Friday, February 26, 2010

Part 3: Kiwi Magazine Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations comment #9- Diana! I love Kiwi Magazine! Kiwi is kind of a quirky magazine because it has a lot of focus on organic foods and nutrition with parenting, family, and health information mixed in. After Avin was born and I realized that literally everything I put into my mouth effected him (I breastfeed) I began trying to find information about organic foods. My search led me to Kiwi and I've been in love ever since. Kiwi is a realistic magazine- not too extreme in any one direction which makes it great for an "average" family.

Kiwi gives great tips for busy moms. They know we are all crazily busy and so they give information on quick meals that use natural and organic products. Kiwi also recognizes that organic products can be costly so they always offer money saving hints. Kiwi supports different parent and family related groups including Mom Ambassadors and Parents Advisory board. The Kiwi website offers coupons, freebies, recipes, eco-crafts, a Kiwi Kids section, and much more. There is truly something for everyone in your family.

Kiwi supports being "green" and offers great tips for being eco-conscious. As part of their effort to be eco-conscious they are donating to World Vision when you subscribe. They also have Kiwi Magazine online and in print. I love their explanation for why they chose "Kiwi" for the name of the magazine:

• It symbolizes what we're doing; looking for powerful ways to help you raise healthy families.
• It's a unique shade of green. And, we are that, too. Our goal is to give you the tools to be as environmentally conscious as possible with realistic advice that fits into your hectic lifestyle. We know it's not easy to be totally green; we want to show you how even the smallest steps can make a difference.
• Kiwis are like our children: invigorating, juicy and sweet all at the same time.

Kiwi has been fun and informative for me and will definately be a magazine I subscribe to for years to come. My mom is clueless about being "green" and actually thought "organic" foods were something to avoid! Needless to say I gave her a subscription to Kiwi a couple of months ago. Now she calls me to talk about things she has learned!

If you act now you can purchase yourself a subscription and give a subscription to someone you love for free! For $11.95 you can get a 1 year subscription for yourself and someone else. Isn't that a great deal?

Kiwi is so terrific that they said I could also give one of my readers a year long subscription (or renewal) for free!!! To enter to win the free 1 year subscription all you have to do is become a blog follower via google friend connect (on the right side of my blog) and visit the Kiwi Magazine website then come back and leave me a comment letting me know why you want to win a Kiwi Magazine subscription.

Contest will close Friday, March 12, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Winner will be chosen using Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Contest open to US addresses only, must be 18 to enter.

Don't forget to connect with Kiwi on facebook, myspace, and twitter for great information!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Part 2: Mothering Magazine Review and Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations to entry # 21! Mothering magazine is unique because they don't just publish a magazine, they support a community. That may sound crazy but it is true. Mothering magazine was created to help the natural family community and they still do today through both the magazine and their online community. Friends in my Mindful Mothers group led me to Mothering Magazine because they had found it to be a non-judgemental source for quality information about natural family choices such as homeschooling and homebirthing. I've found that the magazine covers a wide variety of topics such as circumcision, vaccinations, organic foods, childhood illnesses, home birth, and midwifery.

I've found tons of information, not just opinions, on the things I am curious about. The magazine does have quite a few ads in it but they are all geared towards shops offering items that support natural parenting such as cloth diapers or slings. Normally ads in magazines just tick me off but I actually enjoy these because in Mid-Missouri our sources for those types of things are very limited. I love that they have both a print and online option for subscription. I use the online option to save a few trees and I love it. It comes straight to my email inbox and I can open it and read it as I have time. It looks identical to the print copy, you can adjust the zoom and style of page view.

I also love their website and online community. They offer tons of resources and information on a variety of topics. It is also great place to connect with like minded moms! It is so nice not to constantly worry that someone is going to flip out about my natural parenting choices.

Mothering Magazine has an awesome special going if you want to subscribe right now! Subscribe today and get:

• FREE 1-year Digital Subscription
• FREE coupons worth more than $100 in savings
• FREE membership in MotheringDotCommunity

Subscribe for just $19.95!

As if that deal wasn't awesome enough they are also offering one of my lucky readers the chance to win a one year subscription FREE!

To enter to win you must first sign up to follow my blog via google friend connect (on the right side of my blog) Then go to the Mothering Magazine website and then come back and leave me a comment telling me something you learned about the magazine or a topic related to natural families. Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 11:00 PM CST. Winner will be chosen using Open to US residents only.

Follow Mothering Magazine on facebook and twitter.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Part 1: Natural Life Magazine Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations to #13 Rebecca!
Natural Life Magazine is not your typical checkout stand "magazine. There are no glossy advertisements with models selling fancy commercial products. It is not a gossip rag or a fluff magazine. It is a magazine dedicated to providing readers with "straightforward, trustworthy facts, analysis, opinions and how-to information about green family living and progressive education".

