Thursday, January 27, 2011

Upcoming reviews & giveaways

In case you didn't notice it on the top left there, I have some great reviews/giveaways coming up.

I've already got the Daddy Scrubs, Comfy Rumps diapers, and nursing products from Gypsy Jewels here, just waiting for baby to come so that we can do a proper review. I can't wait - just looking at these things makes me excited!

And, I have my hospital bags packed now. In case you thought I might have put it off just a little longer... ;) Just to give you an idea, here's the STACK of stuff we "need" to bring (with lists on top of last-minute additions):Oh, and maybe my big yoga ball, too...

All I can say is, I hope we need very little of it because (fingers crossed) our stay will be short and sweet (except, I'm breaking into the food bag the minute we're in the door!).

Winner - Hi-Tec Snowdonia Boots!

WOW, you guys love these boots! I totally get it - I love them, too. One lucky winner will be walking in warm style. I bet you're dying to find out who it is! Let's see...

Congrats!!! I'll be emailing you shortly. If I don't hear back from the winner within 48 hours, I will redraw!

Just a note, I did reject a few comments this time around for either not completing the mandatory entry or for entering past the deadline. That's sad! If you ever have a question about how to enter a giveaway here, just drop me a note via email, a comment here, or twitter.

A BIG thank you to Hi-Tec for sponsoring this great giveaway. I'm a big fan of their products and can't wait to see what they come up with next. The new apparel line they are coming out with looks promising!

If it wasn't you this time, do stick around - I've got lots of other lovely giveaways lined up for the future. And, more followers means better and more frequent giveaways. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?! Meanwhile, go enter to win yourself some free eco-friendly and non-toxic laundry detergent!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Packing the Hospital Bag

Edit: I've updated this with what I actually needed (marked in red).
The rest... well, just excess baggage!

I have totally been putting this off. Here are my silly, procrastinatory reasons (I know they're no good):
  1. If the labour bag is packed, that means I will actually have to go through labour. (Yes, I know that makes no sense at all.)
  2. Half the stuff I need to pack is stuff I use every day. So I can't pack it. Right?
  3. I have about 5 different lists (from the web, from birth books, from my midwife, from my hospital, from friends) telling me I need about a zillion things. Really. A zillion. I don't want to move IN to the hospital. In fact, I plan (as if I get to plan this) to be in there for about 6 hours total. Yes, I know that plans go awry, and maybe (hope not) I'll end up with a complication or two that could require a longer stay.
  4. My suitcase is too small to contain the zillion things.
I have, actually, packed the baby's bag - she doesn't need much, after all. Yay for progress!

Okay. So. I have decided - since I'm on maternity leave now (aka, I'm self-employed and I've decided to stop working - not like I'm getting any pay while I'm off) -


Here's my final list, and if you think I'm missing anything crucial, you absolutely must let me know!

For me:
  • My chart (my midwife gives me a copy of my medical chart) & birth plan definitely needed
  • robe
  • pyjama pants and tank top
  • flip flops Yes! my feet were so swollen after, I went home in these.
  • 3 pairs of underwear I don't care about definitely needed
  • overnight maxi pads definitely needed
  • puppy training pads (this is from the midwife's list. I got them at the dollar store, way cheaper than the pet store or WalMart, if you're in the market! They're just waterproof pads for the car/bed/whatever).
  • tissues. Maybe my own soft toilet paper? I've heard that's a good idea... thoughts?
  • olive oil (for perineal massage and for baby's bum) definitely needed
  • 2 washcloths definitely needed
  • arnica gel definitely needed
  • nipple butter/lanolin cream definitely needed
  • nursing pads definitely needed
  • gravol definitely needed
  • ibuprofen definitely needed
  • towel
  • toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, facial moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush & hair elastic, deodorant Only used what's marked in blue
  • makeup. There will be pictures, right?
  • lip balm definitely needed
  • hair dryer (do hospitals have these? I forgot to ask at the tour. I hate having wet hair!)
  • 2 pillows definitely needed
  • sleep mask
  • barf bucket. Yes, apparently I need to bring my own barf bucket. definitely needed! Ugh!
  • after outfit: a transition top (nursing/maternity) and probably my Moody Mamas lounge pants. Comfy and forgiving for a still-swollen belly. Socks, undies, comfy nursing bra. definitely needed
  • heat pad
  • blackberry, loaded with an audio book and music, and earphones
For hubby:
  • Daddy Scrubs (these are cool - hang in for a review/giveaway of these after the birth!) definitely needed
  • the book The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. definitely needed - DH referred to this throughout to learn more about what was happening
  • toothbrush definitely needed
  • Camera and charger definitely needed
  • Cell phone and charger definitely needed
  • Laptop - in case of boredom, and to keep family in the loop
  • Change of clothes (thanks for the tip, Chari!) definitely needed
For baby:
  • car seat. It's already installed. definitely needed
  • car seat cover (it's winter here), also already on there definitely needed
  • two outfits, a teeny one and a slightly bigger one, with feet teeny one was too small! definitely needed
  • sweater-suit - not quite a snow suit, but warm.
  • two hats, a cotton one and a soft toque
  • mittens: cotton no-scratch and warm wool ones
  • nursing pillow
  • package of newborn diapers. We're going to cloth diaper, but the first few days will use disposables. definitely needed
  • baby wipes. Again, we're going to use cloth wipes but have some disposables for the first few days. definitely needed
  • diaper cream
  • baby wash
  • receiving blanket
  • brush
  • digital thermometer
  • Vaseline (thanks Nelly!)
I have gathered some stuff to take to eat, since I keep hearing how awful hospital food is. My midwife actually included "Food and juice for midwives" on the list of things for me to bring - is that weird? I thought it was. I'm expected to feed them??? Anyway.
  • juice boxes definitely needed
  • Crispy Minis
  • trail mix
  • muffins from the freezer definitely needed
  • honey for energy
  • fruit salad bowls
  • puddings
  • plastic cup for ice/water definitely needed
  • spoons
Lots of sweet stuff, but I've had a sweet tooth the entire time so I imagine that will be fine. For me. And really... if anyone starts complaining about the menu to me while I'm in labour, they are really asking for it.

