Friday, August 26, 2016

Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests

Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests by Monica Russo

Monica has done a wonderful job at presenting numerous facts about trees and the woodlands in her newest book. The pictures are gorgeous and worth their weight in ink  gold.

The book is full of 30 different kinds of activities that encourage hands on learning and engage the senses. Look at this, observe that, listen, feel, etc.

The back of the book is equipped with a glossary and teachers guide. It's a great resource for those of us that love a living books approach in regards to education. Your child will be pulling your hand and begging you to take a walk just so they can learn more about the trees around them.

My only issue with the book is that it's not coming from a christian point of view i.e. millions of years. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. That issue aside the book is factually sound.

I recieved a book in exchange for an HONEST review.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Berry Berry Good Fluoride Free Oral Care

When it comes to products my family uses I can be very picky. I like to make a lot of things myself. However, toothpaste is not one of those things. I've tried the baking soda method but was disappointed in it. So we just opted to continue using store bought. I would buy fluoride free toothpaste for the kids. I never seen any for adults and couldn't beibg myself to use "training" toothpaste! How babyish!  Thankfully I came across Dr. Sharp's Oral Care! We've been using it for, approximately, the last two weeks and LOVE it!
(Photo taken from Dr Sharp's website)

My kids love the berry flavored toothpaste! Shucks the mister and I do too! The mint is pleasant as well. Your teeth are left feeling super clean! We follow up our brushing with Dr. Sharp's mouthwash and floss. Both products are excellent and go above and beyond our expectation. The toothpaste is GMO free, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate free, Gluten free, Paraben free, Alcohol free, and vegan!!! And the toothpaste is safe for the whole family! You can use one tube from baby all the way up to Grandpa! Yay for not having to buy seperate products! My family is pleased with this product. It is definitely my first choice when buying oral care! I'm so glad I discovered them. Make sure to check out Dr. Sharp's website as there is so much information on there in regards to fluoride use and dentists that are fluoride free in practice.

Disclaimer: I recieved a sample in exchange for an HONEST review. My opinions are my own. I only recommend products my family and/or I have personally used.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Squash Boom Beet

"Stomp your feet. Squash the ground. 
It’s time to explore all around.
March to the garden. Listen to the beat. 
Get ready to find something wild to eat." 

 Squash Boom Beet is such a cute book that teaches children their ABCs as well as encourages them to eat healthy.  In this book children are introduced to vegetables and fruits alike; some are quite interesting. I've never heard of them before. Lisa does an excellent job of making the food look and sound appetizing.
 26 letters and 26 (plus some) veggies and fruit! Who knew there was such a selection!!!! 
It's a rhyme book so don't be surprised if you find yourself singing it instead of reading it.  
The photogrpahy is stunning! And Lisa did it all herself! 
I highly recommend this book. My children love it. 

Get your copy at Squash Boom Beet!!!

I recieved a copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Dinosaurs of Eden: Did Adam and Noah Live with Dinosaurs? By Ken Ham

Dinosaurs of Eden: Did Adam and Noah Live with Dinosaurs?  by Ken Ham

When I first became a christian, apologetics was something that I studied right away. I devoured books and websites. I'm no stranger to Ken Ham's books nor to his website, Answers in Genesis. I actually highly recommend his New Answer Book series.

Ken Ham argues that the foundation of the Bible is Genesis. And he's correct. If you can't believe that the world was created approximately 6,000 years ago in 6 days then you will have a hard time believing that a virgin had a baby therefore you have no Saviour! That's a serious issue! Genesis is an inportant book of the Bible! Which book isn't?

Click here to read the rest of my review over at my book devoted blog, Keeper at the Bookshelf. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Wool Diaper Cover (info and review)


Wool covers are as natural as you can get in the cloth diaper world. Wool has three mechanisms that man made fibers don't have.
Those mechanisms are:
1-Water Repellent
Wool keeps sheep dry due to the lanolin which is an oil from the sheeps skin. It's similiar to a duck oiling his feathers to keep them dry.

Wool is an amazing fiber! It will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because wool is so breathable it doesn't trap in baby's heat which cuts down on diaper rashes.

