Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Cloth Diapering at Daycare

Today I am sharing a guest post by a friend and fellow cloth diaper mom.  I asked her to share her experience with using cloth diapers on her son who goes to daycare as I know this is something people are always asking about.  I have heard a lot of people say that the daycares they contact are not open to using cloth diapers but hopefully with a little education more will see it as an easy and sustainable option as well as a benefit to their parents.  One thing I always recommend when a daycare says they won't take cloth diapers is to ask if they would be open to you bringing some in to show them just how easy it is!

Cloth Diapers with a Home Daycare

We used a home daycare from the time my son was 12 weeks to 14 months. I specifically asked when we interviewed if she was open to using cloth diapers. I was interested in cloth diapering, but had not tried it myself, so I wasn’t sure if we would like it anyhow. She said that would be fine, as she has used them before with previous children. Each day I sent 4 already stuffed Rumparooz pocket snap diapers. She sent home all the dirty ones in the same wet bag and we repeated the process each day. I gave her a CJs butter stick to keep at her house if needed for diaper rashes. I sent cloth wipes as well, however she was not interested in using them. The process was very simple and we didn’t have any problems. 

Cloth with a Large Facility Daycare

For the last 6 months we have been using a center based daycare. Before enrolling I asked several times if they would be willing to cloth diaper and they said yes. They did not even blink an eye when I asked, so unfortunately I do not have advice on how to convince a daycare that they CAN and it is just as easy as disposable diapers. 
The challenge I have had with the larger facility has been in the form of the turn over in providers. He has at least 3-4 teachers a day and all but 1 has left and new ones have come, so thats a lot of people to teach. However,  they are very organized and have forms for everything, so I have just written specific instructions on his “medications” list (they need one for sunscreen use, diaper cream use, and any medications or food allergies) not to use diaper cream without a disposable insert. We are still working on this issue, as I think it has confused some of the teachers when to use it or not, so we usually end up in disposables for a few days until it is cleared. Luckily it doesn’t happen often though. I have toyed with using a cover and disposable inserts those days, but I don’t own enough covers at this point to do that. They also require the BM soiled diapers to be separate from the urine soaked diapers, so I send a separate small wet bag each day for that use. They requested I send 5 diapers a day, for one extra if needed. I still use the Rumparooz pocket diapers and have found that preparing the 5 wet bags on Sundays to take and go has been easiest for my family. We wash every other day or every 3 days depending on our schedule. I did not try to use cloth wipes with this daycare. 
We use cloth wipes and a variety of brands and styles at home, so laundry is interesting. Luckily my husband has come on board and loves using the diapers as much as I do, so he doesn’t mind helping with the laundry and stuffing. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pregnancy Loss: My Story

This is the post I never thought I would be sharing.  Today is expected due date of the baby I will never know, 10/8/15.  Of course the irony that it falls during Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month is not lost on me. 

Earlier this year my husband and I decided to try for baby #3.  I was shocked and excited when that first month I got a positive pregnancy test.  I told my girls right away and we planned our announcement for daddy; pink and blue balloons that announced we would be a family of 5. 
Imagine our surprise a few weeks later when bleeding lead to a blank ultrasound, low HCG levels and eventually a miscarriage.  My first thought was disbelief, how could this happen when I had already carried two babies full term?  Over the next weeks and months I had many, many thoughts but here are some things that have stayed with me:

1. I am grateful

I know this sounds crazy but in the weeks following my miscarriage I was actually grateful.  I was grateful that my body is so amazing that it could identify that an embryo wasn't viable.  I was grateful that my body identified it early instead of waiting weeks or months more.  I rarely share that I felt this way with people but I am always surprised to find out that a lot of other people that experience miscarriages feel the same way.

2. Its ok to be private about it

I am a very private person.  Before this blog post, less than a dozen people in my real life even know I had a miscarriage.  For me healing would have been stalled by talking about it too much.  I am one of those people that the more I talk about it the more I obsess and unfortunately that would not help me in this situation.  I know there is a big push to be open about miscarriage to help others, and while I think that this works well for some people, there is no shame in healing privately either. 

3. Everyone feels different

I have seen friends go through miscarriages so I think one of the biggest surprises was that I felt different and handled it differently than any one else I know.  Sometimes I felt guilty for not feeling "bad enough" (see #1) or for trying again so soon but I learned that we all grieve differently and there is no wrong way to feel.

4. God's Plan is Greater

Ten weeks after my miscarriage I found out that I was pregnant again and I am now 27 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby.  To date I have experienced all of the major "types" of pregnancy you can have: pregnancy after infertility, surprise pregnancy, miscarriage and actually getting pregnant on the first try (I know I am missing a few like adoption and surrogacy, but I would say these are the main 4). What I have learned from these 4 pregnancies is that God's plan is a perfect plan.  My first daughter required the use of a fertility daughter and after she was born I remember looking at her face and thinking that she was worth it all.  Without my loss I would never have the baby growing right now that I know will bring so much joy to our lives. 

