The Best Books for Potty Training

    If you practice gentle potty training, then books are part of our routine! Weather you're reading on the potty, reading to help introduce the potty or reading to reinforce potty practice...books are an important part of potty training. However, finding potty books can be hard. On our journey, we've tried many books. Some had great content and others fell short.
     Potty training starts long before baby actually sits on the potty. I am the Mom to fussy babies, and I often brought them into the bathroom so I could keep a watchful eye, from the queen's throne that is. Baby would sit far enough from the potty for hygeine, but close enough to see and hear my voice. This early introduction to the toilet is the beginning of potty learning. Later, seeing other family members use the potty, hearing talk about it, seeing images on media and reading about the potty all familiarize children with the idea of toileting. Here are some great reads for on and off of the potty from affiliates I'm proud to be a member of!

Children Don't Learn to Toilet in a Day and Gentle Potty Training

     Potty training has been up and down for my family. My first son was an ideal trainer. I started familiarizing him with the potty around 16 months and he loved the potty since. He asked to use the potty from early on and would often sit on the toilet to read his books. By two he was fully trained except for nights. At 2.5 he was completely trained. I thought I had toilet training down. In my mind, I would have all my boys trained in the same manner. Now, I am at total acceptance with a nearly 4 year old who regularly has accidents. Toileting is something that develops slowly, with paitence, guidance and perhaps even a bag of M&Ms. With 4 little ones, under the age of 5, I'm a toilet training champ. It takes up large portions of my day and with a gentle approach, I know that some day they'll all be trained!

HumBird Overnight Cloth Diapering Fitted Diaper and Wool Cover

      Overnight cloth diapering can be challenging, without the right diaper that is. I'm always working on our routine. Getting rid of that last disposable was a big hurdle for me and through lots of trial and error, we've discovered that fitteds and a wool cover is the best solution. If there was a manual for cloth diapering, getting a wool cover and fitted for night time would be a must-have purchase! Even my potty trained 3 - year old wears cloth at night for accidents. I have 3 fluff bums in night time cloth and I feel like I'm playing musical diapers. Luckily companies like HumBird Creations cloth diapers  make great overnight solutions in really exciting colors, custom embroidered designs and great prices! With a selection of fitteds, wool covers, longies, wool wraps, AI2s and sizes that go up to 8 years, I'm sure you'll find something to love! Take a look at her fantastic creations below, that we received for review purposes. 

The Real Risks of Cloth Diapering 8 Things to Watch For

     All things come with risks. Buyer beware. When I started cloth diapering, I was warned by friends and family. Warnings about cloth diapers included everything from cleaning poo to the idea that I wouldn't stick with it. I read about ammonia burns and elastic marks, rashes and yeast. Everything you could imagine to try and deter me from cloth diapering. Despite photos of baby rashes I can't un-see (please go to the doctor before putting photos of your baby's butt on the internet) and some oddities, I still cloth diapered my children. I went ahead with something those around me were unfamiliar with and had a negative opinion about. I learned that the real truth is out there, and other Moms who cloth know it all too well. Like other cloth diapering Moms, I know that the real risks run far deeper then a few poo diapers. 

Cloth Diapers are for Poor People

     Our cloth diaper journey started several years ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I didn't start cloth diapering until my second son was 8 months old. Up until then, I didn't even know they existed. I was working hard, cutting coupons, searching for deals and trying really hard to save the most money on the best disposable diapers I could find. I was able to get a really big box of disposables for $23-$25 and at just a few cents each. I felt proud. I was thrilled to get the "good" disposables at a deal and it was time consuming. I had two children in diapers, both with sensitive skin and I was searching for alternatives. After my son developed a terrible rash from a Pampers Baby Dry diaper, like red cracked and bleeding...I knew there had to be something else out there. I discovered cloth.