I will be the first to admit that some of the topics covered in this magazine shocked me. A couple of shocking examples for me were "I Don't Need to Know" Why and how one woman chose secular humanism over religion and "A Week in the Life" An unschooled teen's community-based education. While I found these articles shocking they were also thought-provoking. They challenged me to think about different views from my own. I really liked that they offered honest insight into non-mainstream choices, especially in education.

I think Natural Life sums up their magazine quite well when they say:

We are sometimes controversial, always honest and forever practical. As one of the original North American sources of information about natural family living and its foremost publisher of books about progressive homeschooling (sometimes known as life learning or unschooling), we work hard to provide a fresh perspective on these important topics. As a result, you'll find us always a bit ahead of the pack.

Natural Life Magazine has e-subscriptions available to save resources. Natural Life Magazine also makes it a priority to use environmentally sound processes and paper, including a mix of paper that is post-consumer recycled, tree-free, non-chlorine bleached and preserving of old-growth forests. Currently, Natural Life magazine is printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified paper by a printer that is also FSC-certified, using soy-based inks. How awesome is that?

This magazine is not for you if you are easily offended or not open to different view points. However, if you share similar viewpoints or enjoy being exposed to different viewpoints I believe you will enjoy this magazine. One more great feature of this magazine is that each article includes an email address for the author if you are inclined to seek more information.

You can find Natural Life Magazine on the web at You can also find them on facebook and twitter.

To enter to WIN a one year subscription to this magazine all you have to do is sign up to follow my blog via google friend connect (in the right hand column) and leave me a comment letting me know that you follow and why you would like to win a subscription to Natural Life Magazine. Giveaway ends March 16, 2010 at Midnight CST. Contest open to US Residents only. Void where prohibited.

3 Part "Natural", "Green", "Organic" Living Magazine Series

I am putting together a series of posts on magazines that have helped me to educate myself about being more natural, organic, and eco-friendly. The magazines that I will feature have helped me to learn more about different non-mainstream view points and helped me to educate myself on the choices available to me. I want to share these resources with you. The viewpoints represented in the magazines are not necessarily my viewpoints. Each of the three magazines has generously agreed to giveaway a subscription to their magazine. If after reading my review you feel like you'd like a subscription (or a renewal!) to that magazine please feel free to enter the giveaway. Please refer your friends who might be interested too! I am always looking for great magazines that share my common interests so if you read another magazine that you think fits with being green, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, or babywearing please comment and let me know what it is!

Friday, February 19, 2010

So Fresh Baby Food Kit Review and Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations #33 Andrea!
I not only breastfeed but I make the majority of Avin's babyfood. The exceptions are his baby rice and oat cereal and his cereal puffs. I've been passionate about making Avin's babyfood since he was 4 months old. Jarred baby food contains a lot of ingredients that babies don't need like sugar and preservatives. They also lose lots of nutrients during processing and storage. Not to mention they are so expensive!!!

When I first started making Avin's babyfood I had no clue where to begin and ended up tossing out my first several attempts. I finally figured out how to cook a few basic items like sweet potatoes and peas. From there I expanded to several more vegetables but I still didn't know how to prepare meats or fruits. When I expressed interest in the Fresh Baby Cookbook, Fresh Baby surprised me with the opportunity to review their So Easy Baby Food Kit. The So Easy Baby Food kit includes 2 freezer trays, a cookbook, a how-to dvd, and a nutritional tip card. When I opened the box the first thing I took out was the cookbook. I was surprised to find that it was a beautiful hard bound book. The cookbook is not your traditional recipe only cookbook. It is a combination baby record book, cookbook, and how-to guide. It has places for photos and notes about baby's first meal, first holiday, and first birthday. It also has a place to record the date each food was introduced and any notes or reactions involving that food. The first half of the book gives great information on the benefits of making your own babyfood and the process of actually making the food. The second half of the book contains the recipes. I was very disappointed to see that meats were not included among the recipes. The recipes explain how to select fresh produce and prepare single fruits or vegetables. Each recipe includes possible seasoning variations and suggestions of foods you could combine to make "medleys". Each fruit or vegetable also has an easy-to-read 1-, 2-, or 3-star chart that shows the nutritional content of that particular food. Recipes are broken down by months so you know when your baby should be starting new foods. The tip card that is included in the kit is a full color laminated 8.5 x 11 sheet that includes information on what to do if your baby is choking, baby food prep tips, first foods by age, common baby ailments and foods, and a list of the best sources of several different nutrients.

Watching the dvd felt a little like watching a late night infomercial but it demonstrated how to actually prepare and store the food. I was surprised to find out you can cook all your babies foods in the microwave and that it is actually recommended over stove top methods. It is only 22 minutes long so you can watch it during your babies nap time or while he breastfeeds. One thing I disagree with is their suggested use of a traditional blender or food processor. I've tried using both and it is very hard to get a smooth creamy consistency using either one. I suggest using an immersion blender (some people refer to it as a stick blender).

The freezer storage containers are great! They come with a lid to keep your food safe from freezer burn and prevent spills. Each cube is one serving. The containers are dishwasher safe and BP-A and phthalate-free. Freezing babyfood is a great way to give you shelf life without losing nutrients or adding preservatives.

