MMM #9 - Manic Mommy Memoir



Manic Mommy Monday!



Hi all! Last week I missed MMM entirely, I was at my grandma's funeral, so I deemed it a worthy excuse to be gone from cyberland. It got pretty busy, helping out my dad and the family and visiting with grandpa (who had a heart attack 2 days before grandma passed) after he was all alone. I think everyone is doing okay though, moving through the stages of grief. My dad's brother who is my FAVORITE uncle, got diagnosed with a really aggressive squamous cell mouth cancer, so now we're sending out good vibes, thoughts, prayers, anything helpful for him to get through this. I really just don't want to see my dad put through much more! :(

On a happier note, you may have read that I put in my Two Weeks Notice for Adult Water Aerobics. I was so stressed thinking that the boss lady was going to want to wring my neck after taking the position for just over 2 months. She was VERY nice!  I guess since I have had a really TERRIBLE manipulative boss in the past, I always expect the worst now! She actually told me "if you can stay home, STAY HOME!" I feel a bit like that sitcom called "Two Broke Girls," when at the end of every episode, it shows their current cash total, which is always around like $400. I think I made just under that in 2 months. I may have spent just under that in gasoline. That was the final straw in determining that I would resign my position--I was clearing about $30 after gas. So, I still teach Waterbabies and Toddler Swimming Lessons, but I'm done in 5 sessions, including the one in an hour that we have to go to!! Wahoo!

I also am FINALLY getting my car fixed today. I own it free & clear as of about a month ago, after 4 years of payments. So, naturally, shit has to start breaking! Ugh! And, par for the course, I have an exceptionally cumbersome fix to deal with. My car, out of all of the states that is could have originated from, came from California. Which means, instead of ONE catalytic converter, I have FOUR!!! And when the catalytic converter goes out (one of them) on a Subaru, apparently it makes your 'check engine' light stay on, which trips the emissions signal and makes the cruise control not work. Not having working cruise control leads to *your first actual speeding ticket ever.* The cop didn't even drop it down so that it wouldn't go on my insurance. :( But, I AM getting my car fixed today, thanks to a great tax return. So, Bug and I are strollering to swimming from the car place, then strollering a mile or two to where hubby works to get the van so we can go to our 2nd to last Mommy & Me class for the school year. :)

Bug has decided to completely go crazy at night, waking up at 3 am & yelling "dada." Since "dada" works wicked early during planting season, Bug gets "mama." And then cries for an hour. Nurses until I'm bone dry... This was night 3 of the crazies, getting progressively worse!

I did go back to work for ONE day as a fire dispatcher. It was great to see all my old cronies and get updated on who has retired, who the new boss is, who got married, etc. It was wonderful and lucrative. I made the same amount in 7.5 hrs as I would have in almost a month of swimming hell. :)

So, there you have it. Gone for one Monday, 2 weeks of Mania summed up. My Manic Mommy Monday Memoir!

Happy Monday to all, and to all a good Monday night!





Greenchild Creations Diaper Review & Giveaway

My first experience with fitted diapers was okay at best. This time around I LOVE them! I found a super cool Minnesota WAHM, named Anne, who is the owner and operator of Greenchild Creations and has a shop on Etsy where she makes and sells these fitted diapers and more!



Anne was kind enough to agree to a review and *a flannel diaper giveaway- your choice pattern* for one lucky reader!! The giveaway is part of my Mother's Day Giveaway Hop, so please come and show some love to win some fluff, May 1st-12th. The pattern that I chose is "Up North" because, well, we're outdoorsy people! I also went for pins.




How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime: 5
Night-time: 5
Quality: 5
User-friendliness: 5

When All Is Said And Done: 5


User-Friendliness: Yep, my first attempt at diaper pins. I think it was an epic SUCCESS! I got the diaper on, no blood was spilled by me or Little Bug, and the diaper looks as it should, and is still on....all good things! I was always super intimidated by diaper pins, but they really aren't scary. The only thing is, I did have to bribe curious fingers with a See 'n' Say so that I didn't have him fidgeting while I had the pins open. Even after a few weeks of use, we still have no puncture wounds! (You all know how squirmy and sometimes uncooperative 13 month-old babes can be during diaper changes, right!?) Now that he has figured out snaps, the pins are really appealing to me--he definitely cannot figure them out!


