Thursday, December 31, 2015

LAST DAY for my vitafusion™ FiberWell Fit $100 giveaway!

Happy New Year's Eve!

I'm just reminding you that it's your last chance to enter my sponsored giveaway for a $100 Visa gift card.


I had the opportunity to review vitafusion™ FiberWell™ Fit gummies and learn how convenient they are (a) to take on the go and (b) to ensure you get that extra boost of fiber in your day.

Go leave an easy comment on the giveaway post, and you can be entered to win some cool cash!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

And so a baby grows

For Christmas Eve, I've given myself a gift:
I finally collected all the random clips
of baby Karsten from 8 months in June
to the present at 14 months.

Watch and be amazed at such accomplishments as
  • Clapping
  • Squealing
  • Rolling
  • Standing
  • Peekaboo
  • Babbling
  • Speed-crawling
  • Dart fetching
  • And many more amazing feats!


In other words, all the totally usual baby stuff!
But it's greatly entertaining me,
and, I hope, the grandparents.


Merry Christmas Eve!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Last-minute homemade holiday gifts for kids

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Need a few Christmas-is-almost-here gifts for little ones? Here's a selection of options you crafty wizzes (et al.) can whip up on the quick. Bonus points that they'll be handmade with love (also speed!).



Some require sewing skills, some do not, and some require no crafting abilities whatsoever! Hooray!

Simply click on the title for a link to the full tutorial. (Some of the ones toward the end don't have their own tutorial if they're really easy to figure out!)

Make your own baby leg warmers

All you need are appropriately festive or fashionably forward adult knee socks! You might already have some (I've repurposed ones that had worn through on the sole before), or you can easily find some cheap and bright ones at any clothing store. The sewing is seriously minimal, so you could even do this by hand if needed.



Sew an easy superhero cape

Superkids will love a shiny, shimmery cape to race around in, saving the world! This design's reversible, so you can grab two colors they'll love.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Building our own Christmas tree

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Mikko picked out a Lego Christmas tree
when we were at the Mini Maker Faire.


Fluffy branches, festive ornaments,
and brightly wrapped packages ahoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Nikolaus boots afilled!

Sankt Nikolaus hat uns besucht! 
We put our Nikolausstiefel outside the door, 
and check out what happened.

You can read more about our annual Nikolaustag celebrations here.



Apparently the boys were good — who knew!



Whoa!



Someone filled our boots!



Mikko was disappointed that he didn't get a stick. 
He really wanted a stick.



Digging in.



Monday, December 7, 2015

A tale of two kitties: Our bodies are what they are

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!


I really, really had to convince myself not to make the title any worse of a pun by spelling it "tail." You're welcome.

I want to talk with you today about my cats — one fat, one skinny — and what that means. I think it's illustrative of what body composition is like for humans as well as felines.

We adopted our kitties from a rescue. They're purported to be Maine Coons (no idea if there's a mix of something else in there), which are a large and hearty American cat breed. They're not genetically sisters and are a year apart in age, but they were raised together, so we adopted them as a bonded pair.

The big one has the broad, strong frame of a typical Maine Coon, but then she's added quite a bit o' bulk to it. Her sister is petite, very small for her breed, and so thin you can feel her spine clearly when you pet her.


I think you can see the size difference. The little, darker one is so fluffy, it's hard to eyeball how skinny she is underneath all the fur. You can see the larger one hanging off the top of the scratcher.

This is the small kitty on the same scratcher, for comparison.

They both get the same food and the same exercise opportunities. I find this fascinating.

There's a current, overwhelming tendency for any talk of overweight to blame the (human) person for being fat. There's an overt messaging that being fat is a moral failing, an inability to curb decadent gluttony or "get off the couch once in awhile." It is so culturally ingrained that most fat people believe this themselves, even if they have personal evidence that it's not true.

I think my cats could help us shed some light on this one.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Green Kid Crafts: Honest review of a STEM/Arts & Crafts subscription box

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Awhile back, our family decided to try out Green Kid Crafts, which is a cool subscription box for kids. You get a science & craft kit in the mail every month!

Green Kid Crafts sends your family a box focused on STEM and arts and crafts, full of multiple projects for fun with learning, experimenting, and crafting.

Here I'm giving my unbiased review of the service and showing you what's in a typical box. You can skip to the end for a COUPON CODE to use (perfect gift for the holidays — hint, hint).

Full disclosure here: Green Kid Crafts links are affiliate links. Green Kid Crafts did not sponsor this review in any way, and I paid for my own subscription. I do have a previous advertising relationship with Green Kid Crafts, but that is not current. The end!

First, I'll share my videos if you're a video-watching type. Below those, I'll give a mini written & photographic review if you'd rather have still action.