Everyone has a different story, I know that mine is nothing like my neighbors but I hope that by reading my story you see some similarities and it bring you comfort and peace.
post signature

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Diaper Need Awareness Week 2015

As diaper need awareness week 2015 winds down I just wanted to share the status of what I have been doing.  In the past I have volunteered to provider repair services to Giving Diapers Giving Hope free of charge.  GDGH can not accept diapers that have small repairs like broken snaps, relaxed elastic, etc. but unfortunately it was not logistically feasible to get them to me for repairs.  A few weeks ago as I started planning for another post about repairing various diaper brands (stay tuned!) I had an idea to see if any of my readers had diapers that they wanted to donate but couldn't because they required basic repairs.  I was thrilled with the response from the Naturally Crafty Mom audience and I am excited to share what was received today. 
After sorting through everything received (some items had PUL that was not salvageable) the following diapers will be repaired and donated to GDGH over the coming weeks: 5 BumGenius 4.0s, 1 Tots Bots, 3 Rumparooz Pocket Diapers, and 3 GroVia Hybrid Shells (not shown 1 Charlie Banana pocket diaper).

 I also went through my own diapers and picked some out to donate.  These didn't require any work but I don't use them a lot and they will serve another family really well.  Included is: 1 Diaper Rite Bamboo Pocket, 1 Diaper Junction AIO, 1 gDiaper, 1 Sweet Pea Cover plus 6 extra inserts.
Other than needing a few extra inserts, this donation is enough diapers to get a family started with cloth diapering.  I also made a financial donation to cover shipping to a family.  The accumulation of all of this is that the Naturally Crafty Mom community has provided a full set of diapers for one family in need.  I can't thank the people that have donated their diapers enough.  Diaper need does not end tomorrow so if you have diapers that you want to donate that require small repairs, please use the e-mail me function or contact me on FaceBook! 
post signature

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Four Non-Safety Related Reasons to Leave your Child's Carseat Rear Facing

I have long been a proponent of extended rear facing for my girls car seats.  There are lots of great resources online that support the benefits of extended rear facing and the American Academy of Pediatric recommends that you leave your child rear facing until at least 2 years old.  My goal for my girls was rear facing until 4 yeas old.  My oldest will be 4 later this month but a few weeks ago we noticed that she had hit the height limit for her seat so we decided to turn her around.  After a few weeks of having her rear facing I noticed that there are actually benefits to rear facing that are not safety related and so I wanted to share four of them today.

Seat Kicking

One of the first things I noticed when we turned my daughter around was that she can now easily kick the seat in front of her. This kicking can come from random feet wiggling, angry kicking or kicking just to annoy mommy.  While rear facing the only seat they can kick is their own :).

Seat Sharing

I have daughters that are only 17 months apart and very close in size so it has always been a benefit that they can use the car seats interchangeably.  Some days one wants the pink seat, some days they both want the cow seat so we play car seat roulette.  I also like that if I only have one child with me I can put them in either seat.  With one forward facing and one rear facing now we can't share seats :).

No More Sneaking Snacks

With both of my girls rear facing, as long as I eat quietly and don't slurp any drinks they are none the wiser to my snacking.  Now there is no way I can give them apple slices and eat a doughnut without my forward facing daughter noticing the inequality and announcing it to the whole car!  This bring ups the dilemma of no doughnuts for everyone or giving them a doughnut too (note that munchkins can be individually purchased, this has solved the problem so far).  It also really adds on to the guilt of everything I eat or drink in the car if you have someone always asking "what is that you are eating/drinking?".

Back Seat Driver

Now that my daughter can see where we are going instead of where we have been I have a mini back seat driver.  She knows that red means stop and green means go and will call me out if I sit at a green light for too long before advancing.  She also likes to announce to everyone else in the car (namely her sister that can't see) things that are going on or how I should be doing things.  She is pulling off the "three-nager" designation perfectly.

Well there you have four very good reasons to leave your child rear facing as long as possible.  If the safety reasons for rear facing don't have you convinced maybe a few more months of eating your doughnut in peace will :). 

post signature

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Good News and Bad News

Today I am excited to share some of the exciting things going on for the Naturally Crafty Mom.  The title of course says good news and bad news but really they are both good news ;).  

The Bad News

I started this blog over 2 years ago when I was testing diapers for my newborn.  I am very analytical and just using the diapers wasn't enough for me so I decided to track how everything went so that I could decide which diapers we should buy.  Of course this lead to my obsession with trying out new diapers and creating this blog to share my results (see a full listing of my diaper trails here).  The "BAD NEWS" is that my "baby" has potty trained in the last month and therefore can't try out diapers for me!  I am so proud of her for learning to use the potty so well that I don't really consider it bad news but packing up my 80+ diapers was a little sad.  Thankfully I am still using diapers on her for naps and night time so diaper laundry isn't completely gone but it's not as much fun when you don't get to look at all of your pretty diapers all of the time.  The associated good news is that my sister has volunteered to take over the diaper testing for the time being so my 18 month old niece will be testing all of the diapers for a while.  

