Monday, March 31, 2008

Let's Talk Poop and Goop

It's a mom blog, so I have to talk about poop, right? Well, this isn't exactly about poop - more like the after-effects of poop.

Both of my daughters are stealth poopers. They will either do it when they are across the room and then avoid me, or they will hold off until bedtime, waiting until the middle of the night to let it all out. As you can imagine, keeping that against their sensitive, fair-skinned bottoms for so long can lead to diaper rash.

So when the Parent Bloggers Network asked me to try out Diaper Goop for their diaper rashes, I was intrigued. The name was, well, a little odd. But I hated the pungent smelling diaper creams we were already using, with only so-so results, so I was ready to try anything, even if it had a strange name.

When our supply of Diaper Goop arrived, I was impressed that it was in a tub and not a tube. There's nothing worse than trying to squeeze the right amount of cream out of a tiny tube while wrestling down an unwilling preschooler with a sore butt who is yelling "No cream! No cream!" With Diaper Goop, I can unscrew the lid and have it ready to scoop out when I need it.

Unlike the thick white paste we've used before, this is a slightly sticky, clear yellowish, uh...goop. Goop really is the best way to describe it. It's a lanolin based product - when I opened it for the first time, my mind was immediately taken back to those early breastfeeding days of cracked nipples. It's very similar, right down to the smell, which I find more pleasant than the white paste.

Does it work? Yes! Mira provided a chance for us to use it within 24 hours of it arriving at our door. I dabbed some of the sticky goop onto her red bottom before bed, and by the next morning, the redness was gone. Other experiences have yielded the same response: the rash is generally gone within 12-24 hours.

The really impressive part is that it helps Cordy with her rashes, too. She has a number of food allergies, and the reaction usually appears as the food is on the way out. If she's eaten something that bothers her, as soon as the poop touches her skin it causes a rash, and sometimes blisters if it is there too long. These are very painful rashes for her, and as a result she hates to have anything applied to them. While she still fights me to put anything on her rash, the Diaper Goop does seem to clear up her allergy-related diaper rashes better than the white cream did. It must be more soothing, too: I haven't noticed her doing her I'm-in-pain, wide-legged cowboy walk lately.

I've also discovered that Diaper Goop can be used on more than just red bottoms. Got a cut? Add some goop to help it heal faster. Dry, cracked cuticles? A little goop moisturizes and heals. And although I'm done with breastfeeding, I'm sure it works as a perfect nipple cream, too. Don't let the name fool you - this stuff can be used for any incident of dry skin or minor wounds.

The folks at Diaper Goop were kind enough to send us a few containers of their product, and I know I'll be giving them to friends who are currently pregnant. Well, I'll give at least one away - I might want to keep the others for myself.

Win your own! Parent Bloggers are giving away two containers of Diaper Goop. Leave a comment on their post to enter the contest.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finding a Caregiver You Can Trust

When I was a kid, my babysitter was an older woman that my mom found in the newspaper. She had no idea if this woman was trustworthy or not, but she needed a babysitter quickly, and didn't have a lot of money to spend. Thankfully, my babysitter turned out to be a woman who was so special to me that I called her "grandma".

Now, though, the thought of trying to find a non-family member to babysit my daughters sends me into a panic attack. How can I trust a stranger? How will I know they're safe? And beyond that, how would I even go about finding a babysitter? Our neighborhood is short on cheery teens who want to spend their evenings playing games with a preschooler in exchange for $5 an hour.

I recently was introduced to, though, and I think I've found the answer to those questions. provides listings for babysitters in your area, allowing you to select and contact those who fit your criteria.

The site has a filter that lets you pick specific criteria when searching for a provider. You can search for someone based on the number of years experience, or someone who can handle pets, or someone who has experience with a certain age group. You can also specify if you're looking for part time or full time care, and how much you're willing to pay. I'm really impressed with how well the filter works to eliminate those who aren't a good match, giving you only the best choices for your needs.

As for safety, when you view a profile, you can learn more about the person, and if you think they are a good match, you can view references and even request to see the background check for that provider. You can also rate a provider on the site, giving one more way to see if a provider is a recommended caregiver or not. Being able to see an official background check goes a long way to settle my nerves over contacting a compete stranger.

But doesn't just have babysitters. You can also find pet sitters, tutors, senior care, and even housekeepers. Each offers the same filter process to select the best provider, and many profiles will show more than one service offered. (Such as housekeeping and childcare.)

If you need to find a babysitter for those oh-so-rare date nights, take a look at the providers available in your area via The basic service is free to sign up for, with premium services available for a subscription fee. The security of references, ratings, and background checks will help you feel you're getting the best babysitter for your children. And they'll probably be more reliable than the neighborhood teen.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vamos a Jugar con Whistlefritz

In our area, there's no denying that Spanish has claimed the #2 spot for most spoken language. And if you travel just four blocks from our neighborhood, Spanish is easily heard more than English.

My knowledge of Spanish is limited. I had three years of it in high school, and one semester in college. So I can still remember basic words and phrases, but unless someone speaks to me in Spanish like they would to a two year old, I'm lost. I wish I would have learned a second language earlier, but languages were not offered any earlier than high school in my town.

Knowing that a second language should be introduced as soon as possible, I was excited to try the new Whistlefritz Spanish DVDs offered by the Parent Bloggers Network. Cordy knows some Spanish from Dora and Diego and other DVD series, but the words taught on these shows are very limited and surrounded by English. How can she learn more when Dora rarely speaks in complete sentences in Spanish and is limited to the same words used over and over?

The Whistlefritz series fills this gap. Like so many innovative products, Whistlefritz was started by a mom who was unhappy with the Spanish educational programming available, so she made her own. She knew from her own experience that full immersion Spanish teaching is the best - just like the way we learn our first language. And she also knew it is important to start when children are young - so this DVD series is aimed at 2-5 year olds.

We received two DVDs: Vamos a Jugar and Los Animales. These DVDs are a mix of bright, fun animation, puppets, and lots of kids, all led by one adult teacher. There are songs, learning games, and cute skits, all designed to teach new Spanish words in a fun environment. Not one word of English is spoken on the entire DVD. At first, I thought, how will Cordy know what in the world they're talking about without any instruction in English? And even with my knowledge of the language, the first time we played one, I felt a little lost at first.

But even though I didn't know what they were saying word for word, I soon began to understand what was being taught. The DVDs do a great job of using visual and audio cues to clue you in as to what's being said. For example, when they're doing a song like Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes in Spanish, it's hard to not know what they're talking about.

On just the second time through, Cordy was beginning to repeat back some of the animal names, along with telling me what they were in English, too. She may not know everything being said, but she's picking up more each time she watches it. While she's not speaking in full Spanish sentences yet (and I didn't think she would be), she is expanding her Spanish vocabulary far beyond what Dora and Diego can teach her.

And while these DVDs aren't intended for Mira's age, she is absolutely enamored with the animation, puppets and songs. I'm sure once she starts talking she'll be learning Spanish right along with English thanks to the Whistefritz series.

If you're serious about wanting your child to know a second language, the Whistlefritz Spanish DVD series is one you should strongly consider. The full immersion method is effective, and the colorful animation, songs and games make learning Spanish anything but passive. Kids are encouraged to join in, repeat back words, sing along with songs, and take an active role in their learning.

Win the series! Sign up for the Parent Bloggers Network mailing list in March and be entered to win your own set of the Whistlefritz series.