Thursday, June 20, 2013

Giveaway!! Momma Bee's Cloth Wipes, Liners & Babyville Boutique Tote

Welcome to the 2nd annual Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop! Heather from Mommy's Favorite Things started this event last year and now Mama's Baby Cupcakes is co-hosting. 

This hop is focused on items you'd want/need for everything cloth diaper related! After visiting my giveaway, make sure you use the linky below to take a look at the other 20+ blogs and see what they have to offer for you and your little one! Each blog has a minimum prize package of $25 per winner.

Also be sure to check out the Grand Prize hosted on Mama's Baby Cupcakes blog. One winner will have the chance to win 6 Fusion Stay Dry 3-in-1 cloth diapers from Funky Fluff with your choice of Boy/Girl/Neutral colors. That's a retail value of $122!

As a participant in the Summer Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop,
The Bee Hive Buzz 
is offering one lucky reader the chance to win

2 of Momma Bee's 100% Cotton Flannel 2-ply Wipe Bundles (24 total)
Momma Bee's Fleece Diaper Liners (6 total)
1 Wet Bag Tote by Babyville Boutique

Giveaway ends 7/1/2013.  Giveaway is open to U.S. only.  Winning entry will be verified. Winner will have 3 days after giveaway ends to respond to claim their prize!  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly selected.  Winner can choose boy or girl wipes and liners.
Enter using the Rafflecopter Form below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mama's Baby Cupcakes, Mommy's Favorite Things and the Summer Cloth participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Take a Picture, Not a Turtle

Mr. Bee, Emma Bee and I were out for a late afternoon walk and to our amazement, we stumble upon a humongous turtle crossing the road in a residential area near our house!  Now, we do live just a few short blocks from the Wapsipinicon River and at first we considered taking him down to the river bank but Ive never seen this kind of turtle in the wild before.   Thanks to my wildlife education at Iowa State University, even though I'm not a turtle expert, I do know that there are a number of threatened and endangered species of turtles in the state of Iowa.  I wasn't comfortable taking him to such an active area if he happened to be one of those species that falls under a threatened or endangered status.  

So I decided to go home first and take a look at Iowa Herp Net.  Its a great resource for Herpetology in the state of Iowa.  It gives you information and status of all of the frogs, toads, turtles, salamanders, lizards and snakes found in the state of Iowa.   And of course, my suspicion was confirmed.  Mr. Turtle happened to be a Blandings Turtle, one of Iowa's threatened species.  Now I was really glad we hadn't just left him at the banks of the Wapsi.  For one thing, hes not even a river turtle.  He prefers a more marsh-like habitat. 

But at that point, I was in a bit of a panic because I did not want a threatened turtle in my possession any longer than he has to be as I don't want to stress him. But the office for Buchanan County Conservation was closed for the day and I left a message for Blackhawk County Wildlife Rehab and hadn't gotten a call back.  But thankfully after some online searching, I came to Iowa State University's Extension website that featured a page listing names, locations and contact information for all of the rehabiliators in the state.  And we were in luck!  There was a rehabilitator just sound of town. 

We gave her a call and she was very happy that we called her and were able to rescue this big guy from getting run over by a car or picked up by someone who might think it would be fun to have a new pet turtle.  The turtle seemed to be very healthy, hard shell, alert and active, no visible external injuries and he was a good 9 inches in length from one end of his shell to the other.  We dropped him off with her, and she will be relocating him to a nice secluded marshy area with a stream tomorrow morning.  There are very few people that go to this area as it is very remote and difficult to get to.  That's why she likes to take wildlife out there.  There are very few human disturbances there which will be great for our new turtle friend.

Its so unfortunate when wild animals are taken from the wild and kept as pets.  I'm not talking about the stray cat outside the pizza shop begging for scraps.  You can take him home, that's fine (cuz I did that already).  I'm talking about turtles, frogs, snakes, baby rabbits and such.  Its so common for people to think that those animals will do well in captivity.  But fact is, they don't.  They rarely survive.   We simply cant take care of them the way nature can and wildlife rehabilitators are trained to nurse sick and injured wildlife back to good health so they can be released back into their wild habitat.  Plus, you never know if that turtle you found could be threatened or endangered.  

So if you ever come across a sick, injured  or displaced wild animal, please locate a local wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible so an expert can help it! 

And if you feel the need to take something home,
take a picture, not a turtle!