3-Moisture absorbency
Once you get past the water repellent part of wool you'll discover that there's another part which absorbs water. So wool both repels and absorbs water. It's actually a scientific process.

As far as I am aware no man made diaper cover, such as PUL covers, have all three mechanisms. The way God deisgned His creation is amazing!

My three reasons for choosing wool covers are as follows:

1-They leave me in awe of my Creator
As mentioned above, God designed everything in such an amazing way! Wool is one of His beautiful, awe inspiring creations!

2-Wool is natural
I chose cloth diapers not only because they're frugal for multiple kids but because they are natural. I desire a simple and natural life. Wool covers aid me in reaching that goal.

3-I can make wool covers myself
I can crochet them and plan to add to my stash by doing just this. One can knit or sew them as well.

But if you lack those skills or the time to do it than buying is an option. I'll discuss my favorite wool cover now.

I got Nickie's Diapers Overnight Wool Cover in size medium and the color stone. Stone is a neutral color so both boys and girls can use it. Which means handy me downs! Which means savings! If you have or plan to have multiple kids than shop neutral in everything but clothes. Size medium fits babies from 14-22lbs. My chunky 6month old can fit it just fine with room to grow.

This cover is awesome! With my 6month old I was having to using a flat with a prefold insert in a PUL cover. He is such a heavy wetter that a cover and one diaper wasn't cutting the job. However, I can use just a prefold or just a flat with a wool cover and have zero leakage. The wool is softer too! My baby's sensitive skin appreciates it!

A lot of people choose to use wool only at night since it's so absorbant and water repellent. But other folks, like me, choose to use them full time. While this specific cover is sold as an "overnight" cover it can be used during the day too. Really it's your choice. This cover is 95% merino wool and 5% spandex. The spandex allows it to have a bit of stretch to make it easier to pull on and off baby.

When lanolized a wool cover is antibacterial, making it self cleaning. It's an economical choice since you don't have to wash as much. With washing cut down you really don't need as many covers. With one baby you could get away with three covers. Wool covers only need to be washed every 3months or so unless soiled. Nickie's Diapers recommends washing and lanolizing every 3-4weeks. You'll find what suits you.

Wool covers have to be handwashed and line dried. It's quite the easy process. I'll explain this in another post.

So to sum up my thoughts on Nickie's Diapers Overnight Wool Diaper cover I'll list what I love about it.
•Super soft
•Water repellent
•Nice fit
•Excellent quality

Nickie of Nickie's Diapers is also the founder of PlanetWise. I was excited to find this out. And really the quality of my cover and my PlanetWise items are excellent. I'm not disappointed at all.

I have two PlanetWise Diaper Pail Liner that I use interchangeably in a thrash can.

At least one is washed once every day and line dried. I've had them for about 6months now and love them! The quality is great. I mention this because, like I said earlier, Nickie of Nickie's Diapers is the founder of PlanetWise. Rest assured if you're purchasing from them, you're purchasing high quality items. After using this particular wool cover I'm sold! PUL doesn't do it for me anymore. They're not the same. Stay tuned because I'll be reviewing some PUL covers soon. This is part 4 of my Cloth Diaper Series. To read the rest of my posts in this series go here.

Disclaimer:I recieved a diaper cover in exchange for an HONEST review. I only recommend products that myself or my family has personally used. If I like something I tell you. If I don't like it I tell you.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Types of Cloth Diapers and Diaper Covers

In this blog post I'll kill two birds with one stone. I'm going to combine Part 2 & 3 of my Cloth Diaper Series into one post. Part 2 will cover types of cloth diapers and Part 3 will cover diaper covers. I'll share what I personally use at the end.


I'll cover five types of diapers including the two types I use. Before I share my personal diaper choice with you we'll play a little game.  The game is for you to guess my prefrence before reading it. Sound like fun? Ok, let's get started. 

 (Photo credit: Osocozy website)

Prefolds are the old fashioned style. They're flat and rectangular in shape. In the middle is a lit bit of extra material to help with absorbency. You have to fold the prefolds to fit your baby. Prefolds are not waterproof so you have to buy a cover to go over them. They require  Snappis or diaper pins to secure them. They're a good choice for those on a budget as they are extremely economical. You have to buy different sizes as baby grows- size small through large. 

