Windows in My life

Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Friday, March 30, 2012

Going Back to Work - A Mother and her Breast Pumps

With many work out side the home mom's know breastfeeding is a challenge and a nightmare. Got to get the right things for working AND try to decide which pump to take back to work with you. This is my review of the two breast pumps I currently own.

I breastfed my daughter Bella for 22 months and planed on breastfeeding the new one when he or she came here. Well baby Grace came and we were able to establish a great breastfeeding relationship. The down side was my breast pump from when I pumped at work a Medela Pump In Style (the back pack kind, see picture below), was falling apart. I would think a little wear and tear after a year and a half was reasonable, however, 
This is the Pump In Style style I own
This Hygeia EnJoye Pump that I am using now
the tabs on the zippers started to fall off (my husband made a few make shift ones), and the bag in the back started to split along the seam. Also just recently, one of the face plate's prog broke. I was a bit overwhelmed to say the least. The warranty expired long ago and I wasn't too happy about the fact I could not take the motor out and place it in a new case if the bag got damaged in any way.

Like any mom about six months in to the pumping for Bella, I was looking at the latest in breast pumps, by then I was not having too much trouble with the Medela, I really liked the fact that I could transport a few things in the bag portion, but my love for the pump was over with the face plate coming off each time I pulled the tubing off. My husband didn't like the cleaning of the flanges because the membranes (little plastic tabs that helped with the suction), they would either tear or get lost when he cleaned them for me. And I came across the Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump.

At first the jaw dropping price was around $100 more than that of the Pump In Style, but for me it offered freedom. The freedom to leave the bag behind and use many of the back packs I had. The top of the line breast pump has a Lithium Battery pack built in, so if there is no power outlets around no problem. The problem was convincing my husband that I needed something else. The Medela pump still worked, so I wasn't going to get one any time soon.

I told myself and my husband in 2011, with baby number 2 on the way I wasn't going to use the Pump In Style. The motor was still running but the bag was in bad shape. I told him that I wanted the Hygeia EnJoye Pump and showed him the website (Hygeia Baby) and gave him the bullet points:
  • Enclosed Lithium battery
  • Certified Recyclable parts
  • Can use all of the old pumping bottles and items from Medela (I have a lot of old things in good condition still)
  • Can record the baby crying on the device (no ear phone plugs though)
  • And I just want it.
I bought it two weeks ago and I am in love. Wednesday was my first day using it and it was purely easy to use. I was able to pump Grace's milk in the Medela bottles and still have the Hygeia bottles for work. So I don't have to spill any milk (unless I trip) in the morning when I am groggy. It was easy to set up and I was pumping in no time flat.

More Later as I need to attend to Grace! Next post will be a Review of the new Medela Calma Nipples Grace is using for the first time this week!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This year is an important year

This year will mark the fourth year I have had this blog. Combined I have probably blogged one third of a year's worth of material. However I have had a few other blogs that would probably make up the loss. This year I hope to do many more things like Reviews, Giveaways and invite you into my life a little more. I have several things I'd like to say and do so stay tuned!

It also marks the fourth year of my marriage! Go figure!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review - Lighting-Fast Chinese for Kids and Families by Carolyn Woods

Learning a language can be tough, whether it be your second or third and in my case filth! With a full time job, two kids, and a husband to look after I though the possibilities of learning a language was remote. Only when my two year old was watching Ni-Hao Kai-lan on the television was it possible to engage her and my husband in another language. So when this book review opportunity came I really wanted to give it a shot.

Having the sayings from Kai-lan, the small amount of Chinese food words and random words I picked up from my husband, I was totally lost and overwhelmed to start learning one of the oldest languages in the world.

Taken from
The book Lighting-Fast Chinese for Kids and Families by Carolyn Woods makes it easy. She creates prompts and guides in the 60 pages (in paper back or on the Kindle) that made it easy for me to ask my two year old basic questions in real life situations like getting dressed, going to the Zoo, and going to the store. How easy is that? Immersion is one of the best ways to learn a new language and by taking this book with us as we went walking to see the shī zi (lions), lǎo hǔ (tigers) and the xióng (bears) at the Zoo made it more interesting because we were having fun learning Chinese. And that is when real learning takes place.

A small video I made to show you how fun and easy the lesson are!

More by Carolyn Woods
Lightning-fast Spanish For Kids and Families 
 Lightning-fast Spanish Vocabulary Building Crossword Puzzles 
Lightning-fast French For Kids and Families
Lightning-fast German For Kids and Families
Lightning-fast Italian For Kids and Families
Make Money From Home With A Children’s eBay Business
And just published 
Lightning-fast Japanese For Kids and Families

There are only 2 cons I could see about the book. One was the lack of clarity of what dialect I was about to learn. In China there are two main branches Mandarin and Cantonese, then there are the smaller regional subsets. I had to ask my husband, who has a few years of the language, tell me it was Mandarin. The second was the word Pinyin, not until the end of the book is it defined, in the book, {as} the Chinese phonetic language, rather than characters. I would have liked to see that in the beginning as I thought it was the actual dialect of Chinese! 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars (Amazon Rating system), because of the ease of use that my family enjoyed learning from the book, but lost a star because of the confusion of the dialect and definition as I pointed out above.

