"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new."

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nifty Nappy Winner

winner, winner, turkey? dinner! (I thought I'd mix it up a bit!)\

Congrats Val! I'll be emailing you asap!

Val said...

I LOVE the fun flock

dorkyval44 at gmail dot com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

who even says that? my family, that's who... we're weird.

Here's my winner by tweeting!

Owen's Mom said...

Daily tweet!
andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

Those Small Acts of Kindness

Wow. I am astounded at the response I've gotten from everyone in regards to this post about Baby D! Thank you all so much- you have more than made my day.  You may have restored my faith in humanity...

Some have asked for some kind of list... well to be honest, I wasn't sure what kind of a reaction I'd get, so I didn't really think it through.  I was just hoping to help her get started cloth diapering- diapers, cloth wipes, accessories, etc.  I was planning on purchasing directly off her registry as well as a few other things here & there, but now, now I see why maybe some kind of a list would be good.

I'd hate to discourage anyone from donating any particular product, so I'm going to keep this brief & slightly vague.

Here's what's been offered:

both new & gently used cloth diapers, a range of sizes.
a few cloth wipes.
some clothing, possibly receiving type blankets as well.
a handmade quilt, especially for Baby D
a couple handmade blankets & possibly a hat

Here's what I had in mind:
cloth diapers- mostly one size. fitted, pockets, aio - a variety of brands.
cloth wipes. maybe solution?
cloth diaper safe detergent.
longies, shorties, covers for those fitteds.
anything promoting breastfeeding, as I know she intends to breastfeed- lanolin, breast pads, etc.
books, small toys, or loveys...
anything else that your newborn needed in the first few months of his or her life OR anything that YOU needed in those first few months.
a baby carrier, wrap or sling.
something like a Mommy Necklace- anyone know her well enough to ask? ...I don't.

She's crunchy. Definitely crunchy.  I'd like to help her stay that way.

...I needed my husband most.  And it breaks my heart that she won't have hers.  I not-so-fondly remember the day my milk came in.  If my hubs hadn't been there, I don't think I'd be saying that I'm still breastfeeding almost 14 months later.

support.  that's what she needs.  and I so hope that she knows how many people want to support her throughout this.

I plan to collect everything here & then ship it to her in one package.  I don't plan to ship til the middle/end of March.  We'd all like to give her some time to deal with this right now, but we'd also like her to get the things before the real panic starts.

thank you guys. so much. from the bottom of my heart, as well as my whole group of friends.  we are taken aback by your generosity.

A Small Act of Kindness

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.  ~Mother Teresa

Inspiration.  I've talked a lot about it recently (or thought a lot about it anyway). 

Today I feel like I've been presented an opportunity to help someone & I feel inspired to do so.  If you feel the same, please let me know.  I can use all the help I could get.  I know I have no special powers, I don't have mass amounts of money to give to those who need it, I don't have much influence on anyone save for a few close people... What I do have is a blog with less than 100 followers, a twitter following of 300 some odd folks who may or may not care what I tweet & I have a few resources.

I want to compile all of that & ask anyone reading this for help.

I'm not normally one of those people who announces when someone close to me has gotten ill or has passed away.  I'm not a person who puts on facebook "RIP Grandpa..." or someone else.  I'm just not.  I don't try to pretend I knew someone who was involved in an accident or someone who died, just to say I knew them.  What I am though, is someone who is compassionate (at least I think so) & when someone I do know is hurting, I want to help.  I need to help.

Four years ago or so, I met a group of wonderful ladies while I was planning my wedding.  We were all planning our weddings, our dream weddings.  We spoke almost daily & we confided in one another.  We have still kept in touch to this day.  Some more than others, but that's beside the point.  One of these women needs us.  She needs everyone.  

I think she's a pretty private woman, so I'd like to keep this as private as I can, given what I'm about to say (and she has NO idea that I'm doing this- I wouldn't want her to know if this fails).  Her husband was murdered.  Murdered.  Someone took his life.  Someone who probably didn't even know him & for no good reason, except that there are people in the world who do things like that.  

