Friday, October 30, 2009

Toxins In Toys

Two years ago in November, I wrote an article and posted it to my blog. It was the very first post and the reason I created this blog. Its called "Article on Toys, Lead, and Plastics" and you can find it here. I had been reading different things on the internet and kept coming across terms - BPA, phthalates, lead, and more - and was getting confused as to what all of the issues were, what was safe, and what was not. I knew that there were things in my home that could be unsafe, but couldn't figure out where to start looking for them.

One day I had a friend over visiting and she asked me if I had done anything about making changes in my home. I replied with "No, I haven't. Its all too confusing, have you?" She responded that yes, they had made some changes as far as buying safer pots and pans and eliminating some plastics from kitchen use. This inspired me to sit down and begin to figure it all out. I thought, "If she thinks this is important enough to try and figure it out and make her home safer for her family... I should too!" The article I posted back then was the beginning of our family's journey towards a safer healthier home. (Its not perfect, I misspelled phthalates in the whole article, and have learned even more about the issues since then, but it was a start and probably still worth your time to read.)

We've come a long way these past two years and have slowly made numerous changes in our home. I've become much more aware of toxins and where they hide and have been working on eliminating them. We are picky about toys and items that come into our home and try to make wise choices. I still feel overwhelmed at times and don't know how to completely eliminate certain things or am limited by cost. (I can't afford a brand new organic mattress, only organic clothing and all organic food for example.) Many of the changes I've made in our home and the research I've done, I post about here on my blog: the water filtration series, information about cloth training pants, staying healthy during pregnancy, product reviews and more.

Why do I do this? My kids. I absolutely love being a mom and am passionate about making my home as safe as I possibly can for my family. I can't change everything all at once, but I can keep learning, keep researching, keep trying and creating a safer healthier home in the process. Although there are some things that are out of my control, there are many things that I can change and steps I can take.

This month I'm going to be focusing my blogging on some of the potential toxins that can be found in toys and how this affects choices our family makes. We'll talk about lead, where it can be found, what phthalates are, and more. I will also be posting some reviews of natural toy companies throughout the month along with some giveaways and discount codes. Keep reading... hopefully some of it is helpful to you. Feel free to ask questions as we go and I will do my best to share with you what I've learned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

SIDS Awareness Month - Product Review and Giveaway

October is SIDS awareness month. Some of the recommendations for safe sleep include being sure that puffy pillows and blankets stay away from your baby, and dressing your child for sleep so that he or she doesn't get too warm and overheated. Sleep sacks are popular for insuring that blankets don't end up covering your baby's face, yet your child stays cozy all night long. aden + anais makes a soft breathable cotton muslin sleeping bag that is perfect for this.

aden + anais was started by two Australian moms who moved to the US and started making their own muslin cotton swaddling blankets for their babies because they couldn't find them here. Nurses, pediatricians, lactation consultants, and moms all wanted their own swaddling blankets so aden + anais the company was born. They make swaddling blankets, sleeping bags, hooded towels, and more.

I was sent a small sleeping bag in the elephant print - sooo cute! The small size looks great for a little baby, like it will fit well, but with room to grow. I was impressed with how soft it is, and after washing and drying, it is even softer. I'm excited to have this to use with our new baby especially since I'm due in January and it will definitely be cold here. The material is lightweight so it will be useful through the summer as well. Another nice detail about the sleeping bag is that the zipper is kind of on upside down so that when closed, it is at the baby's feet rather than being in the way by their neck.

aden + anais is a proud sponsor of the CJ Foundation and their Sleep In Safety, Grow In Style campaign. This campaign aims to educate and raise public awareness about what constitutes a safe sleep environment for infants. For more information about the CJ Foundation, see their website here. The CJ Foundation offers "Ten Steps To Take Before Baby Takes His or Her First":

1- Always lay your baby to sleep face up.
2- Don't smoke when pregnant and never smoke near your infant.
3- Don't let your baby get too hot. (A wearable sleep blanket is great for this.)
4- Lay your baby to sleep in an approved crib, on a firm mattress.
5- Create a healthy lifestyle for you and your baby.
6- If possible, breastfeed your baby. (Reduces the risk of SIDS!)
7- Offer your baby a pacifier at all sleep times.
8- Put your baby on his or her tummy to play when your baby is awake and supervised.
9- Don't share sleep surfaces.
10- Share these tips with everyone who cares for your baby.