Visit to purchase a So Easy Baby Food Kit of your own or enter below for your chance to WIN one!!!

Contest open to US Residents 18 and older. Ends Friday, March 12, 2010 at Midnight CST. Winner will be chosen at random using Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment. Please post one comment per entry (5 entries=5 comments). Winners will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.

Mandatory Entry: To enter leave a comment telling me why you would love to win this kit.

For additional entries:

1) Follow my blog publicly with Google Friend Connect (5 entries)

2) Follow me on Twitter and tweet "RT @diapermom Enter to WIN a So Fresh Baby Food Kit and start making your own baby food!" (One entry per tweet up to twice per day!)

3) Subscribe to my feed on the left side of my blog (3 entries)

4) Follow me on Facebook (1 additional entry)

5) Sign up for the Fresh Ideas Newsletter at Fresh Baby (1 additional entry)

6) Grab my button and post it on your blog or blog about this giveaway with a link back to me and leave me the link where I can find it (1 entry)

7) Comment on one of my other posts and then let me know which one (1 entry)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Best Dressed Wool Dryer Ball Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Congratulations to Mary Beth for winning the gift certificate!

I've been seeing ads for Wool Dryer Balls all over the place lately. They seem to be the newest laundry related item in the "green" movement. They are designed to help cut your drying time by up to 40%. I cloth diaper and always have to run my fitted diapers at least twice in the dryer for them to be good and dry. I was very interested when Terra & Cam from TerraMade Products got in touch with me about doing a review. I really like it that TerraMade uses lightly used or recycled fibers and new materials to produce one-of-a-kind wool products, arm and leg warmers, cloth diapers and other great products. Terra sent me out two sets (4 balls total) of their "Tweed Jacket" Dryer balls. According to their website; "Wool covers or "jackets" keep your dryer balls looking good and ready to roll. Recommended for use with aplix."

As luck would have it my mom (aka the Laundry Queen) was visiting for the weekend when the dryer balls arrived. We immediately opened the package and got them into the dryer. I will warn you, they are noisy! It sounded like the socks were playing tennis in the dryer but luckily my dryer is off in my basement so the noise level wasn't a problem for me. Diapers and clothing included, the dryer balls saw about 10 loads of laundry over the weekend. About 5 loads in my mom said, "Is there supposed to be 4 balls?" Umm...yeah! One ball completely disappeared during the laundry process! I strongly suspect that it joined the secret colony of socks that escape from the dryer but more likely my mom dropped it and the cats whisked it off like a tiny soccer ball.

According to the TerraMade website:
Wool dryer balls tumble with your clothes creating air pockets allowing for better air and heat movement cutting drying time as much as 40%. Wool Dryer balls will also retain heat for faster drying when used back to back in consecutive cycles. All dryer balls are sold in pairs. Multiple sets will continue to increase the dryers' efficiency with up to 40% decrease in drying time.

Even with only 3 dryer balls I did still notice a difference in my drying time. The difference isn't quite 40%, more like 25%, but still it cuts down on drying time! My lighter clothing did dry much faster but those thick, heavy diapers still take about a cycle and a half. The dryer balls also seemed to eliminate wet spots from clothing getting bunched up together in a wad and the outside drying while the center stays wet and wrinkled. I have a down filled throw blanket and comforter that call for you to put clean tennis balls in the dryer with them and now I don't have to worry about that I can just toss them in with my wool dryer balls.

TerraMade Products also have a variety of other great products including natural cleaning products, custom wool longies, and cloth diapers. Go check out all the great eco-friendly products that TerraMade has to offer at their online store. They have excellent customer service and the shipping time was unbelievable!

TerraMade Products is also offering one of my readers a gift certificate to their store for $14.95! This amount could purchase a pair of naked or jacketed dryer balls, a bag of powdered Charlie’s laundry detergent, a pair of custom wool longies, a pair of Coo-zies Arm and leg warmers or any other of the great items in their store!

Contest open to US Residents 18 and older. Ends Thursday, March 4, 2010 at Midnight CST. Winner will be chosen at random using Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment. Please post one comment per entry. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.

Mandatory Entry: To enter you must go to the TerraMade Products website and then come back here and comment letting me know which item you'd love to have. For additional entries:

1) Follow me on Facebook (1 additional entry)

2) Follow me on Twitter and tweet "RT @diapermom I can't wait to win a gift certificate from TerraMade Products!!!" (One entry per tweet up to twice per day!)

