Monday, December 27, 2010


This is a compensated review by BlogHer.

If you haven't been to BlogHer's website lately, you really should check it out. BlogHer has a new design that is easy to navigate and recently started syndicating articles (like mine!) so there is always fresh, interesting content. From family and relationships to food and green living, BlogHer has it all.

Some of my favorite posts:

Green Holiday Gift Guide- This green guide to gift-giving is good all year, not just for Christmas. It has great tips for giving gifts that will be used and won't be relegated to life in the back of the closet. I love finding ways to be greener and this article is a great starting point even for those not already living a green lifestyle.

What is Community Supported Agriculture? This informative article covers the basics of how CSAs work to support local farms and provide better food options for consumers. If you've never heard of a CSA, read this and see what you are missing.

Healthy Eating Without Breaking the Bank- This article was shared from a post I wrote on my blog, discussing the ways our family eats healthy by choosing local food sources. If you think you can't eat organic because it's out of your budget, read this for ideas on making it work.

The Idiot Box and Us: Decisions About TV- This is a great read. This mom sums up exactly how I feel about children and too much TV. She also points out that TV can be a useful tool at times.
Head on over to BlogHer and see what you've been missing. There are so many informative posts from some very smart ladies. As an added bonus, there is a BlogHer sweepstakes right now. This week's sweepstakes winner will receive a full conference pass to BlogHer Food '11 in Atlanta, GA. The contest runs from December 27-31 so enter now!
Visit this week's Sweepstakes post on

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Earth Mama Angel Baby

Since my second child was just a soft, squishy newborn, I have been in love with Earth Mama Angel Baby. I first fell in love with the Angel Baby Lotion and then went through tub after tub of the Angel Baby Bottom Balm. My son is 6 now, so I have a lot of good things to say about EMAB after years of using their products.

Earth Mama Angel Baby makes products that you can really feel good about using, especially on a newborn's sensitive skin. EMAB makes products that are free of toxins and are created using pure, organic oils. In fact, if you read the label on any of their products you will be able to pronounce each ingredient name because there are no strange chemicals or fragrances. In addition to being safe for us, their products are also not tested on animals. Every single product from EMAB has tested at a level zero for toxins on the Skin Deep Database.

All safety and eco-consciousness aside, Earth Mama Angel Baby makes products that are delightful to use. The Angel Baby Bottom Balm is safe to use with cloth diapers and I have never seen any rash cream do a better job of clearing up whatever rash or boo-boo that my children could get. The Angel Baby Lotion smells heavenly and leaves skin buttery soft. EMAB's pregnancy teas are delicious and work wonders to soothe morning sickness. I'd tell you how well their New Mama Bottom Spray works on postpartum hemorrhoids, but that is just TMI.

I have personally used almost every product that Earth Mama Angel Baby makes, and have used many of their products with my doula clients as well. I can not say enough wonderful things about these products or this company. I'm in love.

A few years ago I contacted Melinda, the Mama behind Earth Mama Angel Baby. I approached her about EMAB supporting ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) through advertising for an upcoming conference. I was amazed by her generosity when she not only offered to support ICAN's conference, but also offered to donate a portion of the proceeds from every C-Section Healing Kit to ICAN. Earth Mama Angel Baby is a company that cares deeply about mothers and babies.
One of Earth Mama Angel Baby's newest products is the Happy Mama Body Wash. See that sweet girl on the label? That's my daughter, Sarah. See that huge belly? That's my belly, ripe with my second set of twins, who were born just a few weeks after the photo was taken. The body wash? Out of this world. It smells good enough to eat (but don't) and it feels like silk on your skin. I use it myself and I use it on my children. In fact, EMAB products are the only ones I use on any of my babies.

Would you like to try a bottle of Happy Mama Body Wash? Leave a comment here telling me why you'd love to try a product from Earth Mama Angel Baby and I'll draw a winner at random on November 20, 2010. For one additional entry, tweet or blog about this giveaway with a link back to this post and leave me a comment to let me know.

Giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Anna! picked your comment as the winner!

I am not affiliated with EMAB in any way and I don't get paid to promote their products. This is just a company I admire with products I won't hesitate to recommend.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seventh Generation Giveaway

As you may already know, I'm a huge fan of environmentally-friendly products. I am committed to making my home as safe as possible for my family, and in turn, safer for our planet. A huge part of this is removing toxic cleaners from the home!

Seventh Generation makes cleaning products that are non-toxic and safe for the environment. The best part is, they are easy to grab at the local store. I already use "green" cleaners that I love, but sometimes I run out before I can have more shipped and it's nice to have environmentally-friendly cleaners available locally at a reasonable cost.

Seventh Generation has been making their cleaning products for the past twenty years. Their new line of botanical disinfectant cleaners includes a multi-surface cleaning spray, bathroom cleaning spray and wipes created from the herb thyme, with a natural disinfecting power.

Seventh Generation has also partnered with eco-lifestyle consultant and author, Alexandra Zissu. Her new book, The Conscious Kitchen, includes information about what's healthy for you to eat, healthy for the environment, and tips on making your home more "green." This book has some great tips and is a fantastic resource if you are interested in learning more about keeping your home and body healthy.

One lucky reader will win a Seventh Generation "Disinfecting Cleaning Kit" that includes a disinfecting multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, wipes , a copy of The Conscious Kitchen, a cleaning caddy made from recycled plastic, and two rolls of 100% recycled, unbleached paper towels. Simply leave a comment telling me what you've done to make your home safer and greener. Giveaway ends May 9, 2010.

Giveaway closed! Congratulations wonderchris!

The Seventh Generation products, information and prize pack were given to me by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bosom Bliss Comfort Packs

As any breastfeeding mother knows, nursing a baby (or babies) is not always as natural and easy as you might think. Trust me, I know from experience.

I've nursed all 6 of my children through various different challenges and have had a wide range of experiences. I pumped when I went back to work with my first child, I struggled with tongue tie with 3 of my sons, I nursed two sets of twins simultaneously and I've suffered my fair share of complications from over supply, overactive letdown, engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis, thrush, etc. It's enough to make anyone cringe.

Last month I was very rundown and I developed mastitis. It was a miserable 24 hours with a dangerously high fever and a considerable amount of pain in the affected breast. After writing about my experience, I received an email about Bosom Bliss Comfort Packs. I agreed to try them if I ever had the need to use them again. Unfortunately, I did. I developed another case of mastitis that landed me in the hospital with a lemon-sized mass of infection in my breast. Ouch.

I can now say that I wish I'd had these Comfort Packs 7 years ago when I first started nursing. Those early days with a newborn lead to lots of discomfort and engorgement for many moms and I was no exception. These Comfort Packs use heat to help improve milk flow and induce letdown. The heat is also what helps relieve plugged ducts and mastitis by encouraging milk flow. Breastfeeding dilates the mammary blood vessels and improves blood flow in the affected area but it can be very painful when there is an infection present so mothers are often reluctant to breastfeed. The Comfort Packs can also be refrigerated to provide cooling pain relief to make nursing more comfortable during mastitis.

Bosom Bliss Comfort Packs come in sets of two and feature a cover made of an eco-friendly bamboo fleece core. This cover is removable for easy washing and the bamboo fleece is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial so moisture is wicked away from the skin. This means that you have a soft, dry layer against your skin to protect against leaks while also providing soothing warm or cool comfort from the organic sushi rice pack. The Comfort Packs are generously sized and fit nicely inside a loose-fitting bra.
I used my Bosom Bliss Comfort Packs during my week-long bout with mastitis and loved them so much that I have used them a few times since then to help with engorgement. I've used many different nursing pads and heat packs in the past and these are, by far, the best that I have ever seen. In my professional experience, I've recommended using warm or cool compresses more times than I can count. Often, I've suggested a warm, wet washcloth. These Comfort Packs make washcloths a thing of the past. There is no need to keep a soggy, wet cloth on your breast when you can have a warm, dry pad that is perfectly shaped to fit your breast.

