Friday, May 25, 2012

You know you've had one of these days.

This is totally off topic but I just HAD to blog about it. It was not at all funny yesterday but today, it's blog worthy. Tell me you haven't had an experience like this and I will call you a liar.

Yesterday, I got a custom order for my shop so I decided to take all three kids to the fabric store. I had a specific print and fabric that I needed so I knew it wouldn't take long. We get in to the store and I put the baby into the cart. My son, L, wants to sit in the basket so I put him in there. My daughter, G, wants to help push the cart. I get the print I need and take a number to get it cut. We are next in line! All is going well and I mentally pat myself on the back.

Customer in front of me takes a long time to get her fabrics cut. Foiled! The twins get restless. There just happens to be a big pile of foam rolls near the cutting table. G & L think it's funny to put their arms in a roll and fight each other like they're holding swords, running up and down the aisle while screaming and laughing hysterically. I ask them 4 times to put the rolls back. After finally listening, they do. Silence lasts about 2 seconds. They get bored. They decide that pulling on their baby sister's clothes and screaming, I mean singing, Happy Birthday is way more fun than waiting patiently.

I finally get my two pieces of fabric cut and make a dash for the check out line. This particular store has a big aisle to corral the customers into a line for the cashiers. I never paid much attention to it when I was there by myself. With 3 kids in tow, all I see is a gauntlet of impulse items. On the left, any kind of expensively priced candy you can think of. On the right, $1 bins of useless, brightly colored crap. We are #4 in line. D'oh!

Both of the twins are running up and down the aisle touching anything they can get their hands on and begging to take it home. Can we get this? Oooo, look at this!! I want to wear this! Can we buy this? Look how fun, Mommy!! Can we get a special treat?

People are starting to stare. Ugh. Is it our turn yet? Oh wait, the cash register is acting up when it's our turn next. She has to switch to another machine. Of course that's the way it has to be...

Alright. It's our turn to check out. FINALLY!!! Just next to the cash register is a cute display of gift cards right at 3.5 year old eye level. They both start grabbing hand fulls of cards, half of which fall all over the floor. I simultaneously try to grab cards out of their hands to put back into the display while getting out my phone to pull up the app with coupon codes. You can't scan the coupons on my phone? Okay, I'll read the 16 digit coupon codes to you while trying to get my now frenzied twins to behave like human beings. It takes a long time. The twins realize that just below the gift card display is a clear donation bin, a la Ronald McDonald House, with two slots just the perfect size for gift cards. They both begin shoving gift cards through the slots while giggling. I finally get them to stop and I start reading the second 16 digit coupon code. They get restless and start pulling on the baby's clothes, "gently" stroking her hair, and shoving their hands in her face. She's obviously upset by such "loving" attention and starts to whine for the protection of being in my arms.

We're done! Thank god!! I avoid looking the cashier in the eyes while mumbling "My kids put a bunch of gift cards in your donation bin. I'm sorry!" Making a dash for the exit, I return the cart and we make it outside. Just outside the door is another bin of cheap, useless crap. This time it's flimsy bird houses. I can't get G & L to come out to the car with me. They won't even turn around at their names because they're too busy fingering all the bird houses. I finally grab them both by the hand with one of my own, baby in the other, and march angrily to the van. Once in the car seats, strapped in with nowhere to go, I give them a good talking to about how disappointed I am with their behavior. Then I tell them it's quiet time with no talking until we get home.

*sigh* If that isn't enough to turn someone off from having three kids, I don't know what is. I was THAT mom in the store that couldn't control her kids. At least I have the fortitude to laugh about it today.

Have a great holiday weekend!!

Fleece is Under-rated

Diaper covers can consist of PUL (plastic laminated fabric), wool, or polyester fleece. My daughter is sensitive wool and lanolin, so we had to stop using those covers <insert sad face here>. PUL is great for the car when there could be compression wicking, but it makes her hot and sweaty. I decided to try fleece as a cover. Man, oh man, it's my absolute favorite! I think that cloth diapering parents are resistant to trying fleece, but I think it's under rated and people don't know the true value of it. I'll help debunk some myths about fleece diaper covers.

