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What Do We Buy For A Boat Baby?

Now that I’m half way through this pregnancy I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of things we’ll need to buy. Obviously living on a boat presents some challenges that most first-time-moms will never have to consider. Not only do we have a very limited amount of space inside our 42′ sailboat but we also have to consider the climate we live in.

Do we really need baby blankets in the Caribbean? 

Will our baby need pajamas?

We don’t wear socks. Will our baby need them?

If I need to use bottles, can I clean them without a dishwasher?

Are cloth diapers even possible with limited access to a washing machine? Where do we put dirty diapers in the boat?

What kind of baby-proofing do we need to do to make our boat safe?

How do I make a nursery out of the v-berth? 

How will I get myself and our baby in and out of the dinghy?

What kind of sunscreen is safe for infants?

If I order everything online, where can I have it shipped to?

The list of questions goes on and on…

 

Anyone can guess the internet is overwhelmingly full of baby registry ideas. I started by asking a few of my boat-mama friends what their must-have picks are for living on a boat and I made a short list. Eventually I decided to create a baby registry online to make it easier to save all the specific links for the products I liked.

Though I won’t be having a baby shower due to geographical limitations, a few close friends and family members back in the states have asked me what we need for the baby. Having a registry has turned out to be a very helpful planning tool to simply see what we really need and what we don’t, as well as how much it’s all going to cost.

We’ve already been given quite a few super helpful things from near-by boat mommas which helps tremendously! There are a lot of things we’ll still need to buy though.

Any gifts we do receive from family along with the items we buy ourselves will need to be shipped to a few different locations and brought down via pack mule (aka my mom, my dad, Peter’s dad and Peter’s Aunt Lucy when they come to visit and meet the baby this July). Baby supplies are few and far between here in BVI and shipping them in is no easy feat. Things often get lost in transit or held up at Customs, with no idea when you will actually be able to pick them up. It’s way easier to just have someone bring an extra piece of luggage for us.

My mom will actually be making a preliminary trip to visit us in March and help me get the baby’s room ready while I’m still able to get around so hopefully we’ll have all the basic necessities shipped to her by then ;)

There are probably a bajillion stores to create a registry at but I had seen another friend using BabyList and I really liked how it looked and how easy it was to use. You can search for any product from any store on the internet and by using a button in your favorites bar similar to the “pin it” button for Pinterest, it quickly adds whatever item and webpage you’re looking at to your registry. You can edit the display picture, the price, the description, add a note, and even select or create a custom category from a drop-down menu. The best part about it is that you’re not limited to one store. The possibilities are endless for shopping at any online store you like. If you or someone else ends up purchasing one of the items on your list, they just mark it as “reserved” on the registry and make the actual purchase on whichever website is selling the product (ie. Amazon, Babies R Us, Target, etc). It may seem like an extra step to manually mark it as reserved in a different place than where you purchase the item but this way I’m able to pick the things we really need. I mean, I’m not going to find lifeline netting at Babies R Us! 

For all of you experienced mommas and poppas out there, what were your favorite (read: must-have) items? Which things were not helpful at all?

Can you think of any boat-specific baby items that we should have? 

If you have a minute, take a look at what I have on the list so far and let me know what I’ve missed :) There’s two ways to view it… you can filter to see Available items, or those that are already Reserved, unfortunately not both at the same time.

Our BabyList Registry: Baby Pieschel

The Honest Kitchen: A better pet food

During a massive uproar about the class-action lawsuit against Purina/Beneful a few months back, our good friends on S/V Mirador had just lost their little dog Vanilla to complications that were potentially linked to feeding her Beneful, while devastatingly unaware of the concerns. The cruising lifestyle combined with being down in the islands makes quality pet food hard to find and even harder to afford. In a panic, I began researching the issue knowing we were (at the time) feeding our dogs the same thing. Beneful had seemed like the best option of dry dog food in stock on all the islands we had visited, and yet remained within a reasonable-to-high price range.

I’ve shared my home with dogs nearly all my life, though I never understood or even questioned the true importance of “quality dog food” until now. A few online discussions caught my attention and Peter and I both began spending countless hours researching safe dog foods and countless more hours finding out which ones were actually attainable in the US Virgin Islands.

Reviews and Recommendations:

We began noticing some trends in all the reviews. Grain-Free seemed to be the key in avoiding some common illnesses caused by many dry dog foods on the market. Overwhelmingly, I kept coming back to The Honest Kitchen. Though they do offer grain-free and gluten-free options, it’s not that important to select a grain-free formula from THK unless your pet has allergy issues. If selecting a regular dry food kibble on the other hand, your best bet for avoiding illness is choosing a grain-free formula.

Every review I found had only positive things to say about THK. Within hours of posting about our experience with Beneful, blog followers @wavetothewind (who contacted us on Twitter and even wrote a post about the food >>here<<) as well as S/V Irie on Facebook both gave us strong recommendations to give The Honest Kitchen a try.