So after working with Tracy, our amazing local wildlife rehabilitator, we managed to get a few expert opinions from the folks at the DNR and from HerpNet.  From our experts we found that on some occasions, the Blandings turtles may use rivers as travel so there is a possibility that he may have traveled downriver to where we found him.  Another suspicion that we all felt could have been a possibility, was that the turtle was captured from its home by someone who intended on making it a pet.  They changed their mind, and took him to the river to release him rather than back to where he was found.  That could explain why we found him so far from the river and moving even further away from it.  Either way our expert at HerpNet suggested releasing him at the Wapsipinicon River Access County Park because of the marsh there and the fact that the marshes connect to the river in case the turtle chooses to use the river for travel.

Were still very glad that he was not crushed my an automobile in the road where we found him and very glad we may have prevented him from becoming someones short term/short lived "pet" turtle. 

He was released at the Wapsipinicon Access today!!   

Wish him luck!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Charlies Soap Laundry Powder Review

As a new cloth diaper momma,  I've been on the hunt for the perfect laundry soap.  One that's safe on our cloth diapers, environmentally friendly, safe on my baby's sensitive skin and most importantly, one that actually gets my cloth diapers clean and smelling clean.  I saw Charlie's Soap at a locally owned cloth diaper store near our home and decided to give it a try.

The tub I got contains 2.64 lbs. of soap powder which can accommodate 100 standard wash loads, 80 loads if they are large.  For those of you that like to shop in bulk, Charlies Soap powder is also available in a super hero sized tub that holds enough soap for 1250 loads!  And for those of you that are partial to your liquid detergents, Charlie's Soap is available in a liquid form.

First, I tested Charlie's Soap on poop!  Baby poop!  And what better poop to test on, then formula poop!  

I did a medium load of Emma's cloth diapers 
and added about 2/3 of a tablespoon as recommended. 

 I did my first cold pre-wash to get the poops, pees and ickys out.  
Then ran my hot cycle to really get things clean, followed by 2 cold rinses.  

Now lately, with the other cloth diaper safe soap I've been using, my cloth diapers come out of the wash with a funk to them.  I've made sure that I wasn't using too much soap, creating a stink from residue buildup and even with extra rinsing they still had a lingering "ew" to them.  After one wash with Charlie's Soap, I pulled my diapers out of the wash, stuck my face in them and voila!!  No funk!!  

I was astonished, thrilled, and so excited about this fabulous squeaky clean diaper, that I washed my husbands stinky work clothes with it too!  My husband, for those of you who don't know, is a chef.  He spends 10 hour days in a very hot and sweaty kitchen, cooking with large ovens, flat tops and grills with not a lot of air circulation.  When he comes home, he doesn't smell like a home cooked meal.  He smells like 10 different home cooked meals on top of sweaty man odor. (Dear Hubby, I love you and I'm sorry I just told the world that you stink. Please forgive me.)   No matter how much I wash his stinky chefs pants and coats with our standard liquid detergents, they always have a weird spicy food smell to them.  Well not anymore!  This momma is hooked!   

One very amusing thing about Charlie's Soap is little statement they make on the package about the smell of clean clothes.  The tub says "Charlie's Soap cleans all the way to the fiber leaving nothing but the good old-fashioned sweet smell of clean.  if you want flowers, go pick some!"  This cracked me up and after I thought about it, I couldn't agree more!  What better smell than the smell of something clean.   And Charlies Soap definitely lives up to that statement!

Here are the other reason why I love Charlie's Soap!  Its non-toxic, hypoallergenic so it doesn't irritate my little ones skin, its biodegradable so its safer for the environment, it doesn't leave icky soap residue on your fabrics and its made it the US! Charlie's soap can remove grease, grass stains, pine sap, wine, food stains, tar, blood, clay and poop! 

And something really important that you should know about Charlie's Soap.....their company is family owned and operated and has been since 1976!  I know I can trust the Charlies Soap family to take care of my family!  They are dedicated to making good, clean, honest environmentally friendly and biodegradable products for my family and yours! 

So who's happy about her 
squeaky clean diapers?

For hard water, Charlie's Soap also has Charlie's Soap Booster to help minimize the effects of hard water.  They also have Charlies Soap Laundry Pre-Spray to help tackle severe staining!   Not only do we have very hard water, but were also very messing so well definitely be trying those in the future.

Charlies Soap even extends beyond the laundry room!  There is also Charlie's Soap Kitchen and Bath Household Cleaner as well as an Charlie's Soap Indoor/Outdoor Surface Cleaner that will clean "everything from false teeth to diesel engines."  We haven't tried these products yet but my curiosity may get the best of me.

Visit Charlie's Soap's website to learn more!  There's also an occasional coupon code when you buy direct!!

