Ingrid is Coming Home From the NICU!


Ingrid Elizabeth arrived last Monday, July 28th after a six hour labor. She was “sunny side up” which hampered progress temporarily (and gave me an unrelenting backache). But once she turned it took just two pushes to deliver her. My water didn’t break until the very end and the midwife noticed some staining in the fluid. I remember we suctioned a couple of times from her nose and mouth, but otherwise everything looked good.

She was a lovely 7 pound baby with fair skin and a crown of pale gold hair, so the name Ingrid seemed to suit her perfectly! Ingrid is Scandinavian in origin and means “Hero’s Daughter.” Elizabeth is my maternal grandmother (may she rest in peace) and comes from the Hebrew meaning “the promise of God.”


The next day, I got a routine follow-up call from the midwife, and I mentioned that Ingrid’s respirations were not slowing down to a normal rate of 60 or less. Because of what we knew about the possibility of meconium aspiration, she urged me to visit the doctor right away. Low oxygen levels and a chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia. That day was a scary one for us, since we lost our daughter Margaret to pneumonia. Was it God’s will that we go through that again with this little girl? While sitting outside the radiology room, I distinctly remember telling God “I can’t do this again.” Later, I apologized to Him for saying that. Didn’t He promise He would always be with me? Doesn’t He say that everything works together for good? Wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if in one breath I said I was open to God’s will, but with another put limitations on exactly what His will should be?

So I promised to be truly willing to accept whatever may come. And after about 5 days of respiratory support and 7 days of IV antibiotics, God has granted healing and Ingrid is coming home, ready to be loved and nursed and diapered and kissed and dressed up by her big sisters and brothers!


Many of you have been praying for Ingrid and sending well wishes our way; what an undeserved blessing it is to have a circle of family, friends AND readers to bear you up during a trial. I thank God for all of you and look forward to posting this month about Ingrid’s progress, our stash of newborn diapers to review and a big newborn giveaway (hey, I kind of feel like celebrating)!!


Bloggiversary Giveaway: Win 4 Diapers Plus Inserts!


5000 Likes Bloggiversary Image

I’m helping Lindsay at Maman Loup’s Den celebrate her 1-year “Bloggiversary” and her 5,000 Facebook fans milestone! To celebrate, she is giving away her four favourite diapers (that are readily available in stores, since she really loves Jules, but doesn’t have a spare kidney to score an extra one.)

The giveaway prize will be:

For even more chances to win prizes and take advantage of limited-time coupon codes, make sure you RSVP to the #MamanLoupThanksYou Facebook Event!

That’s all – easy as pie. Good luck to everyone and please stop by Lindsay’s Facebook page to say hello or congratulations!







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Giveaway is open to Canada and the US, 18+. See Rafflecopter for full Terms & Conditions.

Diaper Junction One-Size Cover and Unbleached Flats Review & Giveaway

What’s colorful, trim-fitting, versatile and only $7.95? The Diaper Junction (aff) one-size cover! I’ve been really impressed with my purchase of a few months ago and wanted to share a review with you, just in case you’re on the fence about this product.

For my Diaper Junction review, I chose the Cobalt color, a nice deep blue that looks pretty sharp on both my guy and my gal. MENTION NEW PRINTS/COLORS

Here are the basic features of the Diaper Junction brand diaper cover:

  • It’s made of waterproof TPU. TPU is slightly softer and more pliable than PUL.
  • The inside of the cover has a flap at the front and back to help secure inserts or diapers. The back flap is elasticized for even better performance.
  • The inside is wipeable, which means you can reuse it a few times if it isn’t soiled with #2.
  • The rise features 3 rows of snaps, which translates to 4 size settings (three snapped up and one completely open).
  • The wings close with 1 snap and then have 2 additional hip snaps for further adjustment.
  • The snaps are covered on the inside with a thin white piece of fabric.

After about four months of regular use, here’s my feedback.


  • The TPU fabric is silky smooth and makes for a very trim-fitting cover. It’s a little thinner than some of my other covers, and for that reason I was hesitant at first, but it has performed just as well.
  • The covers has washed and worn extremely well, with absolutely no visible wear or fading of colors.
  • The leg elastics are snug and comfortable and haven’t loosened up at all.
  • It fits well on both my 1 year old and my 2 year old, although I’ve been using almost exclusively on the younger one.
  • The wings are nice and stretchy.
  • It’s a roomy cover that fits well over fitteds, prefolds, flats or whatever else I feel like putting inside. Sizing is very comparable to a Flip diaper cover, with the only noticeable difference being the wing style and roominess in the rear (DJ cover is a bit more generous).
  • It’s performed great overnight.
  • The elastic sewn inside the back flap helps hold inserts in place better (in my opinion) than other covers with regular flaps.
  • You can choose from 12 different colors!
  • It’s only $7.95.