(Note: I personally cosleep with my babies and believe this can be done safely. Please use your best judgement when deciding where your baby should sleep.)

aden + anais is giving one reader a sleeping bag! To enter the giveaway, visit aden + anais and let me know which print sleeping bag you would choose if you won. Leave a comment on this post being sure to include your email address or have it enabled in your blogger profile. For an extra entry, become a fan of aden + anais on facebook and leave another comment letting me know you did so. I'll close the giveaway on November 10 at midnight. If you're not the lucky winner, you can find aden + anais products at Target and other retail stores near you.


**The giveaway is now closed and a winner has been contacted. Thanks for your interest.**

Monday, October 26, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday - Fall Harvest

The girls kept asking me what day it was today and then yelling "Muffin Tin Monday!" when I said it was Monday. The theme was fall harvest, and our lunch was fairly simple since I hadn't really planned ahead today. We had carrots (a fall food), pretzels (sticks and branches), cheese and lunchmeat (shaped like apples and leaves), applesauce (fall food), and macaroni (um... its a fall color?). Julia saw it in the refrigerator and decided she had to have it for lunch. As you can see, she enjoyed it. If you've never tried Muffin Tin Monday, its an easy way to make a mealtime fun. You can be as elaborate or simple as you'd like. Check out some other fall Muffin Tins here.

Product Review - Preserve Toothbrushes and Razor

I've been wanting to try out Preserve's toothbrushes and razors for a while now. The company is amazing in what they are doing as far as making products from recycled plastics and even the products themselves are recyclable when you are done with them! Why throw away a toothbrush when you can recycle one?

I received an adult toothbrush, a child's toothbrush, and a razor from Preserve to try out. Its actually taken me a while to put up this post because I have two girls and was searching everywhere for a second child's toothbrush. I wasn't able to find one around here even though some stores carried a few Preserve items. I caved and bought Julia an Elmo toothbrush so I could give Lucy the Preserve one and try it out. After I caved, I finally found the toothbrushes at a health food store (not one I regularly go to). You can check here to find a store near you, but you may find they don't carry the full line of Preserve products.

Preserve collects plastic from yogurt containers and other #5 plastic products, sorts it, cleans it, tests it, and turns it into their products. You can read about the process here and see just how much of an impact this has on saving earth's resources. There is also a great video clip linked from their homepage that shows how they process the plastic. There aren't any recycling drop off points near me, but if you live near a Whole Foods Market, they have bins to collect your #5 plastics.

So, what about the products? The adult toothbrush is nice, the curved handle is a bit different, but works well. It comes in cute colors, and is fairly inexpensive. You can print off a prepaid mailing label and send in your toothbrush when you are done with it! They even sell a subscription where you can select a frequency to have toothbrushes mailed to you (every 2, 3, 4, or 5 months). Did you know that Will Ferrell used a Preserve toothbrush in the movie Stranger Than Fiction? lol

The child's toothbrush is okay. Its cute, but rather plain compared to the other children's toothbrushes out there. I didn't look closely enough because I thought that it came with an animal molded into the handle, but the animal is just on the package. Lucy didn't complain about it, thankfully she still thought a new pink toothbrush was exciting. We will probably purchase more of these, but I'm not sure how long we can go until they remember their spinning Dora toothbrushes and ask for those again.

The razor was too scratchy for my sensitive skin. It works okay for shaving my underarms, but scratched up my legs too much. I generally use a razor that you can buy replacement heads for, so I guess its not quite as important that it be recyclable since I don't throw it away all that often. I like the idea of this product, but it didn't work for me.

