Monday, December 22, 2014

Disposable Inserts: Flip, gDiaper and SoftBums

Last week I stared the series about how I have been trying out disposable/hybrid inserts for my cloth diapers and putting them through my cloth diaper trial.  Last week I posted the results for Charlie Banana disposable inserts and Grovia BioSoakers and today I am sharing the results of the remaining three inserts I tested: gDiapers Disposable Inserts, SoftBums H-Pods and Flip Disposable Inserts.

Flip disposable inserts
Number times of uses: 11
Number of leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Cost: $6.95 for a pack of 18 or $0.39 an insert
The flip disposable inserts are the cheapest of the disposable inserts that I tested but they worked just as well (if not better) than most of the brands.  They are slightly larger than most of the inserts (gDiapers are the largest) so I only used them in my flip covers because they were too wide for the SoftBums and Grovia shells.  These are flexible and can easily be folded to fit how you want and can also be doubled up for additional absorbency.  I doubled them up for night time use and didn't have a single leak.  They are really trim (all of the disposable inserts were) so I found that I had to snap down the rise snaps to a smaller setting so that the cover fit well.  Cotton Babies says that this inserts is dye and fragrance free and are made of bamboo viscose and wood pulp.  Overall this was a great insert.
SoftBums H Pods
Number times of uses: 13
Number of leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Cost: $7.95 for a pack of 20 or $0.40 an insert
The SoftBums pods were great also.  When looking at them I honestly couldn't figure out a way to distinguish them from the Charlie Banana inserts.  They are the same size, same material, look exactly the same and even performed the same.  I did have 2 leaks with these inserts but both were at 3+ hours so I would say that these still perform really well.  I was able to double them up for night time and even my super heavy wetter was fine over night.  These fit great in my SoftBums covers, Charlie Banana Covers and Flip covers. The SoftBums website says the these inserts are biodegradable and made from soft bamboo viscose. Overall I was really happy with these inserts.
gDiapers disposable inserts
Number times of uses: 8
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Cost: $14.99 for a pack of 32 or $0.47 an insert
gDiapers is one of the more mainstream brands that I have never tried (but I will have to add it to my list ;)) so I wasn't sure what to expect from their disposable inserts.  I don't have an gDiaper covers to use these in but they worked well in my Flip covers.  These were the widest and longest of all of the inserts so they would not fit in my other covers, but the Flip covers were wide enough to accommodate the size.   These worked really well and like a lot of the other inserts are very customizable with how you can fold them and that they can be doubled up.  I did try these out doubled up for overnight with great results, never a leak.  Even during the day a single insert lasted at least 3 hours!  The gDiaper site says that they are chlorine free, latex free, perfume free and dye free. They are also biodegradable and compostable made of cellulose and wood fluff pulp.
Overall I was really happy with all of the disposable inserts that I tried.  I was apprehensive at first but really pleased with how well they worked.  I love that you get the absorbency of a disposable but with less waste and less chemicals.  After this experiment I am definitely a believer and will be using disposable inserts in the future (and for sure the next time I travel)!
**Post contains affiliate links.  Some inserts were provided for my review but all opinions and results are my own**
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Disposable Inserts Trial Results: Charlie Banana and Grovia

Earlier this week I posted about how I have been trying out disposable/hybrid inserts for my cloth diapers and putting them through my cloth diaper trial.  Today I am sharing the results for two of the brands (the other three brands will be later this week): Charlie Banana disposable inserts and Grovia BioSoakers.