    • Looking at the photo above, you can see how the snaps on the waistband are angled somewhat, and not straight up and down. This is the only thing I would change about the cover – to have the snaps straight up and down. Every once in a while, I feel like I can’t quite get the exact fit I want with the waist snaps.

This is the Diaper Junction cover on Erik; in this picture he is about 14 months old and 21 pounds. Scroll down to the end of the post for a picture of the cover on a toddler.

These would make an ideal cover choice if you’re working on building a budget stash. My recommendation? Pair these Diaper Junction covers with Diaper Rite flats (also a DJ product). Diaper Rite birdseye cotton flats are sold in packs of twelve; you can choose from sizes small (27×27) and large (32×32) – measurements are prior to washing and drying. I bought unbleached Diaper Rite flats, since they are softer than the standard white. Flats are just one big square layer of fabric, so they wash and rinse out fantastically and dry super quick. I have a dozen of the smalls, and typical of cotton, they do not shrink up perfectly after the initial prepping. That is, they aren’t perfect squares, but they’re close. After you fold them up it doesn’t really make a difference anyway.

Small flats are $21.95 for a dozen, so that comes to $1.83 per diaper; one dozen larges are $26.95, bringing the cost per diaper to $2.25. Super economical!

There are two very easy ways to use Diaper Rite flats with the Diaper Junction covers. Pad-fold the flat (click here for quickie tutorial) and insert into the flaps of the cover:

Or try this simple fold with a Boingo or Snappi fastener if containment of messy poo is a going concern. This flat fold is one of the easiest you’ll find (sorry, I don’t do Origami, Kite, Mini Kite or Adapted Kite – LOL). It doesn’t even have a name that I know of. I call my creation the Custom Fold because you pick the width and length that you want.

There are only 4 steps. Easy, easy, easy!

Something else I really love about my soft unbleached flats: in a pinch I can grab them for other uses – burp cloth, clean up cloth or even an emergency changing mat for our bed (folded in half). Fitted diapers, AIO’s and pocket diapers just aren’t that versatile.

If you are thinking of grabbing a few of these bargain covers for your little one, here are the vibrant colors you get to pick from!



A closer look at the two new colors (Rainforest and Antigua) plus my favorite of the new prints – Scottie!


Here’s your chance to try the Diaper Junction one-size cover for your baby….for FREE! Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below, and you’ll have a shot at TWO one-size covers (choice of in stock colors) – thanks to our friends over at Diaper Junction! Open to US and Canadian residents. Allow 2-4 weeks for prize fulfillment.









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Smart Bottoms Newborn AIO Giveaway


The Smart Bottoms newborn diaper will be available in three new color combos this fall! Starting July 25, 2014 you’ll be able to buy their tiny “Born Smart” AIO’s in Lil’ Monster (purple and orange), Limelight (green and purple) and Crushin’ It (orange and green).

Here are the specs:

  • Organic cotton interior soaker plus a snap-in organic cotton doubler
  • Colorful waterproof PUL outer with an umbilical cord cutout
  • One additional set of snaps on the rise to give your newborn some extra growing room
  • Inner pocket for extra absorbency, if desired
  • Fits babies 6 to 16 pounds
  • Retails for $18


New colors are big news and Smart Bottoms wants to celebrate by giving one of my readers a newborn diaper in her choice of the 3 new colors!

THERE’S MORE TO BE EXCITED ABOUT: I received a Born Smart in the new Limelight color to review on my newborn, so be sure to look for that in your inbox very soon. Just waiting on baby to come!!

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents and ends on August 4th at midnight. Good luck!








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bumGenius 3-Pack Diaper Giveaway

Welcome to the bumGenius 4.0 Cloth Diaper Giveaway!

You can enter to win a package of eco-friendly cloth diapers which fit from birth to potty training! This giveaway is being hosted and sponsored by Sam at the Crunchy Livin Mama Style Blog. Sam has been cloth diapering for over 4 years and has tried many brands, but one of her favorites is bumGenius, namely the one-size 4.0 pocket diaper. I’m happy to share this opportunity for my readers to add 3 of these top-rated diapers to their stash!