     Looking at all the diapers available was overwhelming. Just one pocket diaper was around $20 and I was changing 10-12 diapers a day on my baby. Luckily, my older son loved potty training and I knew his diaper days were numbered. I brought up the topic with some of those around me to try and get more information. I received mixed feedback. My Mom cloth diapered my brothers and I, not that many years ago, and recalled the poorly made flats and pull on covers. "Sometimes I would change you every hour and it wasn't enough, they weren't absorbent." Many were supportive, but some had a different opinion. "Cloth Diapers are for Poor People." We don't need them "We can Afford Disposables." Boom. Those words fell hard. At that very moment I knew my relationship with this person was over. O-V-E-R. We were very different people, it had teetered before and this sealed the deal. Becoming a parent has changed my relationship with others drastically I knew it would happen again and again.
     I sat there thinking. The words came out of my mouth (out of the earshots of my children). "That's bullshit." BULLSHIT! B, to the ULL, SHIT. I had been researching cloth diapers and found the complete opposite to be true. My family was in a tough place financially at the time. Conversations with my husband often started "Have you checked the checking account?" "Last time I did we had $4.42 in there." I was wondering how we would buy food, let alone a $20 cloth diaper. I didn't have this website up and running and didn't know anyone who cloth diapered, or thought I didn't. Much later into our journey, I learned that I know many Moms who cloth! They just don't talk about it as much as they should.
     While researching cloth diapers on the web, I saw someone locally in a Mom group advertise that they had a FREE box of cloth diapers to give to someone in need. I contacted them. After answering some pretty personal questions about our finances, I agreed to meet up. Tuck in my pride and receive this brand new package of 2 covers and 12 prefold diapers. Let's face it, there is no such thing as pride when you have children. Someone had a free kit of new diapers, and I needed them for my child. We met up in a public location and I was so excited to get the box. I looked inside and had no idea how to use the diapers, but put them to use immediately. I didn't even prep them, they went right on the bum and I was thrilled.
     Little by little I built up a collection of (affiliate) 18 Bum Genius 4.0s and was lucky enough to win some diapers online in blogger contests. It was around the same time this website was being created, by me, as a way to connect with and share information with other Moms. I wish I knew about cloth sooner and love getting the word out. Today, we have tested over 30 brands of diapers and I love hosting giveaways and sharing information. The benefits are amazing and I love sharing our experiences with others.
     In addition to the financial and environmental benefits, cloth diapers come with a community. Moms, bloggers and brands connecting over social media. While not always 100% supportive, most of the conversations are supportive, cheerful and share the love for fluff. The words of this person often cross my mind. I wonder if other people feel the same way, that cloth is for poor people. It's a misconception. I usually think of this when going through our diapers. One of my favorite diapers, is a $42 work at home Mom hybrid fitted with an embroidered dog on the back. While, this was a splurge, at the time I started cloth I would have never been able to afford this. I cherish it and it puts a smile on my face to put something so amazing on my baby!
     Need help getting diapers? There are ways to get free cloth diapers for people who qualify. The startup kit may be totally free, or a nominal shipping charge. I often direct people to cloth charities, and as always contests are a great way to add fluff to your stash. Having a baby is hard. It changes finances, getting all the 'stuff' baby needs is expensive. The benefits to cloth are more then financial. While using cloth over time is helpful for saving money, they also are excellent for the environment and save on resources needed to make and get disposable diapers overseas to our doorsteps.

I really appreciate a follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and love to network on Google and LinkedIn. I'm also now on Periscope as @MamaBananasAdv. Companies care about these numbers when deciding which bloggers to select to review products etc. So thank you for following! Want to work together? E-mail


The Most Amazing and Special Gifts for Moms

     I wanted to share the most amazing and special gifts for Moms. Birthdays, winter Holidays, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are great times to express appreciation and celebrate Motherhood. I wanted to share some really great gifts for Moms that are perfect for any occasion. Weather through birth, surrogate, adoption, c-section, delivery or VBAC, becoming a Mom changes a woman's life outside and inside forever. Who wouldn't want to celebrate that?! The love a Mother has for her babies is inexplicable. Gift giving is a wonderful way to celebrate this relationship. Here are the Most Amazing and Special Gift Finds for Mom. For Moms, from a Mom.