Charlie Banana disposable inserts
Number times of uses: 10
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Cost: $15.88 for a pack of 32 inserts or $0.50 per insert
Size: 4.5 inches wide x 10.5 inches long
The Charlie Banana disposable inserts were the first ones that I tried and I was really impressed.  I have previously reviewed the Charlie Banana pocket diaper with both the microfiber inserts as well as the hemp insets so I was glad to round out my review of the brand with the disposable inserts.  As their website notes they are also chlorine free, plastic free, dye free perfume free and hypo-allergic. The materials used include bamboo fibers on the outside and biodegradable wood pulp fibers at the core.
I previously did not have an interest in any disposable products due to the perceived cost but I am glad I finally got to try them. The cost is slightly more than mainstream disposable diapers and about the same cost as eco disposable brands.  I used the Charlie Banana inserts with both the Charlie Banana pocket shells (laid on top), SoftBums shells and covers.  One insert easily lasts 3+ hours (since these were the first ones I tried I didn't push them too hard) and two inserts will last all night (I only tried this one but it was 12+ hours).  I love the flexibility with these inserts, they fit with a variety of brands and I never had a leak! I also like these better than disposable options because I felt like I wasn't wasting as much.  Overall these are a great disposable option.
Grovia BioSoaker
Number times of uses: 8
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Cost per Insert: $7.99 for 20 inserts or $0.40 per insert
Size: 4 inches wide x 13 inches long
Another one of the disposable inserts that I tried was the Grovia BioSoaker.  As you can tell from the picture these are a little bit different than the other inserts.  They have a gathered leg so that the insert is contoured, sticky tabs at the front and back of the insert so that it can be attached to the cover of your choice and a waterproof layer on the back of the insert. These features were actually really cool, I loved that the insert would stay where I put it and the contouring made the insert fit more like a disposable.  Although I didn't have any leaks with any of the disposable inserts I'm sure that the waterproof layer would help contain any leaks.  I was able to use these inserts with my Grovia shell, SoftBums shells, Charlie banana covers and other waterproof covers.  The one bad thing about all of these features is that it makes the insert less customizable.  One of the things that I loved about the other inserts was that I would adjust the absorbency or layer them (I didn't try layering with the BioSoakers but I think the waterproof layer would make that hard) to get the desired effect.  With that being said I never had a lead with these inserts so I was very, very happy with how well they performed on their own.
After trying out these first two brands, I am a believer when it comes to disposable inserts.  Stay tuned for my results of the final 3 brands later this week!

**Post contains affiliate links.  Some inserts were provided for my review but all opinions and results are my own**
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Cloth Diaper Disposable Inserts

With all of the travel that happens at this time of the year inevitably people are asking about tips and tricks for traveling with cloth diapers.  I have posted before about travel with cloth diapers but this year I wanted to do something a little different and try out disposable inserts (hybrid inserts) for cloth diapers.  Of course I couldn't just try them out, I had to put them through my cloth diaper trial.
I did some research to identify what brands I wanted to try out and decided to try the following 5 brands: Charlie Banana Disposable Inserts, Grovia BioSoakers, gDiapers Disposable Inserts, SoftBums H-Pods and Flip Disposable Inserts.  I used each one at least 10 times and over the course of this week I will be sharing my results of the trial for each one.  Before I get to the results I wanted to discuss a bit about what I learned from using the disposable inserts.
Prior to trying the disposable inserts I honestly thought they were a waste of money.  They are comparable to the price of a more expensive disposable diaper brand and I didn't know why I would bother with cloth diaper hybrid.  After using them for a few days I actually really loved them!  Of course there are all the benefits that everyone knows: disposable/flushable/compostable, limited chemicals and hypo-allergenic but there are other benefits I was excited to realize during my trial. 
One of the things I liked the most was that you got the benefits of a disposable diaper but the feel of a cloth diaper.  After using cloth diapers for the past 2 years I hate the papery feel of a disposable diaper but using the disposable insert means that I still have my pretty cloth diaper and isn't all gross and crunchy like a disposable.
I also loved the customizability of the hybrid inserts.  For overnight or for longer trips I was able to double them up so that they last longer.  I also liked that I could fold the insert so that the absorbency was where I wanted it for my child.  I found that one insert would last about the same amount of time as a regular disposable, but you aren't able to customize a regular disposable diaper like you can a hybrid insert.
Another thing that I found that I loved about the disposable inserts was how trim they were.  This was great not only for clothes that I want a smaller bum but also for packing purposes.  We went out of town for a 5 days during Thanksgiving and I packed 6 covers and about 40 inserts and it took up barely any space in my suitcase (less than disposables and regular cloth diapers). 
Overall I ended up really liking this trial. There are definite benefits to using the disposable inserts and I am excited to share my results with you this week.  Stay tuned!
**Post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own.**
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Charlie Banana Hemp Inserts Diaper Trial Results

Over a year ago I put the Charlie Banana diaper through my original diaper trial with good results (no leaks!) using the microfiber insert that included with the diaper, so I was excited when the company asked me to review their hemp inserts.  I have destashed a lot of my pocket diapers but the Charlie Banana's I bought are one of the few pockets that I held onto so I was glad to still have the shells for the trial.  When I got the hemp inserts I noticed that on one side (2 layers) they are microfiber and the other side (2 layers) is a hemp/cotton blend.  I stuffed them in my pockets with the microfiber towards your baby and the hemp facing out.  Microfiber absorbs quickly so you want that close to their body and then the hemp is trim but hold a lot of liquid, because it absorbs slow you want it on the outside.  On to the results!