Photo Credit: bumGenius

The bumGenius 4.0 fits most babies from 7 to 35+ lbs. The diapers are well-fitting, highly absorbent and have a stay-dry lining inside. You can choose from either snap or hook & loop closure.  Each diaper comes with both a newborn and one-size insert. The newborn insert is great for the first few months when you need absorbency but not too much bulk. The larger insert is adjustable for the perfect fit.  It can be snapped over itself for more absorbency in targeted spots. Another way to use the newborn insert is for a nighttime booster if you have an older, heavy wetter. One really nice feature of the 4.0 is the overlap at the back of the diaper opening to cover the pocket area. It gives a clean look to the back of the diaper but it helps eliminates any redness from the elastic along the back of the diaper. To adjust the fit of a 4.0, use the 3 rows of rise snaps and double row of waistband snaps. Visit Crunchy Livin’ Mama Style to learn more about her experience with bumGenius!

Photo Credit: bumGenius

You can connect with bumGenius on Facebook and Twitter.

To Buy: You can purchase bumGenius! products through a handful of retailers.
To Win: One winner will be chosen to receive a 3-pk of bumGenius 4.0 Cloth Diapers valued at $54.


This giveaway will begin July 25th and run through August 8th at 11:59pm. The winner will be chosen at random through Giveaway Tool. The winner E-mailed and given 48 hours to claim their prize. They will then be announced on the Giveaway Tool. The winner will receive the prize shipped to them from Crunchy Livin’ Mama Style. Any other participating blog is not responsible for prize shipment. Must be 18 years and older. Facebook, Twitter and Google are in no way affiliated with this giveaway. No Purchase Necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Open to US residents only.

Zephyr Hill Blog was not compensated for the promotion of this giveaway. All opinions are our own and were not influenced in any way. Keep in mind what works for us, our children or our family may not work for you. The sponsor will be responsible for prize shipment. Any participating blogger is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google and any other social media are not affiliated with this giveaway in any way. This disclosure is done in accordance with the FTC. If you have any questions regarding this post, please email Sam at

Cloth Diaper Sales: 50% off Planet Wise, $5 Swim Diapers plus FREE Stuff


My bulletin includes over 30 different cloth diaper stores
so you can find just what you need for your baby, at a great price!
Some of these are my affiliate links.

All Things Diapers
Get a FREE swim diaper with a $60 plus purchase using code “swim” at checkout. Valid until 8/31
Get a FREE bag of Rockin Green detergent with a purchase over $150 using code RG150
Gently used unbleached prefolds for $1.00 each
FREE shipping with a purchase over $45

Click store button to start shopping!


Get an instant 20% off coupon by email just by visiting the site!
Summer Clearance – get up to 50% off select styles!!
Get $5.99 flat rate shipping on any size order and FREE shipping on orders over $30
Join the VIP program and receive FREE shipping, member only discounts (up to 20%) and 5% loyalty rewards

Click the store button to start shopping.


Top-rated 1st aid diaper balm starts at just $3.00
This week’s Plastic Free July sale is 28% OFF sitewide until 7/24 – check back for next week’s sale
Click store button to start shopping.

Buttons Diapers
Save on the Basics Diaper pack which includes 6 covers, 18 inserts, 2 nighttime doublers and FREE shipping
Free shipping on orders over $75

Click the store button to start shopping!

Cloth Diaper Outlet:

Free shipping on orders over $35
Deep discounts in the Outlet section
Save 5% on orders over $50 with code Bonus50
Save 10% on orders over $150 with code Bonus150
Wolbybug diaper covers are just $10.99 – three NEW colors (teal, aqua and platinum)!
Click store button to start shopping.

Cozy Bums (Canada)

Charlie Banana final clearance
Bummis Super Brite covers on clearance for $11
FREE shipping for orders in Canada over $99
Click store button to start shopping!

Diaper Safari:

Diaper Safari one-size covers are $7.95 for a limited time only
Planet Wise snack bags 50% off
Get 20% off Boba 3G carriers
Get 20% off discontinued Fuzzibunz Elite pockets
Click the store button to start shopping!

Dearest Diapers:
FREE cloth wipe with an order over $40 using code FREEWIPE
FREE Sky’s Rain Wrap Scrap Teether with an order over $150 using code WRAPSCRAP
5% off orders of $20  or more with code MILITARY
5% off orders of $20 or more with code DSMAMAS (from the Diaper Swappers online forum)
Refer a friend and get $7 store credit

Click the store button to start shopping!