LEGO Stationary LEGO Pens, Pencils, Erasers, Markers, Journals, Organizers and Buildable Rulers

     My family recently attended LEGO Kidsfest! We were already big Mega Blok fans, but wanted to see if our kids were ready to enjoy LEGOs. The LEGO Pens certainly helped create suspense and excitement for the event, and my kids love writing with them. As you can imagine, the LEGO line of stationary is popular among younger fans and parents alike. My children think the pens are really exciting and love writing with the different colors. I adore them too. In addition to the LEGO Gel Pens, Santoki also introduced Pencils, Erasers, Markers, Journals, Organizers and Buildable Rulers. The items feature real LEGO Bricks that can work with existing LEGO products. Here are some photos of the product and affiliate links where you can find them!

Mother's Day Gifts That Say I Love You and Stone and Strand Coupon Code

     Mother's Day. It starts weeks ahead of time. I know the question is coming any day now, or maybe I'll need to drop a few hints. However, I need to be prepared with an answer. "What Mother's Day Gifts do you want?" I say, something that says "I Love You." I always want the same things. A nap, time to myself and possibly even breakfast made for me. As the family chef, eating something not cooked by me, for me, is a treat. However, while I dream of a nice long mid-afternoon nap, I am always gifted a physical item too. While I have received some odd items over the years, including an Amazon firestick last Mother's Day...I prefer gifts that make me think of my family, feel pretty and remind me of how much I'm loved. Something unique, memorable and definitely something I'd love to show off a bit. Dear hubby, here are some really beautiful, unique and definitely not that TV-commercial necklace everyone else will have items from a mesmerizing collection! These rare finds are from a real gem of a company; Stone and Strand. In addition, I have Stone and Strand affiliate links and Coupon Code MAMABANANA15 for 15% off for this sponsored post.

Earth Day Sales 2016 for Green Moms

     I look forward to Earth Day Sales all year! Some of my favorite shops for Green Mom Products have amazing once a year sales and I love shopping. Cloth Diapers, Reusable Products, Organics and Natural care items are all on sale at prices that won't be around for a long time. If there are items you hope to stock up on, now's the time! Here are some of my affiliates who are offering amazing Earth Day Sales!

Best Indoor Activities for Proprioceptive Loving Sensory Seeking Kids

     Do you have a Proprioceptive Loving Sensory Seeking Kid? I do! He jumps, bounces, runs...jumps, bounces, runs...but it can be a bit much indoors. He's over 60lbs and 4 feet tall now. When he was smaller, jumping on furniture, off of the couches and running around indoors wasn't as noticeable. Now that he's older and bigger, I'm sure the neighbors can hear him! I've had to get creative and come up with ways to meet his proprioceptive needs when it's below zero outside. When the playground is closed down, running in the yard would mean getting frostbite or I'm simply too tired to go the the bounce house playground, 30m away, I search for directed and safe activities to complete indoors. In addition, many also help work on communication and following multi-step directions. Here are our top Best Indoor Activities for Proprioceptive Loving Sensory Seeking Kids:

Best Children's Activities for Spring and Summer Learning a Four Tiered Learning Approach

     Springtime offers a wonderful teaching opportunity for children of all ages. I really enjoy learning with my kids too. The grass turns green, flowers begin to bloom and the air is filled with life. Chirping birds, butterflies and even worms in the soil are busy preparing for an abundant summer. I love teaching my children about life in Spring and take the opportunity to create well structured activities. How do I structure an activity? Learning takes place in many forms. I like to use a Four Tiered approach to lessons. Using multiple learning tools helps ensure that the learning sticks and is well understood. Here is a Four tiered Spring Learning Activity that children and adults can enjoy! (contains affiliate links).

$75 Lalabu Gift Card Giveaway USA/Canada ends 5/8


     The 4th trimester can be trying. As a Mom to fussy babies, I know that finding a way to soothe them is priceless. For a newborn, there’s nothing more soothing than being held. So it's important to keep them cozy,safe and close to us. However, as moms life can be chaotic and no matter how much we try to hold them life happens, between post partum recuperation and life, it becomes hard. Constantly holding your baby can also put a strain on your body and figuring out how to correctly swaddle your little one can be confusing. Amazon, one of my affiliates, carries the Lalabu Soothe Shirt. It's the easy way to hold and swaddle your infant and spend much needed bonding time.