Number of uses: 12
Number of leaks: 3
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Big Booty factor: 3.5
Best Use: Daddy, Daycare, Naps

·         Includes both the fast absorbing microfiber and the high capacity hemp
·         Easy to swap out for other pocket inserts
·         Could be used outside the pocket since the hemp can be against baby's skin
·         Insert ripples a little bit after being washed
·         Approximately $4.50 an insert so more pricy than other microfiber inserts

Overall I was very pleased with the results, I had a few random leaks but for the most part they had really good staying power.  As noted above the longest wear without a leak was 4 hours compared to the results from the regular microfiber insert of 2 hours.  I also liked that the two layers of hemp are really trim so while you have extra absorbency you don't have any extra bulk.  These fit right into my Charlie Banana covers well and would probably fit almost any brand of pocket diaper.  Additionally because they are hemp on one side you could use them as and AI2 insert with the hemp touching baby's skin.  These are a little pricier than other replacement inserts (microfiber does wear out and lose absorbency so try to change your inserts about every 12-18 months) but the hemp makes it worth it.  I am very glad that I was able to try out these inserts and when my microfiber wears out I will be replacing with these hemp inserts for sure!
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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Diaper Junction AIO Trial Results and Giveaway!

One of my favorite styles of diaper is the All-In-One (AIO) but frequently they are SOOOO expensive that it makes it really cost prohibitive to have a full stash of them.  Recently Diaper Junction send me their One Size All-In-One to perform my diaper trial on.  I was so excited to receive this diaper, because at $9.95 this is a very cost effective diaper that is sold by a U.S. owned company (and therefore meets all US safety requirements)!  I had really high hopes for this diaper and I was not disappointed!!

Number times of uses: 12
Number of leaks: 0!!
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Big Booty factor: 4
Best Use: daddy/babysitter, naps, out of the house
Favorite Features: AIO style, Price!

Great Quality with really nice features
Amazing price at $9.95 a diaper
Semi-attached soaker makes washing and changing easy
More bulky than I normally like
Attached soaker can't be cleaned or dried separately
Absorbent layers are synthetic materials

Frequently inexpensive diapers shortcut on the features so when I got the Diaper Junction AIO I was pleasantly surprised that this includes features like hip snaps, TPU at the waist ("Soaker Stopper") and nice thick feeling TPU.  My next pleasant surprise was that although the soaker material is made of synthetic material (my soaker material preference is bamboo) this diaper has serious lasting power, as seen in the trial results.  Normally my synthetic material diapers leak after about 2.5 hours but this one lasted for 3 or more hours a few times!!  After going through the trial I realized that the use of synthetic materials keeps the cost down but the diaper still performs well.
The soaker for this diaper is attached at the back, making it very customizable but also really easy for wash and wear.  I love that this style makes it so easy for laundry day, and for daddy and babysitters to use.  One downside for me about the attached soaker is that I like to be able to wash my inserts separately if they get stained.  Thankfully after a few months of uses, this diaper was still perfectly white!
Overall I think that this is an amazing diaper and for the price you just really can't go wrong.  Diaper Junction was generous enough to provide the diaper for my trial but I am such a believer that I purchased one to give away to one lucky winner!!

Give away is for one Diaper Junction All In One diaper in Timberwolf.  Giveaway is only open to U.S. residents.  Winner will be announced via FaceBook.

Post contains affiliate links.  I was provided a diaper to perform my trial on but results and opinions are all my own.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

BumGenius Freetime Cloth Diaper Trial Results

Now that I have reviewed the BumGenius 4.0, New Elemental and Original Elemental the next obvious diaper to put through the diaper trial is the BumGenius Freetime(aff).  I love the Elementals so I was really excited to see how the Freetime compared. 