And she's 32 weeks pregnant with their first child.  Their child will never get to know his or her father...

And she's been laid off from work in the past month... 

And I'm imagining, she's as lost as anyone can be.  As hurting as anyone can be. 

My group of friends & I are planning on helping how we can.

I'm wondering if there's anyone else out there- who makes or sells baby products, that would like to help.  Or if there's anyone out there with a gently used item or two...  Based on her baby registry, she's planning on cloth diapering, at least part of the time.  They've asked for organic items- clothing & such... & chlorine free disposable newborn diapers & wipes.  They don't have a lot of family, nor a lot of money (as no one does in this economy, of course), & they weren't getting a baby shower...

ETA: They chose to be surprised about the baby's gender, so we don't know those details.  Most of the items they've registered for are green.  At this point, all I know that they have for sure, are the stroller, the crib & one set of bedding.  I'm unsure of anything else, but, knowing, how hectic the last two months were when I was pregnant with buying & planning, I'm assuming she doesn't have a lot of items, nor will she be feeling like she wants to get any...  

If you think you can help, or you know someone who would be interested in helping, please, please contact me at amandawallace526 at gmail dot com - subject line: Baby D. 

And please, if you are unable to help in any other way, just say a simple prayer (if that's what you do) or send good wishes to this beautiful woman who is about to become a mama.  She & her babe need happy thoughts now more than ever... 

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.  
~Edward Everett Hale

I have compiled a small list of some items donated & still needed right here. Thank you so much!
On March 1st, Muggabug has offered to donate a portion of her sales to help Baby D!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

welcomed inspiration.

tonight i'm feeling inspired.  i think it's because of the blog i've been practically obsessing over.  every spare minute (b's naps, etc) i've been trying to read.  because it's that good.  it's peaceful.  reading her blog makes me feel at peace & Lord knows, sometimes, i just need a big, giant pile of peace at my house.  and right now is one of those times.  so i'm grasping, pulling & fighting to read every last peace of this blog & to feel as inspired & creative as it makes me want to feel.

in honor of the inspiration:

- i gave myself a pedicure & manicure.

- i left my camera in arm's reach all afternoon.  i'm always thinking "man, if only i could reach the camera!" to capture some moment.  i'm making it a goal to keep my camera around more often.  i'd even like to take it places- shocking, i know, because we're always saying "why didn't we bring the good camera?"  no more saying it, from now on, we're doing it.

- i finally signed b up for swim lessons & they start on thursday!

- we went to mommy & me gym time, where i have met a lovely mama, who i may just become friends with :)

and now, if only the snow would melt again & the temperature would rise, we could do some real stuff, like, outside.  stuff i've been itching to do for at least a month now ... stuff we will do as soon as the weather permits.

Monday, February 22, 2010

things that make me smile today.

5.  cookie dough. we've been making it a lot lately. practically in bulk. what can i say? it's de.lish.

4. when b points at elmo & says 'bo! bo!' over & over again.

3. little hands trying desperately to find cheesy bunnies in the big box that they come in.

2. good mail. i didn't get any today, but i am expecting some one of these days. don't worry, i'll share it with you when i get it.

1. reading this blog. i can't get enough. i started at the beginning today & i'm no where near done, but at every post, i literally smile. the photography, the writing, the beautiful little girl- nothing short of amazing. 

...as for me & my house...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Random Blurbs from the Suburbs ... on a Thursday

Just some random tidbits from my week...

I cleaned out the pantry...
... now I just need to find the local food pantry to donate!

And I couldn't help but laugh when I stopped behind this at a red light...

...So I had to decide if I had time to dig out my phone & snap a picture... & I did. Safely, I promise! 

And currently the sun is shining & my coffee is hot, so...

Oh & while I've got you- if you don't follow my friend Madison already, you should.  She's a fantastic blogger & she's really close to 400 followers! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

SmartKnit KIDS Socks!

this giveaway is now closed. thank you for participating & congrats to the winner!!

truly seamless
super soft
hugs feet

Interested yet?  I first began hearing about SmartKnit Kids Seamless Sensitivity Socks on Twitter- where all good things come to be known!  I was immediately interested, as socks are something we struggle with a little bit.  Most of B's socks are either falling off from stretching out, falling off from being too small, or falling off because they just keep falling off!  What a pain! I'm constantly trying to pull his socks up before he trips on them.