3) Follow TerraMade Products on Facebook (1 additional entry)

4) Follow TerraMade Products on Twitter (1 additional entry)

5) Follow my blog publicly with Google Friend Connect (5 entries)

6) Subscribe to my feed on the left side of my blog (3 entries)

7) Grab my button and post it on your blog or blog about this giveaway with a link back to me and leave me the link where I can find it (1 entry)

8) Comment on one of my other posts and then let me know which one (1 entry)

Wordless Wednesday

If a picture is worth a thousand words I'd love to know what he's thinking! Love those expressions!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Piggy Paint Nail Polish & Remover Product Review

I'm not a girly girl by any means but I do love to get pedicures and pre-baby I always kept my toes painted. When I got pregnant with Avin I gave up going to the nail salon because the smell always overwhelmed me. Then I stopped painting my nails at home after he was born because he likes to chew and suck on my fingers and I was afraid I would poison him if my polish chipped off, so I jumped at the chance to review Piggy Paint Nail Polish and Remover. I had the pleasure of reviewing "Girls Rule" a bright shimmery purple polish.

Piggy Paint is a non-toxic, low odor, water-based, hypoallergenic nail polish. It is meant for little girls but I can tell you, Mommy will want to wear it too! The first thing I did when I got it was to compare the ingrediant list to tradtional nail polish. The difference was huge! There were far fewer chemicals in the Piggy Paint. When I opened the polish I had to practically stick my nose in the bottle to smell anything and even then the smell was very mild, not harsh and breath taking like most polishes. The polish is thin and requires 2 to 3 coats for good coverage but it goes on evenly and dries nicely. The instructs say that you should dry your nails for 60 seconds with a hair dryer on warm to help achieve ultimate hardness of the polish. My nails looked lovely for the first few hours after I painted them but then the polish began chipping off at the tips. I always seem to have that problem with polish between all the handwashing and cleaning I do as a mom. I think that the chipping wouldn't be an issue if a little girl were wearing the polish. I just wish that Piggy Paint made a more durable top coat for when us Mom's want to swipe the super cute colors for ourselves! :)

As I opened the nail polish remover I found myself holding my breath waiting for the awful smell that always seems to accompany polish remover. Piggy Paint Polish Remover had NO scent that I could smell!!! Some of its great features are that is is low odor, made from natural ingredients, no acetone, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. They've even included Aloe Vera and Vitamin E to supplement the natural oils that protect your nails and cuticles. The polish remover worked great but I did have to hold the cotton ball against my nail for several seconds before wiping the polish away. When I was done my nails were polish free and didn't feel thin and sensitive like they usually do when I use traditional nail polish remover.

Go to the Piggy Paint website and check out their fabulous polishes in great colors and place your order. They've provided a secret savings code just for my readers! (How awesome is that!) Use the coupon code: BLOOM10L for 10% off anything on their website including sale items! Hurry because it expires May 31, 2010! Spend over $25 and domestic shipping is FREE! March 1 it will change to $35 for FREE domestic shipping so hurry!

You can follow Piggy Paint on facebook and twitter to stay up to date on their latest products, coupons, and special sales!

Agoo Leg Huggers Baby Leggings Review & Giveaway

CONTEST CLOSED- Congratulations Comment 111 sibabe64
Agoo Apparel sent two sets of Leg Huggers for me to review at the perfect time! Avin is 8 months old and never still for a second. The day before our Leg Huggers came in the mail he was crawling all over the floor and ended up with rug burn all over his poor little knees. The two sets of Leg Huggers we received are from the new style line made just for little boys. The designs are all super cute, I just wish there were more boy choices! We reviewed "Full of Fun" and "Wheel Power". I was so happy to discover that "Full of Fun" exactly matched our blue BumGenius diapers!
Leg Huggers made diaper changing a breeze! Avin's legs stayed warm during diaper changes and I didn't have to worry about his pants getting into his dirty diaper. Leg Huggers would also be great for parents who EC.

They are the perfect size for my sons little fat upper thighs. They stay on great but are not so tight that they leave red marks! Avin is 26.5 inches long and the length of the Leg Huggers is a little long on him but with just a little bunching up at the ankles he's fine. I expect these to fit him until well into his toddler years. The Leg Huggers are so silky soft. I love the feel of them and so does Avin! I was surprised to discover they are made from bamboo. According to Leg Huggers website:

Bamboo's is composed of a matrix with various microscopic gaps, which allows the fiber to be more breathable, comfortable and have better thermal regulation than cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers, keeping you cooler, drier and more comfortable. The unique structure also allows bamboo apparel to absorb and evaporate perspiration faster than any other fabric. It is also hypoallergenic, and its organic, natural fiber properties make it non-irritating to even the most sensitive skin. Bamboo apparel also protects you from UV rays, naturally.

How cool is that? I love using natural organic fibers on Avin! These are a definite must have for us for the diaper bag and everyday use. The staff at Agoo Leg Huggers were so pleasant to work with and the shipping was super quick! We can't wait to order the "Army Friends" print in honor of Avin's uncle who is a US Army Medic in Afghanistan.

To check out the super cute designs and to purchase your own set of Leg Huggers go to the Leg Huggers website or visit one of their great retailers.

You can also enter to win your very own pair of Leg Huggers!!! Agoo Apparel is giving away one pair of Leg Huggers to one of my lucky readers. Contest open to US Residents 18 and older. Ends Saturday, February 27. 2010 at Midnight CST. Winner will be chosen at random using Please make sure you leave your email address in your comment. Please post one comment per entry. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.