Diaper Junction:
FREE bumGenius detergent sample with a $20 purchase using code GETBG20
FREE Country Save detergent sample with a $20 purchase using code FREECS
FREE Water Testing Strip with a $20 purchase using code 20TEST
FREE RLR Laundry Treatment with a $39 purchase using code FREERLR
FREE CJ’s Butter sample with a $39 purchase using code BUTTER
FREE Microfiber insert set with a $49 purchase using code MICRO49
Free shipping on orders of $49 or more

Click the store button to start shopping!

Diva Diapers:
Newsletter subscribers receive exclusive coupon codes (10% off plus free shipping)
Training pants sale – starting at just $11
Imse Vimse swim diapers on clearance for $10
Earn DOUBLE reward points thru 7/24
Every Monday is Mama Monday, one lucky customer who places an order receives $25 Paypal cash!
Every Tuesday is Two-For–Tuesday: one lucky customer will receive TWO of one of their items!
Every Wednesday is Wacky Wednesday: one item on the website will be 15% off
Every Thursday is Thankful Thursday: one random Facebook fan will be chosen to receive a $10 store credit
Every Friday is Freebie Friday: one lucky customer has an item in her shopping cart refunded
Free shipping on all orders over $50; flat rate of $5 for orders under $50
Earn 1 point for every dollar spent

Click the store button to start shopping!

Ella Bella Bum
Premium embellished pocket diapers
FREE shipping on orders over $75
Just visit the website for an exclusive coupon code for 15% off your purchase!
Click store button to get started:

Happy Baby Company

Free shipping on orders over $35
Get a FREE mini Episencial Mighty Shield Lotion with orders over $30 using code BUGS5
Check out the Daily Deal up to 15% off
Get 10% off your order with code DS10 (from the Diaper Swappers online forum)

Click store button to start shopping.


Imagine Baby Products and Cloth Diapers

For a limited time, all Imagine products (pockets, AIO, flats, prefolds, covers and more!) are up to 38% off
New prints and colors have just arrived!
Pull-up, side snapping training pants are on sale
Click store button to start shopping!

Irresistibly Green

Fuzzibunz Perfect Size diapers are $11
Tiny Tush fitted diapers are $11.95
Select Kawaii diapers under $10
Check out the Bargain Bin for diapers under $15
Click on the store button to start shopping!

Itsy Bitsy Bums
Fuzzibunz wipes and wet bags on sale
Pre-loved diapers just re-stocked – get a great deal!
Planet Wise wet bags on sale
FREE shipping on orders over $35

Click on store button to start shopping!

The Joyful Giraffe:

FREE shipping on orders over $49
FREE Squooshi reusable food pouch with orders of $75 or more – code greenteam
Funky Fluff Stay Dry diapers discounted to $18.69
Check out the diaper deals $10 and under
Every order receives a FREE sample
Click the store button to get started!

Kelly’s Closet:
FREE one-size diaper cover with orders of $59 or more using code LEMONADE
FREE one-size diaper (worth $17+) with orders of $89 or more using code FLAMINGO
NEW Imagine knitted wool covers in stock!
Fuzzibunz Elite final clearance for $13.99
Moby Wrap close out sale (select colors) for $67.96
Sign up for the newsletter and receive 10% off your purchase

Click store button to start shopping!

Kissed by the Moon:

Spend $99 and get a FREE diaper worth $19+ with code SUNNYDAY
Get 15% off AppleCheeks diapers
5% off $25+ for military families with code: MILITARY
5% off $25+ for Diaper Swappers mamas with code: DSMAMA
$5 off a $45 purchase with code: WELCOME (This is a one-time use)
Free shipping on orders over $49

Click the store button to start shopping!

Lil Tulip’s

FREE Lil Tulips lip balm with orders over $25 – no coded needed, just mark the box at checkout
Imse Vimse swim diapers just $5.00!!
EcoPosh organic training pants just $11.95
Smart Bottoms diaper covers – final clearance price of $7.00
Free shipping on orders over $45

Click the store button to start shopping!