The Good News

The good news is that in just a few short months there will be another Naturally Crafty Baby to try out diapers!!!  We are so exciting to be expecting our third child in early January.  We had our 21 week sonogram last week and everything looks great so far, so we are thrilled.  Like our first two children we do not find out the gender before birth so we can't wait to see if #3 is a boy or girl.

I have already begun purchasing newborn diapers to try out and I look forward to sharing the results.  This will be my first baby that I have cloth diapered from birth so it will be exciting to see how that goes and share any tips and tricks I come across along the way.  

post signature

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Smart Bottoms Diaper Trial Results

I have been a fan of Smart Bottoms for a while, I bought the older version (version 3.0) and really liked them but never published my results and then they released the new 3.1 version.  Thankfully I was able to borrow a very gently used 3.1 version from a friend to put through my diaper trial.  
Number times of uses: 12
Number of leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak: 3.5 hours
Big Booty factor: 3
Best Use: out of the house, naps, babysitter

·     The all in one design is convenient
·     Soaker is sewn in on one end making the absorbency easy to customize
·     Smart Bottoms has some of the most unique colors I have seen
·     Sewn in soaker can't be removed to customize laundering
·     More expensive than the average diaper
As you can see from the results above the Smart Bottoms Diaper performed really well.  Smart Bottoms makes an all-in-one diaper which is my favorite style as it is so convenient to wash and put away.  This diaper has a snake like insert that is attached at the back of the diaper and therefore you can customize where you want the absorbency.  Even though I end up line drying the whole diaper, I didn't feel like the soaker got crunchy from the line drying.  My favorite thing about Smart Bottoms is that they have really fun colors (check out spicy tuna)!  I love the unique colors of PUL and the contrasting snaps.  As an avid diaper collector I appreciate unique colors and prints.  While this diaper is more than the average all-in-one diaper, it is organic and made in the USA.  Overall a really great diaper!   

*Post contains affiliate links*
post signature

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Diaper Trial Resutls: Lalabye Baby Diaper

For months now I have been hearing all about how amazing the Lalabye Baby diaper is so I finally had to buy one.  People raved about how trim it is (which is a major selling point for me) as well as how amazingly absorbent the inserts are.  When I got my Lalabye baby diaper I was so excited to put it through my diaper trial and share the results with you!!
Number times of uses: 14
Number of leaks: 0 (well one tiny one)
Longest wear without a leak: 3.5 hours
Big Booty factor: 2
Best Use: out of the house, naps, under dresses :)

·     I love the vibrant colors and rainbow snaps
·     The inserts (even when you use both) are amazingly trim and absorbent
·     Can function as a pocket, AIO and cover
·     Options are limited to mostly solid colors      

After all the hype around these diapers, I must say that they did not disappoint.  They were everything I expected and more!  The diaper is really well made and the TPU feels very sturdy.  I love the vibrant colors and the candy snaps just add that extra pop to the diapers.  Above and beyond the looks, these performed amazing.  The bamboo inserts are amazingly trim and I never had a leak, Not. Even. Once!  I love that the insert snaps into the front and the back and even has the option of going inside a pocket if you want the diaper to be stay dry for your baby.  I actually used both inserts every time because the additional insert didn't really add any bulk and added a lot of absorbency.  As for cons I spent the past week trying to think of a con and I honestly couldn't come up with one so I have a pseudo-con of only solid colors offered in the line up. I would also so that the only thing keeping the Lalabye baby diaper from being the most trim diaper I have tried is that it is average width in the crotch, but other than that super trim. These diapers definitely lived up to the hype and I will definitely be including these in any future gifts.
*Post may contain affiliate links, help support future trials and giveaways*
post signature

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Diaper Trial Results: GroVia O.N.E.

Back in the Fall of 2014 GroVia launched an exciting new project and an associated Kickstarter campaign to produce the O.N.E diaper by GroVia.  I was really excited to see this campaign because I thought that the use of Kickstarter was such a fun idea and of course the diaper promised to have a lot of interesting features.  A lot of those features were unique such as the diaper including both hook/loop and snaps, ability to add absorbency, no prep required and a trim fit.  Of course I signed up as a backer right away and anxiously awaited my O.N.E diaper

When I got my O.N.E diaper and shirt I was so excited to put it through my diaper trial and share the results with you!!
Number times of uses: 15
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 3.5 hours
Big Booty factor: 4
Best Use: night, out of the house