Mandatory Entry: To enter you must go to the Leg Huggers website and then come back here and comment letting me know which design you'd love to have. For additional entries:

1) Follow Leg Huggers on Facebook (1 additional entry)

2) Sign up for the Agoo Newsletter for a chance to win a $100 Agoo Shopping Spree and 1 additional entry to the Leg Huggers Giveaway

3) Follow Leg Huggers on Twitter @Babyleggings (1 additional entry)

4) Follow me on Facebook (1 additional entry)

5) Follow me on Twitter and tweet "RT @diapermom I am trying to win @LegHuggers for my baby!" (One entry per tweet up to twice per day!)

6) Follow my blog publicly with Google Friend Connect (5 entries)

7) Subscribe to my feed on the left side of my blog (3 entries)

8) Grab my button and post it on your blog or blog about this giveaway with a link
back to me and leave me the link where I can find it (1 entry)

9) Comment on one of my other posts and then let me know which one (1 entry)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Moby Wrap Babywearing Review

The condensed version of my review of the Moby Wrap is: I love my Moby Wrap!!!
The Pros:
Comfortable for a large chested plus size Momma
Versatile fit for both my husband and myself
Multiple ways to wear your baby
Avin always falls asleep in it!
Provides head support for sleeping babies
Keeps wind off of babies face and ears
Allows me to lean and bend without endangering Avin
Reasonable Cost
Allows you wear your baby completely hands free

The Cons:
Can be hard to put
Usually requires adjustment if you take the baby out and replace him
Can get super hot during winter
Long, sometimes drags the ground when putting on
Loses support as babies weight increases

Read on for more details about how my Moby Wrap helped make me a babywearing momma:

None of the slings I've ever tried were comfortable because when coupled with my large chest they all made me feel awkward and pregnant all over again. When I tried the Moby on in the store I was amazed at how comfortable it was to wear. I walked around the store with Avin in it while clerk talked to me about carrier styles and types. Avin settled right in to the Moby Wrap in the store and was about to fall asleep. I was sold! I shelled out the $40 to buy a standard black Moby Wrap. When put on properly it is very snug and creates a comfortable, supportive area for your baby that can be adjusted to several different holds and even hands free breastfeeding! Your baby can be worn upright, cross ways, facing out, or facing in. I really like that if your baby falls asleep while facing in you can adjust the back panel to cover the back of their head and provide support. It is also great for cold or windy climates because you can adjust it to cover your babies ears and head while still allowing them to breath. Avin almost always falls asleep in the Moby. I wear it out shopping or when we are going to be walking outside. The design of the Moby helps to distribute your babies weight across your entire back so it is very comfortable, even for extended wear.

I can't imagine ever using another carrier for Avin's but I know soon he will outgrow the Moby. Because the Moby is just one big piece of fabric, as a baby gains weight the fabric can begin to sag and lose some support. Also, because of the stretchy nature of the material if you have to take your baby out and put him back in while wearing it a lot of times you have to completely take the Moby off and put it back on because it gets stretched out. The biggest downside to the Moby is that it can be somewhat difficult and confusing to put on. I had to go back to the store for help the first time I attempted to put the Moby on alone. Now, I usually put mine on at home before heading out to avoid dragging the long ends across dirty floors or parking lots. The stretchy cotton material is not heavy but on very hot or humid days it can cause you to heat up quickly due to your baby being pressed against you and you being wrapped in so much fabric. The upside to that is that it allows you to take advantage of your body's natural heat to keep your baby warm during cool months.

What type of baby carrier made you a babywearing momma?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Clorox Green Works Review

Before I had Avin I am ashamed to admit I gave no thought to the environment. I didn't recycle, I used any kind of cleaner I wanted, I planned to use disposable diapers. My husband frequently referred to me as "The Bleach Queen". Looking back now I just cringe at how naive I was about what I was doing to our Earth and in turn Avin's future. My best friend was a little more aware than me and had start using Clorox Green Works products. When I finally saw the light and began my transition to being "green" I too switched to Clorox Green Works. I also began cloth diapering, recycling, and choosing earth friendly products. My transition has been a slow but steady one that grows each day as I educate myself more and more about the impact we have on the earth.

I have been using Clorox Green Works All Purpose cleaner ever since. As far as cleaning goes it has been great. It cuts through grease and grime on my stove in nothing flat. I use it all over the kitchen to clean up messes. However, the smell is so strong that once I've soaked the counters and stoves it actually hurts my nose to breath. This week I had Avin in his high chair in the kitchen as I cleaned and after spraying the kitchen down I got so concerned by the smell that I took him to the living room. That started me thinking about how "green" this product could really be if it effected my breathing that way, but I brushed off my concern because it is the ONLY "green" product available on the shelves in our rural area of Missouri.