WEAR Babywearing Conference May 27-29 Chicago IL Giveaway $200 Value

     WEAR Babywearing conference is coming to Chicago IL May 27-29 2016. WEAR will take place at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL and runs for 3 days of babywearing goodness. Events take place Friday May 27 - Sunday May 29th and attendants can purchase a one, two or three day pass. Attendees are welcome to bring their babies and even their kindergartners! With over 30 exhibitors attending plus regular events and happenings, this will be packed with babywearing goodness. Want to go? I'm giving away 2 3-day passes... a $200 Value! Better yet, you can use my MommyCon Coupon Code STJEL16 to save on WEAR passes!

Boba Babywearing Company Acquires Beco Babywearing Company and What Lies Ahead

     One thing we can be certain of is that things are always changing. Seconds from now the world will be different then it is in this precise moment. Recently Boba, a well known baby carrier company, acquired Beco, another well known baby carrier company. Things are changing fast. For many babywearing families, this change came as a surprise. For others who work behind the scenes, this was a long time in the works. Friendly merger? Hostile takeover? What about the carrier you currently own? Are Beco Soleils discontinued? Bekhnis? Yes, the questions are rolling in! Here is some info that I hope helps answer the questions circulating in the babywearing community.

How to Get a MommyCon VIP Ticket and Release Dates

      If you're going to MommyCon, you must first buy a general admission ticket. You can use coupon code STJEL16 for a discount on this ticket. This pass is for general admission day, typically on Saturday. Next, you have to watch for VIP release dates and rush to get your tickets. VIP day happens an entire day before general admission day, usually Friday. After buying your general admission ticket, there are several options. First, you buy the VIP ticket with goodie bag. In the past, this has included an entire baby carrier and other full-sized items with a value way over the $100 purchase price. After you buy the VIP ticket, you can make additional  for classes that have amazing goodies. Recent VIP ticket release dates include:
  • May 14: MommyConATX‬ and MommyConDC‬ VIP tickets are released.
  • July 9: ‪‎MommyConOC‬ and MommyConORL‬ VIP tickets are released.
  • September 17: MommyConSJ‬ VIP tickets are released.
     So, in short. First. Buy general admission ticket. Second. Buy VIP bag at a later date. Third. Buy add-on classes with purchase of VIP ticket to get goodie bag and other swag with very limited VIP classes. In the past, I wished I had attended the CottonBabies class! Attendees left with great diaper packages and I hope to get in this year! Get your fast fingers ready. See MommyCon event dates.

Moby Wrap Bamboo Baby Carrier Giveaway open to USA ends 5/15

     A Moby wrap was my first baby carrier. I had a newborn who just couldn't be put down. I ordered the Moby wrap and started learning. At first I wore it too loose. I remember my son's feet hitting my knees. I learned to put it on tighter and we have been babywearing happily ever since! Many Moms are familir with Moby wraps and there's good reason. Moby is a leader in the baby wearing community. With their soft and easy to use wraps they are many parents first experience with baby wearing. While the length of the wrap can be intimidating when first looked at, its really not that complicated and unlike carriers made from non-stretchy fabric, this can be put on before baby goes in and worn like a shirt. This is great for traveling because you can drive with it on, and put baby in when you get to your destination! Enter to win below:

Videri Chocolate Factory Review and Dairy Free Organic Hot Chocolate Mix

     I'm a huge fan of quality organic chocolate. Okay, truth be told...if I'm desperate I'll woof down a hershey bar...but my preference is for quality. Good ingredients, no fillers and organic (no bug spray in my chocolate). After the birth of my 4th son, removing any dairy from my diet became very important. Easier said then done! I learned that many foods, including chocolate, have dairy as a hidden ingredient. Oh no! Right? One of the many reasons I was thrilled to come across Videri Chocolate Factory. Videri chocolate is great for breastfeeding, dairy-free, Moms like myself! I can enjoy chocolate, and my little one can have a calm and happy belly. Win win. In addition, Videri Chocolate Factory products are also made in Raleigh NC! Fair Trade, Organic, nut-free and bean-to-bar handmade, their products contain the highest quality ingredients and are delicious! They are passionate chocolateers, perfect for passionate chocolate consumers like myself! Check out our experience with their products and please pin this image below so others can find this company too. This is one brand you'll want to bookmark: 

Best Uses for Coconut Oil for Crunchy Moms

     I discovered coconut oil a few years ago. The concept was completely new to me and I didn't even know that coconuts had oil! Since then, I keep finding more and more uses for it. Here are great ways I love to use coconut oil with my family. It's become such an important ingredient in our daily routine that we just can't go without it!