Number times of uses: 16
Number of leaks: 2
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Big Booty factor: 3.5
Best Use: Naps, out of the house
Favorite Features: flap style soaker, narrowness of the crotch

*All-In-One style is convenient
*Crotch of the FreeTime is more narrow than all other BumGenius/Flip diapers

*Synthetic absorbent materials
*Flap style soaker can be hard to clean for a very messy diaper

Overall I liked the diaper. I love the narrowness through the crotch that makes the diaper less bulky through the legs but the double layer microfiber inserts make it a little fluffier on the bum.  A lot of moms that I know that use cloth diapers prefer the FreeTime version from BumGenius because it is a little less material between their tiny baby's legs.
Based on my past experience cloth diapers with microfiber soakers do not last as long but I know that I can rely on this diaper to perform well as both leaks were at 4+ hours.  I love this diaper for naps because I know it won't leaks and its a great comfortable fit. 
I love all in one style diapers for their ease of use and washing but the flap style soaker not my favorite as it is messy to spray clean.  I also am not the biggest fan of anything microfiber so I definitely prefer the Elemental over the FreeTime but overall I think this is a great diapering option.
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Saturday, November 1, 2014

500 FaceBook Fan Contest!!!

Somewhere in the past few weeks I reached 500 fans and didn't even realize it!!  I have had a fun cloth diaper contest up my sleeve just waiting for this milestone, so here it is :).  
Below is a picture of my solid color diaper rainbow.  There are 10 different brands represented here (plus a few I have made myself, which don't count in the 10) so the contest is guessing the 10 brands included in the picture.  
The rules (and hints):
1. All brands are mainstream brands that you can buy at most cloth diaper retailers.  
2. There may be multiple styles pictured from different brands, but they all count as one brand.
3. Open to US only.
4. Each person can submit one guess in the Rafflecopter form below

The Prizes:
1.  All entries that correctly guess all 10 brands will be entered into a raffle for their choice of: Marie Elemental, Spence Elemental, or a Custom Naturally Crafty Mom Diaper.
2.  All incorrect guesses will be included in a raffle for 6 cloth wipes.
3. You can earn extra entries for the wipes by sharing the contest (must use the share button on the post)
4. During the Contest if the Naturally Crafty Mom FaceBook page reaches more than 750 likes, I will pick two diaper winners from the correct guesses.
This contest is in no way associated with the brands pictured above, and is sponsored solely by me!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Original BumGenius Elemental Diaper Trial Results

I put the New BumGenius Elemental (NBGE) through my diaper trail and reported the results at the beginning of the year.  BumGenius redesigned the Elemental diaper a few years ago but people that love BumGenius are still obsessed with the Original design (OBGE) and frequently they sell online used for more than retail.   Since trying the NBGE I have been dying to try the OBGE.  There are a lot of blog that compare the styles (Haute Clothed Buns does a great one) but I needed to know how they performed compared to each other.  If you remember from my trial of the NBGE, the performance was pretty much bulletproof, so I was excited to see how the OBGE performed.

Number times of uses: 12
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours
Big Booty factor: 3
Best Use: Daddy/babysitter, out of the house, nap time
Favorite Features: sewn in soaker, trim, bamboo soaker

* AIO style  makes it very easy to use
* Double absorbency: attached and a semi detached soaker
* Bamboo inserts are absorbent and trim

* Attached/semi attached soaker makes it so you cant customize washing
* You can't buy them new anymore :(

Overall I loved this diaper!!!  With zero leaks, this obviously performed amazingly and consistently lasted more than two hours.  The fit of the diaper is great with the stretchy BumGenius Tabs and trimness of the bamboo inserts.
Of course the big question is how does it compare to the NBGE??? I love both diapers but I actually like the fit of the NBGE better.  The NBGE is trimmer across the bum although the OBGE is narrower in the crotch.  This was a welcomed conclusion for me since you can't buy OBGE anymore except through buy/sale/trade groups online or local.  If you can get my hands on a OBGE for a decent price though, I will definitely be buying more.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mom and Toddler Matching Ring Slings

We are more than half way through International Babywearing Week and I have another fun post today.  When my second daughter was a baby a friend shared a tutorial with me on how to make a ring sling and I even did a tutorial review on the one I used.  Every year between June and September my daughter has 5 little friends that have birthdays and I love to make them fun presents.  Last year I made them babydoll diaper bags and diapers and this year I decided to make them baby doll ring slings. 
I found this tutorial by and I love the pocket it creates and the Velcro safety feature.  This was also a really easy project, so that is always a plus.  But my FAVORITE part of this project is that you can use leftover material from your own ring sling to make a ring sling for a child.  This would be a perfect gift for a mom that has a toddler: mommy gets to carry baby with ease and the toddler gets to mimic it with their own sling.
To make matching ring slings you will buy 2.5 yards of your selected materials (I like a solid and a matching print).  For the adult ring sling you will cut the sling 30 inches wide by 2.5 yards long.  When you cut the width so that it is 30 inches this will leave you with a piece that is 14-30 inches wide depending upon the original width of your materials (44-60 inches).  The majority of the material I use is 44 inches wide so I will assume that as I write these instructions. 
Using the 14 inch wide by 90 inch long remnant, cut the piece in half length wise so that you have two pieces that are each 14x45.  Placing right sides together sew or serge them together.  This will give you a 28x45 inch piece, you can either use this piece or cut it down to be 20x45.  From here you can follow the instructions for the baby doll sling
Easy as can be you have matching mom and toddler ring slings!!!