Overall I like the company and what they are doing. I would enjoy trying out other products from their line and wouldn't hesitate to choose the Preserve brand when shopping for something new. Like their logo says, there is really "nothing wasted" if you decide to try out a Preserve toothbrush or razor - you can always mail it back to be recycled when you are done with it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blog Update

I just wanted to do a quick update since we have a few coupon codes that are expiring next week and giveaways that are still open for you to enter!

Starbright Kids Company offers free shipping on purchases over $25 and has given us a code for $5 off of a $25 purchase. Use code BUJ8RV2T through 10/31/09 You can see my review here.

Imports Unlimited's Fundana sale expires 10/31/09 as well. They are offering 25% off and free shipping! Contact Read more about this here.

The cloth training pants giveaways are open until Nov 1. There are giveaways from Diaperaps, Snap-EZ, Princess Julianne's Closet, and Loving Touch Wet Bags. You can see my summary of the cloth training pants reviews here with comparisons in price, absorbency, and more.

Check out this post to take a quick breastfeeding survey and be entered to win one of five $100 gift cards!

To see what giveaways are open at any given time, click the purple button on the right for and you will see my listings. Check out other active coupon codes in the right hand sidebar of my blog as well.

In November I'm planning a series of posts about safe toys. I'll talk about some of the issues with lead, plastics, and more and then follow that up with some reviews and giveaways from some of our favorite toy companies. Of course I'll still be posting pregnancy updates, homeschool ideas and info, recipes, and more. If you're interested in something in particular, or have a question feel free to leave a comment or email me. I enjoy writing for my blog and hope that you are enjoying reading!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bravado Survey

Bravado Designs is launching a new information arm called the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council on November 10th. This will serve as a source of accurate and non-biased information, statistics, and trends in one of the most highly examined and dynamic topics of our time. As part of their launch event they are planning to release findings from their database of almost 80,000 women. They have one more survey to run before that event and you can participate!

The Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council wants to hear from as many mothers as possible, across as many different backgrounds as possible to give every mother a voice. The survey only takes a few minutes and in return for participating, you will be entered into a drawing for 5 different $100 gift cards either to Sephora or Target (your choice!).

To learn more about the Bravado Breastfeeding Information Council you can check out their website here. You can also register to attend their live webcast on Nov 10th and hear more about what they are doing. If you take the survey, leave a quick comment letting me know you did so. The more moms they hear from, the better!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pregnancy - 27 Weeks

27 weeks- only 10 weeks left until I need to be all ready for baby! I think I'm starting to hit nesting mode because I've been making lists of things to do before baby comes, things I need to purchase (thankfully not too much this time around), and more. I'm ready to go dig out the newborn cloth diapers and clothes from the basement - but I don't have anywhere to put them yet. We're going to be switching rooms around at our house which involves painting and installing carpet, and of course lots of reorganizing and cleaning. Our house is tiny, so we're going to have to be creative.

I've been trying to stay healthy, taking my vitamins, drinking my Red Raspberry Leaf tea, and eating fruits and veggies. The other day I hadn't taken my vitamins or eaten many vegetables for a few days in a row and was really craving a salad. I was looking at a houseplant hanging above my kitchen sink and wondering how the leaves would taste with ranch dressing on them. Thankfully I didn't give in to my craving until the next day when I went to the store and bought fixings for a big salad. My husband still teases me about that one.

Overall I'm enjoying my pregnancy. Baby likes to kick anytime something touches my tummy. When I hug Ross he usually gets kicked and can feel it. I'm getting excited to meet this little one. With my last two pregnancies we found out the gender but this time around its a surprise - I can't wait to find out! The names that Lucy has picked out are "Nemo" for a boy and "Star" for a girl. So far that's all we're telling anyone. ;)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Thanksgiving Tree

This is the second year we've done this and its becoming a wonderful family tradition that we all enjoy! Sometime in October I put up a tree (last year it was on Lucy's door, this year its on our bulletin board since her door is taken over by alphabet flash cards). Every day each member of the family gets to choose something that they are thankful for and write it on a leaf that we then add to the tree. Today Lucy said she was thankful for our house, Julia is thankful for birds, Ross is thankful for work, and I'm thankful for my husband. We enjoy this activity all the way up until Thanksgiving and its a great reminder to celebrate all through the month leading up to the holiday. I saved all of the leaves from last year in a plastic bag and labeled it with the date. Its fun to be able to look back and see the various things that we were thankful for last year.