(Photo credit: Osocozy website)  

Flats are more old fashioned than prefolds. They're the real old school diapers. We all know there's no school like old school. Flats are made of a thin material. They're rectangular in shape. A flat isn't waterproof so a cover is needed. Diaper pins or Snappis are needed to secure the diaper. Flats are by far the most economical choice. They grow with baby. You can use the same set from birth all the way to potty training. They have a fast drying time. 

(Photo credit:Osocozy website)

Fitted diapers are similiar to prefolds. The difference is that, unlike prefolds, they do not require pins or Snappis to secure. They usually come with snaps or velcro. Fitted diapers are not waterproof. A diaper cover is needed. Some brands of fitted diapers are one size meaning they have snaps you can adjust so the diaper can be used from birth until potty training. Other brands will require you to buy different sizes as baby grows. 

(Photo credit: Amazon product page)

A Pocket Diaper is made up of a waterproof cover and has a stay dry polyester lining. It has a pocket, usually in the back though it can be at the front, that allows you to "stuff" absorbant layers such as prefolds into the diaper. You have to un-stuff this pocket before washing. They come in all kinds of cute prints. 

5-AIO  (All In One) Diapers
(Photo credit: Amazon product page)

These diapers consist of an absorbency layer sewn into a waterproof cover. These are wear once and wash kind of diapers. They come in all kinds of cute prints. 

Have you guessed the two types I use? Wait until the end to see if you're right. 


In this part I'll discuss three types of diaper covers. I'll have a review on different brands posted soon. 

(Photo credit: Amazon product page) 

These are the plastic pants that make you cringe. They're basically waterproof (ish), plastic underwear. They're cheap so definitely economical but remember you get what you pay for. Handwash and line dry. 

(Photo credit: Amazon product page)

These are waterproof covers made from PUL. You can find some in one size and others you have to buy in sizes as baby grows. Wash in the machine and line dry. 

(Photo credit: Nickie's Diapers website) 

Wool is naturally antibacterial. When lanolized it's water repellent. It will repel the water (or you know, human stuff) away from it which in return keeps the cover dry. However, your diaper will be soaked. Wool covers don't need to be washed after every use. If poo gets on the cover gently spot clean that area with a mild soap such as castile, baby soap, or a wool wash soap bar. Until your covers start to stink, need lanlkized, or get poo on them you dont have to wash. A good rule of thumb is to wash and lanolize every 3-5 months. Again, wool is naturally antibacterial. It's as natural as you can get in the diaper world. Isn't it amazing how God designs things?! These must be  handwashed and line dried.

Now as promised I'll share my personal diaper inventory with you. I use size small prefolds on newborns with a one size PUL cover. As baby starts growing I use flats and continue the prefolds until they outgrow those. If I have a heavy wetter I use a flat with a prefold insert. At night time I can usually get away with a flat that has a prefold insert as long as the child isn't a heavy wetter. With a heavy wetter I simply add a second prefold. I secure all my diapers with pins. I tried snappis but found that it wasn't long before they were too tight on baby.  Pins really aren't difficult and I have yet to have one open while a child was wearing it. Flats are economical and versatile so I stock up on those. I was gifted size small prefolds. I haven't bought any others. With my system I really don't need any more prefolds. Like I said I use PUL one size covers. I do have one wool cover that I LOVE!!! I'm slowly making my way to replacing all PUL covers with wool. 

So how did you do? Did you guess the right diapers? 

*Note I have linked to diapers and covers that I have personally used with the exception of the fitted diaper and the pocket diaper. 

To see all post in my Cloth Diaper Series go here

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Closer to Jesus (CD Review)

I was blessed to be able to review Abigail Miller's CD Closer to Jesus. Her music is adevertised as conservative christian music and I can attest that it indeed is.  The music itself has a classical style to it; think Beethoven and Mozart. It's not deceptively lurking behind a christian label while in actuality being blatant rock music; think Christian Contemporary Music. Abigail's music is biblical and safe. There's perfect balance with melody, harmony, and rhythm. Beautiful music.