Here's my video review and unboxing. I give my honest impressions of the service and show you what's in a typical box by going through every project:


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bzzzz: Building Bristlebots at the Gadgeteers Club

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

We've been enjoying a new find:
the Gadgeteers Club!


A friend posted about it on a Facebook homeschooling group,
and we've been making the monthly trek out to Duvall
for some engineering & technology fun.

Our first time, we made Bristle Bots:


They're like Hexbug Nanos, but made with a toothbrush,
battery, tape, and a little motor.
You and your kids could easily make one for yourselves!

Stay tuned for our post of the next kit,
which was a Minecraft torch.

You'd better believe Mikko was thrilled about that one!

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Karsten turns 1

I can't believe it.
Can you believe it?



One whole year since this little guy entered our lives?



And he's growing and becoming so much more capable every day.
Learning words and signs, practicing standing without support,
brushing his hair (clumsily),
brushing the kitties (by poking them in the eye with the brush),
feeding himself off our plates
and laughing uproariously at our mutual jokes.



As Sam puts it, "He thinks he's people!"



We had a little family birthday party for him:

Monday, November 9, 2015

Fitting in fiber is fun with vitafusion™ FiberWell Fit (plus $100 giveaway!)


Raise your hand if you're sure you ate enough veggies today. How many hands are up?

That few, huh?

I love emphasizing whole, natural foods in my diet — but as a busy homeschooling, work-at-home mama of three, I'm lucky if I've remembered to shower this week, let alone had the wherewithal to ensure I've eaten all the fiber I need each day.

Fortunately, I have a little insurance plan. It's called vitafusion™ FiberWell Fit.

With just two tasty little gummies — chew, delight, swallow — I've added 5 grams of soluble fiber to my day. Done!

Fiber has a prebiotic effect on your gut.* It also, you know, supports regularity*. We all know that's important!

Not only that, but vitafusion™ FiberWell™ Fit includes 6 B vitamins, the kind that help your body metabolize the food you eat to create the energy you need to run your jam-packed life.*


 


You can easily take vitafusion™ gummy vitamins on the go!

Now, I don't know about you, but I'm rarely without something to do. I'm doing a load of laundry here, taking my sons to the park there, nursing the baby, working on our home business, amusing the cats, helping the kids learn … and, on top of that, I'm trying to fit in five miles of walking each day. I consider it my evolutionary right to walk a whole bunch, plus — well, I just plain love it.

So here's a fabulous bonus about vitafusion™ FiberWell™ Fit: I can take my vitamins on the go! You don't need a glass of water, or to try to swallow some huge horse pill. You just pop two in your mouth, and they're easy-to-chew gummies.

Did I mention, too, that they're delish? I've been limiting added sugars and grains, so I love that they're gluten-free and sugar-free, contain no high fructose corn syrup, and use only natural fruit flavors and colors derived fruits, vegetables and plants. And they're still totally yummy!

That's because vitafusion™ understands that being healthy can also be a whole lot of pleasure, and vitafusion™ is proving it through their philosophy of "healthy fusion." Try it out, and make taking your vitamins a satisfying, enjoyable part of your daily health routine!

 

 

 

Buy it!

 

You can find vitafusion™ gummy vitamins at club, mass, drug and grocery stores nationwide including Costco, Walmart, Target, and Walgreens. Find more information at www.gummyvites.com.

If you're looking for a brand for your kids, I highly recommend L’il Critters™ as well. My kids love them! L’il Critters™ gummy vitamins have no high fructose corn syrup or synthetic (FD&C) dyes, and they're gluten free.

You can find vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements from vitafusion™ and L’il Critters™ to meet your health needs through every stage of life. There are products tailored to meet the specific health needs of children, men, women, pregnant women, and those 50+.

 

Win It!

 

To enter for the chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, comment with an answer to this question:

 

How many servings of vegetables did you eat yesterday?

 

 

I received free product and payment for this sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

  

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/9/2015 – 12/31/2015

Be sure to visit the vitafusion brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

 

 

 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

STEM fun at the B&N Mini Maker Faire this weekend! #BNMakerFaire

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!


I want to let you know about a fun, educational, & interactive event going on all weekend:

the Mini Maker Faire!

Mikko and I have gone for several years now to this event created by Make Magazine, but this is the first year it's at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, making it super easy to get to — and FREE! (Best part!)

So I wanted to share so you get a chance to attend. If you have a mini inventor or scientist or gadgeteer in your house (like our future engineer — I'm calling it!), you'll have a great time.

Here's a little video diary of the joy we had yesterday:


The fun continues Saturday & Sunday at a Barnes & Noble near you, so find the full schedule of presentations and DIY opportunities at your local B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/h/makerfaire

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Little pumpkins at the pumpkin patch

Every year, we love to go to Stocker Farms
for their Family Adventure Farm & Corn Maze.
(See, for instance, here & here.)

Here is our video diary of the harvest-themed fun:

Friday, October 30, 2015

How to help kids carve a pumpkin (safely)

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Over the years of helping our little pumpkins enjoy pumpkin-patch excitement, Sam has come up with a few tricks (treats?) for involving little kids in carving a jack o'lantern without losing any fingers in the process.

You could go with just drawn-on pumpkins if you want to make the easiest choice, but if you want to wield a knife and really cut that pumpkin up, here are our best ideas for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary folk.

You can see the tips in action in our video, and I'll also describe below:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Friendly skies at the Museum of Flight

We were a little goofy at the Museum of Flight.



We were there — wait for it —
with a library pass.
Love those suckas!



We definitely hammed it up
as we dreamed of a car plane,
boarded Air Force One, and
blasted off to space.

Plus learned a bit of physics on the side!

See video evidence below:



Maaaaverick!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Great Wolf Lodge or Ok Raccoon Hotel?

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!



Have you been to Great Wolf Lodge,
the indoor water park-slash-hotel?



We went for the first time this fall
with a homeschooling group
(fabulously discounted!),
and it was a ton o' watery fun,
even for our three non-swimmers.

Here's a splish-splashy video:



I think we had a great (wolfy) time,
but Mikko,
in the spirit of total honesty,
said the place should be named
Ok Raccoon Hotel.
He said they decorated more with raccoons than wolves,
that "lodge" was inaccurate,
and that "great" was perhaps overstating it.

(Did I mention this post isn't sponsored?
Clearly it is not.)



The rest of the family & I think he's just a goof.



Have you been to a Great Wolf Lodge near you,
or do you want to go?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Museum of History & Industry: Much more fun than it sounds

I feel like MOHAI Seattle
has an unfortunate name,
because doesn't it sound like a snoozefest?

But, no!

It's one of our favorite museums,
and we scored a free library pass.

(Yes, we're all about the free library passes nowadays.)

Here's a video of all our experiences:



And here are some of my Instagram snaps
from the day:

Running through the "stream" at #mohai

A photo posted by Lauren Wayne (@hobomamacom) on



Getting comfy and listening to an #lowerelwhaklallamtribe #storyteller video. #mohai

A photo posted by Lauren Wayne (@hobomamacom) on



Snack break at #mohai. #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #10months

A photo posted by Lauren Wayne (@hobomamacom) on


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Family at the zoo

Off to the zoo!

Watch our video footage
of giraffe butts, zebra butts,
hippo butts, tiger butts,
penguin butts …
a lot of butts, is what I'm saying.



That doesn't make it any less fascinating.
It's not every day you get to see WILD butts.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

My first plus-size Stitch Fix

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Eek! The Fix awaits! What will FIT?!
Welp, I did it!

I wrote before about how uncertain I was about Stitch Fix because of their limited sizing: 0-14. I am a 16/18, but Stitch Fix doesn't (yet) do plus sizes.

I had a coupon for a free styling fee, so I decided I would be out nothing if I gave it a go. I told my stylist 5 fall tops in XL, please, and then I crossed my fingers and waited.

I posted a little video review & unboxing here, but I will post a written and photographic review below for those of you who prefer not to hear me yammer. Or you can do a little of both.

At any rate, I NEED YOUR HELP! I have a scant three days to decide what to keep and what to send back, so let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Blackberries, wildlife, & trolls

Come along with us
on a trip to a wildlife refuge …

but watch out for trolls!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Calling for submissions for the October 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Confessions

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in August 2015! (Check out September, August, July, June, April, March, February, January, and summaries of all our 2014 posts, 2013 posts, 2012 posts, and 2011 posts if you missed any.)

Your co-hosts are Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Lauren at Hobo Mama.

confessionsHere are the submission details for October 2015:

Theme: Confessions: No one’s perfect, but sometimes parents (perhaps especially mom bloggers — you know who you are!) can appear perfect to people on the outside. What is your parental confession (crunchy or otherwise)? Come clean in this month’s carnival. Submission deadline: October 6. Carnival posting: October 13.

Deadline: Tuesday, October 6. Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at} NaturalParentsNetwork.com

Carnival date: Tuesday, October 13. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on October 13 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published on October 13 by noon Eastern time, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants' links to generate lots of link love for your site! We'll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Arr! Learn to talk like a pirate for Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo ho, me hearties! It be that felicitous season known as International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and our crew will sure be lifting a cup o' grog in celebration.


We've put up a video with piratey Mad Libs, including a treasure chest of villainous vocabulary and a wee lesson on the parts o' speech for the cabin boys & girls. It's worth its weight in doubloons.

Ahoy, it's there:


Teach yerself and yer maties to talk like a true swashbuckling buccaneer today!