As a special promotion for my readers, Bosom Bliss is offering a 15% discount when you use the coupon code "twinsanity." I encourage you to take advantage of this savings by trying the Comfort Packs and Nursing Pads today! Your breasts will thank you.

In addition, Bosom Bliss is giving away a set of Comfort Packs and a set of Nursing Pads to one of my lucky readers! To enter, leave a comment here on this post. For an additional entry, post about this giveaway on your blog or tweet about and comment here with a link. Please leave a separate comment for each entry method. This giveaway will end on March 17, 2010.

Giveaway has ended! Congrats to comment #5!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Kroger Bonus Box Tops for Education Giveaway

From now through March 18, Kroger Family of Stores is supporting local schools by giving you the chance to earn bonus Box Tops coupons. The Box Top coupons program has raised over $300 million for schools across the country. It's as simple as clipping a coupon!

Register at and select the personalized offers that you would like to receive. Once you register, you will automatically receive 5 Bonus Box Tops just for signing up! You will also receive custom offers for bonus Box Tops for purchasing participating General Mills products. The offers you select will then load onto your Kroger Shopper Card to be redeemed once you purchase the items. You just scan your Kroger card and the Bonus Box Tops will automatically go straight to your chosen school.

Visit and click on "current promotions" to view bonus Box Tops items. It's an easy way to earn money for local schools!

If you'd like to win a $25 Kroger gift card, just leave a comment here. One additional entry for blogging and/or tweeting about this giveaway. Please leave one separate comment for each method of entry. Giveaway ends February 28, 2010.

Giveaway has ended! Congratulations Erin!

This information, Kroger gift card, and giveaway were all provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, January 15, 2010

One and the Same

I just finished reading Abigail Pogrebin's new book, One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular. I never knew that there was so much that I didn't know about twins. And now I know.

I certainly don't consider myself an expert when it comes to twins, but I usually feel as though I know what I'm doing when it comes to raising them. Having two sets of twins has given me the requisite experience necessary to field the many questions I receive as a mother of multiples. Navigating the challenges of rearing twins has become my life in recent years but there is just so much that I had never considered. Until now.

Specifically, I had given little thought to the unique struggle that identical twins face as they journey through life with a carbon copy of themselves. Written by an identical twin, One and the Same was a fascinating read for me, because Abigail Pogrebin understands what it's like to grow up with a double. As she explains in her book, identical twins compare themselves with each other, depend on each other, and share a remarkable bond that is unlike any other.

Because both of my sets of twins are identical, I felt I needed to pay close attention to everything that I read. I want to avoid the mistakes of comparing my twins or failing to recognize their individuality. I want to honor their special bond and encourage them while still seeing them as separate. I read with great interest as the author described her childhood and what it felt like to have friends mistake her for her sister. My twins are often mistaken for each other but I had never really stopped to think about how that must feel.

This book is a must-read whether you are a twin, you are a parent of twins, you know twins, or you are just interested in learning more about twins. Although the author discusses identical twins in great detail, much of what she writes applies to fraternal twins as well. She also covers topics such as fertility treatments, birthing twins, death of one twin, and other things that you've probably never thought of before.

I was impressed with the incredible amount of information and research in One and the Same. What also impressed me was the author's perspective and candor when writing about her own experiences. Her book is an intriguing glimpse into life as part of a set. You can find even more information at her website and she even answers questions on her blog. I highly encourage my fellow twin moms to read this book cover to cover and then share it with another mother of multiples. (Hopefully our twins will thank us one day!)

This is not a compensated review. I received a copy of this book in exchange for offering my honest opinion.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Get Clean

Maybe you have heard of Shaklee or perhaps you've tried their products before. Maybe you don't know a thing about Shaklee.

Four years ago I had just found out I was expecting twin girls. I found out on December 30th, 2005-my birthday! It was a shock and I was already 22 weeks along. Immediately, I was concerned about my added nutritional requirements since I was having two babies instead of one. I came across Shaklee's website and was impressed with the quality of their nutritional supplements. I used them throughout my pregnancy.