Lil Helper Diapers (Canada)
Save 15% on the Lil Helper starter diaper kit
Visit the site for an instant coupon for a FREE gift with your purchase
NEW customers: try a Lil Helper diaper for 30% off plus get FREE shipping! Write “no code necessary” at checkout
Now in stock – Lil Helper Lite diaper packages for $49 – includes 3 covers, 2 flats and 4 inserts!
Free shipping on all orders over $79

Little Spruce Organics:
EcoSprout detergent on sale
Engel organic fitteds on sale for $14.92
Kate Quinn organic clothing is 50% off
Overs over $100 ship free always
Save 15% always with my exclusive Zephyr Hill Blog coupon code ZH15 (not valid on sale items)
Click store button to start shopping!

Mom’s Milk Boutique:

Spend $25 or more and get a FREE BabyLegs flag leggings with code BLFLAG
Spend  $99 or more and get a FREE Aden + Anais swaddling blanket with code FREEWRAP
Wahmies wet bags on sale for $6.65 and up
Planet Wise wet bags on sale for 25% off, starting at $7.12
FREE shipping on orders over $25

Click the store button to start shopping.


My Sweet Pickles
July 21 and 22: save 10% to 15% on your favorite brands: Sweet Pea, Blueberry, Imagine, Planet Wise, Thirsties, SoftBums, AppleCheeks and CJ’s
Geffen Baby prefolds on sale for $5.46 and up
Get 5% off a purchase of $45 or more with code NEWCUSTOMER
Get 5% off a purchase of $20 or more with code MILITARY5
Free shipping on orders over $49
Click store button to get started!

 Nicki’s Diapers

Bummis diapers are 10% off for a limited time
Bumkins Snap-in-Ones are Buy 2 Get 1 FREE
Get 25% off Planet Wise products
Spend $50 to $99 and get a FREE pair of baby leggings
Spend $100 or more and get a FREE 2-pack of snack bags
Jellystone teethers are 20% off
GroVia discontinued prints are 30% off
Visit the Closeout section for 30 to 50% off
Click on the store button to get started!

Over the Moon Diapers

Get FREE shipping with orders over $60
Fuzzibunz clearance: inserts for $1.49 and XS Perfect Size diapers for $6.98
Newborn diaper rentals: get up to $130 of your deposit completely refunded
Check the great Customer Referral and Customer Rewards programs – you can earn gift codes!

Click store button to start shopping!

Smart Snugs Diapers

Get a FREE gift with any wet bag order – free gift ranges in value from $5 to $400!! (one shopper’s free gift will be a full stash of diapers). No code needed.
Buy a diaper bundle and get a “Mystery Bag” of diapers at deep discounts.
FREE shipping on all U .S. orders

Click on store button to start shopping!

Squishy Tushy
Free shipping over $45
FREE swaddle blanket with your purchase over $65 using code “lovey”
More discounts on gently used cloth diapers
Exclusive blog discount gets you 5% off everyday – zhblog

Click store button to start shopping

Sweetbottoms Baby Boutique
FREE shipping on all orders
Bummis Training Pants on sale for $13.50
Blueberry Coveralls, hook and loop, $14.95
FREE samples with every order over $25
FREE Sweet Pea one-size diaper cover with a $50 purchase using code SWEETPEA
FREE Planet Wise medium wet bag with a $65 plus purchase using code WETBAG

Click on store button to start shopping

Thanks Mama Cloth Diapers
*New* Get free shipping on ALL orders
Imse Vimese covers on clearance for $9.95
Kushies diaper wraps just $5.99
Kushies training pants just $7.99
Get a FREE diaper cover with the purchase of a Kissaluvs fitted or contour diaper package
Get FREE hemp inserts with any purchase of a Fuzzibunz diaper package
Get FREE microfiber inserts with the purchase of a Thirsties Duo diaper package
Changing Diapers book now just $5.99
Click store button to start shopping!


Tiny Tush Cloth Diapers:
Made in the USA.
Perfect Fit diaper covers on sale for $8.25
Sized pocket diaper son sale for $9.95
Receive a 20% discount code just for visiting the site and subscribing to the newsletter!
Coupon code save5 gets you 5% off every day
Earn 5% rewards on purchases and get free shipping on orders over $75

TushMate Cloth Diapers
Starter kit is just $25.78 and includes a one-size cover, a stay-dry liner and TWO cotton/hemp inserts!
NEW shell color – yellow!
Free shipping on orders over $25

Click store button to start shopping!

Up on the Hill Diapers
Tea Collection sale – use code SPRING to save 25% on Spring clothing
BabyKicks hemp prefolds on sale, starting at $5.75
GroVia wool wash bar on sale for $6.99
Rumparooz one-size diaper covers on sale for $13.60
Click the store button to start shopping!