Enter, SmartKnit socks. We received a pair of the crew style socks.  B immediately grabbed them when I took them out of the box & he carried them around for quite awhile... very cute.  I requested size mediums, although those are toddler size 4-8 & B is technically a 3.5.  I was sure they'd fall off, since they'd be a little bit big.  But guess what? They stay on! Perfect!

Here's what SmartKnit says:

SmartKnitKIDS® patented seamless socks are perfect for children experiencing sensory processing differences, hypersensitivity or who simply can’t stand annoying seams! These super soft socks for sensitive little feet will not wrinkle or bunch and are proven to reduce irritation.
No Seams to Bug Ya!
Completely free of seams, the patented kids' socks are designed to provide comfort and relief to children who struggle with “bumps & lumps” in their socks.
Reduces annoying wrinkling and bunching in the shoe
Corespun yarns using Lycra and form-fitting design result in children's socks that “hug” the foot reducing wrinkling and bunching. The form fitting design also helps to keep socks on the wiggliest of toes.

“No heel” design allows children to put on socks with confidence and keeps little feet from outgrowing their socks so quickly.
Comfortable Non-Binding Top
Our non-binding Halo Top™ fits comfortably without slipping down the leg.Regular socks often have elastic bands at the tops of the sock that can often pinch, bind or be a source of irritation.
Keeps Feet Dry & Healthy
SmartKnitKIDS™ Socks are made with high-tech fibers that wick moisture away helping ensure a drier and more hygienic sock environment. They are also anti-microbial, inhibiting fungal odor-causing bacteria.

So, back to B's particular pair.  We have the black, crew style.  It's great that SmartKnit makes black socks for babies/toddlers, as it's a bit hard (in my experience anyway) to find black baby socks.  They look great with B's darker 'church clothes' & they really complete the outfit.  I mean, seriously, who wants to see dark dress pants & then white socks?  We're not trying to be Michael Jakson over here, folks.  

(all the available colors via the SmartKnitKids website)

So, to recap: socks that stay up, look great, keep little man B's feet dry (cause yes, he can have sweat boy feet) & last through numerous washing & drying?  What more could you want?!

How about three pair? That's right! Not one or two, but THREE pair! SmartKnit Kids has graciously offered up 3 pair to a lovely reader!  How do you win these?

mandatory entry: go to SmartKnitKids website & let me know what colors you'd choose!  Be sure to leave me an email address in the comment.  If I can't contact you, you can't win!  This entry is mandatory & all other comments will be null & void without this one. 

extra entries:

1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect.

2. Grab my button; let me know where it is.

3. Subscribe to Big City! Baby via email 

4. Follow SmartKnit's Blog - Seamless Sock Drawer

6. Follow @mandyw526 & @smartknitkids on twitter: Tweet this once daily- Go Seamless w/ 3 pair of socks from @smartknitkids & @mandyw526: http://bit.ly/b8SBRC

7. Blog about this giveaway; let me know where the entry is.

8. Make a purchase through SmartKnit Kids.  Let me know what you bought- worth eight extra entries!

Giveaway ends March 3rd at 9pm CST. Winner will be drawn via random number generator & will be contacted via email.  Winner has 24 hours to a respond before I will draw another winner.  Thanks for participating & Thanks to SmartKnit Kids for sponsoring!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A trip to the Art Institute

My good friend & I took B & his friend, Thierry, to the Art Institute last Friday.  Here's a few highlights:

Running down the hallway, the very orange hallway...

So hard to get a shot of both of them! Silly boys!

And Done.

Cookie Lee gift certificate giveaway!

this giveaway is now over. thank you for participating & congrats to the winner!

Disclaimer: Since I had big plans for a blog review/ giveaway event that ended up being not so big, I thought I'd throw in my own giveaway to spice it up a bit.  And to calm any fears, I do have a 13 month old who pulls on this jewelry constantly & has never broken a single item, so it's pretty durable! 