·     Has a lot of unique features
·     The TPU outer is really thick and sturdy feeling
·     I love the inserts, they are trim and have both the stay dry feature using natural fibers!  
·     The Micro fleece on the inside is very thick making the diaper bulkier than I expected
·     I couldn't get the hook/loop option to work well, every time I took the diaper off it       would unsnap.
·     GroVia uses different snaps than other brands making it so that shells and inserts are not interchangeable.
Overall I really like this diaper, as you can see it performed well during the day and I even used it a few times at night.  My favorite part is the inserts, they are really trim, easy to use and I love that they are micro fleece topped so that they are stay dry.  For most of the uses recorded I used just one insert and it would frequently last 3+ hours.  Overnight I used both inserts on my older daughter who does not pee as much and it worked great.  Of course GroVia always offers unique and fun prints and my whale print did not disappoint. 
While in theory the combined hook/loop and snap feature sounds great, in practice for me it did not work as well.  Every time I would take the diaper off the hook/loop was so strong that it just unsnapped so I ended up removing and just using the snaps. 
Overall this diaper is great and in my opinion the versatility and quality of the inserts are the shining features. Originally these were only available to Kickstarter backers but are now available at retailers (although a lot are backordered or have waitlists).
*Post may contain affiliate links, help support future trials and giveaways*
post signature

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Flats and Handwashing: Final Thoughts

Today concludes the Flats and Hadwashing challenge and I am glad to see it go this year.  Last year was all bright and shiny and I wanted to prove I could do it.  This year reality hit and I was not as excited.  For my final thoughts I wanted to share 5 tips that I think would make long term hand washing of flat diapers more achievable:
1. Invest $20 in a mobile washer, it works so much better than the plunger and if you are doing this all the time, easier is always better.  I would also say to buy a new handle for it so that you don't have to stoop over and kill you back each time you wash.
2. Have enough flats for 3 days and wash every other day.  If you accumulate a days worth of diapers in a bucket and then just wash both buckets at once and only every other day.  The hardest part for me this year was that I didn't have any flexibility to not wash at night.  So if I had a long day and was exhausted, the only way I would have clean diapers the next day was to wash every night which got old before the week was up.
3. Experiment with different folds to see what works for you.  Last year I did the pad ford 100% of the time and this year I really enjoyed finding different folds that worked better for different situations.
4. Don't get down if you have to use the occasional disposable diaper.  I don't think I would have made it through over 2 years of cloth diapering if I didn't allow myself the flexibility of an occasional disposable.  Just think of all the money you are saving with all of the cloth you DO use.
5. Don't be afraid to deviate from your routine.  Ask Daddy to wash one night a week, let your preschooler agitate a bit for you (not as effective but still works).  One day I also washed during the day and while it took forever because they soaked so much each time, I was less tired and not as stressed to get it done at night.
This year I would say that handwashing long term is doable, but very difficult.  Making whatever changes you need to make so that you can use as much cloth as possible would really be my goal for any long term plan. 

post signature

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Daddy Does Laundry (The Handwashing Edition)

My husband it hugely supportive of our family using cloth diapers and frequently helps me with the diaper laundry.  Last year when I did the Flats Challenge I did all of the washing but my husband does help out with the wringing of the washed diapers.  This year I asked him if he would wash one night and give me his thoughts. 
Here they are: "IT WAS TERRIBLE!"
When I asked for something positive his response was "I got my first workout in months".  Followed by "our children definitely don't appreciate us much".  I asked if he thought they got clean his response was "clean enough to go on our baby's bottom".  He also said that it wasn't as smelly as he thought it would be and he couldn't imagine if we didn't have a diaper sprayer.
Thankfully though his last comment was "I'm shocked you have been doing this all week!"
In conclusion I think that my husband definitely isn't cut out for hand washing but I am glad that he did it one night because now I think he can appreciate all the work involved :).

post signature

Friday, May 15, 2015

Flats Wash Routine 2015

Well the 5th annual Flats and Handwashing challenge is half over and so far it is going alright for me.  I got a little lazy last night and didn't wash, so I had to do my washing this morning.  I was able to do some agitating in between helping my girls get ready and then would let them soak while I was actually doing stuff with my girls and that worked pretty well.
My actual wash routine hasn't changed much from last year but there are a few things I am doing differently. The first thing I wanted to do differently is that I use my diaper sprayer to rinse every diaper (even ones that are just wet) before putting it in my pail so that it would get rid of some of the urine and all of the poop before I even had to start washing.  The second thing I changed is that after I do the hot wash "cycle" I rinse each item under the tap before putting it back in the bucket for the rinse cycle.  This has cut my rinse cycles down significantly.
One thing I didn't actually change this year but would change if I was planning on handwashing long term would be to buy a second bucket, have enough diapering supplies for 3 days and only wash every other night.  I think it would be pretty easy to put the two buckets side by side in my tub and after agitating one do the other one and then let them soak at the same time.  The wash routine isn't super cumbersome but it would be nice to not have to do it every night.
post signature

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Overnight Solutions with Flats

