Monday, February 29, 2016

Super Why! and ABCs

I credit Super Why! (a PBS show) with helping Bobble learn his ABCs. Though we would sing the song, and we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, he just didn’t seem to care. He saw the alphabet with Baby Signing Time and Signing Time (both of which I recommend to anyone looking for a signing program for their children), and the first time he seemed to “get” it was when he watched this YouTube video of James Earl Jones saying the alphabet on an old Sesame Street episode:



Super Why! was really something he connected with, and it helped him with more than just letter recognition. Each of the characters in the show have their own special power. Super Why (Whyatt) has the “power” to read, Alpha Pig works with letters, Wonder Red (Red Riding Hood) works with rhyming, and Princess Presto (daughter of the princess from The Princess and the Pea) works with spelling. In later seasons Whyatt gets a dog, Woofster, who works with definitions/teaching new words.



Each episode features a spin on a classic tale. This can get annoying since they do change key components to some of the stories, but sometimes these changes can actually make the lessons learned better for the kids. Rapunzel, for example, waits in the tower for the prince, but doesn’t like him climbing her hair (it hurts!), so instead of him going up to her, she comes down and they play and she has short hair because she likes it better. While that’s definitely not the actual story, I do like the way the writers have her problem solve and she doesn’t just wait for someone else to come to her. The show does make things a bit more gender-equal that way. I rather prefer the independence and self-sufficiency it promotes.

Each show starts with a problem that needs to be solved, and then they go “into” a book to find the answer. There are things like letter recognition, sound recognition (for the respective letters in terms of rhyming and just individual letter sounds), word building, and then word choice. For the last one, an example would be a character has to do something because that’s what their story says. This is where Super Why! would show a sentence on the screen, read it, and then show other words that they could add to the sentence to get the desired result.

Since watching this show, Bobble became very interested in his alphabet, and started enjoying books even more. He quickly learned the alphabet (upper and lower case), and all the sounds the letters made. He is still working on rhyming. That seems to be the hardest for him.


If your child is having trouble with the alphabet (recognition, sounds, or rhyming), I would look into Super Why! to see if it might help. It is available on Netflix right now, though that’s always subject to change. You can also view it for free on  the Super Why! page on PBS.org, where they also have games and activities.


Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All products mentioned above were purchased by me. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Meluna Shorty (review)

A long time ago, in a galaxy… no, wait… between pregnancies with my children, I got my cycle back. I had prepared for this by lots of reading, as I knew I couldn’t go back to disposables for an option. I didn’t have very many cycles between my children, only 3, so I never got into the swing of things with my cup. I got really good at placement, but I figured I must be doing something wrong.

The cups worked for me, but I had issues with them sticking out a bit. I thought maybe it was because I had short fingers or something, or maybe I just didn’t have in right… despite it working perfectly.
When my cycle finally returned after having Squiggle (27 months postpartum! I know, I got lucky!!!), I grabbed my Diva Cup. I just wasn’t feeling it (haha), so I grabbed some Luna Pads. The next day I tried my Lunette. I wore it that day, but didn’t bother the next. I went right back to my Luna Pads. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I hate pads. Luna Pads are super comfortable for pads, and worlds more comfortable than disposable pads, but pads just are not for me. (If you do like pads, however, I highly recommend Luna Pads!) I’d also like to add that both Diva Cup and Lunette are really good cups. I do like them, and I recommend them both to anyone interested in cups… but they just weren’t what I needed. Something just felt off. I complained about this a bit amongst a group of friends (all moms), and someone mentioned MeLuna.

I’ve always been tiny… everywhere. Maybe I really just needed a shorter cup? Someone recommended MeLuna because they offer various sizes and styles. They have different end styles (a stem, a ball, a ring), they offer different firmness for the cup, and they even offer a “shorty”.

I looked at the MeLuna Classic and at the MeLuna Sport, but decided that the classic style was best for me. The sport is firmer and for women that use their core muscles a lot. I'm not someone you would describe as "fit"... or even "someone who exercises". Yeah, yeah... I've been meaning to change that. Either way it goes, I don't need the firmer cup.

I looked up measurements on the cups I had and compared it to the shorty. The Diva Cup (size 2) is 70mm long including the stem (57mm without the stem), the Lunette Cup (size 2) measures 72mm long with the stem (52mm long without), and the MeLuna shorty (size M) measures 51mm long with the stem (38mm long without). I consulted the MeLuna chart and decided a shorty in size medium would work best. I ordered a shorty that night. 

(If you have a different size/brand of cup, check out this amazing menstrual cup measurement chart that I found at menstrualcups.wordpress.com!)

