October 2009 marked the start of a new journey for me. I'm officially a business woman and will have an income of my own! I've wanted to sell Arbonne products for a while because, let's face it, they're incredible. While I love being a stay at home mom and student (ok, not so much the latter), I had always felt that I should contribute in some way to the income. Now, with my life taking a complete 180 that I never expected, I NEED to have an income. My incredible friends Hannah B.  and Lindsay D.  convinced me to join their team... so I did! Right now, because of the current financial situation, I am only a Preferred Client, but I'm working my way up to earning the title of Consultant! Please support me in my new found independence while indulging in all natural, long lasting, amazing products!

*If you'd like some samples and a catalogue I'd be more than happy to send them to you! Send me an email to: with "arbonne" as the subject and your address in the body.

*If you already use Arbonne products, but don't have a consultant that you buy from, let me know! I can sign you up online and tell you all the great benefits of becoming a Preferred Client for a low cost of $30/year.... how does a 20% discount on everything sound?

*Not exactly sure what Arbonne is or what the big deal about their products is? Leave me a comment here and I'll be in touch with you to tell you all about it!

Why are Arbonne products so amazing? You can find your answer Here

In the meantime, browse the Arbonne website and check out all the products and specials!

If you'd like to place an order, follow these simple instructions:
1. Go to
2. Click on Join Arbonne
3. Enter your sponsor's (me) ID: #18398333
4. Complete your information
5. Order!

Raves & Reviews

Christmas is right around the corner so there will definitely be some reviews on toys and such! We're also gearing up to get Gunnar his first convertible car seat so a review on the chosen car seat will be here as well.

Homemade Baby Food

In this section I'll be posting recipes that I've tried and love, and also one's that I've come up with myself. In the meantime, here's a great source for everyone wanting to try making their own baby food!

Baby Sign

How do I (Ashley) teach Gunnar sign language?
In all honesty, before Gunnar came along I knew all of 3 words in ASL. I had always wanted to learn, just never actually took the initiative to do so. I still don't know a whole lot, and I honestly suck at the alphabet, but I'm learning. My approach has been that as I learn, so does Gunnar. I started doing baby sign with him the moment we brought him home from the hospital. When he would nurse I would do the sign for "milk." Now, don't assume I did it every single time, because I certainly didn't. I would do it 1-2 times per day, if that. There were weeks when maybe I only did it 2-3 times total. Now that he is 9 months old, I do it daily and with every single feeding. All other signs that we are currently doing are also part of our daily routine. For me, it's about repetition. I also take his hands and help him make the sign while I say it. I've found that one handed signs are easier for him to learn to repeat than two-handed signs (such as "more"). In addition to using videos online for quick reference, I have this kit. I love it. It has definitely been helpful in teaching me SL and the best way to approach teaching my son. I am by no means an expert at this, but I've done my fair share of research so feel free to ask me anything; just leave a comment here on this post =)

What is Baby Sign?
Baby sign language is a method in which you and your infant (or toddler) use American Sign Language with each other. Most babies can hear but do not yet have the physical ability to speak more than a few words, if any. Since speech is formed through the use of trained vocal chords, most babies can only form basic sounds. Also called infant sign language, baby sign, and sign language for babies, Baby Sign Language is composed of baby hand and finger signs that indicate words, concepts, and ideas babies need and want to communicate. These are words like "hungry", "milk", "wet", "hurt", "sleepy", etc...

When do you start?
There is general agreement that teaching babies sign language can begin as early as six months for almost any infant. Some baby sign experts generalize by saying that Baby Sign Language is normally introduced between the ages of six to nine months. Frequently, the approach is for the parents to begin signing in front of the child while learning the hand gestures. Somewhere between six to nine months, your infant will typically use their first sign.The fact is that Baby Sign Language can be taught as soon as parents are able to make and keep consistent eye contact with their infant.Teaching babies sign language requires your infant to be able to focus on the hand movement and have the cognitive skills to connect a gesture with a particular item.
A good way to judge when an infant is ready to begin using Baby Sign Language is when he or she can understand and use most simple hand motions. These include gestures for words like “hi” or “bye”, or Baby nodding head to mean yes, or shaking it to mean no. It is never too late to start teaching baby signing. Teaching babies sign language when they are nine months old all the way up to thirty-six months old is common.