First, let's talk about the kinds of fleece covers available. Longies are pants. Shorties are pants with a shorter inseam. Soakers are like pull on underwear. Skirties are soakers with a skirt attached. Snap wraps are like PUL snap covers but made with fleece.

Myth #1: Fleece is too hot in the summer. In fact, fleece soakers are perfect for hot weather. While PUL traps moisture completely, fleece is a breathable fabric. When used over prefolds, flats, or fitteds, the fleece soakers only touch the child's skin around the waist and thighs. Fleece longies are my absolute favorite for cool weather.

Myth #2: Fleece is not as effective as wool. In my own personal experience, both materials are equally as effective at repelling liquid. Both of them will wick when under compression, like in a car seat. Both are equally breathable. Some wool lovers claim that while you can keep the child in a wool cover all day, that fleece can get stinky. Occasionally, I will have to change my daughter out of a fleece cover mid-day but usually I can keep her in the same one all day long.

Myth #3: Fleece is more work to wash than wool. While wool doesn't need to be washed as often, it requires special care and hand washing. Fleece can be machine washed and tumble dried with the other diapers, or even with regular clothes. Fabric softener, while usually a no-no in the cloth diapering world, actually helps the fleece's ability to repel. Wool and fleece both have their advantages when it comes to washing, but I personally like being able to machine wash the fleece. It just seems easier.

Myth #4: Fleece is not as durable as wool and not worth investing in. I will admit that fleece covers will probably not last for 4 children in a row like wool can, but it is still durable and cost effective. I have been using fleece soakers for my daughter for over 6 months with no signs of wear other than the usual mild pilling of the fleece. I only need to replace them when she outgrows them, which would be the same with wool. While a wool cover can cost up to $80 or $90, fleece covers range from $5 to $14. So while you may have to buy a new fleece cover after a year or two of use, you could get 8 to 10 new fleece covers before reaching the cost of one wool cover. Fleece covers are an inexpensive way to get a good stash of covers.

Not only are fleece covers effective and inexpensive, they are super cute too. Any fleece print available can be turned into a cover. Wool is cute for sure, but there aren't nursery themed prints available. I do think that a baby wearing a sweater on their butt is adorable, but so are the cute fleece prints.

I personally love love love our fleece covers. I hope after reading this article that you consider trying fleece covers too.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Preparing for the Summer Cloth Giveaway Hop

There's a huge summer event called Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop. More than 50 blogs are participating and it is sponsored by Mommy's Favorite Things. Each blog will have a prize package that relates to cloth diapering. The B's Booties is planning to have a big package available for the winner. So far, we've got AdriannaKnits and 3 Sweet Peas participating. If you own a cloth diapering business, or know someone that does, please contact me to join this great promotional event.

Monday, May 14, 2012

WAHM Wares: BumbleBunz Toddler Fitteds

I have written a few posts about the work at home mom business, BumbleBunz. I'm a big fan and was sorely disappointed with my daughter outgrew the fold over rise, one size fitteds. The mama behind this shop was nice enough to make two toddler size fitteds for my daughter. You have no idea how excited I was to get this package.

Let's review the features first:
-Large size fitteds for toddlers or larger babies who have outgrown the one size fold down rise
-Snap closure with cross over wing tabs and hidden belly snaps
-Cotton interlock outer, hidden bamboo terry, and bamboo terry inner
-Encased leg and back elastic
-Snap in bamboo soakers

I opened the package to find two lovely fitteds. One had a grey, ribbed, knit outer with little flowers on it. The other was a sunny, happy rainbow print. This mama took the time to serge each diaper in matching thread colors. The grey had varied shades of blue. The rainbow had a rainbow thread edge. She chooses the softest fabrics for her diapers. When I took them out of the package, I just wanted to pet them all day long!