I am an independent consultant for Cookie Lee jewelry, which basically means I own my own business through Cookie Lee.  Cookie Lee is a direct sales company & one of the most fabulous I've ever heard of.  You can operate exactly how you want, as much or as little.  You can become a consultant for no reason but the discount on your own jewelry or you can become a consultant because you want to take over the world- no joke! I have a great friend, KC, who has won multiple trips (going to Punta Cana this summer), she has been promoted numerous times & she's all around a fabulous Cookie & fabulous business woman (plus, in all her free time, she runs a horse farm! Crazy, right?).  So, while I don't think I'll ever top KC, my personal goal is strive to be a little closer to her end of the Cookie spectrum, which is easy to do with jewelry at this awesome price point & quality level!

Something I love to highlight about Cookie Lee is how much we support fundraising/charity work.  As some of you may know, I just did a "Help for Haiti" fundraiser & sold jewelry to send money to the Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund.  It went over very well & I'll be donating the money at the end of this month (I still have one more purchase to get out to a customer).  I can help with any fundraiser out there- wouldn't you rather purchase jewelry to wear or give, instead of microwave popcorn or another overpriced candy bar?  I would... my health would prefer that I buy jewelry over the other options as well! 

Anyway, enough about that.  Let's get on to the really good stuff, right?  The BLING!  Here's the link: Cookie Lee Catalog! And here's some photos:

I apologize that the pictures do not do the pieces justice, but photographing bling is not always an easy task.  

One last photo & a little piece feature: I just took this of the highly coveted (in my circle anyway) Capri Isle necklace! This necklace is 64" long & can be worn several ways, some of which are shown in the catalog (21A). The beads are gorgeous- some painted.  It has a matching set of (3) bracelets & matching earrings. 

So, after checking out the link, do you like what you see? And you want to have something or somethingS from the catalog?

Here's what you do! 

Mandatory Entry: Tell me what your favorite item is, using the link to see the catalog! And make sure to leave some contact info so I can reach you if you're the winner.

Extra Entries:

1. Follow Big City! Baby via GFC
2. Grab Big City Baby's button & let me know where I can find it! 
3. Follow my Cookie Lee blog, I Sell Cookie Lee. (It is pretty new, so there's not much there... yet!)
4. Follow @mandyw526 on twitter & tweet this (once a day):  Win a $25 gift certificate for your choice of Cookie Lee jewelry from @mandyw526: http://bit.ly/a2W84p
5. Participate- leave me a (new) comment on any blog entry, other than another giveaway.  You can do this on each blog, once a day. This means you could potentially have 30 extra entries (although that requires me to blog more often!).
6. Make a purchase through me & get 20 extra entries! I do have coupons available & will honor these!

giveaway ends on March 1 at 9pm CST. winner will be drawn via random number generator & will be contacted via email. winner has 24 hours to respond, before a new winner will be drawn.  as always, thank you for entering!

if you'd ever like to know more about the Cookie Lee opportunities available to you, whether it be for personal wear, hosting for free jewelry, or earning some extra cash, please contact me at amandawallace526 at gmail dot com.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Nappy is so Nifty!

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks for participating!

If you follow me on Twitter, this won't come as much of a surprise to you.  I love Nifty Nappys.  And I tweet about them frequently.  So, in addition to my purchased collection, I acquired one to review.
(iced giraffe)

Vilate is the mastermind behind Nifty Nappys.  As a mother of 6, I believe she's had plenty of opportunity to perfect her products & I think she's done a darn good job (she goes into detail about how she perfected her process on her blog- check it out here).

Her product list contains these one sized diapers:  Nifty Nappy fitted diapers, as well as an organic option; Peachy Keen pocket diapers, & Snappy SwimEaze swim diapers.  All of these are one size- amazing, right?!  She also upcycles wool sweaters, which is a fantastic practice, & makes Nifty Knickers, Super Duper Soakers, & Woolie Wraps.  I personally own Nifty Nappy fitteds, Peachy Keen pockets, 2 Woolie Wraps & a set of Nifty Knickers.  While technically this review is for this gorgeous, cozy, trim, soft fitted diaper, I can't not talk about the other products in our stash.

