Tuesday, May 5, 2015

American Bronzing Company Review and Giveaway

I'm a sucker for sentimental things, especially for my kids.  Now being the sentimental person that I am, when I saw an article in the Deseret News about shoe bronzing coming back into style I was thrilled!  I'd seen old shoes that had been done before but didn't realize that the company that was known for it was still around and really not that far off, just over in Columbus, Ohio!  I contacted the American Bronzing Company back in March about a possible review.  To my surprise, Bob Kaynes, grandson of Violet Shinbach, the Mother of Baby Shoe Bronzing, was the one to respond that he would gladly work on this and sponsor a giveaway of a gift certificate for baby shoe bronzing!

American Bronzing Company is the largest baby shoe bronzing company in the world with over 13,000,000 baby shoes bronzed since 1934.  This year alone they expect to  bronze over 40,000 baby shoes.  That is a ton of tiny shoes preserved in metal and lots of little wobbly first steps saved not only in parents' memories but able to be passed down through the years and displayed. 

I had Pete's first shoes bronzed and got them back a bit ago.  It takes about six weeks to have them bronzed.  Pete was a late walker and had extra wide feet, so his are a bit bigger than the average baby's shoes.  He was 18 months old when he finally got his first pair of kicks, and now they are sitting on the piano, which isn't something they were doing before having them bronzed.
Pete's shoes right before shipping them off for bronzing

Ordering the shoes on the website and shipping them in is easy.  There are options for mounting and finishes.  Pete's are loose with the antique finish; there are also option for bright and for a bit more pewter and porcelain, lots of different options to fit all the styles of shoes. 
the finished product

I was impressed with how carefully they were shipped they came back to me in an oversized box full of packing peanuts and wrapped.  I liked that they took care of shipping it back carefully so it couldn't get damaged.
Can you still tell the brand?

The overall look of the shoe is amazing.  They took the care to adjust and line up the straps, stand up the tongues and the back of the shoe nicely. I find it amazing the amount of details that come through; I can tell the difference between the fabric used in the shoe, and the logo of the shoe's brand is still there and legible.   For the unmounted shoes, they have adhered felt to the bottoms to protect the finish of furniture or wherever they will be displayed from the metal scratching the surface.  It wasn't an issue I had considered so I'm glad they did! They also put his name across the strap of his shoe since the toe wasn't conducive to it. 

felt to protect surfaces from scratches
Pete's name across the strap
All in all I'm thrilled with our bronzed shoes. The quality and workmanship is superb.  I like the fact I'm supporting an American company and manufacturing plus continuing on a tradition.  I've always been fascinated by bronze shoes and now get to have my own children's done.  Phil began by thinking it was silly but once we got them back he agreed that it was really cool and amazing to see how small Pete was at one time.  Our shoes are on our piano in the front room with the family pictures.  Once Nora has her first shoes and is finished with them I have plans to have hers done as well. 

Now for the giveaway that Mr. Kaynes has given me - a little something to give away to a lucky reader…a certificate good for the free bronzing of 2 baby shoes!  If your name is chosen, I’ll send you the certificate! Also make sure to tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

One final note: If you enter the drawing for the free bronzing but don’t win the prize,
don’t worry!  I’ve arranged for you to still be able to get a special discounted price just
for being a blog follower!  To take advantage of this, go to www.americanbronzing.com, choose the style and finish you like, place an order and enter the Discount Code BLG15A when you check out and you’ll Save 15% as the price will be reduced right there!  But don’t delay…as the offer expires on June 3rd, 2015.