Today is day 3 of the Flats and Handwashing challenge and so far everything is going well. My sitter has had to deal with most of the diaper changes for the first two days but I am in charge of the night time solution. 
Last year when I did the flats challenge for the first time I had never used flats before and I was using disposables at night.  I was so thankful for the flats challenge because I found what a great option flats could be for night time and continued to use my flats and covers at night for a while after the challenge concluded.  My success lasted a few months and then my second daughter started wetting more at night and the flats just couldn't hold up.  I went back to disposables for a while before I found some fitteds that worked well for us (trial results coming soon!). 
Going into this year's challenge I was really concerned that I wouldn't be able to find an appropriate night time solution.  One flat wasn't enough and when I pad folded two flats it was way too bulky for my skinny kids. Last year I never did any fancy folds so until recently I didn't even think of combining folds for a good night time solution.  I tried out my combination of a (modified to fold in more) kite fold with a pad folded extra flat in the center a few night before the official start of the challenge and so far I have had great success!!!  I also like to add a fleece liner on top so that it has a stay dry feel since they are in the diaper for 12 hours at night.  This has been a great solution because its so trim but still so absorbent.
My recommendation for night would be to try different configurations until you find one that works for you.  
post signature

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Flats and Handwashing: My Stash

Stash shots are always fun and today I am sharing a picture and some info about my diaper stash for the flats and hand washing challenge.

I pretty much always am using flats/cover either during the day and almost every night one my two girls so it was impossible to get a full stash shot but here is at least a partial shot. But here is what's not in the wash before the start of Day 1:

My stash for the challenge is probably more than I would really need but because I have it all already on hand I decided to include everything I had in the tally below.
OsoCozy Birdseye Flats ($12) - I love these for overnight and for just every day use
2 Imagine Bamboo Flats ($9) - These are really absorbent and great for overnight
5 Receiving blankets ($10) - I like these for during the day and I like the pop of color
5 Flour Sack Towels ($5) - These are my least favorite so I use them as a back up
3 Rumparooz covers ($33) - I got these on sale so I would have more covers for nights and I love them!
1 Thirsties size Medium ($10) - I had this from before and it is a solid cover
1 Bummies size small ($13) - I love this for day when I want a more trim look
1 Sweet Pea cover ($10) - I bought this for the challenge last year but it's my backup cover
1 Blueberry coverall ($18) - I bought this for night time too since its nice and wide
1 Flip Cover ($5) - I got this during a seconds sale, you can't go wrong for $5!
2 Homemade covers ($16) - I have two covers that I made myself that the materials cost about $8 each
Bucket ($5) - Just a cheap bucket from the hardware store
Mobil Washer ($20) - I used this washer last year and it was amazing, I swear it works better than my washing machine
15 Wipes ($5) - I make these myself also and I love having cloth wipes
4 Snappies (13) - For when you want a fancy fold :)
Diaper Sprayer ($40) - my husband made me one when I started using CDs and while it's not required it is a life saver.
In total my stash would cost (brand new) just over $200.  Of course this is enough to cover at least 2 days so you could probably go with half (saving at least $50).  Also if I was building a stash from scratch I would take advantage of sales, loyalty programs, buy used, etc. and I really think you could have a really nice full stash for about $125-150.
**Post contains affiliate links**
post signature

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Take the Flats and Hand washing Challenge?

Today is Day 1 of the Flats and Handw ashing challenge and I am excited to get started.  I completed the challenge last year and it was such an insightful and rewarding thing to be part of.  Today I am sharing the reason(s) why I decided to take the 2015 Flats and Hand washing Challenge!

Looking back on my reasons for taking the challenge last year I realize that four out of five of my reasons were for myself.   Of course there is no wrong reason to take the challenge but after successfully completing it last year I now know I can and therefore have a whole different reason to take the challenge.  Of course I want to prove to myself that I can do it again and feel the sense of accomplishment of finishing the "challenge" but really my main goal now is to spread awareness.  After taking the challenge last year I was shocked how "easy" it is, how clean my diapers got and was very moved to try and help use that knowledge to help those that may not be able to afford expensive AIO diapers and a fancy HE washing machine.  I have been reaching out to local companies that provide mom/baby assistance and while I have not successfully talked them into letting me do a demo (and giveaway!) yet, I know it will be soon.  Hopefully one more year under my belt will show my knowledge and commitment so I can help others.
If you are taking the Flats and Hand washing Challenge this year what is your top reason?
post signature

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

gDiapers: Trial Results and Review

Two years into my cloth diaper journey I am finally sharing cloth diaper trial results of the first cloth diaper I ever hear about, gDiapers.  Years ago, before I even had kids of my own, a friend registered for cloth diapers and I distinctly remember gDiapers being on the list.  My first thought was that they were really expensive and it was gross (boy was I wrong!!).  Fast-forward about 3 years and I’m researching cloth diaper for my own baby and the majority of what I read was not in favor of gDiapers so I never even tried them, until now.  Here are the results of the gDiapers trial:

Number times of uses: 12Number of leaks: 1
Longest wear without a leak: 4 hours
Big Booty factor – 1
Best Use: Around the house, under tight cloths/jeans