How do you teach it?
Teaching babies sign language is not difficult at all. It is actually the same process as learning any language.

You begin with simple words and expand the word list as skills grow. You will begin teaching your baby how to sign before he or she can talk or even sign properly – usually between six and nine months. It takes hand coordination skills to sign gestures.
When you begin teaching babies sign language, you should have complete attention from your baby. You can start with words for things that are commonly done or used involving the baby. These will be words like “eat” and “toy” and “milk” and “book”. Start with a few signs and try not to teach too much too soon.



Coming Soon!

Baby Wearing

What is Babywearing?
Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby or child in a sling or other form of carrier.

What are the benefits?

  • Mommy/Daddy able to carry around baby while also being able to get things done
  • Breastfeed hands-free while on the phone or shopping
  • Keep your baby close and happy while playing with your toddler
  • Get some exercise (walking) while your baby sleeps
  • No need to lug around an awkward, heavy carseat, or battle getting a stroller into your car, onto a bus or up stairs.
  • Babies cry less. Research has shown that babies who are carried cry (on average) 43% less overall and 54% less during the evening hours (1). In cultures where babies are carried almost continuously, babies cry much less than those in non-carrying cultures (2-6).
  • Good for baby's mental development. Babies spend more time in a "quiet, alert state" when carried - the ideal state for learning. Their senses are stimulated while being carried (yet there is a place to retreat too). When carried, your baby sees the world from where you do, instead of the ceiling above his crib or people's knees from a stroller. And the extra stimulation benefits brain development.
  • Good for baby's emotional development.Babies are quickly able to develop a sense of security and trust when they are carried. They are more likely to be securely attached to their care-giver/s (7) and often become independent at an earlier age (8).
  • Good for baby's physical development. By being so close to your body's rhythms, your newborn "gets in rhythm" much more quickly. Your heartbeat, breathing, voice and warmth are all familiar. Research has shown how this helps newborns (especially premature babies) to adapt to life outside the womb (9).
  • Good for babies whose moms are depressed. Babies who are not held need more verbal interaction and eye contact, just to be reassured that you're there. Carrying your baby is a great way to connect with her (and provide stimulation too) without the "burden" of having to interact (10). Of course your baby is "right there" to enjoy whenever you feel like snuggling, kissing or talking.

BWing Terms:
Asian-style carrier/Asian Babycarrier (ABC)
The simplest form of two shoulder carriers is essentially a square of fabric with straps at each corner. Two straps tie around the wearer's waist. The other two straps go over the wearer's shoulders (they may or may not cross over) then attach to the carrier or tie to themselves. The Chinese MeiTai is an example. All Asian-style carriers are unstructured soft carriers.

Back carry
Any carry where the baby is worn on the back, almost always facing towards the wearer's back. 

Buddha carry 

A carry where the baby sits with their knees up and legs either crossed or tucked underneath; the baby sits on the wearer's front facing out; also called Kangaroo carry.

Carry (or hold)
As in the noun "a carry", "hip carry" etc. refers to the position where the baby is worn on the wearer's body. Eg. In the back carry, the baby is carried on the wearer's back. 

Cradle hold

A carry where the baby is lying down on the front of your body as though being cradled. If using a single-shouldered carrier such as a sling, the baby's head is towards the rings. Suitable for newborn and young babies.

Frame backpack
A backpack similar in design to a hiking rucksack but usually with a metal frame, and designed to carry a child. Mostly used for toddlers and preschoolers.

Front carrier /front pack

A soft carrier specifically designed to be used on the wearer's front. Suitable for babies once they can sit unsupported and for toddlers. Usually the baby faces the wearer, but some are designed so that the baby can also face out. See also soft carrier.

Hip carrier

A single shouldered carrier specifically designed for the hip carry, though some can also be used on the wearer's front or back.

Hip carry

A general term for any carry where the baby is against the wearer's hip, either slightly to the front, on the side, or slightly to the back. The baby's legs usually hang out, one to the front and the other behind the wearer with thighs parallel to the floor. Suitable for babies once they can sit unsupported and a popular carry for toddlers.