The lyrics are moving and powerful. They're biblical. I found my emotions ranging as I listened. At times I was in awe and just wanted to fall down and bow to the Lord Jesus. He is worthy!!! At other times I felt like taking on the world as a soldier in the Lord's army. Yes Sir!  And a couple of times I wanted to run and embrace all my little chicks God has gracuously given this mother hen. No matter which song was playing I was definitely feeling Closer to Jesus. Y'all, I've said it before and I'll say it again, music is power. Thats why David played his harp to soothe the tortured King Saul. We have to carefully choose what we listen to. To quote a sunday school song, "Oh be careful little ears what you hear for the Father up above is looking down in love so be careful little ears what you hear."

 To sum it up Abigail Miller's CD, Closer to Jesus, is beautifully orchestrated with classical music and worship  inspiring lyrics. It's safe and biblical. This particular CD has four songs that are related to mothers. So mommas if you need some uplifting in your day this is the music for you! They are encouraging and will help you put everything into the right perspective. I have permission from the Miller's to share one, yes only one, song with you. I'll share one off youtube that happens to be my favorite "mommy picker upper."

My kids adore this video!

You can purchase your own copy of Closer to Jesus by going to Abigail's site, click here. Rememeber when you purchase from fellow christians you are not only helping yourself by buying edifying products but you are helping a fellow brother and sister in Christ.

I was able to communicate with both Abigail and her husband. They are a sweet family. Abigail graciously agreed to an interview which I'll share with you my dear readers. Reading Abigail's answers were refrshing and encouraging. She is just a woman, like you and me, using her talent for the Lord. So without further ado, here is Abigail's interview.

What made you decide to sing and produce a CD? 
Abigail: "We did our first cd fifteen years ago. I had been writing songs which I would sing at our own church, a small fellowship that we had joined just after getting married in 1995. A few people had commented that we should make a recording, and I would nod and smile, thinking, "Sure, yeah, someday..." Then my visionary husband realized that there was no time like the present, and recognized that "someday" often means "never," so rather than let that happen, he decided we should go right ahead and jump in with both feet. He contacted a recording studio we had heard about through friends, and then informed me that in two weeks we would be starting! I did not feel at all prepared, as my only previous experience with recording had been in college, where I was just a singer in a group, not responsible for the whole project. But the Lord placed us with a great recording engineer who not only loved the Lord and loved our music, but also was very kind and patient with us as we learned about the process. Our first cd was released just after the birth of our son, Jonathan. (It's been a running joke at the studio that I only record when I am pregnant, which, so far, has been true!) We received good encouragement and a good response to the music, with very little promotion, as we self-produced. This encouraged us to continue, and as the Lord would give songs, we would then record more cds. At this time we have recorded seven different CDs, and hope to do another later this year."

How long have you been singing? 
Abigial: "I have always loved singing. I have memories of being a very little girl and trying to imitate the ladies I heard singing in church, until my mother had to ask me to please be quiet! Because I grew up in a Christian home, we had a home where good music was a big priority. My mom would sing with me and my sisters sometimes when we were driving around town, and she also sang in the church choir. I was a part of many singing groups and children's choirs from a very young age. But even at home, when I was alone (or thought I was alone!) I loved to sing. Sometimes I would make up music for poems I liked. I never really wrote songs of my own then, but I often wrote poetry. After I was saved, at the age of 17, my poetry turned to an expression of my new relationship with Jesus. When we were married, my husband encouraged me to continue writing, and somehow, gradually, it turned into song writing."