Charlie's Soap did not provide any free product or compensation to facilitate this review.  All photos are my own.  The opinion expressed in this review is my true and honest opinion.  Cross my heart!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Giveaway!!! $50 Babyville Boutique Prize Package

is graciously offering one lucky Bee Hive Buzz reader
$50 in Babyville Boutique Products!

Ever think about making your own cloth diapers, wet bags, bibs, diaper bag, tie-dyed onsies or other baby products?  Well its "sew" easy with Babyville Boutique!  They have everything you need and their products come in adorable colors and prints!

And remember that review I did of the Babyville Boutique Snaps and Snap Pliers?  A pair of pliers and a bag of snaps are included in this amazing prize package along with some other great Babyville Boutique products!

The winner can choose girl, boy or neutral products.  

The giveaway is open to the U.S. and Canada!

Giveaway ends 6/25/2013. One winner will be randomly selected.  Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada.  Winner will have 3 days after giveaway ends to respond to claim their prize!  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Enter using the Rafflecopter Form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: No compensation was exchanged between The Bee Hive Buzz and the sponsor.  The Bee Hive Buzz is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Daddy Goes to Babyville!!! Babyville Boutique Product Review Part 2

Yep, you heard right!  Daddy took a trip to Babyville.....and all he brought me was these awesome tie-dyed onsies!  And he tie-dyed them himself!

It was so easy with the Baby Essentials Made Easy Pattern and Instruction Book , Dylon Fabric Dye  and Babyville Boutique Appliques we received from the amazing folks at Babyville Boutique!!

Typical dyes I've seen give you very few options for color.  Not to mention the fact that they fade and hardly retain any color after a few washes.  You basically get to choose from your standard colors, red, blue, green and so on.  Not Dylon Fabric Dyes!  The assortment of colors is a vast and vibrant pallet.  My favorites are the many choices of "blue."  I've got blue eyes so I'm always on the hunt for brilliant shades of blue to compliment my eyes.  And lucky me, our daughter has blue eyes too.  So I guess I'll have Daddy make her a blue tie-dyed onsie!! They've got Bahama Blue, China Blue, Jeans Blue, Navy Blue, Ocean Blue, who knew there were so many blues!

The Tie-Dyed Onsie project isn't the only fun craft in the Baby Essentials Made Easy book.  They give you step by step instructions on how to make you're own bibs, changing pads, diaper bags, shower gives, toys and much much more!   The next project on my Babyville To-Do List is the Snap Up Cardigan project.  It shows you how to take a sweater and turn it into a snap up cardigan.  The cool thing about that project is that it would totally work for onsies!  Emma Bee hates pulling shirts up over her head so Ive got a mission to turn some of her onsies into snap ups.  

There's a multitude of fun and family friendly activities in this book.  Its not just for crafty moms who like to sew.  Daddy can make his own baby essentials too and so can the kids (with mommy and daddy supervision of course).   There are so many great ideas in this book, you don't want to miss out!

Here is Daddy all ready to go at his tie-dying station!  Rubber bands ready, hands protected, dye mixed and ready to go to town (Babyville that is)!

The Baby Essentials Made Easy book give you step by step instructions starting with prepping your onsies all the way to the end washing.  It shows actual pictures of what the onsies should look like all wrapped up in rubber bands so you get a real visual of what to do. 

You can do any color combination you want or just do a solid color.  Daddy decided to do several onsies and experiment with color combinations.  Since we only had 5 containers to put dye in, he plans on doing more assortments after he empties the containers he used for this batch.  Emma Bee is going to have enough tie-dyed clothes to last her till kindergarten!!

Daddy had so much fun with the tie-dye!  Just remember to have plenty of rubber gloves on hand. Although, after we ran out of gloves, Daddy seem awfully proud of his tie-dyed hand!

Since this was Daddy's project, he even ironed the Babyville Boutique Applique on himself!

More of Daddy's finished art work!

Like I said, there are so many fun projects in the Baby Essentials Made Easy book so this is definitely a book we'll be opening often!  And I see a lot of tie-dying with the Dylon Fabric Dyes and Babyville Boutique Appliques and other embellishments in our future!  Babyville Boutique has everything you need to brighten up your wardrobe!

Be sure to visit Babyville Boutique's website to see more of their awesome products!

Review Disclosure:
Product was provided to me at no charge to facilitate my review.  I did not receive any compensation and the opinion express in this review is my true and honest opinion.  Cross my heart!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Review and Giveaway!! The Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly by The Learning Journey International

Being a parent is stressful, nerve racking, intellectually and emotionally demanding, and confusing at times.  Especially when it comes to teaching your children everything they need to grow and develop into intelligent young people.  You wonder "am I doing this right?" "Is this what I'm supposed to be doing for my children?"  "Am I teaching them anything?"  "What can I do to help my children learn and develop?"  The questions are endless and for me, I'm always second guessing myself.