NOTE: If you are placing an order from Canada with a merchant offering “free shipping,” it wouldn’t hurt to check first. Sometimes free shipping applies only to the continental U.S. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and affiliates! If you’ve got some coupon codes and sales to share, or find an error/omission here, please leave a comment below.

HUGE Cloth Diaper and Baby Auction Starts Tomorrow!


How would you like to have fun bidding on cloth diapers, teething jewelry and popular brand name mama and baby products AND support a wonderful charity at the same time?

It’s all happening at the Cloth for Everybum Facebook page starting Sunday at midnight!

Cloth for Everybum is a 6 month cloth diaper lending program that teaches diaper kit recipients proper use and care through trained mentors. Donations of all kinds, including new and used diapers, are appreciated by anyone who can help. Diaper kits contain 18 prefold diapers, 2 inserts, 3 covers, 4 pocket diapers, 12 handmade wipes, 1 wet bag, 1 cloth-friendly rash cream sample and 1 detergent sample.cfelogo

Cloth for Everybum’s mission is based on the old adage “If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.” Giving free diapers is not the primarily goal; the idea is to give ALL families the chance to use cloth and see how easy it can be – and how much money and waste it can save. Receiving a free starter diaper kit enables families to try cloth AND gives them time to save up to purchase anything they might need or want for their stash going forward. Then, they can “pay it forward” by returning the loaner kit, and the cycle will start all over again for another family. Alternately, the diaper kits can be purchased at the end of the rental period.

Donations to Cloth for Everybum can be mailed or dropped off; financial giving is possible online by simply choosing the chapter you wish to give to.


You will have the chance for 1 week to bid on the following:

  • Brand name cloth diapers and accessories (Thirsties, Snappi, Diaper Safari and more)
  • WAHM cloth diapers and accessories
  • Teething jewelry, hair accents, etc.
  • Baby food and infant feeding products
  • Breastfeeding products
  • Toys, bookmarks and much more!!

The auction will begin on Sunday, July 20th at midnight and end on Monday, July 28th at midnight – all items can be found in the designated photo album via Cloth for Everybum’s Facebook page.

Have fun bidding! You’ll see me there!





How Labor Pain Can Be a Good Thing


Five of my seven deliveries have been natural, and it’s my preferred mode of operation. “But why on Earth would you want to go through that pain if you don’t have to?” I’m sometimes asked. It’s a reasonable question. Maybe this post will help give you some perspective.

Pain can clue you in to how far along you are. I can easily push a broom or mop around during early labor but find it difficult to even talk when I’m having a contraction at the end of active labor. Your pain level is a pretty good indicator that it’s “time to go” if you’re having the baby somewhere besides home. It can tell you when you’ve gone from active labor to transition.

Here’s a great story to illustrate this point. A friend of mine was having some extremely painful contractions but they were 30 to 60 minutes apart. When she gave this information to the hospital they advised her to come when the contractions were more regular and closer together. She hung up the phone and waited again. A contraction came that brought her to her knees. Disregarding the hospital’s advice she told her husband “Let’s get in the car NOW.” Sure enough, the baby came very soon after their arrival. Pain, and not timing, was the tip-off. And that’s not an isolated case, because I have yet another friend who only had 3 very painful contractions in the course of one day before it was time to start pushing! Her midwife wisely judged the situation by how painful that very first contraction was, even though two hours had gone by before the next one came.

Pain can alert you when something is wrong. With my third child I labored for quite some time on my hands and knees; due to my back pain it seemed like a good position to be in. But the pain was overwhelming and unusually “sharp” and I wasn’t making any progress. This was a different kind of pain and I knew something wasn’t right. It didn’t take long for my midwife and me to figure out my little girl was not descending like she should. We decided to try a different position.. Thanks to the changes, our daughter descended within minutes. She was born two pushes after that. I often look back and wonder how I would have picked up on those “distress signals” had I been totally numb.

Pain lets you know when and how to push. Pushing can potentially be more effective when you can feel everything. Epidurals don’t just mask pain; they can completely obliterate the sensations of pressure, bearing down and crowning. With my second epidural, it was kind of surreal to be coached through pushing while everyone watched the peaks and valleys of my contractions on a monitor. I couldn’t feel anything, so I just obediently did what I was told. I balled up my fists, shut my eyes and pushed like Sisyphus on steroids. I pushed until I was blue in the face. But since I had been pushing blind (i.e. harder than I actually needed to), I paid dearly for that the next day with broken blood vessels all over my face, a throbbing backside and aching abdominal muscles.

