Vapur: The anti-bottle (and giveaway!)

Posted: June 25th, 2010 | 26 Comments »

Okay people, I give to you, the best water bottle ever. I’m serious. You’re going to think so too after you read this, I just know it.

Vapur anti-bottles are reusable, foldable, rollable, dishwasher safe, BPA-free, attachable & identifiable. They are odor, taste & stain resistant, have a nifty little sport cap and they’ve even got a place to write your name. Can you deal? These bottles are so crazy awesome! We all know just how crappy bottled water is for our environment, and Vapur works to further the eco-friendliness of reusable bottles. By making lightweight and compact “anti-bottles”, their shipping & transport costs are way down. Vapur bottles are affordable, and they can help you save what could add up to be thousands of dollars on bottled water per year. Drinking water from your tap adds up to be about 51 cents a year (unless you want to add in the price of a decent water filter…but that’s still a LOT cheaper)! I’m so over having panic attacks ever time I think I lost one of our pricey Sigg bottles or Violet’s Klean Kanteen; Vapur bottles are 9 bucks each & they come in really great colors. A total bargain!

One of the things I love the most about these anti-bottles is that I can use them as an awesome “parent-hack” for V’s school lunch. I’ll fill it the night before, freeze it, and pop it in her bag in the morning. It keeps her lunch cool all day & then she has nice cold water to drink in the afternoon. Remember those creepy cold packs that your mom would put in your lunchbox as a kid? no more. Wait, was that just my mom?

These are so ideal for school and frankly, general travel & everyday use. V takes hers everywhere now, even when she’s just hanging out in the yard (see above). After a quick “don’t squeeze the bottle in the middle” tutorial, V was chugging water like a pro. I also really love that these bottles come with a nifty little carabiner on them, making them easy to hook on to almost anything. My husband is a former bike messenger & I know he would have loved to have one of these hooked to his bag during the hot & sticky summer months. They take up almost no space storage-wise and even when they’re full they are still nice and compact. Vapur anti-bottles have definitely earned a permanent spot in our home.

The excellent people at Vapur sent me two bottles, so I’m giving one of them away. The entry method is going to be a little different this time. To enter, Visit Littlewhirl on Facebook and leave a comment under the link to this post telling me what your favorite thing about Vapur anti-bottles is. You can earn extra entries by Becoming a fan of Vapur on Facebook, Following Vapur on Twitter, Blogging about this giveaway (with a link back to this entry), Tweeting about this giveaway (@littlewhirl with a link to this entry), following Littlewhirl on Twitter or updating your Facebook status to mention this giveaway (with a link back to this entry). Just don’t forget to leave a separate comment (on the Facebook page) for every entry that you do or it won’t count! A lucky winner of a purple Vapur anti-bottle will be drawn July 9th.


Vacation

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

We spent a week in Block Island with good friends & it was AMAZING (hence the Littlewhirl crickets over here). The timing couldn’t have been more perfect and it was our first family getaway! So heavenly. It’s taken me over a week to settle back into real life and of course, shortly after our trip, I was plunged into solo parenting for 5 days. Yikes! This photograph was taken at the Northern point of the island, when Jesse & I got to sneak out sans junior mints. God, it is so dreamy there.

Vacationing aside, I am hard at work on some new reviews, and we’ll be doing a giveaway shortly so keep checking back! xo


Rhoost Winner!

Posted: June 13th, 2010 | No Comments »

So sorry folks, we went on vacation! Anyhow, the winner of the Rhoost giveaway is Kristin!

She said:
We totally need these!!! Delia has started scooting and we’re in big trouble. These look so much easier to use than those yucky plastic ones we’ve had in the past.

Congrats! I’ll be contacting you shortly for your information!


Growing.

