Roku and it seemed easy enough. It involves an official app called Plex (which is awesome!) At first I used the option where you can pull up the video you want to watch on a computer, then "bookmark" it. Then I found it worked better to use the option to email the links to my Plex server with an email they provide to you. This was kinda cumbersome and I wanted to work automatically, as the Blu-ray player would.  I kept searching for a way and one option I found suggested many times was to send the RSS YouTube feed to the Plex email. I tried using Digg and it was successfully creating the feed but it wasn't sending to the Plex email (as far as I could tell.) I kept trying the RSS feed on multiple websites but it wasn't working. I continued Googling with different search phrases and I would see people talking about a YouTube app on the Plex forums but had no idea what they were talking about. A YouTube app? They weren't specific as if it was a secret! I finally searched "Plex YouTube app" and found this post from "The Beer's on Comcast" that made me go "DUH!" I went to the Plex server and there is a bunch of "channels" you can download! On the most popular tab there was the YouTube app straight up! How had I not found this solution days earlier? It was not so blatantly stated that "Plex has a YouTube app/ channel that allows you to stream extremely easily!" I feel soooo silly that I tried all those RSS and emailing the links when I just took like one minute to setup the channel and it was there! Now instead of having to copy and paste the URLs in a email, it updates automatically! I'm starting to really love the Roku. So far we're pretty much using the apps that we used on the computer like Netflix, Spotify and now YouTube (through Plex.) Plus with Plex, you can treat your computer as a server for the Roku and stream video and music from the files in your computer! Yes, the computer has to be turned on to act as the server but it was on all day before when we used it with the TV anyway. The Roku also has hundreds of "official" apps like HBOGo but also even more unofficial apps. It'll be fun to explore all the options as  becoming quite the technophile (lover of technology)! 
I hope this helps someone as it was terribly overly complicated for me to find this extremely easy solution to YouTube on Roku!