Where was your first public performance?  
Abigial: "I performed many times as a child and a teen in various groups, even in plays at school. To me, the first really significant performance came after I was saved. Although I had always loved singing, I was very shy of being heard. I sang my parts quietly as part of a group, but never wanted to sing a solo or stand out in any way. After my salvation, the Lord began working on my heart, showing me that it was not right to hide a talent that He had given me. I began to step it up a little in the singing group I belonged to, accepting solo parts, even though it was not comfortable. I wanted to use my voice to please the Lord. Because of this, the Lord began opening other doors for me to sing. One day, at 18, in my time with the Lord, I was feeling strongly impressed that He wanted me to use my singing even more for Him. I knelt down and prayed that if He wanted me to do more with my voice, that He would open the doors. A day or two later, a man in our church called to ask me to be a part of a children's program he was putting together. He needed some older girls to sing some of the parts. Two of my friends were to be included in the performance, but on the night we were to sing, they were not there! I had to really fight with my nerves as I realized I would be singing a solo for the entire song! I prayed, "Lord, sing through me..." and went up to sing. We were at the church I grew up in, in front of a crowd of 600 to 800 people. The song went beautifully, and drew attention to my voice which I had not had previously. After this, I was put on the regular rotation for church specials, and also asked to sing solo parts with the church choir. This was only the beginning. I later sang in college with a traveling group, and then, of course, continued in the ministry we now have."
Do you play any instruments? 
Abigial: "I play the piano and guitar, by ear. I never received any lessons in either. I don't recommend this, but the way for lessons not being open to me, the Lord allowed me to learn on my own." 
Do you battle stage fright or fear of others? How do you handle it?
Abigail: "I am a naturally shy person. When I was very little, my mother used to have my sister hold me by the hand and lead me to our pastor to say hello and give him a hug. I would never have gone by myself. I was even very shy of my husband when we first began to get to know each other. I had terrible stage fright, back then, especially for singing. I can remember trying to play the piano and sing, with my hands visibly trembling and my heart pounding in my chest. But as the Lord opened more and more opportunities, and I chose to do it for Him, disregarding my feelings, gradually, with time, I began to be less nervous. I still get butterflies in many situations, and I'm still shy at heart, but the Lord has a way of stretching our boundaries, and I am not burdened with the great hindrance that it once was to be extremely shy."
Being a mother of 10 what is your advice to younger mothers as far as day to day activities, managing a household, etc? 
Abigial: "Advice? First, I'll share some of the best advice I have received from other moms I look up to. Number one, remember that the Lord is concerned with everything that concerns us. No care or trouble is too small to bring to Him. If you are having trouble with a child's behavior, or trouble keeping organized, or trouble with schooling....whatever it may be, the first thing to always do is take it to the Lord in prayer. He has all the answers we need, and He can lead us to the best resources to help us. He has promised to supply all our need, and that means much more than just our groceries! Secondly, every day counts. I tell this to many young moms I meet: enjoy each day. Before you know it, your little ones around your feet will be taller than you. I am a true testimony to this. My fifteen year old son is 6'3", and my twenty year old son is 6'10"! I have never regretted time spent playing with my children, singing with them, reading to them, talking with them, but I have had some sad times when I looked back over a week or a day and realized I had been setting my children aside to do projects or to allow "the house" to be more important than them. Time is perishable, so use it wisely. Invest in your little ones, teaching them and training them and loving them, and you will reap many rewards as they grow along with you. Lastly, my own advice is related to that comment. Your children are growing along with you. I sometimes shake my head to think of my viewpoint as a twenty-one year old mom, and how things have changed since then. Be honest with yourself and with them about who you are, admit mistakes, and let them see your heart as you learn and grow in your relationship with the Lord. This is the most important thing I think we can give them." 
I do hope you have been as blessed by her interview answers as I have. And I do hope her music will encourage you as it has me.

I'll end this post with a picture of her beautiful family.

Disclaimer: I recieved a copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in....Middle Ages

(Photo Credit:Amazon product page)
If You Were Me and Lived in.....Middle Ages
By Carole P. Roman

This is an educational and entertaining book. It's a perfect fit for the Charlotte Mason style of educating. In other words, this is a living book. The story is of a little girl who happens to be you. Throughout the story you learn what you'd eat in the middle ages, how you would dress, what your family would be like, how you would be entertained, etc.
Go to my book blog, Keeper At The Bookshelf, to finish reading my review.

Why You Should Choose Cloth

Part 1 of The Cloth Diaper Series

Why You Should Choose Cloth

I'm going to give you some fact based reasons followed by some opinionated ones. Regardless of what I say the decision is a personal one. You'll have to decide what you'll use on your own baby. You're the mom. Not me. Rest assured I won't stand in judgement or look down upon you. I've used disposables at different times in my life. I still do. I cloth diaper exclusively at home but when I'm taking a cross country trip or I'm camping than convience wins. I use disposables.