* Very trim, probably the most trim of any diaper I have tried
* Reusable shell, so each change is less expensive (approx.. $12 a change)
* Lots of great color and print options
* Inserts are natural hemp/cotton but also have a stay dry feel
* No tight elastic to leave marks on your baby
* More complex to use and has a slight learning curve
* Does not have a one size option so have to purchase multiple sizes
* Hook & Loop closure is on the back of the diaper making it hard for squirmy babies
Before I ever ordered my gDiaper to try out I was convinced that it would not work well.  The vast majority of the blogs and other personal reviews had very little positive to say about gDiapers so I was sure that I would have the same experience.  I actually put of putting gDiapers through my trial because I was certain they would not perform well, boy was I wrong!!  As you can see above, they actually performed really well, just as good if not better than most brands I have tried. Most of the reviews I have read in the past complain of constant leaks but I actually had very few.  This made me consider why so many people would have bad results when I didn’t experience the same thing.  Looking at the gDiaper construction, while it is very interesting and different than anything else I have seen, it seems like if you aren’t careful that leaks probably would be easy.  If I was new to cloth diapering I can see how you might not get the whole insert tucked into the waterproof pouch, or have a hard time putting them on your baby leading to more leaks.  Thankfully after 2 years of practice and experience with many, many types of diapers I think that my experience made it so that I was more successful.  While this brand is frequently the first brand that people try, it is clearly not as user friendly and I can see why people would have problem and become discouraged.  While I like to include my thoughts with the trail results I do like to focus on the actual results, which were actually excellent!
As noted above, this diaper has a very unique construction with some features I have not seen on any other diaper I have tried. The first is that the outside of the diaper is actually cotton and therefore is not a waterproof later but the use of a cotton knit makes the diaper really trim and also limits the tightness of baby’s thighs.  The material used on the outside probably also makes it easier to gDiapers to have a bigger variety of prints and colors.  The second interesting feature is the waterproof pouch that snaps inside the cover.  This is the part where the absorbent insert gets stuffed into and since it is very small if any part of the insert is outside of the pouch it will cause wicking onto the shell and leaks.  The pouch is wipe able and makes the cover reusable.  I just had one shell so I would have to restuff each time, but I have heard of people having multiple pouches that are prestuffed and then they just snap them in and out of the shell.  The last interesting feature is the natural fiber insert that is microfleece topped.  This give the diaper the benefit of the absorbency of natural fibers but also makes it stay dry against baby’s skin, which you don’t see a lot.  The one feature that I don’t like is the hook and loop closure.  gDiapers does not have a snap option and the H&L fastens behind your baby which is very awkward to secure with a still baby let alone a squirmy baby.  I found that I had to lift my daughter up to get it fastened (if you have a suggestion to combat this please leave it in the comments below!). 
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with this diaper.  I LOVE how trim it is and the performance was actually great.  There are a few awkward features but mostly its an interesting diaper.  My only comment is that I would not buy this for someone new to cloth diapering, I think they will have more success after trying out some easier brands.  I will definitely keep this in my rotation though and I keep eyeing some of their adorable prints!
Have you used gDiaper before?  What was your experience?
*Post contains affiliate links.  I have not been compensated in any way and all opinions are my own*
post signature

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Five Games Every Parent Wants to Play

A few weeks ago I read a blog post by Scary Mommy titled I Hate Playing With MyChildren.  This post really hit home with me and it felt good that I am not the only one that feels this way.  A few days after reading this post I realized that there are actually a few ways that every parent actually LOVES playing with their kids.

Hiding in the closet with my coffee
Hide and <Eventually> Seek
Every mom loves hide and <eventually> seek.  When you have small children getting 30 uninterrupted seconds of peace and quiet is very difficult to find and Hide and Seek is the answer.   The best part about this game is that it works two ways!  You can either be the hider and hide someplace hard or even just take a potty break.  You can also be the seeker and just take your sweet time finding your little cherubs, maybe while you sip a cup of coffee.

Hair Salon
This is literally my favorite game ever, for so many obvious reasons.  One, I love to have my hair brushed by almost anyone, I don’t even mind if it’s more of a mess after the game than before. The second best part is I normally get to be seated for this game.  I have two daughters so I am hopeful for many years of playing Hair Salon with them. Bonus points for anyone that can get their kids to do a full scalp massage!
Nap Time
The Doctor prescribed a nap!
Kids love to mimic anything that their parents do and one of my favorites is when they put me down for a nap.  It normally involves them bringing out ever throw pillow we own and a few blankets but I must say that they make a pretty comfy bed.  Of course the more you resist the more they insist that you lay down and be quiet so you might even be able to get in a two minute power nap if you are lucky.  Lately my girls also like to put each other down for a nap, making a bed on the floor for the other one, its a nice quiet game. Note this also works if you are the patient while playing doctor.