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Muffin Stop And Utility Belt Tutorial and Giveaway

This week is International Babywearing Week 2014 and I am excited to bring you a few fun posts related to baby wearing.  The first I am REALLY EXCITED about as it is one of my more favorite inventions (a quick Google search didn't show anything like this) the Muffin Stop and Utility Belt!!
I love to used my Ergo babycarrier whenever we are out and since my daughter is a little older now I love to put her in a back carry.  One of the benefits of using a carrier is that I don't have to lug around a stroller and we are normally feeling really carefree and don't want to deal with a diaper bag either. On a recent trip to the aquarium I found that while I didn't want to take all of these things with me I did have a few items that I needed to carry (like keys, phone, ID and money) but I had nowhere to put them!   While walking around the aquarium I kept thinking about how I could make a slip on pocket to go along the waist strap of my carrier. Originally this was just suppose to be a pocket for my items but when I tried it on I noticed that the normal muffin top that the back carry give me was significantly reduced by the addition of my "utility belt" and thus the Muffin Stop was born.
For all of my crafty followers out there I have put together a very simple tutorial below.  I am so excited about how well my Muffin Stop works that I will also be giving away a custom Muffin Stop to one lucky Naturally Crafty Mom follower (see rafflecopter entry form below).  
Muffin Stop and Utility Belt Tutorial
1/6 yard quilted fabric
1/6 yard canvas 
9 inch zipper
Start by trying on your carrier and measuring approximately how long and wide you would like it to me.  I wanted mine to cover the majority of the carrier nylon strap and then extend 1/2 to one inch above and below.  My finished belt was 4x12 inches with a pocket that is 4x9 inches.  I will provide measurements below based on those finished dimensions but shorten or lengthen based on your individual needs.
Cut the following pieces:
Two pieces of the quilted fabric (mine is black) 5x13 inches
Two pieces of the canvas fabric (mine is pink) 5x11 inches

Set your quilted fabric to the side and begin by installing the zipper in your canvas.  Take one of your 5x11 pieces and cup along the 11 inch length about 1.5 inches.  This will leave you with a 1.5x11 inch piece and a 3.5x11 inch pieces.  Install the zipper using the same method that I use on my wetbags by turning and topstitching.  
Once you have your zipper installed face your canvas pieces, right sides together and stitch along the short ends. 

Turn right side out (note that the top and the bottom should be open).

Now take your quilted pieces and make a sandwich with the canvas pocket in the middle (centered).  Pin all the way around and then stitch along three sides leaving one of the short ends open.

Turn right side out (this part took me the longest, just keep working on it.)

Once you have it turned right side out, turn under the open end and topstitch to close.  I also topstitched along the opposite side just so that they looked the same.

There you go, you now have your own Muffin Stop and Utility Belt.  I am able to fit my phone, keys, ID and a few cards and cash in mine with ease and I am just tickled about how easy it was and how well it worked.  I just slip the nylon belt between the back padded part and the pink pouch, buckle and I'm ready to go!
If you aren't crafty, you are in luck because I am giving away a custom Muffin Stop!!!  Use the Rafflecopter entry form below.  (If you don't win but are interested in buying one, contact me at the "e-mail me" link above.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Diaper Need Awareness Week 2014

This year September 8-14th has been set aside as Diaper Need Awareness Week.  I am participating in the efforts by Giving Diapers Giving Hope to collect cloth diapers for families in need.  To raise awareness Giving Diapers Giving Hope is challenging people to find (at least) one new or good used condition cloth diaper and send it to GDGH during the week.  To further encourage participation you can post a picture of your package (with your return address covered) to Instagram and might be picked for a prize!!   

Why Should I Care About Diaper Need?

The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that one in three American families struggle to afford diapers for their babies.  With approximately 5.8 MILLION babies in low income families, that represents approximately a shortage of 17.4 BILLION diapers a year.  Diapers are currently not included in any government subsidize program and at $50-$100 a month per baby for disposables or the significant upfront cost of cloth diapers can represent a financial constraint for a lot of families.  