So why should you choose cloth?

1-Cloth are cheaper

Ok, this isn't always the case. If you have one child and buy the most expensive cloth diapers out there than you'll most likely pay more or right around what you would on your child's disposable diaper years. But if you're like me and go as cheap as possible and use your diapers on multiple kiddos, you'll come out WAY ahead. My start up system costed roughly $120 for two kids. With two kids I went through two $20 box of disposables in one month so right around $40 a month. My cloth diaper start up was the same price as three months of disposables. I got two years out of my covers and am on my third year using my diapers. I'll share more about what I'm using later. If you do the math you can see the savings adds up fairly fast. You are basically throwing money away with each disposable diaper change.

2-Cloth are eco friendly

Disposables take a long time to decompose. By long time I mean hundreds of years. Possibly thousands. They're really not sure how long. Here is an excellent post on, The Dangers of Disposables Diapers.

3- Cloth are healthier

Cloth diapers are made up of, usually, natural things such as cotton and bamboo. Disposables consist of all kinds of chemicals and fragrances that you are placing near your baby's delicate parts. Because you change more frequently with cloth your baby is less likely to develop a rash. If your baby develops a rash you'll search out a natural ointment which won't damage your diapers and is way better for baby. Therefore cloth are healthier for your baby. Nine times out of ten cloth are the beginning of your natural living journey.

4-Cloth are cute

A baby in a cloth diaper is cute! There's so much character compared to a white plastic throw away diaper.

5-Cloth are homestead friendly

By this I mean that cloth diapers go hand in hand with the homestead, self sufficient lifestyle. You can make your own flat fold or prefolds out of a sheet or fleece blanket. You can even  make pockets or all in ones or whatever kind you desire. You can crochet or knit a wool diaper cover or sew a PUL diaper cover if you desire. What you can't do is make a disposable diaper. You don't have access to the chemicals nor a lab to play mad scientist in. If you're a homeschool mom, Im sorry to say but you're kitchen doesn't count in this case. ;)

6- Cloth are normal

Seriously y'all things are backwards. What was normal fifty years ago is not normal now.
These things were normal once upon a time:
•stay at home moms
•cloth diapering

Now these things are normal and the previous list is frowned upon:
•Exiting the womb by force or through the stomach (I understand this is necessary at times. We do live in a fallen world. None the less, the exception shouldn't the rule),
•Turning our childrens precious minds over to strangers public schools
• Women that desire to be a man feminism, work away from home mom
•Plastic diapers that you throw away after each use. Honey he just pooped please hand me a five dollar bill. Here throw this five dollars away.
• Artificial nipples.

*Please note that I understand we live in a fallen world. That not everyones bodies function as they should nor is everyone able to do the things they prefer. I'm not poking fun of you. My issues stand with those who frown upon the natural things. An example would be a mom who discreetly sits down to breastfeed her child, she's got a nursing cover on so she is modest, yet another mom in the room has the nerve to tell the others in the same room that moms who breastfeed in front of others are nasty.

7-Grandma did it so can I
Enough said :)

Remember I said I do use disposables. It's rare but I do use them. This is a personal decision that each family will have to decide on their own.

Do you have any reasons to add to this list?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Overview of the Cloth Diaper Series

Hey y'all! I pray you are having a blessed day! Let's move on to the blog post shall we?

I wanted to talk to you about cloth diapers. There's a lot to cover so I'm going to break this up into a series. I've been wanting to write this for awhile now but the timing wasn't good. Now it is so here you go :)

Here's an overview of what I'll cover.
Why you should choose cloth
Types of cloth diapers
•How to fold a diaper
•How to care for you diapers, covers, and store them
Diaper Covers
Wool cover review
•Pins vs Snappis
•What kind of diaper rash cream to use
•A collection of diaper related recipes.

These are in no specific order. Stay tuned as I'll kick the series off starting tomorrow. Hope you'll join me and I pray it'll help you out in your pursuit of natural living.