After prepping a bit, I put one on my daughter. Normally, these diapers come with snap in soakers, but I was using a Bummis organic cotton prefold as the soaker. I was pleasantly surprised to use the cross over wings on my daughter, who is usually busting out of the fold over rise diapers.

Absorbency in these diapers is excellent. Of course, they are fitteds so they require a cover. I personally like to use fleece. This combo can last my daughter up to 4-5 hours if she doesn't soil it. Even then, the whole thing is not soaking yet. I'm sure with the right soakers, this diaper would last overnight for my heavy wetter.

BumbleBunz is currently on a break from orders. When business resumes as normal, I highly suggest trying to get some diapers from her.

WAHM wares: The Fluffy Elephant

My youngest daughter recently turned one year old. We chose to do her birthday party theme as cupcakes. Along with a cute, frilly, cupcake theme dress, I wanted a matching cloth diaper cover. A friend of mine owns and operates a WAHM cloth diaper business called the Fluffy Elephant. She had her first stocking recently on Hyena Cart that you can check out here.

Elizabeth, the owner, worked with me for a truly custom cover. She made a special trip to the store to get the color and print that I would like. She embroidered the cover with an awesome little cupcake and my daughter's name. At my request, she made extra slack in the leg elastic. And on top of it all, she did a rush order so that it would arrive in time for the party.

Let's review the features:
-Cover with PUL inner and minky outer
-Snap closure with 2 rows of snaps and 4 snaps on each wing
-Legs and back elastic encase
-Custom embroidered image and name

I was so excited to get this diaper and it lived up to my expectations. The color choices go very well together. The diaper fit perfectly for my daughter and I love that Elizabeth was willing to work with me on that. While I personally think that 4 snaps on each wing is a bit excessive, it does reduce the chance for wing drooping. I haven't noticed any wicking to the minky exterior, but I also don't let my daughter's diaper get 100% soaked. I really like the PUL lining as it makes the cover a good option for when we go out. Fleece often wicks under compression like in a car seat. While the PUL is not as breathable as fleece or wool, it is an excellent barrier if you're looking for something truly waterproof.

The Fluffy Elephant offers custom embroidered pocket diapers and covers. I recommend this WAHM business if you're looking for something unique and personal. This mama is really easy to work with and open to setting up something you will really love.

Bummis Cotton Prefolds

I attended the Great Cloth Diaper Change (GCDC) event in Boonsboro, Maryland. It was hosted by Enkore Kids, a local consignment store that sells new cloth diapers as well. My husband and daughter participated in the diaper change to break the world record. I attended as a vendor with a booth for 3 Sweet Peas.

Right before the change, Enkore drew prizes. My husband was one of the lucky winners! Thank you, Enkore! He won a Bummis starter set with a small PUL wrap and 3 organic cotton prefolds. My daughter is too big for the wrap, so I gifted it to a pregnant friend. While I couldn't use the prefolds as prefolds, again because my daughter is too big already, I did use them as boosters for my diapers.

First, let's review the features:
-Rectangular prefold diaper with thicker center area
-Closure-less, for use with snappi or cloth diaper pin
-Organic cotton twill with two serged edges

These Bummis prefolds are my first prefolds. At first, I was skeptical about their usefulness. Now, I'm a true believer. I can see why cloth diaper enthusiasts use them on newborns. The fit as a prefold must be truly awesome. As a booster, they work great! The cotton does shrink and cause hills, for lack of a better term, but as you wash them, they get even softer and softer. The natural, unbleached color seems so earthy.

This brand also keep their value. A new pack of 6 is about $28 (or $18 for infant size). It's a great option for people who can reuse their covers and want to build a large stash with not a lot of money. Maybe one of these days, I'll get the toddler size and some snappis to try a REAL prefold on my daughter. If I do, I'll go with Bummis.

Sustainablebabyish Snap Fitteds Review

I recently had a need for larger diapers. My daughter had outgrown the "one size" fitteds with the fold down rise. She's inherited her mother's large thighs.