How Can I Participate?

Donate, donate donate!!  Of course you can donate financially to any of the diaper banks (cloth or disposable) of your choice (of course in my opinion donating a cloth diaper will serve a family for much, much longer). 

I have chosen to donate 2 cloth diapers that have worked well for my family and 10 of my cloth wipes, which will hopefully be enjoyed by another family.

If you want to participate in the GDGH initiative this is what you need to do:

1. Take a photo of you with a diaper in an envelope addressed to:
(GDGH has a new address check their site for where to ship your donations)
2. Cover your return address with your hand or a sticker using an app in your phone.
3. Post to Instagram and include the hashtags #givinghope and #diaperneed. Tag 3 friends.
4. Hope for a prize but know that you have done a lot to help a family in need.

Whatever your course of action, don't forget that diaper need is year round and your support should not stop after this week!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Annies Organic Buying Club Review

I am continuously trying to make better choices for my family and even though I would love to feed my family all organic I am frequently overwhelmed by the prices and end up choosing conventional items.  Recently a friend told me about an organic produce buying club called Annie's.  It is currently only available in Florida but a quick google search should help locate a similar buying club in your state.  After checking out the prices and options I decided to give it a try.  With my analytical personality I also decided that I was going to track what came in my shares and determine what the cost would have been at the grocery store.  I wanted to see if buying from Annie's really made financial sense.  I went to Whole Foods and also checked out Publix Greenwise prices to determine what the prices would have been at retail.  After a few weeks I was also curious how everything compared to conventional prices, so I did price comparisons based on conventional prices as well.  After a month of weighing, counting and pricing I finally have a month's worth of results to share.
Over the month that I was tracking I tried out a few different options and my condensed results are below.  (Its also important to note that while I could find most items a lot of items I wasn't able to find organic so actual savings are probably more for some shares.)

Share Name: Big $50
Share Cost: $50
Retail Organic Cost: $71.63
Organic % savings: 43%
Retail Conventional Cost: $54.43
Conventional % savings: 9%
Share Name: $10 Fruit
Share Cost: $10
Retail Organic Cost: $14.68
Organic % savings: 47%
Retail Conventional Cost: $9.06
Conventional % savings: -9%

Share Name: The Mini
Share Cost: $22
Retail Organic Cost: $31.84
Organic % savings: 45%
Retail Conventional Cost: $22.86
Conventional % savings: 4%
Share Name: Snack Pack Attack
Share Cost: $10
Retail Organic Cost: $13.45
Organic % savings: 35%
Retail Conventional Cost: $10.76
Conventional % savings: 8%
Share Name: Fruity 50
Share Cost: $50
Retail Organic Cost: $77.41
Organic % savings: 55%
Retail Conventional Cost: $48.37
Conventional % savings: -3%


Share Name: Full
Share Cost: $50
Retail Organic Cost: $66.19
Organic % savings: 32%
Retail Conventional Cost: $42.81
Conventional % savings: -14%

After a month of tracking I can confidently say that I have experienced significant cost savings over retail prices on organic produce.  Also, for the most part I am paying the same price for organic produce as I would for conventional in a retail location. 
On top of the cost savings I have also noticed a lot of qualitative benefits.  Normally I make a menu and grocery list for the week and therefore don't even look at other produce options so I love that getting all of my produce from a buying club means that I try things that we normally wouldn't even consider.  Because of this we have tried so many amazing recipes that I can't wait to make again.  Secondly we eat a lot more vegetables than we use to.  Having it on site means that I have to think of creative ways to use the veggies before they go bad and therefore we eat more veggies in general.  Lastly, I love that we get produce that is in season so it is all delicious!!
If you are in Florida definitely check to see if there is an Annie's Buying Club close to you and if not then look around for other buying clubs.  I have personally found it to be a great way to buy our produce.
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Monday, September 1, 2014