Posted: May 26th, 2010 | No Comments »

This summer we have a garden. It’s been a plan of mine since we moved here in January of 2008 but last summer I was too big & pregnant to make it happen. My birthday is in the middle of May, and so I asked that this year, my present be plants. This works out perfectly since a) plants aren’t too terribly expensive and, b) every May, Southside Community Landtrust, a little place in South Providence has an AMAZING plant sale. Going to this plant sale is something I’ve done every year for almost 10 years. I love it, the people there are so great and the place itself is just….magical. Plus there was a vegan ice cream truck with soft serve right outside of the sale. Best day ever? I think so.

So Jesse handed me an envelope full of money & told me to go nuts. I did. Since then I have been busting my ass in our yard to make it happen. I tore everything out of our terribly overgrown & neglected front garden bed and tilled it all by hand (something I am still working on, in fact,
I’m looking out the window right now wishing I was getting it finished because my kale desperately needs a permanent home). I’m so close! Working outside has been really therapeutic for me, even though I only get a couple of hours because I usually work after the girls have gone to sleep.
Sometimes V & I will work together, she’s been so great and she’s a pretty darn good gardener for a 3 year old! We have strawberries coming in already, a pretty massive collection of potted herbs, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, lemon cucumbers, peans, green beans, kale, collards, salad mix & arugula. I love to see our yard so full of life and watching Violet check on everything every day, trying to figure out if it’s grown at all. This is one of the things I totally cherish about being a parent. Teaching my little ones the wonder of life (and having something to eat afterwards!).


Rhoost: Babyproofing with style.

Posted: May 24th, 2010 | 50 Comments »

I hate babyproofing. HATE it. I had one safety lock on V’s closet that nearly gave me a heart attack every time I opened it because it was so hard to use. I opted out of having a coffee table instead of covering ours with gross plastic that would inevitably get food and other gross stuff stuck in it. Plus, I admit it, I’m a total snob when it comes to stuff like that.

Now that Clementine is starting to become more mobile it’s that time again. Just when I started to be able to trust that Violet wouldn’t harm herself if every single cabinet in our house wasn’t locked, I have to do it all over again. Thankfully, I came across Rhoost & they happily agreed to send me some samples.

Rhoost was started by Vianka Perez Belyea & Tavinder Phull in Newton, MA. With two great names like that I have to admit, I was expecting a lot. They totally delivered! Rhoost products are not only nice to look at, they are functional, affordable, portable, are BPA, lead, phthalate-free and 100% recyclable. They also come in two colors, brown & black so they can actually compliment your home instead of making it look like a plastic covered atrocity. Now my house looks like a fancy atrocity! We tested both the Edge om & the Sling hub, both were great & super easy to install. The Edge om on my husband’s work table is hardly noticeable and he can take it on & off as he pleases without putting a mark on the table. To see just how easy they are to use, check out these videos. I’m very excited to see how Rhoost grows over time.

I am so happy with these, and the best part is, Vianka has graciously decided to let us host a giveaway! So here’s how you can enter: leave a comment telling me what you think the coolest thing about Rhoost products is & why. Earn extra entries by Becoming a fan of Rhoost on Facebook, Becoming a fan of Littlewhirl on Facebook, Blogging about this giveaway (with a link back to this entry), Tweeting about this giveaway ( @littlewhirl with a link to this entry) or updating your Facebook status to mention this giveaway (with a link back to this entry). That’s 6 ways to enter! Just don’t forget to leave a separate comment for every entry that you do or it won’t count! A lucky winner will be drawn June 4th.

Good Luck!


bumGenius

Posted: May 19th, 2010 | 5 Comments »

I remember when I got pregnant with V, Jesse & I immediately decided we wanted to cloth diaper. I knew absolutely nothing about it and all we had was a pile of Gerber cloth diapers* and some pins. Then at my baby shower, someone gave me a giant box of disposables. Of course, we kept them, and when V arrived we thought “Well, we’ll just use these for the first 6 weeks because everyone says that’s the crazy time”. Thus started our disposable habit. Ugh. And even as I learned more about cloth diapering, the initial cost of it was terrifying. I know you save in the long run but we were (and largely still are) two broke kids with small babies.