What are the Benefits to Babywearing; 6 Benefits to Babywearing from an Occupational Therapist

       While the babywearing I'm familiar with is often characterized by pretty carriers and babywearing chat groups, the benefits to babywearing are universal. There are many benefits to babywearing. Moms (and Dads) all over the world appreciate holding baby close, breastfeeding in a carrier, having both arms free to get things done and having happy babies and toddlers. You may have seen photos of women in Africa doing their daily work with baby on their back, a Mom at Target shopping for home items or Syrian refugees using donated carriers to hold their little ones in treacherous times. Babies, and babywearing are universal.
     However babies are worn, using a carrier benefits children across the board; From all walks of life, abilities and disabilities (I hate the word disabled). Not only does wearing an typically developing child valuable experiences, but it also allows a disabled child to get input they may not otherwise receive. It provides him/her with valuable sensory input from your movements and allows them to explore the world and participate in activities from your perspective. How? The babywearers movements give information to a child's body that they may not otherwise be able to duplicate. Practiced correctly, It allows babies to develop head and trunk control that just doesn't happen from lying in a crib, moves the pelvis and trunk when you walk and provides sights and sounds as limited as your imagination. Here are 6 benefits to babywearing:

Kam Snaps K2 Pliers and Accessories Giveaway USA/Ca ends 4/22

     The Earth loves April! Why? April is Earth Month. This is the month where we try conserve, reuse, recycle, and think more about our effect on the planet. To celebrate, The Anti-June Cleaver and Our Piece of Earth have teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you the Earth Day giveaway hop where you will have the chance to win lots of great natural and eco-friendly prizes! As always, after you have entered a giveaway visit the linky at the bottom of each post to visit the other blogs for more great prizes.
     My prize is a Starter Set from Kam Snaps! A pair of Kam Snap's K2 Pliers and additional accessories to give you everything you need to snap away. Make reusable paper towels, cloth diapers, mama pads and anything you can imagine with this kit. Enter to win even more prizes in the linky below! Great prizes from wonderfully 'green' bloggers! This contest is open to USA/Ca 18+ residents, void where prohibited.

Kam Snap Pliers Parts and Accessories

     If you've ever considered making your own cloth diapers or mama pads, then there are a few items you'll need. While you may be able to upcycle fabric and other materials, snaps are a must-have item. However, not all snaps are created equal. In fact, many reputable shops will tell you that Kam Snaps are the best! Why? Kam snaps are made from polyacetal resin, a type of plastic that is more durable then other types of plastics. This helps give them their durable reputation and is why many companies proudly list "made with Kam snaps" in their features. Here's what you need to get started! (please pin image directly below, it's a special size for pinterest):

One Simple Step You Can Do Today to Protect Your Identity

     It was around my 38th week of pregnancy that I was persistently thinking about stocking up on food to care for my family. Once I gave birth, and really couldn't leave home for awhile, I knew I'd need supplies for meals and daily life; Groceries, dog food, toilet paper and last minute baby purchases. I had the opportunity to drop my kids off with Grandma, and I jumped on the chance to shop alone without my 3 children at our local Wegmans. Alone, waddling and very pregnant, I was able to wander around and really enjoy shopping. I picked the perfect bananas, got some spinach and even looked up and down the organic section for new products. I passed the meat counter and went onto the long cooler section. You know the one. The section with pre-packaged meats covered in plastic wrap ready to be taken home. It was pretty full and I was waiting my turn. There were several people in front of the organic chickens and I wasn't in a hurry. Possibly guilty of doing a little people watching.
    Quickly, I noticed a younger man walking back and forth, between me and the carts waiting for their shoppers to pick out meat. I watched him eyeball an unattended cart. There was an older woman looking at steaks and it was clear she wasn't attending to her purse, sitting in the top seat of her cart. He quickly grabbed the handlebar and started to walk off. Before I could open my mouth, she turned and said "Hey, that's my cart!" He apologized and made some excuse about grabbing the wrong one, but it was clear that he tried to take her buggy and purse. I tapped the shoulder of the grocery worker stocking the meat section and told her what happened. Soon I saw a security officer pass by and pursue the dirtbag hanging out at the supermarket searching for someone to take advantage of. It would have been so easy for him to walk away with everything!