Play Cleaning
Chores or game?
Continuing with the mimicking theme, my three year old is now obsessed with cleaning even declaring that she wants a vacuum cleaner for her birthday (her Uncle David would be so proud)!  Some of my favorite ways to play this game are to give her a dusting rag and just let her dust whatever she wants or a broom and let her sweep.  My three year old even likes to bring out her little stool and help me dry dishes. One of my good friend’s daughter even likes to unload the dishwasher. This “game” is the best because not only do you get something done but you also get some quality time with your child while they learn a life skill. Take advantage of it before they figure out you are putting them to work!
The Searching Game
This game works differently on different kids and depending upon the child can last for a long time.  One of the best things about this game is that it can be customized to fit any situation.  The general premise of the game is that you either hide objects for your children to find or you ask them to go locate a particular item in their room/play room.  Lately we have been hiding (or just throwing them on the floor) Easter eggs for the girls to pick up.  You can also work on colors, shapes, etc. by asking your child to go into their room and find a certain object.  This game is great because you can normally sit at the table drinking your coffee (or wine, I won’t judge) while your child plays this game.
These are some of my favorite games, comment with your favorite game or activity to play with your child!
post signature

Monday, February 2, 2015

Diaper Trial Results: AppleCheeks Cloth Diapers

Ever since I started cloth diapering I have been dying to try AppleCheeks cloth diapers.  I kept hearing about how much people liked them and it seemed like there were a lot of collectors in the cloth diaper community. I joined a buy/sell/trade group online a while ago and noticed that people that love the brand, LOVE THE BRAND.  I noticed that most of the diapers being sold on the b/s/t page held their value really well so I figured it couldn't hurt to buy one and see what I thought. 

Results of the Diaper Trial:
Number times of uses: 14
Number of leaks: 0
Longest wear without a leak: 3 hours
Big Booty factor: 4
Best Use: naps, travel, out and about

* The cover can be used as a cover/AI2 or a pocket diaper
* The dual size system makes it so that you can get a better fit on your baby
* They hold their value really well with hard to find colors selling for more than retail.
* Natural fibers are trim but absorbent

* The dual size system could get more expensive than a one size option
* The three layer bamboo insert is a little bulky (they offer a two layer also) 
* Expensive (approximately $30 for a cover and 3 layer bamboo insert)

I was really excited to snatch up this diaper in the Raspberry Sorbet color before it was discontinued.  The brand comes in a dual size system, size 1 fitting from 7-20 pounds and size 2 fitting from 18-40 pounds.  Because I have really skinny girls, I decided to try the size one for my daughter.  When I bought it she was about 18 months old and 20 pounds and is now 21 months old and about 23 pounds.  She continues to be on the last snap or two at the waist but it fits her really well.  Through watching the AppleCheeks b/s/t page I noticed that a lot of people love the covers but choose to use different inserts but of course I choose the AppleCheeks 3 layer bamboo insert to test.  As you can see from the results above, this diaper performs amazing.  Out of the 14 total uses four of the times were for 3 solid ours without a leak.  Because it was performing so well I did try it out for night time to see if it was a good night time option but unfortunately my daughter woke up soaked so I didn't try it again.

I have read that a lot of people use these as reusable covers but I actually liked using mine as a pocked because I don't really like inserts that you just lay in the cover.  Overall I really liked this diaper.  The performance was obviously stellar and I love the look of the diaper.  Some other bonuses are that they come in a lot of pretty colors and so far seem to hold their value really well.  I may have to try out a size 2 cover and maybe even the two layer inserts later to see how they do. 

Have you tried AppleCheeks cloth diapers?  What did you think?
 **Support future diaper trials by purchasing through the affiliate links within this post**
post signature

Monday, January 19, 2015

Healthy Snack Review: Mum-Mums

Like most kids, my kids LOVE snacks.  Given the choice my oldest would survive solely on snack items and never eat another meal.  To get them to eat healthy, I do sometimes pretend that a banana is a “snack” but frequently they will tell me they want “something crunchy” (although they do love fruit).  When my oldest was a baby I remember a friend having these snacks called “Mum-Mums” so I was excited when the company asked me to do a review of some of their different products.  When the box came I was pleasantly surprised about all of the different options that are available for kids from 6 months to 5 years. 

What are Mum-Mums?  Their website shares that they are made of non-GMO Japonica rice as the base.  I checked out the ingredients of the various types before feeding them to my kids and was glad to see that frequently there were less than 5 ingredients and they were all things that I could identify and pronounce.  The baby versions were simple but delicious (I tried them all too ;)) and the toddler ones had fun flavors like strawberry banana and apple cinnamon (my 22 month old’s favorite).  One of the best parts of trying out this product was that it was easy to share.  We love having play date with our friends and since Mum-Mums are free of the most common allergens I knew we could share with everyone without worrying too much.  They are also conveniently individually wrapped so that you can just throw them into your diaper bag or purse and go!
Of course the real test is if my girls like them. The first ones we tried were the toddler strawberry ones and they were begging for more.  Over the next few days we tried out the other flavors and even the baby versions, all of which were a success.  I even had my niece over (11 months old) and she loved them, so it was a big hit all around.  My 3 year old even came home from church the next week upset that they didn’t have any Mum-Mums for snack time!
As a mom of course I like that they are non-GMO, organic, few ingredient snacks that my kids like but an unexpected positive that they aren’t so filling that they keep my kids from eating meals.  They are perfect for that late afternoon snack that keeps your kids from being hangry by dinner time but also doesn’t get in the way of meals.  Mommy rating: A+!
**Sample products were provided for my review, all opinions are my own**
post signature

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Jamberry Review and GIVEAWAY!