Anyhow, for my birthdays, when V was 6 months or so, I asked my family to buy me a dozen bumGenius 3.0 one size cloth diapers. I had read about them online and thought they would be a good option for a n00b like me. When they arrived, I could not believe how easy they were to use. We used them half time with V until she was almost potty trained (at age 3). Now I’m using them full-time with Clem and I LOVE THEM. Parents-to-be, put these on your registry if you are at all interested in cloth diapering; they are so worth it (and don’t forget the rice paper liners, total life saver). With companies like Pampers trying to fool people into thinking that using disposables is “better” than using cloth, it’s more important than ever to spread the word about the benefits of cloth.

bumGenius 3.0 one size diapers can be used from infancy up until approximately 35 lbs. with the simple adjustment of a few snaps. It’s a pocket diaper, and they come with two inserts: a one-size insert & a newborn insert. It’s literally as easy as sliding the insert in the pocket and putting it on your baby. When I wash my diapers, once they are dry I take the time to put the inserts in so they are ready to go when Clem needs a change (trust me, you get a lot less pee all over the place that way). The material is super soft, very stretchy and waterproof. They fasten with two easy velcro tabs so even at your sleepiest, they are easy peasy. These diapers make cloth diapering such a breeze (and they come in a variety of lovely colors too).

bumGenius was started by Jimmy & Jenn Labit of Cotton Babies. Their story is pretty amazing and really, I can’t recommend them enough. Cotton Babies offers a huge range of cloth diapering options, and for those of you who are still finding it hard to cover the initial cost of cloth diapers, there are definitely options to help you get started. I am so happy that we are cloth diapering full-time now, it feels a lot better emotionally as well as environmentally.

*as a side note, Gerber cloth diapers are a staple in our house. They can be used for pretty much anything: rags, burp cloths, wash cloths, etc. I highly suggest having some of those around the house!


Happy Belated Mother’s Day! (and an update)

Posted: May 12th, 2010 | No Comments »

Phew. Things have been very crazy over here lately, I just noticed that I haven’t even posted anything since last month! So I promise you guys, I will get it together this month. I’ve been totally sucked into motherhood. Clementine is learning and doing new things every day. We’ve also had tons of exciting things brewing with my husband’s music non-profit, CASH Music!

I hope everyone had a lovely Mother’s Day weekend, we laid low for the most part. Clementine woke up at 6:00 so there was no sleeping in, but I let her off the hook because she’s new….I did however get a very yummy soy latte from Starbucks that morning. My favorite special treat.

Yesterday, I got the sweetest email from a complete stranger, complimenting my musical taste! It totally made my day. So, Thank You Doug for the “note of excellence” (and sorry I swiped the domain you wanted).

I just wanted to send a quick note to compliment your fine musical
taste. I went to register Little Whirl as a domain today and it was
taken. Of course I had to see who had it and stumbled upon your site.
My assumptions are that you found the name via the GBV (Tobin) song
with the same title.

Thanks for making my day!

Doug
GBV Fanatic

I did in fact take the name littlewhirl from the Guided by Voices song, one of my favorite tunes ever. It’s definitely worth a listen.

I’m working on a bunch of new articles, which is pretty exciting! Littlewhirl is really starting to grow and for that I am so thankful & happy. Spring is always such an exciting time of year for me. I’ve even started Couch to 5k! I’ve never been a runner and bad knees are rampant in my family but so far I am having a lot of fun doing it!

So please start checking back, I’m on a roll!

Love,
Taryn (Littlewhirl)


Kimochi’s Winner!

Posted: April 25th, 2010 | 2 Comments »

Our winner for the Kimochi’s giveaway is Megan, who said:

these sound AWESOME. Henry has been crazy emotional lately. Maybe he is starting the terrible 3’s early?
love love love.