Thankfully, I have recently discovered an amazing company that can help parents with all of their development and learning activities.   

The Learning Journey International is an award winning company dedicated to designing and manufacturing interactive educational products for children.  The possibilities with The Learning Journey International are endless!  You can find a product for every stage of your child's development!  Their toys are fun, educational and engaging for the whole family!

The fabulous folks at The Learning Journey International were gracious enough to send us one of their wonderful products to try with my little one, Emma Bee.  

We received the 

According to The Learning Journey International's website, "Babies and toddlers will love these cuddly crawling toys. Press the bodies of the Crawl Abouts, and these cute critters and pets will scoot across the floor and play twelve different melodies.  These fun toys help development of large motor and tactile skills by encouraging little ones to crawl."

We LOVE the firefly!  It has so many elements that grab Emma Bee's attention and are teaching her to focus and use her senses.  Touch, sound, and sight, it plays 12 different melodies that keep her interested and keep her ears listening.   It is bright and colorful for visual stimulation, and the legs and wings which are constructed using different textures of fabrics engage her sense of touch.  But our favorite thing about the Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly is the vibrations.  Simply press or squeeze his body and he begins to vibrate.  Set him on the floor and hell take off!  The purpose is to invite little ones to crawl after him.  When Emma Bee is wide awake and ready to play, the vibrations grab her attention and encourage her to get moving.

And when Emma Bee is being a little crabby or a bit fussy, the vibrations redirect her attention to the firefly and turn a not so happy day into a learning lesson.  When Emma Bee is sleepy, we've also found that the soothing vibrations and melodies help to calm her at bedtime and during car rides.

We love using the Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly during tummy time and on the floor where she has lots of space to explore and stretch!  The Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly is recommended for babies aged 3+ months.  Emma Bee has just now turned 3 months old and she is anxious, ready to learn and by the looks of things ready to get up and go.  During our tummy time and floor time, Emma Bee likes to lay on her tummy or on her back on the floor and watch the Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly move across the floor.  She cant crawl yet, but boy does she want to.  Her little feet get to kicking and the smile on her face is priceless!

No matter what your child's age is or where they are in their learning and development, The Learning Journey International has a fun, interactive and educational toy to fit your family!

Visit The Learning Journey International's website for more amazing products and to view their online catalog!


The Learning Journey International
is offering one lucky 
The Bee Hive Buzz reader a

Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly

Giveaway ends 6/24/2013.  
One winner will be randomly selected.    
Winner will have 3 days after giveaway ends to respond to claim their prize!  If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly selected.

Enter using the Rafflecopter Form below!

The winner has been emailed!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review Disclosure:
The Crawl Abouts Friendly Firefly was provided to me at no charge by The Learning Journey International to facilitate my review. I did not receive any compensation and the opinion expressed in this review is my true and honest opinion. 

Giveaway Disclosure: 
No compensation was exchanged between The Bee Hive Buzz and the sponsor.  The Bee Hive Buzz is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Coming Soon! Two AMAZING Giveaways!

Be sure to check back over the next few days!  Ive got two amazing giveaways going live soon!

You WILL NOT want to miss me ;D

Monday, June 10, 2013

Babyville Boutique Products Review: Part 1

I'm sure most of you remember my previous review post about my Babyville Boutique Snap Pliers and Snaps!  Since then, my husband has sorted through all of his boxer shorts and made a pile for me that he wants me to add snaps to.

I'm a frequent at my local (about 40 minutes away) JoAnn Fabrics and during my pregnancy, spotted their section dedicated to Babyville's PUL Fabrics, snaps, EZ tapes, patches..... you name it, they've got it.  They've got everything you could think of to make you're own baby essentials like cloth diapers and covers, bibs, diaper bags, clothing, and much more.  They even offer project books with instructions and patterns for how to make so many different things for baby.  I wondered if I could try my sewing skills at a few of their projects but wondered how easy it would be.

After my review of the snap pliers and snaps I was contacted by the wonderful folks at Babyville Boutique.  They offered to send me some of their other fun products to try.   And of course because of my new found love affair with Babyville Boutique, I was thrilled to do some crafting and see what else Babyville has that I might fall in love with!

I received 2 pattern and instruction books, some PUL fabrics in adorable girly prints for Miss Emma Bee, fold over elastic (FOE), boutique labels, boutique appliques, pink EZ Adjust Tape,  a Dritz fabric glue stick and a pair of Dritz Fabric scissors.