I'd best get back to swabbing ye ol' poopdecks…

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LAST CHANCE to grab my babywearing book for a buck!

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Only 8 hours left!


My ebook, The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing, is included in the current $10 Motherhood Bundle up at Buck Books.


True to its name, each book is just a buck — so you get 10 incredible ebooks on natural mothering for just $10. My book is normally just about that much on its own, and buying all 10 separately would cost $68, so this is a great opportunity to add to your parenting library for pennies. You get:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Having a (bowling) ball

The school district here in Seattle has been on strike,
but that hasn't affected our back-to-homeschool plans.

For what it's worth,
I fully support the teachers' demands
more recess, less testing, fair pay —
but we went "back" to school regardless.

Or, you know, just kept not schooling.
Unschooling.
Funschooling.

Case in point, I brought you our annual tradition
of taking the kidlets bowling.

This week I'm going to share the video of the experience
at our favorite local bowling alley:



That way, you can stand in awe
of our incredible bowling skill.

I think I got only one gutter ball on camera
(once it was heavily edited).

Find more videos of our daily life
homeschooling & having fun
at Pirate Family Fun & Learning.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Get my babywearing book for $1!

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

Great news! My ebook, The Natural Parent's Guide to Babywearing, is included in the current $10 Motherhood Bundle up at Buck Books.


True to its name, each book is just a buck — so you get 10 incredible ebooks on natural mothering for just $10. My book is normally just about that much on its own, and buying all 10 separately would cost $68, so this is a great opportunity to add to your parenting library for pennies.

The sale is on for just 72 hours, so be sure to check it out now through my link: Motherhood Bundle sale.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Celebrate my 8th blogiversary with a giveaway of lactation cookies!

In honor of my eighth blogiversary (how the time flies!), I'm giving away a box of delicious, lactation-boosting MilkBoosters cookies to one lucky reader.

I have an advertising partnership with MilkBoosters (formerly Making Mamas Milk), where Dori sends me 40 yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies every month. They always make me full to bursting with mama's milk, no joke! I want to share the wonderfulness with you, so I'll send along my September box to someone who wants it.

If you're a nursing mama and would like to enter to win, please leave a comment telling me how long you've been nursing!

Please include your email address with the comment so I can reach you! You can write it like this to foil spambots: hobomama {at} gmail {dot} com. You must have a U.S. shipping address, because I'm sending it USPS Priority Mail.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Videos of a family learning & having fun


Welcome to the September 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids Blogging

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have let their children take over writing and sharing.





Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!


Young people today with their Tubes of You. Sam and I both have been surprised at how much pleasure Mikko and Alrik have found in online videos uploaded by amateurs-turned-professionals, on a variety of topics that we'd never have suspected were so popular on YouTube.

Mikko tends toward gaming videos, learning how best to play the Xbox games he adores. It's a form of research — one within reach of an 8-year-old still learning to read fluidly. He can watch walkthroughs and search for specific scenes he needs help on, and he knows his favorite YouTube personalities. He also gets quite a chuckle from game-related humor, such as musical parodies, and unboxing and reviews of toys he's considering saving up his allowance to buy, such as Transformers and Legos.

Alrik's preferences are more arcane. He watches adults act out scenes with children's toys (yes, we have to make sure the channel is appropriate first), he has crushes on personable young ladies who create funny desserts or test out as-seen-on-TV products, he follows along with families who share their daily lives, he views Japanese-language versions of Power Rangers shows, and he loves surprise-egg videos, which were not a thing I knew existed until he found them and decided they were the best ever. For the uninitiated (was I the only one behind the times?), they feature big plastic eggs with thematic toys inside, often blind bags, and usually some cool decoration over the front. Sam made Alrik a My Little Pony egg for his birthday covered in a Play-Doh design of Rainbow Dash, and Alrik was giddy. He'd entered a YouTube video!

It turns out that wasn't enough for him, though, nor for Mikko. Pretty soon, Mikko started telling us we, as a family, should start our own YouTube channel. He decided it was the way of the future, and we needed to get with the times. Alrik was so excited about the idea that he began requesting that we film him opening absolutely anything: a toothbrush, a shower cap, random packages that came in the mail. He quickly began imitating his heroes and chatting merrily to his "fans," showing an innate video personality that was fun to capture on camera.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Happy #NotBacktoSchool!

We had our annual Back to (Un)school celebration
with our traditional bowling fun!
It was a little early for the start of public schools here,
but it fit into our Family Day,
and … honestly, we didn't stop during the summer
(how do you stop naturally learning!),
so it really is Not BACK to School for us.


 


First grade & second grade (for Mikko)

We now have
a third grader,
a kiddo entering his second year of preschool
(for what that's worth),
and a baby. He's cool, too.
Mikko required that he be in the picture,
or he wouldn't smile.
(That's Mikko smiling.)