Congrats Megan! I’ll be contacting you for your info soon.


Heatherjeany

Posted: April 23rd, 2010 | 1 Comment »

I find that the second time around, I’m not as concerned with very cute or unique kid clothes, I’ve come to learn that everything pretty much just gets dirty. But man, my friend Heather makes some really rad t-shirts (and stationary….and wedding invitations) that I just can’t resist.

Heatherjeany, otherwise known as Heather Toupin is a RI based artist who pretty much blows my mind on a daily basis of how much she can get done while still taking care of her adorable little son Finn. She also owns an excellent coffee shop with her husband Tom in Providence, RI and has more hobbies than I could ever hope to. For 9 years she worked as a textile designer for a large upholstery mill, and for the past few years has grown Heatherjeany into a full time gig. Starting with stationary then moving on to custom invitations and now clothing. Judging from the list of shows she’s doing this summer, Heatherjeany is in full force.

Heather hand prints everything with her trusty print gocco & has most recently starting silkscreening the most amazing shirts for kids (and adults too!) printed on American Apparel T-shirts, which are pretty much the best t-shirts ever. V is totally smitten with her bicycle shirt. Stop by her Etsy shop and buy some stuff!


Getting through the Terrible Threes, with Kimochis! (and a giveaway!)

Posted: April 12th, 2010 | 76 Comments »

Any parent can & will tell you that 3 is much worse than 2. While it’s one of the most amazing stages, it can also be totally mind-numbing & infuriating at times. All of a sudden, Violet thinks she knows everything, can do anything and will fall apart at the drop of a hat. Finding the line between discipline & a cool hand is really hard, especially when your kid is having a total meltdown because she can’t find her socks. Emotions run high when you’re 3…

Kimochis have been really great in helping V express & understand how she’s feeling. Kimochi means ‘feeling’ in Japanese, and the goal of Kimochis is to provide a tool for children to be better communicators & feel comfortable doing it. Each Kimochi character has a little backstory; We have Bug, he’s a caterpillar that is afraid of change, he dreams of flying and is very cautious & thoughtful. He has a little pouch in his belly where he keeps his feelings, small plush faces with different emotions printed on the back. Bug comes with brave, left out & happy. Since we only had 3 feelings to work with, We made some extra feelings on small scraps of paper for the meantime (extra feelings can be purchased here). We have been using Bug in two different ways: Role Playing, in which we choose a feeling and act out that feeling with Bug and numerous other stuffed pals. I also use Bug when V is getting out of control or is in a time out. I’ll sit her down, spread out all of the feelings and have her pick one. Each feeling has a facial expression on it so I let her choose based on that. We’ll stick the feeling in Bug’s belly, talk about that feeling, why she’s feeling that way and then do a little role playing. Then once we’ve talked about it and she’s calmed down, we choose another feeling to represent the feeling she has when we’re done. Having Bug around has definitely helped us in the communication department. It’s almost like having an adorable stuffed mediator as silly as that sounds. And it’s way less weird then those hand puppets Dr. Marvin uses in “What about Bob”?…..

The Kimochis website has all sorts of helpful information for parents, including videos. It’s totally worth a look through. It really has been so helpful for us as a family. I mean, I’m still definitely looking forward to 3 being over but this makes it a lot more tolerable. The best part? The lovely Nina over at Kimochis has graciously let us host a giveaway! So, enter to win your very own Kimochi by leaving a comment telling me who your favorite Kimochi is and why. Earn extra entries by Becoming a fan of Kimochis on Facebook, Blogging about this giveaway (with a link back to this entry), Tweeting about this giveaway ( @littlewhirl with a link to this entry) or updating your Facebook status to mention this giveaway (with a link back to this entry). Just don’t forget to leave a separate comment for every entry that you do or it won’t count! A lucky winner will be drawn April 25th.

Good Luck!