Pain makes the birth experience even more memorable. Painful events become strongly cemented in the mind. Experiencing pain during labor marks the event in a special way for a woman. When great suffering is followed by great joy and relief, it’s almost magical. It’s amazing to go from intense pain to intense peace as your hold your newborn. Just minutes ago you were in agony and feeling as if it would never end; now just minutes later you are quietly going about the business of being a mother – putting on that first diaper, giving the first taste of milk, putting tiny socks on those little feet. Without the pain, the climax isn’t so earth-shattering. A marathon runner might want to collapse right after crossing the finish line, but when he hoists the trophy high it feels that much more special because of how his body suffered physically and mentally to reach that goal.

A warm stove feels better when you’ve just come in from the freezing cold. Water tastes better if you drink when you’re parched and dry. A hot meal is heavenly when you’re ravenously hungry. That feeling of “the agony was worth it!” is both humbling and exhilarating after labor.

John the Apostle penned a very memorable verse nearly 2000 years ago that captures this exactly: “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” (John 16:21)

Pain can have spiritual value. Labor is very intense and I know spiritual thoughts will probably NOT be foremost in my mind, so I make sure to “offer up” my pains in a sacrificial way before arriving at the birth center.  I just give it God ahead of time. Perhaps He can use the gift of my pain to help another person. I leave that all up to Him. :-)



How to Recycle and Reuse K-Cups


At Christmas, my husband completely surprised me with a single-serve coffee machine. To get an idea of how much I liked my present, I’ll just tell you that the 40-pack coffee sampler we bought was gone in less than two weeks (hanging head in shame). I love my Keurig and the convenience that single-serve coffee packs offer, but I don’t love all the waste generated by the single-serve cartridges. We did buy a reusable/washable filter that works with the Keurig, but I still like being able to pop a K-Cup in there without measuring grounds and washing a filter. The K-Cups are especially handy when we have company over and are pressed for time.

Like many others, I’ve wondered if those hundreds and thousands of K-Cups could be re-used or recycled. I never found any satisfactory answers to this question….until now. Recycle A Cup™ has created a little tool that separates the plastic K-Cup from the cartridge so you can re-use or recycle them. Recycle A Cup sent me their new tool to review, plus a pack of decaf K-Cups to facilitate the testing process.


What’s in a K-Cup? Components include the aluminum foil lid, the coffee grounds, a heat-sealed paper filter and the plastic cup. It’s not that you can’t recycle the parts, it’s just that separating them out is time consuming. And while Keurig has recently launched a Grounds to Grow On program, it’s only available to commercial customers right now. Where does that leave the average consumer who goes through hundreds or possibly thousands of K-Cups per year? This is the problem that Recycle A Cup has sought to address.

Here are the basic steps for using Recycle A Cup:

#1 LOAD: Place a used (cooled down) K-Cup into the holder. Gently turn until you feel the puncture hole on the K-Cup align and settle with the tiny little pin at the bottom of the holder. Put the lid on top, lining it up with the notches on the holder.

#2 TWIST: Without pushing the green buttons, give the lid a quarter turn to set it for cutting. Then press and hold both green buttons while twisting one full turn. This completes the cutting process.

#3 SEPARATE: Release the buttons and remove the lid. The top part of the K-Cup, with filter bag and grounds still attached, will come loose. The plastic bottom will remain in the holder; pop it out by pushing your finger through the hole in the bottom.

#4 RECYLE OR REUSE: The white plastic cup can be recycle or repurposed (see below for ideas). The filter bag and grounds can be composted. The foil lid can be peeled off and recycled.

Here’s my quick photo tutorial, plus there’s a video on You Tube if you’d rather see it in action.


What can you do with the separated plastic K-Cups? Simply find a local recycling center that accepts #7 hard plastics. If they can’t be recycled, you can repurpose them as seed starters, or wash and use for freezing things like mini Jello treats.



Seed starter idea, as seen on Pinterest

Plastic cups can also be collected and mailed in batches to Recycle A Cup, and they will take care of recycling for you:

Medelco, Inc.
Attn: RAC Processing
54 Washburn Street
Bridgeport, CT  06605

Recycle A Cup is not actually made of recycled plastic, however the company hopes to change this within in the next two years. You can still recycle the tool at the end of its useful life, though.