Recently, Shaklee introduced a line of cleaning products that stay true to the company's motto of "providing a healthier life for everyone and a better life for anyone." This is important to me, as I'm always conscious of what I am exposing my children to each day in the foods we eat, the things I use to clean our home, and even the toys in the playroom.

Recently I had the opportunity to try some of Shaklee's cleaning products in my home and I'm so excited to share what I found. If your New Year's plans include a bit of spring cleaning, you'll want to see this...

Perhaps the most exciting product for me is a little item called Germ Off Disinfecting Wipes. Disinfecting Wipes? In a house with 6 kids ranging in age from 7 to 1, this is a necessity. It's not often that a mother of twins is able to find time to sanitize her house on a regular basis. And then, what are you sanitizing with? Harmful chemicals? The old standby of vinegar and water? I'm a germophobe who recently mounted a hospital-grade sanitizer in her home. I take this stuff very seriously!

Shaklee's Germ Off wipes are convenient and they are safe. The wipes are easy to use and they pop up out of the dispenser for a fast wipe down of whatever germy surface needs attention. But they're bleach and alcohol free. They kill 99.9% of common household bacteria without exposing you to dangerous chemicals. Hello, funky toilet-you have met your match! A quick swipe with the Germ Off wipe and then dispose of the nastiness without ever needing rubber gloves or a face mask.

For those times when you don't need to kill germs and just want to wipe down a surface quickly and easily, there's Shaklee's Basic H2 Organic Cleaning Wipes. These wipes work on windows, counter tops, furniture, and even walls. And yes, I tried them in all of those places! These are the ultimate convenience item and are very handy to have in the car for quick cleanups. Because they're recyclable, biodegradable, and free of phosphates, I feel good using them too.

Shaklee has all of your household cleaning needs covered with their Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate. This concentrate can be diluted in various strengths depending on what mess you're trying to eliminate. You can purchase Shaklee's set of spray bottles for easy mixing. I prepared the different concentrations and then had them all ready to go for quick clean ups. This concentrate can clean your counters, degrease your microwave, wash your windows and mirrors, or even mop your floor. It's the ultimate all-purpose cleaner and it's perfectly safe to use, even for babies still crawling across the floors.

I refuse to post before and after pictures of my toilet, but I will share a before and after of my stove. I have no shame! I recently moved into a foreclosed home that was in need of some TLC. In short, the place was pretty icky. The kitchen was particularly offensive, and I'll admit that I haven't had time to give the stove top the proper attention it deserves. (Hey, my kids come first!) It wasn't dirty in that sense of the word, but there were burnt-on black rings on the ceramic cook top.
I took this photo when I'd already started cleaning the other burners, but you get the idea. It was pretty bad. I hate it when my house isn't spotless but 6 kids have caused me to reevaluate my priorities sometimes.

Receiving Shaklee's Scour Off cleaning paste was just the motivation I needed to finally tackle that stove top. And I didn't have to worry about toxic fumes when I did it.

Scour Off is a thick paste (with a mild, pleasant scent) that's made from mineral abrasives and biodegradable cleaning agents. It's safe for ceramic, cooper, grout, cement, and other surfaces so it's perfect for ovens, stoves, sinks, and tubs. It even removes rust! The best part is that it contains no bleach, chlorine, or dyes.

I applied the Scour Off paste to my stove top and with some gentle scrubbing I was able to remove every trace of burnt-on crud! Seriously, my stove is sparkling now! The difference is just incredible.
Next on my list was to do something about the pile of laundry that was threatening to overtake my tiny laundry room and overflow into my foyer and out my front door. Don't get me wrong, I do laundry every, single day of my life. However, with 6 kids and 5 wearing cloth diapers/training pants, I do a ton of laundry.