Does your family have any special Thanksgiving traditions?
(linked to Gratituesday)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weeks 5 and 6 - MFW K, Moon and Leaf

For the past two weeks one or another of us has been sick with a cold so we've slowed down a bit with our schoolwork. I love that My Father's World is flexible enough to allow us to do this. We took two weeks to complete our leaf unit and will hopefully all feel well enough on Monday to start fresh with the next topic (apple).

We took a trip to an apple orchard/ pumpkin patch last week:

Lucy and Julia really enjoyed this paint bag writing activity:

We collected leaves, made leaf rubbings, identified leaves, counted and sorted leaves, measured leaves with a ruler (Lucy really enjoyed this), read tons of leaf books, and more. For our books this week, I simply raided the library of all the leaf books I could find. I think the favorites were tree identification books, both girls loved paging through those.

Books we read:

Trees of North America (identification book)

DK Eyewitness Explorers Trees - lots of info, good photos

Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber - good info book

Why Do Leaves Change Color? by Betsy Maestro - good info book

Fall Leaves by Mary Packard

Trees, Leaves, and Bark by Diane L Burns

How Do Apples Grow by Betsy Maestro - good info book

Trees by Ernestine Giesecke

My Favorite Tree by Diane Iverson

Trees - Usborne First Nature book by Ruth Thomson - good info book

Leaves by Rena Kirkpatrick

Look What I Did With a Leaf by Morteza E Sohi

A Tree Is Nice by Janice May Udry

Taking Root by Allan Fowler

The Signing Time dvd "Going Outside" went along perfectly with our studies as it included signs for sun, moon, stars, grass, tree, leaf, and more.

Lucy's favorite part:

Well, she's not really going along with this anymore. Whenever I ask her what her favorite part was, all she says is that she liked all her school. She did really enjoy the paint bag writing and measuring leaves with a ruler. Several times during the week she told me that she really likes when I have new activities for her to do and enjoys doing schoolwork. The poor girl was begging to do schoolwork after having a couple days off due to sickness. I'm glad she's enjoying it!

Gro Baby Bio Soaker Giveaway

I have to admit that we use disposable diapers sometimes. Gulp! I've been thinking of investing in a system like G-diapers, or Gro Baby for those times when I need to use a disposable diaper. These systems use a disposable liner that attaches to a reusable cover. The inserts are much more earth friendly than a disposable diaper. Gro Baby is giving away an intro pack to bloggers who write about it, I'd love to try these out for the new baby!
Each intro package includes 50 bio soakers, and an outer shell. The soakers are actually compostable! They are plastic free, chlorine free, fragrance and dye free... more than you can say for disposable diapers. You can also purchase organic cotton soaker pads and use this same system as a cloth diapering option. The shell only needs to be washed if its soiled, and can be reused several times simply changing the inner soaker pad. (This would also make a handy option for when you're out and about because then you wouldn't have to bring along whole diapers, just extra soaker pads.)

You can purchase the intro package here: The Natural Baby Company
and the biodegradable soaker pads here: soaker pads

I'll be sure and let you know what we think of these once I get them!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Garden Update - End of Summer

So.... my garden ended up being a bit of a disaster. You can see its beginnings here and an update here. Our tomatoes didn't do well, and our small plot became overgrown fairly quickly. We did harvest a few zucchini, made some pesto sauce with our basil, and Lucy ate as many cherry tomatoes as were ripe whenever she checked. We also had an heirloom sweet pea tomato plant that grew tiny little tomatoes - I think she ate 100 or more of those. Our strawberry plants look like they are doing well; we had a few strawberries that were delicious and we're looking forward to next year when we'll have more.