How Much Time Does it Take to Cloth Diaper - Quantifying the Savings

Last week I posted my breakdown of how much extra time it actually takes to use cloth diapers over disposable diapers but being a CPA this information has more use for me when expressed in dollars!  My study found that on average someone could expect to spend about an hour extra each week using cloth diapers over disposables.
Assess the Factors
First to determine how much out time savings are worth we have to assess the cost per month of using cloth diapers and of using disposables:
Cost of a Cloth Diaper Stash (per month)
The average child will potty train around two and a half and I would say that the majority of cloth dipaerers will use their diapers on at least two children, therefore to be conservative I will say that the diapers will get 5 years of use. You can cloth diaper for almost any price point and I have provided suggestion for diaper stashes at $200, $400 and $600 so the price of your stash will definitely affect the per hour savings. I think a very reasonable expectation is about $400 for your cloth diapers for 5 years (60 months) so $6.67 a month.
Cost of Utilities (per month)
Based on my post from last year about determining cost savings of using cloth diapers I determined that it cost me about $150 a year in extra water, electricity, detergent, etc. to use cloth diapers.  Therefore the monthly cost is about $12.50
Therefore the total estimated cost per month of using cloth diapers is $19.17.
Cost of Disposable Diapers (per month)
The cost of disposables is of course affected by the brand you buy but I think 25 cents a diaper is reasonable and at approximately 300 diapers a month the cost per month is about $75.
Therefore the savings each month of using cloth diapers over disposable diapers is $55.83 a month and if you assume approximately 4 hours a month (1 hour a week) then you are essentially paying yourself $13.95 an hour.  Not bad! If someone told me they would pay me $14 an hour to put adorable diapers on my daughter, keep away diaper rash and help the planet all at the same time I would consider that a pretty good job!
So overall I found this little experiment really interesting. I am more than happy to sacrifice an hour a week so that we can continue cloth I just have to find my husband to collect my $14.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

How Much Time Does it REALLY Take to Use Cloth Diapers

One of the biggest concerns people have about cloth diapering is the time commitment involved, so this got me thinking, how much extra time does it REALLY take to use cloth diapers over disposable diapers?  Now that my curiosity was piqued, I decided that I would take a week and time all of activities that I had to do extra to cloth diaper including:
1. Washing diapers
2. Sorting/Folding/Stuffing and putting away diapers and wipes
3. Refilling wipes containers
4. Spraying out dirty diapers

I timed these activities a few times though out the past week and I even had two of my friends time how long it took them to fold their diaper laundry so that I would have a good average for each activity on a weekly basis.  Note that the numbers should be used as an estimate and is based on some basic assumptions (actual results may vary).  I used numbers assuming one child in cloth diapers at a time and I also calculated based on a mixed diaper stash (all in ones, all in twos, flats/prefolds and pockets) whereas some stashes may take longer or shorter to fold (e.g. pockets probably take the longest). I made a couple assumptions about how often people wash their diapers and how many diapers they use a day (included in the details below).
Washing Diapers
If you cloth diaper, one of the biggest time commitments you will have over using disposable diapers is actually washing them.  I normally tell friends and prospective cloth diapers that the washing part isn't really that big of a deal as its mostly just pushing buttons and pouring in a little detergent.  For the purposes of my calculation I timed how long it took me to set each cycle (including the time to get off the couch and walk to the washer each time) as well as to transfer my wipes and inserts to the dryer and hang up all of my PUL shells to dry.  I found that on average to do the whole task that it took about four minutes each time I did laundry.  I assumed that most people do laundry every other day and therefore 3.5 times a week for a total of 14 minutes a week.
Sorting/Folding/Stuffing and putting away diapers and wipes
This part is definitely the most time consuming of any of the tasks and will be dependent upon what type of diapers you have and if you can talk your husband into helping you ;).  Although it takes the longest I find this part the most enjoyable because I get to see all my clean diapers laid out in front of me.  I also normally do it while watching TV so it's not that big of a deal.  For this activity the overall average was determined based on the assumption that people have a variety of diaper types and that they are folding about 1 wipe for each diaper.  For mixed stashes I found that it took about 30 seconds to fold each diaper (on average and including the associated wipe).  For my friend that only uses pocket diapers the average was closer to almost a minute per diaper and if you had a stash that only had all in ones it might be closer to 15-20 seconds for each diaper.  Based on these assumptions the average time to fold and put away all diaper and wipes was about 8-9 minutes per load (16-18 diapers and 20 wipes) and based on 3.5 loads a week the average is about 30 minutes per week.
Refilling wipes containers
I like to prewet my wipes and store them in a wipes warmer but no matter how you do it it takes a little bit of extra time to wet cloth wipes than it does to use prepackaged disposable wipes.  I find that I wet mine about every other day and that it takes me about a minute and a half each time I fill the warmer for a total of 5 extra minutes a week.  This total does not take into consideration any extra time to make your own wipe solution as I frequently just use distilled water.