In looking for some used diapers to try out, I found the Sustainablebabyish (SBish for short) sized snap fitteds. I bought a used XL, assuming my daughter would need the largest size. I was surprised to see that while the new SBish fitteds were $25-$30 new, the used ones held their value at $20-$24 each. Good resale value is a sign of quality diapers. Once I received the XL, I understood why they resold so well. The organic bamboo fleece is super super soft and cleans easily.

Let's review the features:
-Fitted diaper (requires a cover) made of OBF
-Snap closure with cross over wings
-Snap in two petal soaker
-Lay in booster
-Color coordinated serged edges and snaps
-Back, legs, and front elastic encased

I love the elastic on front as it gives a snugger fit. Surprisingly, the XL was too big! I ordered some new larges and those fit well, but I still cross over the wings with that too. I just recently bought a used medium and I'm in the process of stripping it so I can't comment on fit yet.

The bamboo fleece seems to be getting softer as I wash the newer diapers. The used diapers show little to no wear. The OBF hasn't pilled and there's no balding. It's quite a bulky diaper with all the soakers in it. Most of the time, I just use the snap-in soaker. If I'm using it for overnight, which I do frequently, I add the booster. My daughter is a heavy wetter at night and this fitted is not 100% soaked by morning.

Overall, I really like this diaper. They seem sturdy and high quality, like they'd last through multiple children. They are heavy duty for big wetters. The sizing is generous and goes pretty large with the larger sizes. They have great resale value for when you're done, as long as you take care of them. My only real complaint is that they are rather plain. I could easily become addicted to this diaper if it came in cute prints.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

3SP 300+ Fan Giveaway!

3 Sweet Peas is a children's boutique that sells cloth diapers, canvas baby carriers, and other children's items. In celebration of having 300+ fans on Facebook, 3SP is giving away a snap flat bamboo diaper and a fleece soaker/cover, one complete diaper change for your sweet pea.

Bamboo snap flats and prefolds are an economical and easy way to cloth diaper your baby. With only two layers, it dries super fast. It folds 3 times for a total of 4 layers of heavy bamboo fleece and 4 layers of cotton interlock in baby's wet zone. Having the embellished rise with a prefold adds another layer or two to the wetzone. The soft bamboo fleece is against baby's skin on the inside and gets softer and more absorbent with every wash. The wings wrap around the baby and snap in the front. While it does not have elastic, the snug fit contains most messes. It's an affordable and easy way to dive into the flat and prefold arena of cloth diapering. Visit the "How to Fold Your Flat Wrap" album for details on how to use the flat/prefolds sold by 3SP on Etsy.

Fleece soakers are excellent, affordable covers. It works much like wool covers without the expensive price tag. Polyester fleece is a synthetic fiber that naturally repels liquid while allowing baby's skin to breathe, making it an excellent cover for summer or winter. It stretches to give a flexible fit. You can wash it with your cloth diapers or with a regular laundry load. While fabric softener is a "no-no" in the cloth diapering world, it actually improves the soakers ability to repel. Most fleece cover users can reuse the cover for multiple diaper changes in a row.

Entering to win this set is easy. You get 10 entries just for being a 3SP Facebook fan! If you're already a fan, you only have to hit "enter" for your entries. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Upcoming Reviews

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews of Sustainablebabyish (SBish) snap fitteds, BumbleBunz toddler fitteds, and Bummis prefolds.

Daily Mothering: Mother's Day Giveaway Hop

Get your clicker fingers ready. Daily Mothering is hosting an amazing giveaway for Mother's Day. It's called the Mother's Day Giveaway Hop. There's 99 blogs participating in 100% free giveaways, most of which have prizes that are cloth diapering related. The giveaway hosted by Daily Mothering is worth a whopping $1300!! Many of the giveaways are worth over $100. Definitely enter as many as you can and "like" the sponsors to show your support!

Daily Mothering: Mother's Day Giveaway Hop

My own shop, 3 Sweet Peas, is a sponsor for FTM's giveaway. Check it out and enter.