I'm not sure what happened to my carrots, but they didn't grow very well. We finally harvested them and they are all pretty small. I was able to use a few of the biggest ones, but we only got a few bites out of them. The onions didn't really grow either. We only had a few peppers grow, and used them in our fresh salsa. Oh well, it was a good try!

We're really enjoying the fall colors here right now. My mum is gorgeous (it comes back every year on its own), and the big tree in our front yard is amazing. Its a huge Maple with bright red, orange, yellow, and green leaves. We just added a few more bird feeders to the front tree since the squirrels seemed to have taken over the one that is right outside our window.

Happy fall, hope you're enjoying it as well!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

Muffin Tin Monday's theme today was "kebabs". The girls always enjoy eating off of toothpicks when I include those, so I knew they would love a whole tray full! Lucy gobbled hers up and even noticed some of the patterns I had done. Julia ate her fruit and then ended up going to bed early for a nap because she was just too crabby to finish her lunch. We had lunchmeat, crackers, cheese, and assorted fruit. Nothing too fancy this week, but we had fun and Lucy and Julia look forward to it. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Product Review and Giveaway - Loving Touch Wet Bags

While we're on the topic of cloth training pants... Heather (one of my readers!) recently offered to let me review one of her wet bags. Heather runs Loving Touch Wet Bags on Hyena Cart and also stocks at Sweet Retreat and Bitty Fluff. She sells wet bags, mama pad bags, wipes bags, hanging pails, and more. You can take a look at items she has sold in the past to see more of her work. I received this gorgeous wet bag in a fun pink breast cancer awareness print:

The wet bag I received is a medium size, and is great for being able to hold several cloth diapers while out and about. I'm sure we'll use this even past potty training for wet clothes at the beach and more! The sewing is flawless and the bag is very sturdy. The zipper closes easily as well. I love the print of the fabric and Heather has lots of other great ones to pick from. I chose a bag with two snap handles at the top like this just so it would be more versatile. If the bag is full of wet diapers and I don't have room for it in the diaper bag, I can snap it to the outside handles until I get home:

I discovered this morning that one of the snaps is coming off of my wet bag. Heather was very sweet and is having me send it back to her to be fixed. She said that she used to use size 16 snaps and had problems with some of them coming off but has since changed to a size 20 and they hold much better. I'm confident that the snap will be fixed and love Heather's great customer service so I'm going ahead and posting the review now while its relevant to what I've been blogging about.

I asked Heather to write an "about me" blurb:

"Loving Touch Wet Bags was birthed from a stay at home mom of one tiny baby. While searching to figure out the best way to raise my child in the most natural way I found cloth diapers when my daughter was 6 months old. While looking into all the accessories needed for cloth diapering, I saw some wet bags. Back then though, there weren't very many wet bag makers! So I decided to research what fabrics I needed and ordered them!

After much fiddling with patterns and changing things, I have found "the perfect" design for my bags.

I am nothing by myself though. I'm a firm believer that the Lord gave me this talent, this love for sewing! Over the past few years I've been so blessed with orders and returning customers! I'm able to stay at home and raise my 3 beautiful children, and then work in the evenings after dinner when my wonderful husband is home. I really do feel so honored and blessed to be able to run this business and also raise my children.

So, with "loving touch" put into every order, I present to you Loving Touch Wet Bags. Waterproof bags for your every day needs!"

Having a wet bag is definitely a necessity for cloth diapering, and even if you don't use cloth, I'm sure you'd find this little bag would come in handy. Loving Touch Wet Bags is giving away one wet bag in medium size! To enter, leave a comment being sure to include your email address or have it enabled in your profile. For an extra entry, blog about the contest and leave a comment with the link. Also, if you decide to purchase anything from Loving Touch Wet Bags leave a comment letting me know what you bought and that will get you another entry. I'll close this on November 1st at midnight when the cloth training pants giveaways close. If you're in the mood for more, check out Heather's blog, she has another fun giveaway going on right now as well.