Other than that moment of self-doubt, I was feeling pretty good about myself this week, especially when I realized we had only one bag of trash for the entire week but that the recycling bin was overflowing. Then I read a twitter post challenging people to actually read the labels on their "green" products. With sudden dread I marched into the kitchen and picked up my almost empty bottle of Clorox Green Works All Purpose Cleaner. I re-read the label on the front and it all sounded promising. I flipped the bottle over and read the actual ingrediants and suddenly felt sick to my stomach.

The list read:
Green Works® Natural All-Purpose Cleaner (99.93 percent natural): Filtered water, coconut-based cleaning agent (nonionic surfactant, alkyl polyglucoside), corn-based ethanol, glycerine, essential oils, biodegradable preservative, colorant

My first thought was corn-based ethanol? Isn't that the gas they use to run hybrid cars??? My second thought was...oh my goodness I've been pouring gas on Avin's high chair tray to clean it and then feeding him off of it!?! I'm no chemist so maybe there is some difference in the two products but they are close enough for me to be freaking out. Never one to leave well enough alone I went to the Clorox site to find out what they had to say about their Green Works products. On the Green Works FAQ page I found the following question and answer:

Q. How is Corn-Based Ethanol used in Green Works® Natural Cleaners (not cars)?
A. Much has been said and written about corn-based ethanol as an alternative fuel source. However, did you know it is also widely used in green cleaning products as a natural, safe and effective alternative to petrochemicals?

Corn-based ethanol is a plant-based alcohol produced from the fermentation of cornstarch. It enables Green Works® to dry quickly without streaks. Interestingly enough, ethanol fermentation is also responsible for the rising of bread dough and the production of ethanol in alcoholic beverages!

As with all ingredients in Green Works® products, our scientists are always looking for more natural alternatives and will use them when they become available.

The FAQ list goes on to question other ingrediants and products in the line. I highly recommend you check it out Green Works FAQ because offers answers for a lot of common questions involving cleaning chemicals. While I appreciate the apparent "full disclosure" of chemicals and their attempt to rationalize their use I just can't stand behind this product anymore. Over and over I read things that were very careful to claim "safer" not safe. I don't know about you, but I want a product that is SAFE. If what Clorox says is true and you cannot get all natural shelf sustainable products then I guess I'll have to make my own.

I'm officially challenging you to go pick up all the chemicals in your house you think are "green" and really read the labels. If you can't pronounce it or you can run your car with it then maybe you need to rethink using it. I know I did! Please comment with your homemade cleaning formulas or your "green" cleaning solutions!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I LOVE gLovies!!! gLovies Product Review

What are gLovies you ask?

gLovies are disposable sanitary mittens meant for kids (although mom's can use them too!). Founder Josephine Geraci created them to help keep kids germ free when using public restrooms. When your child is small enough to need to hang on to the toilet to balance don't you dread using public restrooms because of all the germs? Avin is still in diapers and just the thought of that makes my skin crawl, YUCK! With gLovies you just slip the disposable mittens on your child before using the restroom and when you are done slip them back off and throw them away. NO GERMS!!! gLovies work great for any situation where your child has to touch something germy (like a handrail or subway) but where you may not be able to readily access a handwashing sink. I know some of you are thinking, yeah Amanda- that's what hand sanitizer is for! But, remember the alcohol in hand sanitizer can be potentially fatal to small children!

gLovies have a very thin layer of plastic on the inside (similar in thickness to saran wrap) and the outside is similar in texture to a paper hospital gown. They have elastic in the wrists to held hold them on little hands. gLovies are super cute because they are decorated with penguins! The size of the actual mitten fits my hand, although when I pulled them on I did break the elastic and split the top part of the seam, but they still stayed on quite well. My only complaint was that the minute I put my hands in them my hands started to sweat. I can deal with a little bit of sweaty hand way better than I can catching some cooties from a public place! I'm telling you gLovies are every germ-a-phobe mommy's dream come true!

Avin isn't going to be using the potty in a public restroom for another couple of years but I can tell you I will be and I've already put some gLovies in my purse! There is nothing I hate worse than having to use a dirty public restroom. I ALWAYS seem to get the urge to go at the worst places. You know the ones- cramped dirty stall, no soap, no papertowels, turn knob door. I always wash my hands after using the restroom and then if I can't bump the door with my hip I use a paper towel to open it. I'm keeping gLovies with me for the times that I've gotta go but the restroom is just YUCK!

Of course, you know me, a product has to meet my three criteria (1) Family Friendly (2) Eco-Friendly (3) Wallet Friendly. Obviously the whole point of the product is family friendly so we are good there. Because of the plastic gLovies are not 100% eco-friendly but they are close. The plastic is small and thin and there is no way to avoid plastic and still get the waterproof protection that you need. gLovies are wallet friendly at only $4.99 for a dozen mittens. I am very excited about these and will be ordering more when Avin gets a little bigger.

Go to the gLovies website to order your FREE sample or purchase your own package of gLovies today!