On this blog I love to cover natural parenting things; breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, etc.  As parents committed to what is best for our babies we sometimes forget to do something nice for ourselves.  One of my favorite relaxing actives pre-parenthood was getting manicures and pedicures but as a mom of two little girls (who are now 3 years and 21 months old) I find that I am so busy that I don’t have the time or budget for this activity anymore. 
I thought I was destined to have boring hands until a friend introduced me to Jamberry a few months ago and it has been love ever since.  I love that in about 20 minutes I can have beautiful nails that can range from fun to professional.  These also are super durable and last 1-2 weeks for me even with all of my house hold chores, sewing, playing with my kids and typing on a computer at work.
Haven’t heard of Jamberry yet? Jamberry is a line of nail products that started as nail wraps (applied with heat and pressure) and has since expanded to nail care products and even nail lacquers. 

So the big question is how does this relate to a natural lifestyle?  While leaving your nails completely natural is obviously the best when it comes to avoiding chemicals, I think that Jamberry offers a very good option when you want to have nice looking nails.  Jamberry nail shields are non-toxic, cruelty free (not tested on animals), vegan and made in the USA.  The nail lacquer is also “5 Free” meaning that is free from 5 of the top toxic substances: Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor.  
Over the past few months I have tried out the shields and recently my friend Melanie who is a Jamberry consultant also provided me with a nail lacquer to try out, here is what I think of each one. 
I love the wraps because they are so easy and nail polish ALWAYS chips on me within about 24 hours.  They come in over 300 designs and I think most people like the really fun ones but because I work in a business setting I really prefer the more subdued ones.  I recently put on the French tips and they were pretty easy and they look amazing.  I also like that they are economical, each sheet is $15 on its own or are always buy 3 get 1 free making them $11.25 each.  From each sheet you can get about 3 manicures (or 2 manicures and 2 pedicures) plus have a few accent nails left over making the total cost per manicure $3.50-$4.  Jamberry also sells sets for children that are smaller wraps (and they sell Mommy and Me sets!).  My daughter is 3 and while she loved it when I put the nail wraps on her, because she wouldn’t let me prep her nails well they fell off within 24 hours so in my opinion waiting until you child is about 5 is probably better.  Overall though the nail wraps are my favorite Jamberry product because I love how easy they are, how nice they look and how well they last!  There is a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy.

For those moments when your nails need to match a cloth dipaer

Fun Holiday Nails

One of my favorites - Puppy Love!
I was excited to try the nail lacquer not only for myself but also for my daughter.  She loves having her nails painted so we paint them all the time with other child safe polish but it normally is completely gone within 12-24 hours.  I have always avoided painting her nails with regular polish because I don’t want her exposed to all of the chemicals so trying out the 5 Free Lacquer from Jamberry was a great solution.  For my 3 year old I put one layer of the Jamberry base coat and 2 layers of lacquer and it lasted for at least 3-4 days looking really good and a week later she still has a little bit of polish left. 

My Daughters Hand after 24 hours
For myself I tried out the lacquer a few different ways.  The first way I tried was with one layer of the Jamberry strengthening base coat and then 2 layers of the lacquer and then a topcoat I already had.  I also put an accent wrap on my ring finger to see how well the wrap kept up over the polish.  My nails are really weak at the tips so they chipped a little bit the first day, but I was surprised how well the polish held up over the next few days. I would say that it performs at least as well if not slightly better than regular polish.
Base Coat + Polish +Top Coat
The second way I tried it was with just two layers of the lacquer (no base or top coat).  Surprisingly the lacquer was really shiny on its own and lasted almost as long as with the base coat and top coat so I was really pleased that this could be an option for a quick fix. 

Two Layers of Polish
The last thing I tried was one layer of basecoat under some Jamberry wraps.  I loved this and will be putting the base coat under all my wraps!!!  For whatever reason it made the wraps really easy to apply, they seem to wear less and look really good for longer!  The only downside of using the base coat under wraps is that once you place the wrap you can’t lift it and try again because the base coat sticks to the wrap and will be peeled up.  Also if you use the basecoat under your wraps be sure to let it dry really well before you apply your wraps!!! 
French Tips over a Base Coat
Since I love my Jamberry wraps so much and since I really like using the basecoat under my wraps I have decided to do a giveaway of the basecoat.  Anyone that wants to try out Jamberry and places an order (here) before January 16th 2015 will be entered in a raffle for a free base coat!
If you would like to be kept up to date on any Jamberry information and specials make sure you like Melanie’s FaceBook page.
**post contains affiliate links**
post signature