Kangaroo carry

Usually describes a carry of the wearer's front with the baby facing outwards and the legs inside the carrier (aka. buddha carry).

Nursing hold
A carry where the baby is lying down on the front of your body in a position suitable for nursing. Distinguished from the cradle hold because the baby's head is at the end opposite the rings (in a sling); the baby's legs may stick out the other end. Suitable for newborn and young babies.

Padded sling

Usually a shaped piece of fabric (something like a pea-pod shape), narrower than an Unpadded Sling. The shoulder end has rings and the opposite end is the "tail". To be considered a padded sling, either the shoulder or the sides of the fabric (rails) are padded. Padding varies in amount from "lightly padded" to "heavily padded". Padded slings usually come in different sizes.

Essentially a long "tube" of fabric, folded in half lengthwise to create a pocket for the baby. Worn over one shoulder like a sling. Can be used for the same carries as slings. Can be made of woven or slightly stretchy fabrics. Some have a certain amount of adjustability allowing two people of different sizes to use the pouch; this is usually achieved by zippers or rows of snaps. 

Sling (or ring sling)
A piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder and around the opposite hip/waist. Adjustable by use of 2 sling rings. In some slings, rings are replaced by a buckle or clip. See also Padded Sling and Unpadded Sling. 

Soft carrier
A carrier with straps that go over both of the wearer's shoulders to hold the baby against the wearer's chest and stomach. Some also have a waist strap. The baby may be supported by their crotch or across their entire bottom Soft carriers with a wide seat area hold the baby's legs up. Soft carriers include front carriers, back carriers and some hip carriers. Some soft carriers can be used on front and/or back and/or hip. See also Structured Soft Carrier, Unstructured Soft Carrier and Asian-style Carrier.

Structured soft carrier

This subset of soft carriers includes those that have shape and form even when not being worn. The rigidity is usually achieved with firm fabrics and use of padding. 

Types of Carriers:
Pouch sling: Essentially a long "tube" of fabric, folded in half lengthwise to create a pocket for the baby. Worn over one shoulder like a sling. Can be used for the same carries as slings. Can be made of woven or slightly stretchy fabrics. Some have a certain amount of adjustability allowing two people of different sizes to use the pouch; this is usually achieved by zippers or rows of snaps. 
Ring Sling: A piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder and around the opposite hip/waist. Adjustable by use of 2 sling rings. In some slings, rings are replaced by a buckle or clip. See also Padded Sling and Unpadded Sling. 
Woven Wraps: A single long piece of fabric that can be tied in various ways. It's the most versatile as it can be tied specifically to the wearer. 
Mei Tai: A carrier with straps that go over both of the wearer's shoulders to hold the baby against the wearer's chest and stomach. Some also have a waist strap. The baby may be supported by their crotch or across their entire bottom Soft carriers with a wide seat area hold the baby's legs up. Soft carriers include front carriers, back carriers and some hip carriers. Some soft carriers can be used on front and/or back and/or hip. See also Structured Soft Carrier, Unstructured Soft Carrier and Asian-style Carrier.

What do I use:
I currently only have a pouch sling but have used a ring sling and a Moby (woven wrap). I love my pouch sling because it sits up nice and high and is perfect for itty bitty babies. The ring sling is one of my favorites for nursing because the tail end of the fabric provides a cover when nursing (if your baby doesn't mind being covered... mine hates it). My absolutely favorite though, is the woven wrap. There's so much versatility and even though it can take a while to get on and off, it's perfect for trips where you'll be BWing for a longer period (versus the pouch which is perfect for quick trips). I find nursing to be very easy in a woven. Because you control on it fits, it's perfect for wearing at any age! I'm VERY excited to be buying a Moby for myself and to try wearing Gunnar on my back (when he gets a little bigger).


*Disclaimer: I've been breastfeeding my son for 10 months now and feel that I have a sufficient amount of knowledge on the subject. In no way shape or form am I going to say that BFing is the only way to feed your child or that it is the "right" way. It is, however, the best way because it provides the exact nutrition a child needs. As long as you're feeding your child, whether it's from the breast, pumped, or formula, I'm happy!

Until I get the chance to write out an organized post, take a look at the two ultimate breastfeeding resources available online.