*I received the product for free in order to review, but all comments and reviews are my own and not that of the company's.  Some of the pictures are my own while others were provided by American Bronzing Company. 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

First Pigtail

I decided to play with Nora's hair a bit the other day.  It was her first pigtail.  She hated me messing with her hair, so I doubt it will be happening again for some time.  Plus I'm thinking she'll be having a haircut soon as well since she is getting a baby mullet.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: GoGreenBabybyRenee Cloth Diapers

Last Saturday was the Great Cloth Diaper Change; it's not too big of a surprise if you haven't heard about it.  I'd never heard about it until I had Nora and got involved in cloth diapering fully.  The condensed version is people meet up and change their babies  at 11am (local time) around the world.  Mostly it is for getting the word out about cloth diapers to those that normally hadn't heard and have a chance to meet up with other cloth diapering families.  Anyway while at the one in our area, there was a vendor that was selling her own homemade diapers or a WAHM (work at home mom) diaper. She had so many adorable ones I just couldn't walk away without buying one, and she was running a sale.  I fell for a superhero-themed diaper mostly because I thought Pete would get a hoot out of Nora wearing superheroes.  So I bought it, took it home, washed it, and got it ready for use.
Okay quick overview here: the outside cool-looking fabric is a cotton knit with PUL (waterproof) as the white fabric inside and KAMsnaps for adjusting the diaper and for closures.  KAMsnaps are kinda the gold standard of snaps, the YKK zipper of the snap world.

Now onto the inserts: one comes with the diaper and it snaps in the back.  The insert is made of microfleece (keeps baby from feeling wet) and 3 layers of bamboo fleece. 

microfleece layer

bamboo layers

This is my first purchase of a WAHM diaper.  I've never tried any mostly because I've not heard of many and I like to actually touch things or read lots and lots of reviews and do research like a mad woman  before I spend my money.

So far I'm impressed with the diaper; the insert is amazingly soft, and we had no leaks while she was wearing it.  I typically change her every 2-3 hours during the day for the most part.  I love bamboo; it is super absorbent, soft, natural and not super bulky.  I like how the insert snaps in so it stays put through a squirmy diaper change.  I've also used the cover with a trifolded bamboo prefold and had it fit nicely and had no leaks either.

Diaper all snapped up

The cover itself threw me for a loop at first when I looked at it opened up because the print is only in the back, with plain black up at the front.  Once snapped though it makes total sense! No one wants upside down heroes! Plus the black combo is really classy and fun in a way. 

Nora is on the second row of rise snaps and she is 26.5 inches tall and 18.5 lbs at 10 months old. It fits her the same as her Bumgenius and Flip covers do.  The snap set up is different on these, which was tricky for me at first, but I think that is mostly out of habit from the double row closure snaps on the Bumgenius and Flips that make up the bulk of our snap style diaper stash. 

The outside fabric is soft and has washed up nicely for me.  I really like the knit fabric on the outside, which is one of the reasons I like gdiapers too.  It is like putting my baby in a t-shirt and seems more comfortable to me.  The PUL inside is nice and wipeable for reusing between washing and changes. 

Up close shot of those superheroes
The snaps are tight, not too tight for me to get open, but there is no way Nora will be able to undo this diaper on her own or have a random snap pop open like I've had with other snap brands I've used in a pinch to convert covers from Velcro.  The elastic is also just right to contain everything and holds the trifolded prefold in place nicely.  I haven't used it over a snappied prefold because Nora outgrew hers and I've not gotten the next size. 

All in all I'm very happy with my super cute purchase.  She has quite a few other cute prints for sale and will shortly be posting some new ones for spring and summer.  Check out her Etsy site for her current stock.

Also Pete was loving this diaper and begs me to put it on her whenever he is around for her changes.  He is in a hero kick right now and is bummed that her wardrobe isn't oozing with their shirts like his.  This makes up for it because it has all his favorites plus a girl for her. 

Nora modeling

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sibling Pictures

My mom got all the grandkids matching outfits for Easter and wanted their pictures taken together.  That happened during the Horn family's spring break awhile ago, and I just got a copy of the pictures.  Mom placed me on a gag order of all the kids together, I have them but am not allowed to share them; she wants that glory to herself, but she did say I could do what I wanted with the ones of my kids.  We had these pictures taken at Blosser's here in Warsaw.  The prices were fair and the results were great, especially since we were working with 7 kids from 8 years down to 9 months.