(moose in shoes)

I like to put B in fitted diapers a lot, especially when we're around the house, or just running one or two errands.  He wears wool longies, such as the Nifty Knickers & he wears fleece a lot.  He almost always wears a fitted to sleep all night & 95% of the time I put a Woolie Wrap on over the fitted.  Here's the deal though: I can & have put a fitted on B WITHOUT a proper cover.  Meaning, a fitted with jeans or regular knit sweatpants on.  Does this sound crazy?  You bet! ...if it's not a Nifty Nappy fitted, anyway.  I've used other fitteds, with names I won't mention, that have been wet in the front within one hour or less.  To me, this is unacceptable.  And it's completely unacceptable when you spend more than $30 on the diaper.  Nifty Nappys are SO affordable, at just $22-30 (depending on whether it's organic or not) & there have been mornings when the front of B's diaper is not wet.  That's right- not wet. Barely damp. After 12 hours in the diaper.  How's that for absorbent?
(not all, but most, of my Nifty Nappy stash. The four on the left are Peachy Keen pockets)

Here's what Vilate says about her diapers:

Having a diaper that fits and is trim but also breathes and is cute is asking a lot, right?
I didn’t think so! I knew it could be done if I had the right materials and knowledge. I have spent many hours on line researching cloth diapers, along with years of testing different patterns and fabrics out on my own 6 kids. I finally found the right fabrics and with all the knowledge I had acquired, I started on a diaper. The pattern of the diaper isn’t too difficult right? Well, shape does matter, how soon you curve around the leg can make or break a diaper. Then there is making it fit from newborn to potty training. I succeeded in that too! I made the perfect diaper…at least I think it is.
Qualities of the Nifty Nappy:
  • Front snapping for a longer fit
  • Trim fit – looks natural under clothes
  • Organic Hemp and Bamboo for absorbency
  • cute fabrics for your baby’s bum
There are a few other items that are good enough to join the Nifty Nappy in this shop:
  • Wool Covers- Upcyled from wool sweaters handpicked from thrift stores, these are practically bullet proof.
  • PeachyKeen Pocket diapers – These are made with the PUL qualities in mind so there is no leaking on the edges.
  • Snappy SwimzEaze – Keeps your babies tush comfy while keeping your mind at ease, knowing that everything will stay in the diaper and not in the pool.
(Ooga Booga Brown. To be honest, I can't remember if this is a fitted or a pocket- I have both in this fabric)

Want to get your hands on one of these fabulous diapers or other item?  Here's how:

Go to Nifty Nappy & make a purchase!

Or you can win one right here!  Vilate has generously offered up a fitted Nifty Nappy & a Woolie Wrap to one of my lovely readers! 

This entry is mandatory & must be done to qualify to win:  Go to Nifty Nappy & tell me your favorite fabric selection.  You may also check out the Nifty Nappy blog & choose a fabric listed there. Be sure to include your email address or another way for me to contact you.  If I can't contact you, you can't win. Got it? Good :) 

Extra Entries:

1. Follow my blog via Google Friend Connect.

2. Grab my button; let me know where it is.

4. Grab Nifty Nappy's Shop button (found on the blog link in #4); let me know where it is. 

5. Fan Nifty Nappy on Facebook.

6. Follow @mandyw526 & @myniftynappy on twitter: Tweet this once daily- Win a Nifty Nappy & Woolie Wrap from @mandyw526 & @myniftynappy: http://bit.ly/c4bLAh

7. Blog about this giveaway; let me know where the entry is.

8. Make a purchase through Nifty Nappy.  Let me know what you bought- worth 8 extra entries!

Giveaway ends February 27th at 9pm CST. Winner will be drawn via random number generator & will be contacted via email.  Winner has 24 hours to a respond before I will draw another winner.  Thanks for participating & Thanks to Nifty Nappy for sponsoring!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Moo Cow Momma's Reusable Paper Towels

this giveaway is now closed. thank you for participating.