**Giveaway is now closed. chose a winner and she has been contacted. Thanks for your interest!**

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week 4 - MFW K, Moon

This week we learned all about the moon and the letter "M". Most of our activities came right from our My Father's World Kindergarten and we were a bit sick all week so I didn't add much else to our days. I'm really enjoying MFW, there is a great mix of hands on learning, art projects, and paperwork. I can pick and choose a bit between the activities they list (although I usually want to fit them all in and more!) and schedule our days with more or less in them as needed. Lucy really enjoys "doing school" and usually asks if we can do schoolwork on the weekends too. The work is at a great level for her, not too easy, but not too frustrating for her either. She is doing a great job at working carefully and enjoys showing off her papers to anyone who will listen to her chat about it all.

Some of the highlights this week included:

Making a big spaceship (tent) in the living room - We included an old computer keyboard for controls, brought along a snack, books, and pillows, and counted backwards from 10 to blastoff. We also made space helmets from paper bags to wear on the moon and collected moon rocks (crumpled pieces of brown paper).

We used a tennis ball and a globe to show how the moon rotates around the earth. Lucy and Julia took turns holding the globe or running around the globe with the tennis ball while spinning it.

Lucy really enjoyed illustrating her own "Goodnight Moon" book. I stapled some white paper together and she drew a picture on each page and then had me write "Goodnight tree. Goodnight flower. etc" She loved reading her book to Daddy and Grandma.

Playing with our star counting game - see this post for photos.

Books We Read:

All About the Moon by David Adler
Mooncake by Frank Asch
Oliver's Wood by Sue Hendra
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
God Made Outer Space by Heno Head, Jr (good information book)
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Asch

What Lucy learned:

Mom: "Can you tell me something you learned about the moon?"
"I learned that it had no light on it. That it reflects light."
Mom: "Anything else?"
"Um, I liked doing all my schoolwork."

Lucy's favorite part:

"I liked making my Goodnight Moon book." She also reminded me that she liked learning about the sun and really liked dirt cake.

This coming week we are taking a trip to an apple orchard on Monday and then finishing up some moon activities that I'll share in my next weekly summary. There are a few fun things that we didn't get to do yet. We will then start learning about leaves and the letter "L" for the rest of the week.

Cloth Training Pants: Summary

I've recently been posting a series of reviews of cloth training pants. You can read my first post on the topic here. I posted individual reviews (some include giveaways, so be sure to take a look!) for Diaperaps, Imse Vimse, Mother-ease, Princess Julianne's Closet, and Snap-EZ. Tonight I'm going to do a bit of a summary and some comparisons between the brands.

My reviews for each brand were thorough and honest. We really didn't receive a pair of training pants that we didn't like. That being said, there are things about each of them that made them more useful in certain situations. Depending on what you are looking for in a pair of cloth training pants, you may prefer one over another. If you have questions about any of them feel free to ask.


Snap-EZ are the most absorbent, with Mother-ease and Diaperaps being about the same and less absorbent than Snap-EZ. Imse Vimse is next or comparable to these two. Princess Julianne's Closet is the least absorbent.


Princess Julianne's Closet has the trimest fit. Imse Vimse is next, being nice and trim as well. Diaperaps is in the middle. Snap-EZ are next, they are trim fitting, but thick because of the soaker in them. Mother-ease was the puffiest, although not as thick as Snap-EZ. All of the training pants fit well around the legs and waist except for Snap-EZ being a bit snug.


Princess Julianne's Closet were definitely my favorite here. The others are all about the same, very cute and Julia enjoyed choosing all of them at different times. She likes to choose the farm print (Imse Vimse) probably most often. All of the diapers do come in different prints and colors than what I chose though.