See what I mean? A freakin' zillion things. I'm not moving in, I'll be there for a very short time, I hope!

I'm gonna do it. Really. Just as soon as I'm done writing this post. Which is taking a long time. And I could write all day... Okay, okay!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent - Review and Giveaway!

***This giveaway is closed.***
Winner: Claudia

As you know, I've had the opportunity to try out a number of Tropical Traditions products in the past (and shared them with winners as well!). This time I am testing out their Powdered Laundry Detergent.

I am accustomed to using liquid detergents in our HE front loader, so this was a fun experiment for me. I was worried that the detergent might leave white bits on the clothes, or may not dissolve entirely because the front loaders use less water. Nothing to worry about on both counts - there were no white deposits left on our clothes, and the detergent tray was clean when I checked after doing a load.

I always use about half the recommended detergent, simply because I don't feel it's necessary to use so much soap on our clothing. We generally don't have a lot of staining or really dirty clothes (yes, I know all that will change as soon as this baby arrives), so a little does go a long way. So I used a half-scoop for each of the large loads I was doing in my front loader. You can also see on the Tropical Traditions site that they recommend using half the amount called for when you're washing with a front loader.

Of course, the other benefit is that one container of detergent lasts a very long time! This jar is 5lb and I know it will last ages!

For my whites, I did supplement with a little of their Oxygen Bleach (you can read my review of that here). The Powdered Laundry Detergent does contain some of the Oxygen Bleach, but I like my whites WHITE, and I was happy with the way they came out! My husband had accidentally put his suitcase on top of our white bedspread and the wheels left a mark - but it came out beautifully with this combination. In case you're worried about using it on your colours - the detergent (and the Oxygen Bleach) are both colour safe. Just don't use it on silk or wool.

I also like that it is scent-free. The ingredients are simple and few, enough to do the job but nothing more. That is what I prefer. If you put your nose right up to the jar and sniff, you get a faint, clean smell - but a scent is not noticeable on the clothes, other than they smell clean, not like a chemical or perfume. If I decide I want a scent, I'll put a couple drops of essential oil on a cloth and toss it in the dryer. That way I know exactly what's on my clothing and that it's free of nasty chemicals.

Tropical Traditions has generously offered one of my readers the chance to try the Powdered Laundry Detergent for free!

The giveaway:
A 5 lb tub of Tropical Traditions Powdered Laundry Detergent!

How to enter: Head over to Tropical Traditions and let me know one other thing you'd like to try, OR one thing that you learned there. Make sure I've got a way to contact you if you're the winner!

Extra entries (please leave an extra comment for each. If you already do any of these things, leave the comment - you do get the entry for it!):
  • Subscribe via email to the Tropical Traditions newsletter
  • Follow @troptraditions on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Follow me on Twitter (leave your Twitter name!)
  • Tweet about this giveaway for ONE entry, this is not a daily! You can use this if you like:
    Win enviro-friendly, non-toxic Laundry Detergent from @TropTraditions at Emily's Latest @emilyisland US/CAN 2/7
  • Follow my blog (publicly) – 2 entries, leave 2 comments
  • Add my blog button to your blog– 2 entries, leave 2 comments (please leave a link to your blog)
  • Blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post and to Tropical Traditions – 2 entries, leave 2 comments and please include a link to your post
I will be verifying comments so please actually do the things you say you do ☺ If you already do any of these things, it still counts for entries!

Please be sure to include your email address if it’s not public in your blogger profile! Anonymous comments without a way to contact you will be rejected. Canadian or US mailing addresses only, please. Giveaway ends February 7th at 11:59 EST. A winner will be drawn within a few days, announced here, in a separate post and emailed! (Note: winner draws may be late as I'm not sure when I'll be in labour with this baby!)

Prize will be shipped by sponsor. Note for Canadian entrants: Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge if you decide to participate in this Tropical Traditions sponsored blog giveaway. (FYI - it's unlikely to have a charge, being well under the $60 that incurs duty charges. There was no extra charge on my jar, which came to Canada quickly and packaged well.)