Left to right: MeLuna Shorty (M), Lunette (sz2), Diva Cup (sz2)

No need to freak about about the size, though! Even though it's the biggest of the 3, the Diva sz. 2 still isn't that big!
As you can see, I selected the Amethyst shorty with a stem. I contemplated going with a ball or ring, but figured that if I wanted to trim it off, it would be easiest with a stem. It was only $24.95, and shipping was very inexpensive. I think it was about $3. It also arrived super quickly! Of course, the day it arrived was the day I stopped needing it, so I waited. 

When I finally prepped it and placed it, it fit great! It didn’t stick out at all! I didn’t have any leaks, and everything held fine for me. If you are a heavier bleeder, I could see you needing to empty it a couple times a day versus once a day with the larger cups, but it’s still totally doable.

If you are sold on the idea of cups, but have had fit issues with them, I highly recommend trying the MeLuna Shorty. They just might be the perfect cup for you!


Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. MeLuna did not sponsor this post, and the product was purchased by me. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A gift in our garden

Back in November, while we were un-gardening, I came across something that confused me. It was a cocoon of some sort, but unlike any I had ever seen. It was hidden among the vines from our green bean plants, and I almost didn't see it.

I grabbed the section of vine, broke it off, and put it in a mason jar.



It looked almost like something a wasp might build, but just didn't make sense to be a wasp. I searched the ever-so-knowledgeable Google, but found nothing.

I finally took to social media to find the answer, posting in a group that gardens. Lucky me, it turns out it was a cocoon made by a praying mantis! People pay to get mantis eggs (cocoons) because of how beneficial they are for gardens, and here I just stumbled across one!

One egg sack can contain up to 200 babies. Being carnivorous, these are a blessing for natural pest control in the garden! (Read more about mantis benefits and facts here.)

I now have this egg sack, in the above jar, in my refrigerator. I plan on waiting until planting season (when we have plants already coming up for cover/protection) to bring it out to hatch.

Here's hoping we have a couple survive and stick around this summer!

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for all content in this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

6 babies

I mentioned last summer that we were growing out family by 6 (chickens!), and life got out of hand and didn't allow me to introduce them.

So, without further delay... our girls!




They definitely have become a well-loved addition by all :)

Sharing her Oogie Boogie POP! toy




She's drawing with chalk, they think she has food


So much love!



The highlight of his day is getting eggs. He checks multiple times a day.

Her first time getting an egg.... and last. She instantly dropped it. :\
Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff is responsible for the content of this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Green(?) Shopping

I'd like to start this post off by stating that I was not requested to write this, nor does any company mentioned even know I was going to write it.

I pride myself on making green choices for my family, and with this comes the attempt to shop at green stores. Kohl's, for one, is quite the green store. It has many green practices in place, and has currently been carbon neutral for FIVE YEARS! (Carbon neutrality is removing as much carbon from the atmosphere as you put out.)

I love Kohl's. I always have, and probably always will.

One company I don't have the highest opinion of is Walmart. That's not to say individuals working there are not good, and that's not saying anything to the effect of pay for employees. I'm only looking at environmental things here.

This is where I encountered a surprise. I was doing some digging on Walmart and their green policies, and I found out they are actually pretty darn green. They have pretty strict standards for their suppliers, and some interesting initiatives on cutting out needless packaging and plastic bag waste in some of their international locations (that link goes to Japan).

The biggest factor I seem to encounter when I saw/heard discussions about Walmart and being green would be greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Obviously GHG emissions are super important, and Walmart has very aggressive goals in place like 100% renewable energy, and zero waste

Sooo, what's the problem here? Well, their emissions. The numbers have only increased in the last few years (see chart in link). That's the thing, though... so have the number of stores (see bubble chart image in link).

Walmart's emissions include emissions in their supply chain, which makes sense... but it has been growing. Walmart has opened new stores and purchased new stores (like Seiyu, in Japan, which became Walmart owned in 2008).

If you have 10 stores, and these stores reduce carbon emissions, your emissions go down. If you have 10 stores that reduce emissions, but you purchase 10 stores (regardless of what their emissions are), your emissions go up.

All this being said, I still have a ways to go to be convinced of Walmart actually being green on a whole... but considering the company has gone from a bit over 5,000 stores in 2006 to over 10,000 stores at present, I'm also not going to assume they aren't trying.

I have to admit, though, I sort of loved to hate Walmart. I am a bit bummed that I like them a little more than I did. (This still doesn't mean I'm a fan, though.)

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own.


http://www3.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm#d2
http://corporate.walmart.com/sourcing-standards-resources
http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/our-business/international/walmart-japan
http://www.greenbiz.com/article/walmart-sustainability-10-assessment
http://ecowatch.com/2013/11/15/walmart-under-fire-for-failing-to-meet-climate-and-energy-promises/
http://www.statista.com/statistics/269405/number-of-stores-of-walmart-worldwide-since-2006-by-division/