The dresses came from Zulily and the boys ties came from solid color neckties.  Amazingly everything fit, the ties matched the dresses perfectly, and it all arrived on time!  This was Nora's first time getting her picture professionally taken, since most of the studio around that I could afford have shut down.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

North for Spring Break

We ended up going the wrong direction for spring break this year, north instead of the traditional south bound trip.  Phil was invited to a conference for work, they paid for the room, mileage and he got a per diem so we took a family vacation to Madison, Wisconsin. It was surprisingly nice, though it was chilly and rained the majority of our time there.  We stopped at Ikea on the way through Chicago for lunch and so Pete could run off some energy.  I like the Cincinnati Ikea much better, plus they seem to be able to accommodate more kids in the smalland than Chicago's.  It was probably the best traffic I've ever been in through Chicago.  We listened to The Grapes of Wrath on the trip because Phil needed to read it for school, though only when Pete was watching a show. Phil had to endure meetings all day Thursday and Friday Morning.  Poor hubby taking a hit for the family.
Nora's Adventure Grovia Diaper came just before we left. She wore it on vacation and it made me think of my dad's vacation shirt he always wore on the first day of vacation.  We won this beauty on Grovia's weekly facebook chat.
Pete saw a Target while we were driving around the first night and was dying to stop there in the morning.  I wasn't about to complain about that so we puttered around there for a bit in the morning. We played at Barnes and Noble with the trains and then played at the mall and shopped for a bit.
Trying on shades while eating popcorn
Playing on the playground at the mall on a raining day.

Phil finished up and we decided we didn't want to deal with both kids at a decent restaurant but weren't wiling to eat at McDonalds either. So we called in carryout, both kids ended up falling asleep in the car and we had a great date night in the car with the rain.

2 Entrees, salad, breadsticks, and dessert for $20!
Friday we only had the morning to explore and play before Phil was done and we headed for home.  We stopped at Target...again...then played at Chick-fil-a and had a snack and finsihed up at Nicki's Diapers-my first trip to an actual cloth diaper store! I found a couple things and had a fun seeing all the different kinds of cloth diapers.

Nora watching Pete play on the playground.

Chicago traffic was awful it took us about 2 hours to get through town on Friday, which is really sad considering how fast it was on Wednesday.  I'm so glad I rarely have to deal with that kind of traffic!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Nap Time Project: Toothless Towel

Phil's family has had 3 new baby boys born in the last month. My sister-in-law really likes the movie How to Train Your Dragon.  I'd seen tutorials for making a Toothless (he's a dragon in case you are familiar with the movie) and thought I'd try one out for their new little dude Quinn.  I followed this tutorial from pinterest.  I followed how she made the face and head but I didn't like the way she attached it to the actual towel, so I made it up myself. I also didn't like the idea of using felt so I used polar fleece and towel trimmings for the black part of the eye. I attached the face pieces to the large part of the cut handtowel then sewed it onto the long side of the towel. Quinn will probably be able to wear the towel until he's 20! I didn't want him to grow out of something fun too early.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hoppy Easter!

We have had such a great day and weekend in general!  We had an Easter egg hunt at a friend's house.  Phil's sister came to visit for General Conference and to have Easter dinner with my family and her dad was coming to visit everyone.  To our surprise Phil's mom stopped by for a visit as well after being out in Wyoming helping with the new twins at his other sister's house. I've been storing up quite the haul for the kids for Easter this year thanks to Kids Market and mperks at Meijer! Pete got a GeoTrax set and Nora got a Little Tikes slide, and Phil got a lego set.  I just set out a pair of Birkenstocks I'd gotten for myself last year on clearance.  I put some adorable footprints from Pete's room to the Easter baskets this year that I had laminated from his class party.
My cute little bunny baby! (no baby or diapers were harmed in the making of this picture)

She decided this photo shoot was done, and high tailed it out of here.

Pete hunting for eggs at grandma's

Dexter the Dachshundbunny
I also wanted to share with you all that this is just the fun, silly, commerical, and childish side of the Easter.  The most important and true reason behind the holiday is so much more meaningful and important than silly ears, eggs or even a ham dinner.  Though I believe they hold a special place in the holiday too, but want my kids to know the real reason, because Christ was cruxified and rose on the third day. He Lives!