You can also follow gLovies on twitter or facebook

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Truth About Baby Clothing Brands

Avin has hit another growth spurt and once again he's outgrown a ton of his clothes. As I sort through his mountains of laundry I am tossing aside the things that don't fit. As I sort I see that there are some 3-6 month things that he has just now outgrown, some 6-9 things he has outgrown, and some 12 month items that I'm just counting the days can this be??? I'll tell you how this can be---different brands size differently! Baby clothing sizes have confused me since he was born. I wasted so much money because I thought that if an article of clothing was labeled 3 months then that meant that he should be able to begin wearing it at 3 months. Geez...imagine my surprise when I had a whole drawer full of clothes that he wore once because "3 months" really translates into "he's going to outgrow this by three months!". So now as I finally have grasped the secrets of baby clothing I am going to impart my mommy wisdom onto you, my beloved reader. :)

Sizing: The cheaper the brand the smaller the size runs. Baby Gap and Carters both seem to run pretty big. Garanimals and Child of Mine(by Wal-Mart both run very small. Children's Place seems to run pretty true to size as does Old Navy.

Quality: For the most part you get what you pay for. Store brands are a good value in the early months when they outgrow things in the blink of an eye. Once they get a little older and actually wear the same outfit more than once you want to start thinking durability. Baby Gap, Carters, and Children's Place are top of the list in quality.

I confess that I am a cheap momma! My son wears mostly name brand clothing and I typically refuse to pay more than $2 per article of clothing. My standard price is 50 cents! How do I do this? I shop yard sales, Goodwill, resale shops, and end of season clearance sales! If you take the time to shop these areas you can find new or like new name brand baby clothing at deep deep discounts! My all time best find was a BRAND NEW Baby Gap Reversible Down Filled Vest for $2! Comment and tell me what your best bargain find was!

Now, if we could just get some seriously cute boy clothing into the stores I would be a blissful momma. I get so bummed out when I go into a store and see 8 racks of girl's clothes to one rack of boys. Hello! Don't retailers know that Momma's of little boys want them to look handsome too?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Avin's Top 10 List -Revised

After posting our original top list I realized that we left off some very important things!!! Isn't it funny how vital an object can be in your life but how quickly you forget about it once you've moved on? Or how it is so vital to your life that you don't even think about it, it's just ALWAYS there? That being said here are 4 more things that we couldn't have lived without.

11) Our bedtime CD's! We have a few that we rotate through but they play all night long and at nap time. These are so much a part of our life that I take them for granted--until the power is out or we go somewhere and I *GASP* forget the CD player!!!

12) Our Exersaucer! We got it second hand and it was missing a toy but Avin loved it! It kept him entertained for long periods of time and gave him the ability to stand up and move on his own long before we was strong enough to do so independently. Sadly he has outgrown it now and I have no safe entertainment haven!

13) Bumbo Seat- Our Bumbo seat was such a great gift! Avin loved it because even from just a couple of months old he could safely sit up in it and look around. We used it for awhile as a high chair by sitting it on our kitchen table during meal time (ours and his!). I also used it as a travel high chair because of its small size. Once he got taller it allowed him to sit up on the floor and play with some taller toys and open his Christmas presents.

14) Video Baby Monitor- After I posted Avin's Top 10 List my husband was shocked that I had left this off. Once he pointed it out I was shocked too! I literally couldn't have lived without this for Avin's first few months. I slept with the sound and video on because I would wake up every few minutes to check on Avin at night because I was terrified he was going to die of SIDs. I also used it anytime I left him in another room, even for a minute. Since I've transitioned to co-sleeping I never use the monitor. I sleep so much better at night because I know Avin is safe beside me. As for leaving him in another room---those moments are few and far between because since he can crawl he just follows me!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Other Great Giveaways--Updated Frequently!

Click on the links below to enter other great giveaways!

Loves Jurns is giving away Rockin Green Ends Friday, February 19th 2010 at 8:00 p.m.(E.S.T.)

New Age Mama & Ergo Baby are giving away an organic ErgoBaby Carrier! End Feb. 21, 2010

Getting Kinda Cruncy is giving away Rockin Green!!! Ends March 17, 2010

A Daily Dose of Toni is giving away Your Shape by Wii. Ends 2/25/10.

The Eco-Friendly Family Blog is giving away Lemi Shine! Ends February 24, 2010

Monkey Tales Blog is giving away a FuzziBunz OS cloth diaper! Ends March 10th, 2010 at 4pm CST

Friday, February 5, 2010

Avin's Top Ten List

I decided today that I wanted to make a top ten list of items I couldn't live without for Avin's first 6 months. My list is about what worked for us but keep in mind I am a co-sleeping, breastfeeding, babywearing, organic loving momma! I had a lot of friends who had children before me and were full of advice about what items to purchase when I found out I was pregnant with Avin, however, none of my friends shared my same outlook on parenting. After purchasing tons of items I regretted I came to realize that someone should have warned me that some items just don't fit with certain lifestyles!

1 Cloth Diapers- Specifically BumGenius Cloth Diapers They are a one-size pocket diaper that have fit Avin great, don't leak, look cute, and have saved us tons of money not to mention saved our environment!