Here’s a brief summary of my thoughts on the Recycle A Cup:


  • The separation process is quick and easy. It takes me about 20 seconds, which is much faster than trying to do it manually.
  • There is no mess.
  • It can potentially reduce a massive amount of K-Cup waste (13% of the US population enjoyed a single serve brew yesterday – that’s a lot of plastic cups ending up landfills)
  • By exposing the organic component (coffee grounds) Recycle A Cup can help speed up decomposition (as opposed to the grounds being trapped in the plastic cartridge)
  • Your initial purchase of the Recycle A Cup tool includes 2 extra replacement cutting blades.


  • Recycle A Cup does not separate the foil top, paper filter and grounds; this must still be done by hand and is messy. As the website explains, though, it’s not a perfect process, and is one meaningful step towards making the use of K-Cups more eco-friendly.
  • Recycle A Cup is specifically designed to work with K-Cups and so may not work with all single-serve cartridges.

If you want to go the extra mile and break down your K-Cups completely, I recommend standing over the sink as you work the paper filter and coffee grounds loose, and have a container ready to dump it in for composting. You’ll need to wash your hands and rinse out the sink when done.

Here is what you end up with after breaking down a K-Cup completely:


Recycle-A-Cup suggests that replacement cutting blades be purchased every 30 days. A package of 6 costs just $9.99.

If you are excited about the prospect of being able to recycle all those plastic cups, Recycle A Cup has made it easier in more ways than one. They are offering a special promotion to my readers; you can get this nifty little tool for just $9.99 (which is five bucks off the regular price) PLUS free shipping with promo code jcd8nv.




Imagine Training Pants Review & Giveaway


Imagine Baby training pants have worked well for both Susanna and Samuel, so I wanted to go ahead and share an official review with you. The Prefolds to Potty Training giveaway hop seemed like the perfect time to do this!
PrefoldstoPottyTrainingFINALHosted by Lauren at and Maria at, this event began as a one year cloth diapering anniversary celebration for Lauren last year, but has grown into a celebration of the journey from diapering through potty training. Join us for two-and-a-half weeks of cloth diapering and potty training guest posts, introductions to some amazing products (to help get you through the diaper-potty training journey), two amazing grand prize packages, and a blog hop with fifteen other bloggers giving away cloth diaper and potty training prizes! Be sure to check out (and thank) our amazing grand prize sponsors, and “hop” on over to the other participating blogs via the linky at the bottom of this post.

Two years ago, I purchased the Emerald trainers in size large:


A view of the inner lining and sewn-in soaker (it only unsnaps on one side so I can’t open it up completely to photograph).


Here are the basic features of Imagine Training pants:

  • Cotton knit outer with a 100% flannel lining
  • Hidden layer of microfiber to absorb small accidents plus a hidden layer of waterproof PUL in the wet zone
  • Snaps on one side (the right side of your child’s hips)
  • Three sizes: Small fits 21-29 pounds, Medium fits 24 to 35 pounds and Large fits 31-41 pounds.
  • Five colors to choose from

Our Imagine trainers worked well for both Samuel and Susanna at a certain stage in potty training. This was the time when they were actively learning and were able to get through *most* of the day without a big accident. For the inevitable “oops,” these training pants are sufficient, but you have to change your child pretty quickly or it will wick onto clothing.

In this picture, Susanna is wearing the size large; she is 2.5 years old and 31 pounds.


Here’s a quick summary of my thoughts:


  • The cotton knit fabric is very soft and comfortable. It has a bit of stretch and the fit is superb.
  • The flannel lining helps them feel wetness immediately.
  • The inner layers are sufficient to catch a small accident but don’t add any bulk to the trainers.
  • Drying time is normal.
  • They look like “big kid” underwear, and not at all like a diaper (see photo above on Susanna)
  • The bright colors are fun.
  • They are very durable. I’ve used for over two years with two different toddlers and all I note at this point is some normal pilling on the fabric.
  • At $13.95, they are affordably priced. (NOTE: they are on sale for a limited time for just $11.95 each!)


  • They run small, so to have an XL size available would be great. Lots of toddlers are still learning at age 3 and beyond.
  • The snaps on one side are very handy (and they are well-hidden so as not to look like a diaper); it would be nice to have them on both sides! However, if your learner does not like snaps of any kind on their “big boy” or “big girl” underwear, this would be a plus for you.
  • The tiny side snaps are a *little* less secure than the regular-sized snaps you see on most cloth products. Sometimes, one or two will come undone as I’m pulling the trainers up or down on my children. However, they’ve never come unfastened while wearing.



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