*Remember that breastfeeding isn't easy! It is a challenge when you first start, but don't get discouraged. There are so many resources available and a ton of BFing moms that are more than willing to help you out with advice or support (such as myself) so please don't feel alone!


I'm a proponent of delaying/selective vaccination. Why? Because I feel it is what's best for my child. This may not be what you want, and that's fine, but this is the place where I'm going to talk about why it's right for me.

I'll start by saying that I loosely follow the Dr. Sear's vaccination schedule. I didn't really start this until Gunnar was a month old because I didn't do my research before he was born like I now wish I did. I cringe when I think that I let my not even 24 hour old baby get a Hep B vaccination. That just seems insane to me now!

What vaccines do I "reject" all together?
- Rotavirus: the symptoms of this illness is similar to that of the stomach flu. Like the regular stomach flu,  the only concern is dehydration, and as long as you make sure your child is getting fluids, you're fine.
- Flu: I don't get the flu shot for myself so why on earth would I get it for my child? There's a new one every year and it doesn't seem worth it to me
- Chickenpox (Varicella)- I had the chicken pox as a child and I turned out fine. To me, this seems like a vaccine that is just worthless. It's becoming so popular to get it for your child because of the fear of them not getting until they're older (which is a real concern).

What Vaccines do I delay?
All of them! Now, don't think that by "delay" that means my child hasn't had any vaccines and that he won't get them for years to come, because that isn't the case. He has had vaccines, but I space them out a lot more than "normal." At 13 months), he only has 1 full series of vaccines (hep b). I also, when available, get his vaccines separated. Why? Because that's 3- in- 1... meaning your child is being injected with 3 vaccines at one point in time. When it comes to vaccines, I don't go by how many pricks he's going to get, I go by how many vaccines he's actually going to get in his system, and my limit is 2 at a time (with the exception of the DTaP). Unfortunately, this doesn't work for all vaccines. I recently learned that it's near impossible to find the MMR shot in separate vaccines so we'll have to get that one as a single one, but this will be delayed until he's at least 2 years old.
*From personal experience of having my son in the hospital for 6 days, PLEASE get your child the DTaP vaccine at 2 months! It protects against Pertussis (whooping cough) which, when bad enough, can be deadly. Gunnar had it at a mere 6 weeks, 2 short weeks away from when he would've gotten the vaccine. In most cases, it's the parent who gives it to the child but rarely are they aware of that. There IS a booster for the pertussis vaccine for adults. It's called the Tdap vaccine and I strongly urge parents to get that vaccine so you don't get pertussis and then pass it off to your child.

Every parent does things differently and vaccinations are no different. However, they're a hot topic at this point in time. Just because I do things a certain way, doesn't mean you have to. The most important piece of information I can give you is to tell you to do your research! I never even thought about not giving my child every vaccination until I did research and found out that some of them really aren't necessary, and are in fact deemed "optional." Also, please talk to your pediatrician! Ask for handouts on the upcoming vaccines your child is to receive. If you feel you don't want your child to receive a particular one, express that to your pediatrician. He/She may put up a fight about it (hopefully not if you're lucky!), but in the end it is YOUR child and YOUR right to choose what you will.

Gunnar’s Vaccine Schedule
In Hospital
Hep B
1 Month
Hep B
2 Months
3 Months
PCV (pneumococcal)
6 Months
9 Months
12 Months
Hep B
13 Months
15 Months
18 Months
2 Years
2 1/2 Years
Hep A
3 Years
Hep A
4 Years
5 Years
MMR (booster)

Extended Rear Facing

Once again, I must give credit to Kassi (Just Because Photography) for introducing me to the wonderful world of car seat safety... including ERF*. Even though my little 14 pound baby boy is still in an infant car seat and obviously rear facing, I have no intentions what so ever of turning him around when he's a year old.

*Extended Rear Facing

A common misconception I've found are that a child should be a year old OR 22 pounds. NOT TRUE! I cannot emphasize enough that the child must be 22 pounds AND a year old in order to face forward! ( I've heard (and know) of some mommies who, once their child hits 22 pounds, decides to turn them around even though they aren't a year old. Please, please, please read up and know the facts! Knowledge is power and it can save a life!