Just recently, Reviews.com did an interesting study about the quality of ingredients in dog food. After reviewing all 2,219 formulas, they ended up with 119 dog food formulas — manufactured by 25 brands — that they confidently recommend.

The Honest Kitchen is one of those 25 brands.

Surprisingly, some of the brands many of my friends use back home didn’t make the cut because of ingredients:

  • Cesar
  • Chicken Soup
  • Eukanuba
  • Hill’s Prescription Diet
  • Hill’s Science Diet
  • Iams Veterinary Formula
  • Nutro
  • Nutro Ultra
  • Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets
  • Royal Canin
  • Nutro Natural

Dog Food Advisor states The Honest Kitchen Grain Free Dehydrated Food is “enthusiastically recommended as a superior dog food.”

The Honest Kitchen: Zeal made the shortlist of 22 Best Dry Dog Foods at PetFoodRatings.org

More about THK:

Honest-Kitchen-Logo

If you visit The Honest Kitchen’s website, you’ll quickly learn they provide all natural human grade dog food and cat food products using dehydrated whole foods. Everything is produced in the USA from non-GMO produce, hormone-free meats and some organic, fair trade ingredients – all carefully sourced from around the world (and NEVER contain any ingredients from China).

They make dog food, cat food, treats and supplements with multiple options for grain free, gluten free and various life stages.

A rare approval by the FDA was given to THK certifying that their food is in fact human grade which means it is technically fit for human consumption. Standard pet food is made with ‘feed-grade’ ingredients by ‘feed-grade’ production methods and is unfit for human consumption. I was appalled to learn that ‘feed-grade ingredients’ can include by-products, chemicals, fillers and parts from ‘4D’ meats (animals which are dying, diseased, disabled or deceased)! We would never eat something like that so why should our pets have to?

Strict regulations are demanded of their suppliers and quality control testing is in place to ensure all THK products are safe.

So, why is it dehydrated?

THK explains all the benefits of dehydrating in comparison to processing kibble, canned, raw and homemade foods >>here<<. The actual process is described >>here<<.

We learned just how intricately connected pet food choices are to digestion issues, urinary tract and kidney issues, skin and coat problems, ear infections, body weight, energy levels and the overall health and longevity of our pets.

While the pricing for this food may seem steep, keep in mind a 10-lb box of THK dehydrated food is equivalent to a 40-lb bag of dry kibble food. We did the math and the numbers are very comparable, if not cheaper than other pet food products that have passed the same scrutinizing reviews shown above. To help ease the cost, there are several loyalty programs that give you free products based on the volume you purchase on a regular basis.

THK-Embark-4lb-Web THK-Force-4lb-Web THK-Zeal-4lb-Web

Sustainability:

It has become increasingly important for companies and individuals to ‘go green’ and reduce our carbon footprint on our planet. THK is no exception. They have succeeded in many ways to do their part to reduce their pawprint!

They pride themselves on green production, green ingredients, green business and even green packaging that is 100% biodegradable and BPA-free.

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THK Team and their four-legged helpers that share their office everyday

The ultimate pet food for living on a boat:

Not only do we believe The Honest Kitchen provides a better pet food than all the rest, it happens to only come in a convenient, space-saving size, perfect for living on a boat!

I’ve written before about how we store dog food in our tiny floating home, but we’re still limited on just how much we can store at one time. Now that we are committed to only feeding our dogs high quality food, we stock up with enough food to sustain Betsy and Gunner when we know we will be traveling.  For example, when we travel South to Grenada for Hurricane Season (July through November), there is absolutely ZERO quality pet foods available in the rest of the Caribbean. The Honest Kitchen food is long-life, shelf-stabile for up to 12 months at room temperature so stocking up for long periods of time won’t compromise the quality of the food. Storing SIX 10-lb boxes of THK food sure is easier than storing SIX 40-lb bags of dry kibble :)

Try it out FOR FREE!

I’m incredibly excited to share with you that I was accepted into the Ambassador Program for The Honest Kitchen!

As an Ambassador, I am able to provide a personalized link which will automatically apply a promo code to your online cart for a FREE sample pack (within the U.S.). Only a small shipping charge of $1 applies. All sample packs will also include an $8-off coupon for a future purchase!

1. Click through to my personalized link: http://bit.ly/1TnVAz0

2. You’ll see a pop-up message telling you the code has been successfully applied. Select the option from the drop-down menu that is best for your pet(s). The DOG pack contains two grain-free options, good for dogs of any age. Definitely try these if your pup has allergies or other sensitivities. The CAT pack contains one of each of the two cat foods available, both of which are grain-free.

3. After adding one of the sample packs to your cart, the promo will be automatically applied (if you use this special link). The cost of the sample pack will be zero and shipping will only be $1(within the US). All sample packs will include an $8-off coupon for future purchases! If you’d like to add additional sample packs to your order, a small fee will apply. Please let me know if you do not receive a confirmation email and I will send you a coupon code for the free sample instead.