Wear All the Babies Giveaway USA/Ca ends 5/3

     Once you discover babywearing, you'll want to Wear all the Babies! The benefits for Mom and baby are amazing. From keeping baby happy, to allowing Mom (or Dad) to eat with both hands; Babywearing helps meet the needs of everyone who surrounds baby. As the warmer months approach, baby will make trips to the pool, the ocean and maybe even through the sprinkler. What better way to celebrate wearing baby then with a fantastic warm weather #WearAllTheBabies Giveaway?!

$100 Giveaway to Loyal Hana USA ends 4/17


     The first time I went looking for maternity clothes I thought I had entered a tent sale. Not only were the clothes ugly, but they were all shaped like a tent. Finding stylish,comfortable and functional clothing for when you are pregnant or nursing can be tough. Some are functional, some are comfortable and some are stylish but rarely do you find all 3! Thankfully the wonderful people at Loyal Hana knew there was a need for that niche. Making you comfortable and stylish during this special time. More important then being able to wear their fun clothing, is enjoying it! Loyal Hana has a huge selection of attractive, functional and fun maternity and nursing clothing!

Beco Soleil Ellie Giveaway open to USA/Ca ends 4/30

     Spring has sprung! April Showers bring May Flowers and this beautiful Beco Soleil in the pattern Ellie. One lucky USA or Canadian resident will win this carrier! There are many benefits to soft structured carriers (SSCs) making them very popular among parents (including myself). Babywearing makes for happy babies and happy Moms and Dads! Baby is happiest when held close, and this allows for hands-free baby holding. With the snap of two buckles this carrier is easy to take on and off for shopping, going on a walk or simply getting things done at home like eating! Wouldn't you love to win this beautiful carrier for your Spring and Summer Activities? Details below:

Chuck E. Cheese's Little Big Night Out Giveaway ends 4/12

chuck e cheese giveaway 

$150 Giveaway to Minted

     Could you use new wall art for your home? Birthday party invitations? Birth Announcements? Thank you cards? Fabric? The list goes on and on! Here's your chance to win $150 to Minted! How fantastic is this company? My article on How to Request Cloth Diapers on Your Baby Shower Invitations shows just a snipped of the amazing line of products they offer. With hundreds of high quality products in each category I'm sure you'll have a hard time figuring out what to spend it on! Enter to win and thank you for stopping by! Sale Get $25 Gift Certificates for ONLY $3 With Promo Code

I received a gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.


Spring has nearly Sprung here! Cold weather is clearing and that means getting the family into the minivan is 200x easier! No winter gear means we get out faster and are looking for places to go. Everyone loves to eat and There’s no better way to celebrate than taking the family to enjoy alfresco dining and local stops. 
To bring in the new season, is serving up $25 Certificates for only $3 with Promo Code: SALE. All their other deals are on sale too! For example, grab a $10 Certificate for just $1.20.

C:\Users\amiller\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\F0XBK3C2\0330_mi1_SALE.jpg

Cariloha Bamboo Duvet and Cover Set $498 arv USA/Ca 4/18

      The bed is a wonderful place. I consider it my 'nest' and many nights my entire family sleeps in it! If there's any place in the house to spend a few $$ on quality and comfort, it's the bed. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and as far as I'm concerned, comfortable and luxurious bedding is one indulgence we should feel good about! Cariloha can help you create a restful and relaxing retreat with eco-friendly bamboo bedding. Made inside and out from eco-friendly viscose from bamboo, it's ultra soft, allergy-friendly, odour repellent, and naturally thermally regulating.