Spraying out dirty diapers
The last activity (and probably my least favorite unless you are considering the positives of poop) that requires more than with cloth diapers than with disposable is taking care of any solid waste.  I timed how long it took from baby to diaper pail with various types of situations (from plopable to super messy) and found that on average it takes about one minute to deal with a dirty diaper.  Your weekly time will depend upon how many messy diapers you get a week but my calculations assumed about 10 diapers a week for a total of 10 minutes.
Total Time Spent
If you add up all of the time spent from the activities above you come up to 59 minutes a week, so just under an hour!!!  Of course this doesn't take into consideration that if I was using disposable diapers that I would spend time cutting coupons, searching the Internet for the best deal or driving to the store and battling diaper rash.  Overall spending an extra hour so that I can use cloth diapers on my girls seems very worthwhile to me but being a CPA I really needed to quantify the amount of time I spend so stay tuned for my next post (hopefully soon) where I translate the time savings into dollars!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Buttons Diaper Trial Results and Giveaway!

Number of uses: 18

Number of leaks: 5

Longest wear without a leak (one insert): 3 hours, 30 minutes

Big Booty factor – One Insert: 3.5

Best Use: Around the House, As a Cover

* I love the versatility to either snap in an insert or use as a cover
* Reusable shell saves you $$ (and these are inexpensive to start)
* The tummy has elastic which helps keep in any messes/wetness
* I couldn't get a good fit with two inserts, it always leaked
* The night time insert is bulky and always leaked for me
I have been eyeing the Buttons diapering system for a while and I was really excited when I got the opportunity to put one through my diaper trial.  I received a cover and one day time insert as well as one night time insert to try out. The Buttons diaper system has a wipe-able shell with snaps on the inside of the front and the back so that you can snap in the inserts and reuse the shell multiple time.  They also have a night time insert that snaps onto the back of the day time insert so that you have a double layer for night time. After a few days I realized that this is a great cover for any insert and started using my flats pad folded in the cover.  I love that this cover has elastic around the belly to help keep in any messes.  The covers are similar to Best Bottoms covers but have the belly elastic ensures that we don't have any belly leaks for my belly sleeping kids, big plus for me!
I found the provided buttons inserts to have average results in regards to the diaper trial.  I pushed the inserts really hard and all five leaks reported were either overnight (with one or two inserts) or after 3.5+ hours.  So the results show that this was a very good performing diaper.

Overall I really love the versatility of this diaper.  The snap in inserts are so easy for daddy, grandparents or other childcare providers and the cover is amazing over a flat or prefold.  This is a quality diaper for a great price and now you can win one for yourself!!  One person will win one buttons diaper cover and two daytime inserts ($18 value).  This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents, use the Rafflecopter form to enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided a complimentary diaper cover and inserts for my trial, all results are my own.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Happiness Happens Through My Children's Eyes

With two little girls, happiness is easy to find these days.  When asked to write about how I make Happiness Happen by Happy Family Brands I could easily write a months worth of blog posts but what it all boils down to is seeing the excitement of new activities and the simple pleasures through my girl's eyes.

Here are some of the ways that we made Happiness Happen as a family this past weekend.
At least five out of seven days a week my girls and I will have a dance party.  My older daughter will ask if we can dance to her "favorite song" which can be translated into the Madagascar version of "I like to move it, move it".  I will put it on repeat and each girl will grab a doll and we will dance in the living room.  
Of course no weekend is complete without family time and when you live in Florida going to the beach with kids is so much fun.  My girls are now old enough to enjoy playing in the sand (without eating it) and love splashing in the water and collecting shells.

My mom and dad came to visit for a few hours on Saturday and my mom loves to play with my girls.  My older daughter and "Memaw" spent at least 30 minutes having a pretend birthday party.  I love seeing my daughter use her imagination in such fun ways.

She may not look happy but Memaw bringing her a stethoscope was the highlight of her weekend.  She has been asking for one for weeks and my mom secured a disposable one for her (that actually works really well).  Everyone got a checkup this weekend and being healthy of course makes us all happy!
By the end of the weekend it's clear that a few small moments add up to our overall happiness.  At night my husband and I lay in bed and just recount how lucky we are to have so much happiness in our lives.
Disclosure: This post is part of the Happy Family Brands Happiness Happens sponsored campaign.  All opinions share in this post are my own and not those of Happy Family Brands.
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