Diaperaps - $11 (buy 3 or more for $10 each)

Princess Julianne's Closet - $12 (10% off with code, buy 5 get one free)

Mother-ease - $13.50

Imse Vimse $14.30 cotton, $16.75 velour (free shipping at Abby's Lane, 5% off with yahoo group code)

Snap-EZ - $17.95 or $14.95 for stuffable without insert (prices going up Oct 7, buy 4 save $1 each, buy 8 save $1.50 each)

What we loved about:

Diaperaps- sturdy, doesn't leak, inexpensive
Imse Vimse - trim fit, yet fairly absorbent
Mother-ease - cute prints, sturdy, absorbent
Princess Julianne's Closet - trim fit, can be used as panties when trained, cute prints
Snap-EZ - loved the snaps on the side for changes, nice and absorbent, great starter training pants

So the question is: "Is Julia potty trained?" No. I thought she would train fairly quickly, but she's definitely still learning, which means we'll get lots more use from our cloth training pants! Like I said in my first post, I hadn't used cloth training pants before, but am finding them to be very useful. Julia loves to wear "panties" and pull them up herself. Potty training isn't too stressful for me as I haven't had any big puddles on the floor to clean up. I do take her to the potty frequently and she is sad when she wets her training pants and can't wear them because we have to wash them. I'm sure that in time she will be a pro and we'll be done with diapers all together!

I hope this series was helpful to you. Be sure and enter the giveaways for Diaperaps, Princess Julianne's Closet, and Snap-EZ. I'll close the giveaways on Nov 1st. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Giveaway Carnival

Check out the Fall Giveaway Carnival hosted by Heavenly!

I have several giveaways running right now:

Snap-EZ Stuffable cloth training pants (closes Nov 1)
Princess Julianne's Closet pair of cloth training pants (closes Nov 1)
Diaperaps cloth training pants (closes Nov 1)
Bug Bingo nature game from A Toy Garden (closes Oct 15)
*just added Loving Touch Wet Bag (closes Nov 1)

To see my current giveaways at any time, click on the Prizey button on the right hand side of my blog. There are also several discount codes posted on the right that you might enjoy. If you're new to my blog, I post an assortment of articles on topics including healthy living, recipes, homeschooling, safe toys, product reviews, giveaways, and more. I work hard to post well researched information and only review products that I've chosen for use in my own home and trust. Take your time, browse a bit, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cloth Training Pants: Snap-EZ

This week I've been running a series of reviews of cloth training pants. So far I've covered Diaperaps (this one includes a giveaway!), Imse Vimse, Mother-ease, and Princess Julianne's Closet (includes a giveaway and discount code too!). You can read my first post on the topic here and look for a summary post in the next day or so with some price, absorbency, and fit comparisons. Today I'm posting the last review in my series - Snap-EZ, along with another giveaway.

Snap-EZ is run by a stay at home, homeschooling mom to 10 kids ranging from toddlers to adults. At one point Ruth was searching to reduce their cost of living and decided to go back to using cloth diapers. She was surprised that the diapers of today were so much different than before. In order to afford her cloth diaper stash, she began making them and soon selling them as well. Ruth is focused on high quality and great customer service. Snap-EZ diapers are all made by work at home moms rather than mass produced. You can read her story here and even see photos of the shop. Ruth also has a blog here where you can find out what Snap-EZ is up to or just get to know her better.

We had the opportunity to review both the Eco AIO Trainer and the Eco Stuffable Trainer. I measured Julia and used this size chart to determine her size. I chose a 1T since that seemed like the best fit. Julia is 22 lbs and 32 inches tall just for reference, although that's not what you use when figuring size for these. The 1T is a good fit, but a bit snug around the legs and waist. I'm curious as to whether or not the 2T would be a better fit. I think next time I would order the 2T with an extra set of snaps (a great option they offer so you can make the trainers smaller). When you order a pair, go ahead and wash them before judging the fit as they are meant to shrink at first. Here is the Stuffable Trainer in celery...

and the AIO Trainer in grape...