2 Diaper Rash Ointment- Specifically Sweet Cheeks It is all natural and cloth diaper safe. It is super moisturizing so I use it all over Avin and even on my hands! No icky, sticky film on things.

3 Blanket- Moby Wrap Blanket I couldn't have lived without swaddling Avin at sleeping time. He is a long baby and he outgrew other swaddlers very quickly. The Moby Blanket is big and stretchy and I can still swaddle him in it at 7 months!

4 Wrap-Moby Wrap I knew from the moment I got pregnant that I wanted to be a baby-wearing momma but I wasted lots of money buying different types of carriers and slings. I'm a plus size momma with a large chest and those style carriers just didn't work for me. The Moby on the other hand was a miracle find! Worth every penney, Avin falls asleep in it almost every time I put it on and I can actually get a few things done--like grocery shopping!

5 Dr. Brown's Bottles were a lifesaver as well because I had an oversupply of milk with an overactive letdown and when Avin tried to eat I was literally drowning him! I had to pump and feed him from a bottle for several weeks while we got things lined out. We had tried other drop-in style bottles but our lactation consultant recommended Dr. Brown's because the nipple shape is actally similar to the breast and it reduces air consumption that causes gas!

6 Medela Pump In Style Advance Breast Pump I had to breastfeed by exclusively pumping for weeks and now I use it to pump milk for nights I have class. It is a double pump so within 7 minutes I have pumped several ounces and I am ready to go!

7 Boppy Pillow Once again I am a plus size Momma and other brands just didn't fit me well. I use my boppy daily for feeding Avin. I've also used it to help prop him when he was learning to sit up.

8 Elastic Bottom Night Gowns I didn't have any particular brand I fell in love with but that is what Avin lived in his first couple of months! They were comfortable for him and made the million diaper a day changes quick and easy.

9 Aveeno Baby Lotion Avin suffered from horrible Exzema and his poor little face stayed cherry red and broke out like a teenager on prom night. I tried all types of lotions and potions but nothing worked until Aveeno. Literally within hours of putting it on the redness disappears and his face is beautful again.

10 Fisher Price Aquarium Swing Avin hated to be set down and fought going to sleep like crazy but the first time we layed him in this swing he settled down and napped for an hour! I loved that it had music and soothing ocean sounds along with a mobile and soft changing lights!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sweet Cheeks Review & Giveaway

No, I am not giving away my baby! I'm talking about a fabulous cloth diaper safe diaper rash ointment! Sweet Cheeks is an amazing ALL NATURAL diaper ointment made by a WAHM containing only Extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, essential oil of lavender, and essential oil of tea tree. From birth until I started using Sweet Cheeks at about 3 months my son had a bright red bum all the time. I tried every "mainstream" diaper ointment I could find to help his rash and nothing worked. Then I switched to cloth diapers and found out that most diaper rash ointments will ruin your cloth diapers. I was at a loss...I couldn't just let my poor baby suffer! Desperate I went to my local natural baby store, Sprouting Up, and begged for a solution. Rebecca put a tub of Sweet Cheeks in my hand and forever fixed my son's diaper rash! After one day of using this ointment on his bottom the red went away! It is all natural so it washes right out of our cloth diapers without leaving behind any kind of film or repelling effects. I even confess to using it on my son's other sweet cheeks. He suffers from eczema and I use Sweet Cheeks to moisturize his face and calm the redness. I also use it on my dry winter hands. I even use it on any little cuts or scrapes, like when he nicks himself with those sharp little baby nails. I just love this stuff!!!

The only downside to this awesome product is that you can only get it at Sprouting Up. Even that isn't really bad news because you can purchase it online and Rebecca will ship it to you. She offers free shipping on orders over $75! I am excited to say that Rebecca is going to share the love with one lucky reader for FREE!

Enter below to win a 2 ounce tin of Sweet Cheeks Diaper Ointment from Sprouting Up Natural Baby Store. Leave one comment for each entry and make sure that you leave your email address in the comment so that I can contact you. One winner will be chosen at random on Valentine's Day!

Mandatory Entry: Go to Sprouting Up and take a look around at Rebecca's great selection of cloth diapers, baby carriers, and natural baby products and come back here and leave me a comment telling me what other great item you'd like to try.

Additional Entries:
1) Follow my blog publicly (2 additional entries)

2) Follow me on twitter @diapermom (1 additional entry) and tweet
RT @diapermom Sweet Cheeks Cloth Diaper Safe Diaper Rash Ointment Giveway

You can retweet up to twice per day for extra entries just come back here and
leave the permalink to your tweet

3) Follow me on Facebook (1 additional entry)

4) Fan Sprouting Up on Facebook (1 additional entry)

5) Sign up to receive Sprouting Up's Newsletter (1 additional entry)

6) Link to my blog from your blog- make sure you leave me the address of your blog (3 additional entries) Blog about my giveaway for 3 more entries.

Congratulations to poster number 28, Michelle, you were chosen by as our giveaway winner! Thank you everyone for participating! Check back often for other reviews and giveaways!