I was pleasantly surprised at how clean our diapers were when I used Shaklee's Fresh Laundry detergent. (Now, if I could just do something about our new washer that I absolutely hate!)Fresh Laundry is natural, biodegradable and contains no phosphates or chlorine. It's also concentrated and it's safe to use in HE washers (like mine.) This means that a little bit goes a long way. Our clothes are clean, smell fresh, and don't have chemicals in them that make your skin crawl. That's a good thing.
In addition to the regular laundry detergent, Shaklee also sells a stain-removing laundry booster, intended to replace bleach for clothes that need some extra cleaning power. (Boys' socks? Check.) Because it doesn't contain any bleach, Nature Bright is safe to use on colors and can even be used to remove stains from carpets and furniture. We tested it out on a spill on our beige carpet and I was quite pleased with the results!
Finishing out the laundry, I was able to try Shaklee's Soft Fabric dryer sheets. I don't usually use dryer sheets at all because of their icky ingredients. I use wool dryer balls for all of our laundry. The downside is that we do get some static when I wash a lot of fleece in the same load. Because the Soft Fabric dryer sheets are vegetable-based, I feel confident that they are definitely safe to use in our home. So I used them. And I loved them! They reduced that stubborn static when I was washing pajamas and for that I am eternally grateful. (I hate getting shocked-literally- when I'm folding laundry!)

Logically, after laundry it's time to do the dishes. Shaklee's got that covered too.

Unlike some other natural brands (who shall remain nameless) Shaklee's Dish Wash actually creates suds when you use it. And it smells great too! I have become increasingly frustrated with my other natural dish soap and using Dish Wash was a reminder of what I dislike. I want my soap to cut grease just like the big name soaps but without the phosphates and other scary ingredients. Why should I compromise quality for safety? Well now I won't!
Dish Wash is effective at cutting grease (I tested it on the grease trays from my husband's George Foreman grill!) and it's safe to wash the plates we eat off of too. It's also super concentrated because I only used a tiny drop to clean a whole pile of pots and pans. I could not find one bad thing to say about this soap!
I wash about 2-3 loads of dishes per day in my dishwasher. It gets a lot of use. I've been pretty pleased with our other natural detergent... until now. I had not really thought twice about the leftover bits of detergent that I usually need to rinse off of our glasses. With Shaklee's Dish Wash Automatic Concentrate, I didn't need to rinse the dishes after they came out of the dishwasher. They were clean! Now, if Shaklee would just make a liquid version I'd be smitten. I always seem to spill powder under my sink or on my wet hands but that could just be me and all of the distractions I have when I'm doing dishes.

At the end of the day, I have a new nightly ritual to unwind from all of the cleaning, laundry, dishes, and exhausting work caring for 6 young children. I rub my feet with Shaklee's Herbal Blend Cream. It's mentholated and it's not greasy so it's perfect for dry hands (we have hard water) and cracked feet (my last pedicure was in April 2009.) And no, I'm not going to post pictures of me rubbing my feet. You can thank me later.

If you are new to Shaklee, let me introduce you to Kim. She is a Shaklee distributor and you can read more about her, and why she uses Shaklee's products, at her website. You can meet her family (and her adorable daughter) at her blog. Right now (through January 16th) free membership is available on orders of 50 PV or more. You can order an entire Get Clean Starter Kit that includes everything you need to make your home sparkle and with it, you'll get a free Shaklee membership!

In more than 50 years of business, Shaklee has never had a product recalled. And they have a 30-day guarantee. And apparently, Oprah loves the Get Clean products too! So make your home cleaner and safer in 2010 with the Get Clean products from Shaklee!

If you'd like to win a free product from Shaklee, here is your chance! Just leave a comment telling me which one of the cleaning products is your favorite and why. For an extra entry, blog or tweet about the giveaway and leave a link in a separate comment. Giveaway ends on January 30, 2010.

Giveaway now closed! Congratulations to Jill (comment #16) for winning a Shaklee Get Clean product!

This is not a compensated review. I have used Shaklee's products before and loved them! I did receive free product samples for the purpose of completing this review.