Please Note: I was given a copy of the book to review ($14.99 value), however was not told in any way how to write or do a video for the author or received anything other than the copy mentioned above to influence my review.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review of Sew Curly Creations - A Pink Blankey for Grace

I love to follow Mom-businesses on twitter. I don't remember when I started to follow Sew Curly Creations on twitter (@SewCurlyK) but I think it was due to something she said about her three little girls that made me want to follow her. Also being a entrepreneur of hand crafted items I could learn from her as well.

One day she posted that she needed some test babies for her new blanket idea she had in December. Since I was due in a week I thought maybe I could help her out. Even if my new born didn't get the chance to test drive the item I would still know I tried and maybe the next time.

There were several people that wanted to test the blanket out and Grace and I were chosen. She asked me what the baby's name would be and I stated I didn't know until the birth. She said when the baby was born just let her know and she would work on the blanket. A week later Grace came in this world and I told her when I was able. And started the look out for the blanket.
Snug in the blanket.
When the blanket got to my house it was nicely wrapped in tissue paper and had a few business cards of hers tucked inside. I inspected the embroidery and it was nicely done. It didn't have the huge sheet of backing that I find in other embroidered items and I really dislike because I have to throw the excess away because it falls off in the wash and gets other clothes dirty.

The blanket edging is nicely done. Instead of the pointed edging, its squared and is a little heavier than the blanket, which is nice because it gives it a little weight so it won't blow away. There are a few rough spots, however it shows that it was hand made and not done in a factory.

The material for the blanket is a soft pile that is cushy, the only draw back to it is that it does cover the nice work of the embroidered name. If it was done on the shorter side of the fabric, I think the name would stand out more. However the name is still visible and in very nice script.

When my Mother-in-law saw it she said it was very beautiful asked me where I got it, and at the same time my daughter who is two and a half asked where her blanket was and proceeded to get a possessive of the blanket until I explained that this was Grace's special blanket and she had her own.

In the weeks following the arrival, it has been washed several times because of the regular happenings of the baby and has been dropped on the ground by accident as well. My major fear in the beginning was washing it and the color of the blanket bleed into the white of the words. As one wash led to two, not only did the letters stay white, the rest of the wash (I don't separate my whites from my brights) stayed their same color as well.

I am very happy with the quality and how it keeps my daughter warm. I wish this would have been a colder winter as she does run a little warm during the days, however it does help at night when we are coming back in the cold and the few blankets we have are a bit too warm for her right now. And just recently I took it to Grace's first Yoga class and used the blanket and a couple of moms said that they liked the blanket and wanted to know where it came from.

My rating would be 3.5 out of 4 stars - As I stated there are a few things that are small like the one end of the blanket and the nice embroidery covered by the material. As this is a test run to see how things are in the real world for her design and it keeps my daughter warm, I can honestly say I think this blanket is going to be with us for a very long time as Grace's comfort blanket.

My cat kneading the blanket. 
He stayed and slept on it next to Grace.

Please note: I was not paid for this review nor the rating I gave. I did get the blanket for free and was not told to write a review in exchange.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Winter's Passage - A Novelette Review

Winter's Passage

The Novelette "Winters Passage" by Julie Kagawa, published by Harlequin TEEN.

First impressions of any book are key to me. First off its by Harlequin TEEN which I haven't read, to be honest, many books from that division of Halrequin, but I have read some from the main Harlequin publisher and they have entranced my memory for days after and this one will do the same. Second after reading her bio it turns out she's a California native with Bay Area roots and Hawaiian highlights.

Get on with the review you say! Here it is:

For a Novelette it is a great little bridge between the Iron King and the new book that is coming out the Iron Daughter. I never read the first book but this 60 page novelette has made me want to get the first book and pre order the next (coming out in August).

I really enjoyed the pace of this book. For 60 pages it never once took a turn for the boring. Some short stories I've read felt like it was going on for ever and the author should have ended the scene 2 pages back. I like the use of detail when needed. The author seems to be aware that setting the scene is important but does not over do the statement that she is trying to get across. As this excerpt states:
The forest thinned, and jagged cliffs rose up on either
side of us, sparkling in the sun. Huge blue and green
crystals jutted out from the sides, sending fractured prisms
of light over the snow.
Then goes back in to the story of the monologue as you are reading some one's thoughts and not just another book that has over detail and not enough action.

I also liked the fact that the author brought depth to characters that were background characters and not just put there as to be set up persons and brushed aside after the main characters left. I kept wondering about the evil that lurked in the bar after the two main characters left. And I wondered if another of the background characters was able to get her child whole for that night or was it just a dream that she had.

It is also nice that it was short and fast. As a mom of an almost 1 year old it is hard to squeeze in time to read let alone do this review. So an hour really does count. She packs so much into it that I had to re-read it just to make sure that I got all the little details that I might have missed at 4 in the morning when I wake up to start my day.

I give the novelette a big recommendation and now through July 31 it is free on the Enter Fairy World website and there you can also read the first 3 chapters of the Iron King which begins the epic journey of Meghan Chase and her journey into the Fey.