(The spot on her bottom is just a weird reflection.) As you can see, the fit of these is similar. Julia is able to pull these up for the most part; the legs are a bit snug so I do have to help her adjust them. These are great trainers for little ones just starting to potty learn since they have the waterproof layer and a thick soaker. I really like having the snaps on the sides because again, as a beginning learner Julia still poops in her training pants at times. As for the difference between the two, the Stuffable Trainer allows you to customize absorbency for night times or naps and has a "feel dry" inner of microfleece. The AIO Trainer has a velour "feel wet" inner and a sewn in cotton soaker. I'm not sure I prefer one over the other, I think having both to use at different times is great.

I unsnap these and wash with my regular laundry (using a safe detergent of course) because washing them with velcro diapers can wreck the Fold Over Elastic around the edges. You can find washing instructions here at the bottom of the information page about the trainers. The only down side is that I usually wash my clothes in cold water and would really prefer the trainers be washed on hot.

The trainers are $17.95 each, or $14.95 for the Stuffable Trainer without an insert. If you purchase 4 or more you save $1 each and purchasing 8 or more saves you $1.50 each. Due to cost increases, prices will be going up October 7th, so check their website for updated prices.

Snap-EZ is giving away one pair of Stuffable Training pants (soaker included)! To enter the giveaway leave a comment being sure to include your email address or have it enabled in your blogger profile. For an extra entry, blog about the giveaway and cloth training pants reviews and leave a comment with the link. I'll close the giveaway on November 1 at midnight and choose a winner.

**Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been contacted. Thanks for your interest.**

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cloth Training Pants: Princess Julianne's Closet

This week I'm doing a series of posts reviewing cloth training pants. You can read my first post on the topic here, a review and giveaway of Diaperaps here, review of Imse Vimse here, and a review of Mother-ease here. Still to come this week is a review and giveaway of Snap-EZ, and a wrap up post with some comparisons of price, fit, and more. Today I'm reviewing an adorable pair of Lil Trainers from Princess Julianne's Closet. (They are also offering a giveaway and discount code so keep reading!)

Princess Julianne's Closet is run by Jessica, a mom who sews cloth diapers and training pants as a way to stay home with her two girls. She has been in business since 2007 and enjoys creating new products for her store. You can read her customer feedback here. We experienced fast shipping and great communication from Jessica.

We chose a size small in the fruit and flowers print. Jessica was helpful with determining the size for Julia and has a size chart right on the page where you order. If you have any questions about how to measure your child, just ask. The small fit Julia perfectly. (For reference, she is 22 lbs and 32 inches tall.) The fabric is very soft, stretchy, and gives a nice trim fit. We had a hard time choosing a print because there are so many adorable fabrics available to choose from. I love how this pair fits...

The Lil' Trainers are made with a cotton knit print outer and 2 layers of organic hemp fleece topped with bamboo/ organic cotton velour inside. The soft stretchy cotton knit waist and legs give a great snug fit, but are also very easy to pull up and down. Julia loves to choose this pair, and I can see her using them for quite some time even after potty training as they are very similar to panties and look to be quite comfortable. The sewing is high quality and these are very well made. Julia can completely flood these when she has a potty training accident and the wetness definitely leaks through to her pants, but it does stop my from having to clean up a big puddle on the floor. I wash and dry these with our either our diaper laundry or our normal clothing laundry.

Princess Julianne's Closet offers a free pair of trainers when you purchase five. They are normally $12 each and Jessica is offering a discount code good for 10% off any purchase. Use the code "trainerblog10" when you order, expires 11/1/09. She is also offering one pair as a giveaway, the winner will be able to choose the size and gender and she will choose a print for you. To enter the giveaway visit Princess Julianne's Closet and tell me something else that Jessica sells that I didn't mention in my review. Leave a comment being sure that you include your email address or have it enabled in your blogger profile. If you choose to make a purchase, you will receive another entry. Leave a second comment telling me what you bought. I will close the giveaway on November 1st at midnight.

**Giveaway is now closed and a winner has been contacted. Thanks for your interest.**

Thanks for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for another review and giveaway!