Have you ever heard of Reusable Paper Towels? 

I had heard a few rumblings of such products & I was intrigued.  I made it my goal in 2010 to start reducing my carbon footprint in every way I could think of & reusable paper towels seemed to be something that could drastically help.  I am a paper towel junkie- really, I am.  I use paper towels for everything- as napkins, for cleaning the counters, a spill on the floor, B's face & hands, drying my hands, etc., etc., etc.  The list goes on & on & on.

I started looking around & found Moo Cow Momma on Etsy.  I was instantly drawn into her bright range of colors!

Here's Moo Cow Momma's description from Etsy:


For a Limited time: Buy any two or more sets of reusable paper towels and they will come in an adorable ultra-lightweight cotton drawstring bag (as shown in the last picture, colors will vary), makes a great gift, produce bag...or even storage bag for your towels.

12 100% cotton flannel cloths in an awesome 12" x 10" size. Washes up with a soft brush at the edge. Super absorbent and beautiful too!

Use any way you would use a paper towel. They also make wonderfully soft face cloths, casual napkins...whatever suits you! Machine wash and tumble dry.

If you prefer these done in different colors. I can do that as well, just use this listing and convo me with your color scheme.

Check my store for tons more color combos!

 I received this set: 

I thought the colors were gorgeous, bright & cheery- perfect for the middle of January in Illinois!  Here they are in my kitchen: 

Since receiving these towels, I have only used 1 roll of actual paper towels! That's HUGE progress for me!  I won't allow myself to purchase paper towels in bulk, but I have purchased 2 individual rolls.  I use these bright towels for just about everything!  They've obviously really cut down on my paper towel consumption, which is right on parr with my goal.  I keep them in that little basket, right near my sink, so they're always close by.  I throw the dirty ones, along with bibs & other towels, into a hanging wetbag I have (leftover from cloth diapering- didn't work so well for dirty diapers, because it has a drawstring, not a zipper.  Perfect for dirty towels though!)

I love to use them for cleaning up B after meals, & I generally use just 1 per day- I rinse it out & let it dry between meals.  It's much softer than a conventional paper towel & B doesn't cringe when I'm coming at him.  I started tossing one into my daily tote bag & it's come in handy a few times! Last Sunday during a church class, the Hubs spilled his coffee on the table.  We looked around for napkins & didn't see any, so into my bag I went.  That's when I saw the bright orange reusable towel & inside, I cheered a little bit! Not only would I use this, I'd use in a public place! I rock, right? 

So... back to Moo Cow Momma- She's fantastic.  Her work is of great quality, her shipping is speedy & she's been so friendly & helpful.  She's got some other fabulous products that I hope to try out in the future.  I'm really excited to try the sandwich & snack bags! 

Want to get your own Moo Cow Momma products? Check out her Etsy shop right here

Want to win some Reusable Paper Towels? Enter right here! Moo Cow Momma has generously offered up a set, in your choice of colors.  Be sure to check out her listing of Valentine's Day colors, which are gorgeous!

Mandatory Entry: Go to Moo Cow Momma & tell me what your favorite product is. Please leave me your email address- if I can't contact you, you can't win. 

Extra Entries:

1. Follow Big City! Baby (this will be verified).
2. Grab my button! Let me know where I can find it!

3.  Tell me another way in which you're reducing your carbon footprint.

4.  Become a fan of  Moo Cow Momma on Facebook

5. Follow 
@mandyw526 on twitter.  Tweet this once daily: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint & win reusable paper towels from @mandyw526 & MooCowMomma! http://bit.ly/c0gjYl   Leave me the link please!

6. Play along!  Comment on any other blog post- leave me the link!

7.  Blog about this- leave me the link where I can find it!

8. Make a purchase through Moo Cow Momma (from today until February 24th). Let me know what you bought!  Each purchase is worth 5 extra entries!

Blog Giveaway ends Wednesday, February 24th at 8pm CST. Winner will be drawn via random generator & then contacted via email.  Winner has 24 hours to respond to me, before another winner is drawn.  Thank you for participating!