So why ERF you ask? Here's why:
1. There's a greater risk of spinal cord injury in a front-facing carseat during a frontal crash.
2. Rear-facing car seats spread frontal crash forces over the whole area of a child's back, head and neck; they also prevent the head from snapping relative to the body in a frontal crash.
3. Rear-facing carseats are NOT a safety risk just because a child's legs are bent at the knees or because they can touch/kick the vehicle seat.

4. Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 overall cause of death for children 14 and under.

*The very common comment/question: My child's legs are too long. He/she won't be comfortable and will break his/her leg during a crash.

"Many parents have the misconception that children are uncomfortable or at risk for leg injury by having their legs up on the vehicle seat or bent when kept rear-facing.  These concepts are completely incorrect. First, children are more flexible than adults so what we perceive as uncomfortable is not for children.  Think about how your child sits in everyday play. Do they sit with their legs straight out in front of them? When they sit on the couch, do they purposely sit so their legs dangle out over the edge? No. In real, everyday life, toddlers and preschoolers CHOSE to sit with their legs folded up - that IS comfort to them.
Second, there is not a single documented case of children's legs, hips, etc. breaking or being injured in a crash due to longer rear-facing.  There are plenty of cases of head and neck injury in forward-facing children that could have been prevented if the child had remained rear-facing.  However, even if a leg or hip were broken or injured, it can be fixed.  A damaged spinal cord (from forward-facing too soon) cannot be repaired and subjects the child to lifelong disability or death."

Not Convinced? Watch this:  Forward facing crash and now watch this Rear facing crash 

Awesome Convertible Car seats:
Britax Boulevard (cs)- up to 65 pounds
Britax Decathlon- up to 65 pounds
Evenflo Triumph Advance- up to 50 pounds
Evenflo Titan elite- up to 50 pounds
Sunshine Kids Radian65- up to 65 pounds
Sunshine Kids Radian80- up to 80 pounds


Cloth Diapering

Major Brands and Acronyms

All In Ones (AIO)
*Does not require a cover
*Does not require a cover
GM- Goodmama (
- These one size (OS) diapers require a cover. GM also now makes AIO diapers called
  “The One.” Various types of fabrics are used and *most* come with snaps, but there
  are some that come snap-less. GM also makes overnight diapers as well as trimfolds.
- BSRB has fitteds, prefolds, and AIOs. All of their diapers are snappiable and 
  pinnable. They are also all OS. 
- fitted diapers and also all-in-two (functions like pocket or an AIO with an extra snap
  in soaker. Piddle Poddles come in a OS infant and OS toddler. 
SB’ish- Sustainable Babyish (
- these fitteds come with snaps or without (in which case you would need pins). 
  they are made of organic bamboo fleece and come in various solid colors as 
    well as overnight fitteds. These diapers are sized. 
Prefolds (PF)
GMD- green mountain diapers (
- these are the most common PFs and come in various sizes. 
SB’ish- Sustainable Babyish (
- SB’ish flats come in either organic bamboo terry or hemp/organic cotton fleece. 
  These flats are pinnable or snappiable. 
PB&E- Peanutbutter & Ellie (
- preflats are a cross between prefolds and flats. there’s an extra layer all around instead
  of in the middle alone. It is folded just like a prefold. There are two types: Grae and
  Molly. Graes are snappiable and pinnable. The molly works best when used with pins.
  These are sized. 

What Do I Use?
Our current stash is made up of:
- 8 bleached red edge GMD prefolds
- 12 regular size unbleached indian prefolds
- 7 goodmamas (2 snapless)
- 4 flip diaper covers
- 5 wool longies 
-  1 pair wool shorties

Wash Routine:
1 cold rinse cycle
1 hot wash/cold rinse w/ detergent
1 cold wash/cold rinse cycle, no detergent
2 extra rinses
dry on medium heat
*every 3 washes I add vinegar to extra rinse #1 and then add a 3rd extra rinse

Growing Up With Gunnar

Here you can find all about the way I raise my baby boy. From cloth diapering to vaccinations it's all here!

Baby Sign 

Baby Wearing


Cloth Diapering 


Extended Rear Facing

Vaccinations *Updated (4/7/10)

*Credit to Kassi at Just Because Photography for the idea. Check out her version: Raising Little People