Ill be doing this review in two parts.  For Part One, I decided to venture into the fabulous world of Babyville Cloth Diapers with Babyville Boutique's Cloth Diapers Made Easy book!   And Part Two......will be Daddy's turn!

I decided to make a Pocket Diaper and a Diaper Cover using the Cloth Diapers Made Easy Instructional Book. I was worried that it may be difficult to make my own diapers, especially the pocket diaper, but boy was I wrong.  This book makes it so easy to understand and the photos make it easy to follow.

The book is great because each project gives you step by step instructions and photos to keep you on track and its worded so that its easy to understand.   The book pretty much has instructions for any type of cloth diaper you could imagine!  And it even has instructions for making your own soakers.  The beginning of the book has some sections on basic "How To's"  and tips that give you instructions on things you'll run into later in the book, like cutting your elastics, choosing and cutting fabrics, applying embellishments and other tips.

For my first  project, I made a diaper cover using the PUL fabric and fold over elastics (FOE).  I LOVE the fold over elastic.  It is so convenient and the great thing about it is that its easy to apply thanks to the detailed instructions in the book and my diaper cover has nice clean soft edges around the legs and belly. 

And cutting my PUL Fabric was a breeze thanks for the Dritz Fabric Scissors that Babyville was kind enough to send along. These are the scissors recommended in the book and I can see why.  The cut is as smooth and clean as can be.  Ive gone through numerous pairs of fabric scissors in my lifetime so far and have not owned a pair that cuts this clean.  And with PUL fabric, you want to get  a nice smooth clean cut edge.

For the closures I used Babyville's EZ Adjust Tape to make an aplix closure in front.  This is really handy, soft and easy to work with.  I used the Dritz Fabric Glue Stick to get my EZ Tape in the right place and to help hold in in place while I used my sewing machine to do a stitch around the edges.  This was great!  I cant believe I hadn't discovered the fabric glue stick sooner!   Its great because when you use the glue stick, you can avoid pinning.  And too much pinning in the PUL fabric isn't good! 

And while were on the topic of PUL fabric, the prints that Babyville features on their PUL fabrics are adorable.  They have a sweet assortment of boys, girls and gender neutral prints and colors.  The quality is great too.  Ive used other PUL fabrics before that just seem thin and not as fluid resistant as you would expect of a PUL but Babyville's is durable and leak free.  Ill definitely stick with Babyville Boutiques PUL from now on for all of my cloth diapers and related projects!  I'm very happy with my finished diaper cover and cant wait to get Emma Bee into it!

For my second project I decided to do a pocket diaper.  Very different from the cover but still super easy and super fun to make.  And of course the whole reason why I wanted to make a pocket diaper was so that I could use my Snap Pliers and Snaps for the closure.  At first the pocket diaper was intimidating but the book made it a snap!  (Ooh I kinda made a joke there...haha)  There are plenty of pictures to show you exactly what you should be doing.  And of course the patterns are in the book, ready to be cut out.  I again used the fabric glue stick to attach the yoke on the back of the front of the diaper.  It helped to secure it for sewing and worked so much better than pins!  For the pocket diaper I added one of the adorable labels that Babyville sent me.   I stitched it to the rump of my pocket diaper and it says "mama made."  Too cute!


 All in all, I have nothing but great things to say about these products.  There are so many great ideas in the books and Babyville Boutique and Dritz have everything you need to make all of your favorite baby essentials!

In Part 2 (coming soon), Daddy  will be taking a little trip to Babyville and doing his own project using the Baby Essentials Made Easy book and the Babyville Boutique Appliques!  

Product was provided to me at no charge to facilitate my review.  I did not receive any  compensation and the opinion express in this review is my true and honest opinion.  Cross my heart!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Giveaway!!! Similac Advance Baby Formula

One lucky winner will receive 

Two 12.4 ounce cans of
 Similac Advance

This giveaway is my way of supporting other moms who have gone through what I have or for those mommies who, as I said in my Breastfeeding post, just need to feed their babies.
I do encourage you to read my recent post "Our Breastfeeding Journey" because this giveaway (hosted and sponsored by me) is sort of in response to my breastfeeding experience.

I haven't had the experience breastfeeding Emma Bee that I had hoped for and as a result Ive become a huge supporter of "feeding babies" whether its breast milk, formula, or a combination.

If you don't have a baby or are not feeding your baby formula, enter anyways and share the prize with a friend who needs it!!

One winner will be randomly selected!  Giveaway is open to US only.  Enter via Rafflecopter below!  

Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway