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Whirlpool WDT720PADM Built-in Stainless Dishwasher Installation Review

NOTE: Due to the length and nature of this particular review, I will be writing two reviews; one on the installation process, and one on the dishwasher’s function and performance.

 

We bought our current house in April of 2016 and moved in June of 2016. Like most mid-range homes on the market, the appliances the old owners left behind weren’t the greatest. Our “new” dishwasher was no exception. The tiniest specks of food on a plate and the thing would clog and back up. We took the shop vac to the lines, cleaned and gutted everything, but it just wouldn’t drain well and it certainly didn’t wash well. In October 2016, that dishwasher completely bit the dust and I was washing dishes 3x a day just trying to keep up with a family of 6 (plus two bonus babies). We needed a new dishwasher and pronto. Unfortunately, it took us a while to get one (partly saving and partly the local store being out of stock).

Let’s start this with a funny story. In our very first house, we had a very old avocado green dishwasher keel over on us. My husband bought a new one and set it in the kitchen; and there it sat for months and months while he repeatedly told me “I’ll install it on my next day off.” In a fit of rage over having cracked and blistered hands from handwashing the dishes for months, I decided to install the dishwasher myself. Problem was, I couldn’t get it out from under the counter. I was so angry and frustrated, I took a sledgehammer to it. I broke it out, bit by bit, only to realize when I was done, that the entire reason it wasn’t working anymore was because it had come unplugged from the outlet behind it. Oops. I just sledgehammered the crap out of a dishwasher in a fit of pregnant hormonal rage, only to discover it wasn’t even broken, just unplugged. Needless to say, I installed the new one (and struggled to do so; many tears were shed) and didn’t breathe a word about the sledgehammer incident to my husband for almost three years. In our second home, I was lucky enough to have the plumber install the dishwasher and didn’t have to deal with what would have been a day full of tears and frustration.

As you can see, dishwashers and I do not quite get along. It’s not that I don’t like them; don’t get me wrong. I love dishwashers… But I don’t love installing them. The Whirlpool Gold Series WDT720PADM built-in stainless dishwasher was no exception to this.

First, I need to get something off my chest. The Whirlpool WDT720PADM Built-in Stainless Dishwasher is part of what Whirlpool has designated the “Gold Series.” Can someone please explain this to me? They are stainless steel. Maybe there were black and white ones, I don’t know. Dan picked it out and had it delivered. Either way, I searched online and there was nothing available in gold color. Maybe they’re supposed to be worth their weight in gold? I’m no marketing expert, but the name threw me off. Regardless of the name, this dishwasher is a beauty. I got so excited looking at the stock photos online! Way better than the one that came with the house and was probably made in the 90s.

  

I’ll admit. I was feeling way more confident about my dishwasher installation skills than I apparently had a right to. I woke up the morning of delivery and told my husband I would go ahead and get the old one out on the porch for the delivery guys to haul away. He was supposed to do it the night before, but someone (I’m not naming names) procrastinated and had to go to work by the time he remembered. No big deal. I’ve done it before, I can do it again, right? Dan heads out to work. I go flip the breaker to the dishwasher, test that it is off and start undoing the wiring. We’re all good, the coast is clear and I’m still feeling pretty confident.

Then comes the water valves. And boy, was that a fiasco.

I’m not stupid, and I’ve done this a time or two. Obviously, when working on appliances or plumbing, you MUST shut off the water valves to avoid a flood. I know this. You know this. I get under the sink and shut hot and cold water both off… And flood my kitchen. What the hell? I look again, and joke’s on me… There’s 3 valves. One is just super small and apparently contains nothing but scalding hot water eager to flood my kitchen and burn my arm. High pressure too, might I add. Holding my thumb over the end did NOT work.

 

So, my dishwasher installing day… Was certainly not off to a good start. I flooded my kitchen. And when I say flooded, I mean that hot scalding water was shooting out of this stupid hose all the way across my kitchen and dining room. High pressure. High speed. When I was disconnecting it from the old dishwasher, it was spraying out, but I figured it was just releasing pressure as I unscrewed it. Every other dishwasher I have disconnected did the same thing. Not a big deal. right? Wrong. I keep unscrewing and by the time I realize that it’s not just releasing pressure, it’s too late. Water everywhere. I’m trying to kink the hose and begging the three-year-old to get me a pot to contain the massive stream of hot water long enough for me to grab the pliers on the counter just out of reach and the kid just stands there with her hands on her cheeks saying “Oh no! Oh no!” At this point, I just have to let it flood. I crimp it and do my best to stretch across the kitchen while holding onto this really hot metal hose I have crimped in my hand and grab the pot. Let go of the hose in the pot and get the pliers, while the pot didn’t contain too much of the disaster… Finally get the water shut off, but my entire kitchen and dining room have standing water. And of course, I start crying at this point, so add those tears to the standing water situation and I had to use every towel in my house and a few bedsheets to mop up the disaster.

I contained the disaster, cleaned everything up, and got the old dishwasher taken out, wiring removed and hose removed. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the urge to take a sledgehammer to this one too.

So, the delivery guys get there. They get a kick out of the story and tell me I should have waited for them, they could have helped me (which is funny because the delivery contract specifically says they cannot and will not help with removal or installation of any appliances). They get the new one upstairs for me and I’m ready for action. I thought “Well, it can’t get any worse, can it?” Installing them has been tough in the past, but not nearly as bad as taking the one I just took out was. The rest should be a piece of cake.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

 

So, I search my house for a box cutter. No box cutter to be found. I swear, I just saw one a couple days ago. Where the heck did I see it? I check the garage. Check Dan’s random box of stuff that often contains tools. Can’t find anything. GAH. I considered using a knife, but I didn’t want to hurt the dishwasher, especially with it being nice and stainless steel. Scratch the knife plan. I end up using scissors with a plastic coating on the edge, mostly because I felt like it would protect it from scratches. Two extremely cramped hands and ten minutes later, I have my Whirlpool Gold Series WDT720PADM Built-in Stainless Dishwasher out of the box. It’s a start. And of course, it’s beautiful and I get an excited renewal of my motivation to get this bad boy installed. It can’t be much harder than it was to get the old one out, right?

Side note: Whirlpool, PLEASE start labeling your pieces with what they actually are and not just the part number. It would really make everything so much easier for the consumer.

If I pull hard enough, maybe I won’t have to finish installing this?

 

I decide to start with something easy. I’ve already had my mishaps for the day and don’t want to tempt fate by jumping in too hard and too fast. So let’s just leave the dishwasher where it is and run the lines. That will be easy enough. The water line is already run, and so is the waste line… But do I need to replace it with the new one that was inside my new Whirlpool Gold Series dishwasher? Heck if I know. So I do what I do in every situation I’m clueless… I call my grandpa. He asks me what condition the old one is in… Dirty. Really dirty and gross. Yellowed. He tells me to replace it with the new one then, or I’ll end up having to do it later. Got it, gramps. So I hang up and onto the instructions for that. Everything is going great until I find this green tag on the hose.

I guess mistake #1 is that I removed the tag, when it clearly says “Do not remove tag.” Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of punishing me for not following instructions. No matter how I try, I can’t seem to figure out what plug I need to knock out in the disposer… And frankly, the image of taking a hammer and screwdriver to the garbage disposal does not sound like something I feel comfortable doing in the first place. I hate garbage disposals. They make me nervous. I’ve seen too many horror movies where people shove their hands down a sink looking for a ring and they lose an arm. No sir. Not happening to me! So…,. I call my grandpa again, because I can’t figure it out. He says the dishwasher company is assuming my garbage disposal is new as well, and when brand new, there’s a plastic plug where you hook up the dirty water line. Alrighty then. That’s been done. I get the waste water line hooked up and threaded through the cabinet wall. My confidence is renewed. I’ve got this and I’m doing great. I’ve got this!

Now, onto the easier part. Wiring! I go downstairs and double check that the breaker is off. I am paranoid about these things and I figure, it’s just extra exercise running downstairs again, so it doesn’t hurt to check and possibly prevent your own self-electrocution. In the past, I had always wired my dishwashers to a cord. I never bought the cords they designed to wire to dishwashers, since you can actually just buy a cheaper extension cord in the length you want and cut the receiving end off of it and wire it that way. Those were always pretty easy. This was my first time wiring a dishwasher into the electric on the house. I figured it would be about the same. You connect the proper wires. Electric tape them. Cap them. But the wiring on the house was difficult. It was actually really thick and I couldn’t just twist the wires together like I had with the extension cords in the past. After cutting my thumb trying to twist it together I ended up hunting down that pair of pliers again and using that to twist them together. I was kind of worried about it because I didn’t feel like I was able to twist them well enough, but I twisted, taped and capped, ran downstairs and flipped the breaker. Ran back upstairs and sure enough, the dishwasher turned on. The electrical worked. Ran back downstairs and shut the breaker off, so I could go back upstairs, connect the water lines and put the dishwasher under the cabinet.

So here’s the part that really makes me mad. I’m upstairs, feeling pretty damn good about it all. I’m almost done, it’s going great. I just need to connect the water line and waste line and we’re golden. I get the waste line on and secured. Perfect. I go to connect the water line and I can’t freaking find it. Uhh… I’ve done this before. The water line is pretty standard. They’re all the same, look the same and should fit the recieving end of the water line. The dishwasher doesn’t freaking have one!!!! Color me confused. I go back to read the manual again and apparently, you have to buy a rotating elbow fitting that goes between the dishwasher and the water line.

What. The. Hell. Whirlpool.

I call my grandpa again and talk to him about it. My husband is at work. I have three very grouchy toddlers running around the living room. I’ve had a day from hell. And now, I have to go BUY a dinky little part for this dishwasher that frankly, should have been included with the damn thing, just to finish installing it?! Not cool, Whirlpool. REALLY, not cool. My grandma is amazing though and she volunteered to come over and sent me to the hardware store where I proceeded to wander around like a lost puppy with a dishwasher manual desperate searching for some metal part that looked like an in-counter public bathroom soap dispenser. Some old guy took pity on me, realizing that I was not in my natural habitat and found the part for me.

$8.97

A freaking part, that was $8.97 and Whirlpool couldn’t include the damn part with the dishwasher? Seriously? It wasn’t an optional part. There was no way around it. You had to have this part or you could not install your dishwasher, end of story. Jack the price up $8-10, Mr. Whirlpool CEO, but at least include the part so you don’t cause so much unnecessary stress on your consumers after being forced to follow your extremely unclear and poorly drawn installation instructions on your products. Talk about adding insult to injury. This process was tough enough… Now I have to go search a hardware store for a part?

I get home. Get the stupid-and-should-have-been-included-part installed. Hook up the water line and tighten it with pliers to be sure there won’t be any leakage. Set the dishwasher back upright. Back it into the spot, only to realize I forgot to put the insulation around it. Pull it back out, line up the insulation on it. Push it back very slowly, wedging the insulation into the space between the dishwasher and the cupboard. It’s a tight fit, but we get it. I screw the feet to adjust the height on the dishwasher. Then I get to the brackets. I see where they slide into the top of the dishwasher, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how the heck to insert them. I consult the manual. Again, the drawings are soo poorly done that despite the clear differences in the two sides of the brackets, neither my grandma nor I can figure out which way they go. I get pissed and decide Dan can deal with it when he gets home. It’s in. Everything else is done. That’s all I care about.

It’s in. The kids obviously have to touch it and leave their fingerprints and handprints all over it immediately. But it’s in. Now for the moment of truth. I run downstairs and flip the breaker. I come back upstairs and turn it on. VOILA!

It lights up. Good sign. I didn’t screw up the electrical pulling it in and out from under the counter a few times. I get all excited and start doing my “Oh yeahhhh” celebratory dance, when my grandma tells me we should run a rinse and drain cycle just to see if it leaks, if it’s got water flow, etc. I guess I was excited prematurely. Way to rain on my parade, Gigi. Parade raining or not, she’s right. We probably should check to make sure there are no leaks. We start the cycle. Let it run a few minutes. Open it up, there’s water in the bottom. Steam everywhere. Nothing on the floor. Nothing leaking out. We cancel the cycle. It drains how it should. Everything is perfect. At that point, I install the footboard for it and we call it good. I do need to say I love the footboard on it. It’s a flexible plastic that lines up almost perfectly with the floor so crud doesn’t get stuck under the dishwasher when you sweep. It’s great.

The three-year-old who just threw her hands on her cheeks and said “oh noooo” repeatedly while the kitchen flooded.

 

Of course, my husband gets home and tells me “You didn’t have to do all that. I could have done it when I got home.” Seriously, dude? It took me all flipping day. He couldn’t have just done it when he got home. I tell him he gets to do the brackets because I am just done. I did everything else. He can deal with those because I can’t figure it out. He looks at the brackets, looks at the manual and thirty seconds later, they’re installed and screwed in. My grandma and I tried for HALF AN HOUR to figure those stupid brackets out. Although, he did enjoy telling people “She did all of the hard stuff… Water, waste line, electrical wiring… and for some reason, the brackets were too much.”

At the end of the day it took me, a toddler, a pot, every towel in my house and a couple sheets, a whole lot of tears, some pliers, a few phone calls to my grandpa, some insane acrobatic stretching on my part, a lot of frustration, a Gigi to babysit, a trip to the hardware store, $8.97, several trips up and down the stairs to flip breakers, electrical tape, a screwdriver with a bit I’ve never before seen in my life, and thirty seconds of my husband’s time, but it’s installed.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I receive any complimentary products. I have purchased this item on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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HCG Diet P2-Friendly Chocolate Jello Bite Delight


I am not a chocolate junkie. I don’t scarf it down like crazy, but every so often, I get a chocolate craving. And when I say chocolate craving, we are talking about the most simple chocolate craving there is; a chocolate bar. I don’t want pudding, or cake, or shakes, just a plain old chocolate bar. What am I supposed to do during phase two of the HCG diet when chocolate bars are off limits?!

In the HCG Diet Support group I found on facebook, there is a recipe that is passed around more than the salt and pepper at my family’s house on Thanksgiving. They call it “Chocolate Delight.” It sounds delightful. Hell, anything chocolate sounds delightful right now. What is this chocolate delight everyone swears by? It’s similar to a chocolate bar, made with cocoa, sweetener, and…. coconut oil. FYI for those of you who don’t know, coconut and I do not get along. I want to love coconut, really, I do, but it makes insanely sick, vomiting, diarrhea, and for some weird reason, I start shaking whenever I have it.  And of course, there really aren’t any oils similar to coconut oil in consistency (believe me, I’ve looked) and if there were, I kind of doubt they would be approved for P2. What the heck am I supposed to do with a supposedly amazing recipe for P2-safe chocolate that I can’t even have?!?! What’s a girl to do?

Make my own recipe, of course! It took a little tweaking, and a few batches in the trash, but I got it down and I swear it is *almost* like biting into a chocolate bar.

Chocolate Jello Bite Delight

1 cup boiling water
2 packages Knox plain unflavored gelatin
3 TBSP cocoa
Stevia to taste

Boil 1 cup water. Pour into small glass pan. Mix in both envelopes of gelatin. After gelatin is completely dissolved. mix in cocoa. After cocoa is well mixed, add stevia to taste (liquid mixture should taste similar to chocolate pudding).

Cut into 16 squares. Each square is approximately 2.5 calories.

TIP: For a variation in flavors, try using flavored stevia, such as Vanilla Creme, English Toffee, Valencia Orange, Caramel,  or Hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

**This post contains affiliate links.

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Weight Loss Resolutions

I hate to be one of those people with the cliche weight loss resolution, but this year there’s no denying that I need to set that resolution. Let’s face it. Most of us have been toting around some extra weight. And for one of the first times in my life, I am no exception to this.

As a kid, I was pretty twiggy, much like my two older daughters are. As a pre-teen, I got a little chubby and then quickly lost the weight and thinned out once puberty hit. As an adult, I stayed pretty thin, even after giving birth. While postpartum and breastfeeding, it seemed like the weight just melted off, no matter what I stuffed my face with. With each of my four children, I bounced back in 3-6 months, rocking the same size 3/5 jeans I wore in high school. I never expected I would ever become overweight. After all, I was just built thin and losing weight always came so easy to me.

Fast forward to baby #4. I had lost all my baby weight, plus a little extra. I moved to an old farm town in Minnesota when my daughter was six months old. Despite my best efforts, I just didn’t fit in well and there wasn’t really much to do like there had been in Alaska (think hiking). Even worse, it was really cold and windy in the winter, and in the summer, it was way too hot for me and my Alaskan babies. As an added difficulty, Minnesota’s summers set off my asthma. I had asthma attack after asthma attack all summer long, despite not having had one since I was three when living in Alaska. Needless to say, I spent pretty much the entire 19 months there sitting in the basement, packing on the pounds. By the time I returned to Alaska, I had gained 50+ pounds.

In December, I joined a weight loss challenge with a cash prize. I was so sure it was going to be what I needed to motivate myself and get into gear. I stuck with it alright; probably not as well as I could have, but I did make a conscious effort to choose healthier options, workout and sneak exercise into my daily routine. And guess what?

The scale didn’t budge.

The month long weight loss challenge ended and I lost a whopping one pound. That was it. All that work and I only lost a pound. One. Freaking. Pound.

Obviously I wasn’t thrilled with it. I was actually pretty stressed about it. And then a friend told me about the HCG diet. I had heard of it before, but it sounded really weird and not entirely healthy. At first I just brushed it aside. It sounded too easy, too good to be true, and borderline risky. This friend though, kept telling me about it so I decided to read the book “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons detailing the original protocols, research and successes. The reviews on Amazon were overflowing with success stories!

All I can say is WOW.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but I tried to start the book with an open mind, keeping my own shallow and limited impressions of the HCG diet out of the picture. I read the book and took what it said at face value. I have to admit, some of the concepts presented in “Pounds & Inches” by Dr. A. T. W. Simeons were foreign to me; they challenged everything I thought I knew about weight loss and health. Despite these challenges, the research and information presented by Dr. Simeons was very encouraging and some of my skepticism began to wane. But I wasn’t convinced yet.

Even after reading the book, I still wasn’t sure. If this was the solution, why weren’t more people doing this? I did a lot of digging. I found articles on every end of the spectrum; it’s a scam, it’s a miracle, it worked for me, it didn’t work for me, it’s dangerous, it’s healthy, you name it. But what I really loved finding would surprise you.

Facebook groups!

I found several Facebook groups dedicated to individuals using the HCG diet. These groups were not only encouraging, but validating. I could find someone’s amazing before and after photos, search their username and find their very first post on the group expressing their own skepticism, just a few months prior. That is what sold me. These are real people; people who have struggled to lose weight, people who doubted this diet would work, and people who got the results they were trying for.

I am by no means an expert, but the HCG diet consists of three phases;

  • Phase 1
    Phase one is a preparatory phase focused on cleansing and preparing, however, it is not required for the diet, but rather encouraged.
  • Phase 2
    Phase two is when you begin taking either shots or drops of HCG. Phase 2 consists of 2-3 “loading days” (where the goal is to gain a little weight) and 20-40 days following a low-calorie diet plan consisting of only specific approved foods.
  • Phase 3
    Phase 3 is often referred to as the “stabilization” phase, lasting three weeks. During these three weeks, the goal is to stabilize your new weight. Anything can be eaten during this phase with the exception of starches and sugars. Drops/shots are discontinued during this phase.
  • Phase 4
    Phase 4 is often referred to as the “maintenance phase.” Weight has been lost and stabilized and there are no longer any restrictions on diet, nor are there any more shots/drops. At this point, a dieter can simply maintain by employing healthy eating habits, or they can remain in phase 4 for three weeks before beginning a repeat round of phase two. Multiple rounds of phase two may be needed for individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight.

So there you have it; a brief synopsis of the HCG diet and why I have decided to follow this plan. I am very excited and will keep everyone updated on my progress! Wish me luck! And if you’re interested in it, don’t take my word for it! Read the book. Read the reviews on Amazon. Join the Facebook groups. Do some digging. Decide for yourself.

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Sprouting Fail to Sprouting Win…

I’m a weirdo. I absolutely love vegetables and sprouts are definitely one of my favorites, especially while re-lactating, as they can actually help to improve my breast milk supply when I eat sprouts like red clover blossom, fenugreek and alfalfa. I just love sprouts though. Especially on sandwiches, in wraps or I will even munch on them plain! My youngest kid must be like me because I can hand her a bowl of sprouts and a fork and she’ll eat it like spaghetti, twisting her fork and slurping them up. There were a few problems with it though.

  1. Sprouts are reallyyyyyy expensive here. A small 8oz container at the stores here could run as much as $6.
  2. Sprouts are reallyyyyy hard to find here. No joke. Nine times out of ten, I’d go to the produce section and wouldn’t be able to find any sprouts of any kind. It’s kind of depressing, but I guess they’d be a more fragile produce item to transport to Alaska.

Because of these two things, I decided to start sprouting myself. It’s actually really simple and I didn’t even buy any special gear. Just a few mason jars and some plastic mesh. Maybe I’ll write up a tutorial on that soon. The problem I kept having though, was that the water would pool at the neck of the jar and my sprouts would rot. I am not kidding when I tell you that they rotted. They were full on rotting. It smelled like something died in my kitchen. I was rinsing them twice a day and setting them to drain, but I just couldn’t figure out the best way to do it. It was pretty hit and miss. Some batches, I guess I had them lined up perfectly, yet the next batch I would do what I thought was the exact same thing, and my sprouts would rot.

Needless to say, it was frustrating.

Initially, I had two jars propped up in an aluminum bowl like this, which was fine and dandy the first batch… But not the second… or third… or fourth…

After three &*%&()* batches of sprouts that were rotting and getting nasty within just days, I decided to go for plan B. I found a long narrow container in the home department at Fred Meyer that looked as though it would fit perfectly. It worked great at first.

The first few days it was great. The water drained. The seeds started sprouting. Then they started growing. I thought we were in the clear. Then, of course, it all went south. As soon as the sprouts were about half-way done, they started blocking the holes in the mesh, which was directly pressed against the bottom of the container. Cue more rotting sprouts.

At this point, I considered building some kind of little miniature wooden table to fit over the long container with holes for the necks of the jars, but I just never got around to doing it. I was about ready to give up. Then, while washing my pump pieces, I realized that my Boon Countertop Drying rack was sturdy, solid, and well-aerated. Perhaps that would work for sprouting seeds without the issues I was having previously.

 

I gave it a shot. The sprouts turned out perfect. Nervous it was just a fluke like my last “perfect” batch, I tried again a few times. It worked perfectly every single time!

Happy Sprouting!

 

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I recieve any complimentary products. I have purchased this item on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.4

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Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack

I have been nursing, pumping and exclusively pumping for the vast majority of the last 9 years. If there’s one thing that drives me batty, it’s wet pump pieces when I’m ready for my next pumping session. This was especially true when I was (and currently am) exclusively pumping. It’s a pain to have to wipe down all my pump pieces just to dry them before I use them and wash them again. I found that most traditional bottle drying racks didn’t really work for pump pieces, and they definitely didn’t work well when I switched to using freemie cups exclusively. So what’s a pumping mom to do?

The Boon Countertop Drying Grass is the answer to those problems! This versatile, well-ventilated drying rack really helped me maintain my sanity while exclusively pumping for 14 months, as well as while exclusively pumping to re-lactate (currently)! I’d probably have lost my mind long ago wiping down parts, especially considering we don’t buy paper towels and rags stay wet longer than I’d like! Needless to say, the Boon Countertop Drying grass is perfect.

The grass is available in white and green, but let’s be real here. Who the heck has white grass? The green one is way cuter. They also make varying sizes, including a small one, a large one and a “patch,” for smaller odds and ends, bits and pieces.

Boon Drying “Patch”
Boon Drying “Lawn”

 

Technically, the one I have is the “Lawn” version, while the smaller one is the “grass” and the little strip (as shown above) is the “patch.” I splurged and treated myself to the “Lawn” and I’m glad I did because it fits all of my pieces perfectly.

As you can see, I can fit all of the pieces from my Freemie cups, and my Medela harmony all on one drying rack, with room to spare! It works perfectly and doesn’t look like the hot mess of a towel folded on the counter that I was using previously.

The little “blades” of grass are a semi-flexible hard plastic and separate from the white portion of the product. The white portion acts as a reservoir to catch any water that falls from whatever is drying. You MUST clean this periodically. I clean mine once or twice a week just with a dish brush and hot soapy water. How often you need to clean it will depend greatly on how often you use it. If you don’t clean it though, the water below the grass gets pretty nasty, slimy and gross, so make sure to do it.

I don’t currently have any, but Boon also has a line of add-ons for the drying grass, allowing you to extend your drying space upwards through the use of little trees, flowers and butterflies from which you can hang things.

Pretty nifty, hey? I love these things. While I haven’t used the add-ons, I am hoping to add some to my collection to dry my membranes and valves a little more quickly than the grass does on its own!

The best part about the Boon Countertop Drying Rack is that is has multiple uses. Yeah, I use mine for my breast pump pieces, tons of moms do, but really, it can be used for anything. Baby bottles. Breast pump pieces. Silverware. Normal dishes like cups, plates and bowls. Even cooler though, is a secret use I found for it! I had so many issues trying to sprout seeds at home where the water would collect too much and my sprouts would rot… The Boon Countertop Drying Rack worked PERFECTLY! So now, I can use it for my pump pieces, or for sprouting, or even both!

Fenugreek sprouts

 

Overall Rating: 4.6 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Fulfills Purpose Well:

The Boon Countertop Drying Grass was a sanity saver for me. It does an excellent job keeping items well ventilated, suspended (so that water isn’t pooling at the bottom) and quickly drying pieces.

Design & Visual Appeal

The Boon Countertop Drying Grass is super cute and has adorable add-ons available. Seriously! Who doesn’t want a beautiful piece of lawn adorned with butterflies, trees and flowers in their kitchen?

Ease of Use

The Boon Countertop Drying Grass is super easy to use and only has two pieces (unless you get some add-ons). It requires little maintainence, just the occasional washing and draining necessary to prevent stagnant water in the resevoir.

Affordability

Initially, I thought the Boon Countertop Drying Grass was a little expensive, however, I did buy the largest model available (“lawn”). After using it for over two years, I’m well-convinced that while it is a bit pricier than other bottle drying racks, the quality makes it worth it.

Earth Friendliness

Given that the Boon Countertop Drying Grass prevents me from using paper towels to dry my pieces, as well as prevents me from having to use (and wash) several rags a day, I’d say that it’s fairly eco-friendly.

*Disclaimer: I was not provided any compensation for this post, nor did I recieve any complimentary products. I have purchased this item on my own, with my own money. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.4

 

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Where have we been?!

You might be wondering where we have been the last few years! Well, here’s a fun summary!

  • I finished my Associate’s degree through the University of Alaska Anchorage.
  • I started a pretty successful business in 2012.
  • We had another baby, Vada Jane! An amazing homebirth after two prior cesareans.

  • We have driven the ALCAN (Alaska Canada Highway) four times. Chelsea even tagged along for three of those trips!

  • We moved to Minnesota for a year and a half after buying an old church with plans to renovate it.

  • We decided we didn’t like living in Minnesota, ditched the renovation plans, moved back to our hometown a little over a year and a half later and bought our dream house.
  • Our children started school at the same school my husband and I both attended as children.

  • My oldest turned into an aquarium geek… She *reallyyyyyy* loves snails.

  • The hardest chapter of my life finally closed. I found my biological dad, with no names, nothing to go off of, after 9 years, 10 months and 27 days of searching using AncestryDNA and 23andme ancestral DNA testing. I met him 10 years and 4 days after I began searching.

  • My kids met their grandfather for the first time.

  • We took our long overdue, family photo. Our last one was in 2009! We’ve added two more kids to the mix since then!

 

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BabbaCover by Jessica Kim in Airy Cotton Review

Living in Alaska, bugs are a huge concern during the summer months. I really don’t like to use chemical-laden bug repellants on my sensitive little baby, but I also don’t want her to be eaten up by the giant mosquitoes Alaska is famous for. Not to mention, even though we live in Alaska, we still see enough sun during the summer months to get sunburn. It can be hard to know what to do with a baby during the summer months to protect them.

The BabbaCover by Jessica Kim in Airy Cotton is a great tool to help protect baby from sunburn while keeping pesky bugs at bay. The BabbaCover in Airy Cotton is a lightweight, yet durable and resiliant car seat cover designed to protect baby from sunburn and pests while out and about. The BabbaCover is made with a specialized SPF fabric that protects baby from sun exposure and the sides are made with a very fine netting to prevent bugs and other bothersome pests from bothering baby. The cover fits snugly and securely over nearly any infant carseat with a special elastic hole to provide parents with access to the handle, as well as a roll-up window to allow baby to see the world around.

I discovered an additional use for the BabbaCover. Although I loved it on the car seat, the BabbaCover could be used on rockets and bouncers that had a play bar, making the BabbaCover an even more versatile baby product. I even brought the BabbaCover along when our family visited the lake to keep my little one safe from mosquitoes, bugs and sunburn. Simply pull the BabbaCover over the entire seat, just as you would with the car seat, and baby is protected from bugs and the sun, with a light, airy, well-ventilated cover. The BabbaCover is a great way to keep baby safe from the sun and bugs during the warm summer months, especially while he or she is napping!

 

 

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Overall Rating: 4.4 Stars

View more pictures of the BabbaCover by Jessica Kim by clicking here.

Fulfills Purpose Well:

The BabbaCover is a great way to keep baby safe from the sun and from pesky insects that may harass or even bite your baby. The fine mesh keeps pests out while the soft, but durable fabric along the front and back keeps the sun from burning baby.

Design & Visual Appeal

The BabbaCover is cute and durable. It looks great and is well designed.

Ease of Use

The BabbaCover is simple to use. Simply wrap the large elastic bottom around the sides of the car seat and line the elastic handle hole up with the handle. The BabbaCover is a great, cute and effective way for parents to protect their baby while in the car seat.

Affordability

The BabbaCover is a little more expensive than most car seat covers, however, the BabbaCover in Airy Cotton provides SPF protection; something most car seat covers do not offer. This SPF protection spares your baby’s skin from burning.

Earth Friendliness

The BabbaCover is durable and resilient and has withstand even the most rough use by my husband and I during our countless summer trips.

*Disclaimer: I was provided a sample product for my reviewing purposes. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

 

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BabbaMat by Jessica Kim Review

None of my kids have ever liked grass. My oldest couldn’t stand it and would shriek at the top of her lungs even we so much as looked at the grass when we were holding her. My second would whimper, cry and attempt to pick all of his limbs up off of the grass. My youngest was no different. She would scream as loudly as her little lungs would allow and would desperately attempt to get her arms and legs away from those little green blades of horror. I took blankets out with us to put on the grass, but the ground always felt especially hard and lumpy beneath the blanket.

The BabbaMat by Jessica Kim was one of the easiest play mats I’ve ever used. It is self-inflating and seals by simply clicking a dial. One of the best things about the BabbaMat is that it doesn’t feel like a balloon beneath you. It simply feels like a soft, almost spongy mat beneath you. It’s thick enough that it provides cushioning and protection from the ground beneath, making a much more comfortable and soft play area for baby, but it’s firm enough that baby isn’t likely to feel unstable or unsteady.

 

Going outside to play with my four-year-old and two-year old had been a bit of a chore prior to getting the BabbaMat. Sure, I could carry the baby around on my hip or in the baby carrier, but it was hard to coax her to lay down and play with us because she simply hated the grass and the ground was hard. With the BabbaMat by Jessica Kim, she was willing to play, babble and enjoy herself in the sun with her brother, sister, mommy and daddy without any complaining.

The BabbaMat is one of our go-to baby gear products now, whether we’re indoors and out. Since we first got the BabbaMat, our daughter was diagnosed with some health conditions which affect her motor skill development. The BabbaMat by Jessica Kim has been a great tool for us to use while we’re doing her physical therapy. We’re often able to get her to work hard and push herself further on the mat than we are when she’s off of the mat! We can’t come close to explaining how great the BabbaMat has been for our youngest!

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Overall Rating: 4.4 Stars

View more pictures of the BabbaMat by Jessica Kim by clicking here.

Fulfills Purpose Well:

The BabbaMat by Jessica Kim is a simple, yet innovative baby product. The BabbaMat provides a soft, cushioned surface for babies and young children to play on without worrying about aversions to grass, or the hard ground beneath blankets. The BabbaMat isn’t overly balloon-like in the way many inflatable play mats are and doesn’t feel as if it’s a typical inflatable mat at all. Instead, the BabbaMat simply feels like a soft cushion.

Design & Visual Appeal

The BabbaMat was designed with storage in mind. As a parent who owns a relatively small home, I can’t stand having a million different baby products cluttering up and taking over my house. The BabbaMat is self-inflating and is easily deflated when the dial is turned and the mat is rolled up. The BabbaMat comes with a great storage case making it easy to roll it up and set it in the closet until we use it next, all within a matter of minutes.

Ease of Use

The BabbaMat is as simple as it comes. Simply remove the BabbaMat from the carrying case, turn the dial to allow air in and allow it to inflate, then move the dial to block air from escaping. Once you’re done with the BabbaMat, open the dial to allow the air to escape, roll the mat up, secure it with the elastic bands and place it back into the storage case until next time.

Affordability

The BabbaMat is a little more expensive than most play mats, however, the quality of the BabbaMat makes it worth it. Unlike most play mats, the BabbaMat doesn’t feel like a balloon or air mattress. The BabbaMat feels like a soft, supportive cushion.

Earth Friendliness

The BabbaMat is semi-earth friendly when I take into consideration how often I was washing blankets whenever we went outside with my daughter. To clean, simply take a wet rag and rub away dirt and grime from the BabbaMat.

*Disclaimer: I was provided a sample product for my reviewing purposes. My opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced and are my own.

 

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Salter 914 Electronic Baby and Toddler Scale Review

In September of this year, my youngest child was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy as well as failure to thrive. Her weight was much lower than it should be. In fact, her weight wasn’t even on the baby growth chart. It was a very frightening time. I was (and still am) breastfeeding her, but it was difficult for us to know if she was getting enough just by nursing. We decided to purchase an infant scale so we would be able to monitor her breast milk intake, as well as to keep aware of any fluctuations in her weight.

I wanted an infant scale that was accurate down to to the ounce, as we would be measuring approximately how many ounces she was taking in through breastfeeding, as well as how many ounces she was gaining. The Salter 914 electronic baby and toddler scale is accurate down to as little as 0.5 ounces. This was close enough that we would be able to get an accurate idea of how much she was taking in at each feeding. I took the scale to my father-in-law to have him test it (he owns a weight and measures company) and the scale checked out fine, accurately responding to the different weights.

The Salter 914 electronic baby and toddler scale has a maxium capacity of 44 pounds and can be used either with or without the baby tray attachment, making it great for small infants all the way to toddlers and young children. The large LCD display is easy to read and the hold button makes it easy to record a weight even if the baby is fussing or moving around. Even better, the scale comes with a five year warranty.

Fulfills Purpose Well
Design & Visual Appeal
Ease of use
Affordability
Earth-Friendliness

Overall Rating: 4.2 Stars

Fulfills Purpose Well:

The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale works well and is highly accurate in comparison to most home scales. The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale is accurate down to as little as half an ounce and the buttons are simple, easy to read and easy to operate.

Design & Visual Appeal

The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale is cute, featuring a teddy-bear like face when the infant tray isn’t attached, making it more attractive and appealing to older children. For babies who require the use of the infant tray, it is sleek and professional looking, much like you’d expect to see in a doctor’s office.

Ease of Use

The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale is simple to use, however, attaching the infant tray was a bit difficult at first.

Affordability

The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale isn’t the cheapest scale on the market, however, it is a great deal at approximately $60 when considering the scale is accurate down to as little as a half an ounce.

Earth Friendliness

The Salter 914 baby and toddler scale doesn’t exactly meet any requirements to be considered an earth-friendly product, however, it will save you trips to your child’s doctors office to check his or her weight.

 

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated, nor did I receive any sample or trial products in exchange for writing this review. I paid for this product using my own money and the opinions expressed in this review are solely my own. This post contains affiliate links.

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Wisey Added a Giveaway!

Wow! Wisey graciously agreed to add a giveaway to their review! Now, TWO lucky readers will win their very own Wisey Chic Mommy Bag! You don’t want to miss out on this giveaway, because these bags are AMAZING!

Check Out the Giveaway Here!

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