 

Using this link gives you a no-strings-attached, risk-free opportunity to try THK, and using this link will also award my account with points which I can redeem for dog food for Betsy and Gunner! As a result, hopefully you’ll come to see the value in this awesome company and decide to make the switch for your own furry children as well as educating others about THK in the future.

Don’t forget to check the individual product page online to find out ‘how much to feed’ of each formula!

Though I don’t receive points for any future purchases made, I strongly endorse THK and hope you’ll continue to order from them when your sample is gone, as well as helping educate as many people as possible about the importance of healthy pet food. Please share this article with anyone else that may be interested!!

Shipping Info:

At this time, shipping is only offered to US addresses only. For orders to AK/HI/PR/USVI: A shipping charge between $2.50 and $5.00 will apply for the sample packs. The price of the sample is still free with the code for new customers though the shipping fee is required to these locations. For sample packs or product purchase orders to AK HI and PR, transactions can be made online. Orders for USVI must be placed over the phone by calling the Customer Service line at 619-544-0018.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you’ve tried THK before, leave a comment and tell us about your experience!

(All photos published with permission, compliments of The Honest Kitchen, available at www.thehonestkitchen.com)

Tiny House Recap: March and April

ragdoll-13Have you been following my weekly posts on TinyHouseBlog.com? In case you’ve missed any, here’s a recap of the posts that were published in March and April:

Tiny Floating Homes: Winterlude –> CLICK HERE

Tiny Floating Homes: Terrapin –> CLICK HERE

Safety At Sea: Inside a Ditch Bag and Med Kit –> CLICK HERE

Tiny Floating Homes: Salty –> CLICK HERE

Keeping Cool in the Caribbean –> CLICK HERE

Tiny Floating Homes: Rag Doll –> CLICK HERE

 

If there’s any Tiny House Topics you’d like to hear more about, leave a comment and let me know!

Tiny House Blog: A Life Less Ordinary

tobago cays-37

Our friends Wes and Elizabeth were a bit hesitant at first to stay in our tiny floating home but once they arrived it didn’t take long for them to see why we’re so happy living this life less ordinary.

“They shared how the most surprising part of their visit was learning how easy it is to live simply.”

Click the link to read my latest post originally published on Tiny House Blog –>> A Life Less Ordinary

Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

We’re Still Here! 6-month recap

Lately, I’ve done a terrible job at keeping up with the blog! I think it’s been a whole month since I posted something here last.

Please accept my apologies for the gap in publishing and please keep checking back for new stories. There is SO much I want to share with you all but life on a boat is actually quite busy on the Mary Christine. The dogs keep us busy and there are of course always projects to work on and things to fix.

When we left Grenada (pictured below) we bee-lined it up to the Virgin Islands in a 3 and a half day passage. Ever since, we’ve had guests on board for almost more time than we’ve been alone. We LOVE sharing this life of ours with family and friends but it leaves little time for me to write both here and over at Tiny House Blog. If you don’t hear from me or see new posts for awhile, just know that we are off doing something really cool ;)

Here’s a little glimpse of what our last six months have looked like:

November – Izzy – 10 days

December – Dad and Stacy – 3 weeks

January – Lucy (Peter’s aunt) and Julie (Cousin) – 8 days

January – Wiley (Peter’s step-dad) and his sister Emma – 8 days

February – Captain’s School – all month

March – I worked at Pizza Pi helping out for a week and photographed a wedding!

March – Michael and Stacie – 7 days

April – Michael and Stacie – 5 days

April – Mom and Kevin are here on the boat with us now for two weeks :)

I know some of you that read the blog do not use Facebook. Please know that even if you don’t have a Facebook account, you can still see what we’ve been up to! Our Facebook page is public and you can check it out anytime, just like you visit this site. www.facebook.com/wherethecoconutsgrow – Consider it as our ‘second’ website!  This is where I post most of our updates, random photos and current info about what is going on in our world. We’ve shared some crazy adventures recently ;) If you’re already following us there, THANK YOU for liking our page! We love to see your comments!

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Just in case you missed some of the recent posts I’ve done on tinyhouseblog.com, here’s a recap of the posts published in February! 

Tiny Floating Homes: Necesse – A tiny house tour of SV Necesse, home to our good friends Eben, Genevieve, Arias and Ellia. >>Click here<< for the full article

Outside My Window: Grenada – Living in a tiny floating home and exploring new places all over the world. >>Click here<< for the full article.

Tiny Floating Homes: Chance – Kelley and Jason traded in their Brooklyn studio for a 34′ sailboat back in 2012. Chance has been the perfect boat for them and their two dogs, but the time has come to find something just a little bigger. >>Click here<< for the full article.

Pet Food Storage In Small Places – Creative storage solutions for a LOT of dry dog food in a tiny floating home >>Click here<< for the full article.

Hopefully this will give you some reading material until the next post here on Where The Coconuts Grow :) We’re currently on vacation with Mom and Kevin sailing around St. Thomas, St. John and the BVIs!