Daytime/Night-time Use: I LOVE the design of this diaper! It is a fitted but also has a pocket, so you can stuff it for added absorbency! We have been using it at night with a bamboo insert and a wool cover. We have been largely unsuccessful in finding a night-time system, and so far, this is what we like to go with! So, this diaper gets washed OFTEN! Since it is our go-to diaper, I gave it a 5, but with the caveat that it IS paired with an insert and a wool cover to achieve night-time awesomeness! (Pictures used in this review did not include a cover of any kind, which IS needed, or at least recommended for ease of viewing the product! The entire system is pictured further down.)


Here is the inside of the diaper and the opening for the 'pocket' part of the diaper. Plenty of room for stuffing one or two inserts for super-absorbency. The elastic is super stretchy, allowing for a snug fit on big guys, but shrinking down pretty small for the more petite kiddos too! It also dries really fast, making it a green choice too!


Here is a close-up of the pattern detail and a shot of the super cool tags this mama uses. I loved this diaper because it didn't leave any red marks on my boy, but still fit really well. (Like I said, squirmy! All of my photos were turning out blurry, so I had to hold a chubby little leg in place to snap a quick photo!)


I needed a little practice with the pins to get the leg elastic area to get tight for me, but even the first attempt which was pretty sketchy, ended up pretty bulletproof for leaks because of the design & quality of the leg gusset area. You don't have to be good at using pins to use this diaper! And, I must add, you don't HAVE to go for pins---it was just a fun way to challenge myself and it was something I felt as a cloth advocate that I should experience. Snappis and Boingos work with this diaper, and snaps are an option if you ask!



Quality: I felt like this material will hold up for a really long time. There is no PUL to worry about delamination. There are no snaps to become faulty. The only thing that might happen is my kiddo will grow out of it or the elastic will loosen because of so much use! To me, it's a great quality diaper. Greenchild Creations is another business taking it to the next level to ensure each customer gets a great one-on-one experience--she goes the extra mile for customer service and appreciation! As an added bonus that I noticed RIGHT away, in my fluffy mail package, was also a small bar of handmade yummy smelling citrus soap! :) Those little extras like a pretty bow, the soap, the handwritten notes, etc. make a business really stand out to me! If they care enough to put the extra effort, then they care about providing you a quality product!

Find your own awesome duds, suds, and more at the Greenchild Creations Etsy Shop!  

WIN IT
By coming back on May 1st - 12th for my GINORMOUS Mother's Day giveaway!

Find Anne and Greenchild Creations on Facebook and "Like" them now! She is one of my sponsors for the Daily Mothering Mother's Day Giveaway Blog Hop event, so you'll be one entry closer by doing it now! Make sure you tell her THANKS, too, for the awesome addition to the giveaway! It runs from May 1st-12th and the winner of my giant prize package worth over $100 in cloth diapering goodies will be notified on Mother's Day! The GRAND PRIZE (hosted and posted on Daily Mothering [dot] com is over $1300!!)  Make sure to check out my giveaway Rafflecopter form to win!!!


**I received a complimentary item in return for this review. My words and opinions are my own. For more information, see the PR/Disclosure tab**

Montana Solar Creations Wool Shorties

Happy Arbor Day! Since it is a 'green' day, I am bringing to you an ultra-green mama, named Annie. She is the creator behind Montana Solar Creations and has a shop on Etsy. I am reviewing a pair of wool shorties (my first pair!) made by this amazing earth-lovin' mama. Annie and I are kindred spirits and I wish that we lived closer, so we could hang out! And so she could be my crafting mentor!


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime: 5
Night-time: 5
Quality: 5
User-friendliness: 5

When All Is Said And Done: 5


Annie has a new baby girl and a shop on Etsy. She lives in a rural area and uses solar panels to offset some of her families' energy consumption. Her sewing machine is one of the appliances that are powered by the sun. How cool is that!? I first noticed her super adorable designs by the way they looked so cozy and unique. What made me absolutely smitten with her and her shop was the solar part of the whole equation. I think it's amazing when mamas can make something (anything!) since I'm not very crafty myself, but when they are resourceful AND creative---that's something really special!

Here is the gray shorties with little sage fish on the bum and matching sage colored edging.


As you can see, there is an extra 'stay-dry' panel sewn into the crotch of these shorties. Wool is great because it's a natural fiber, it is antimicrobial, and, even though there is an additional panel it is STILL breathable! Wool was used before plastics were even thought of, so it is a tried and true method for diapering!

Here is the front view of the woolie.

I've used wool in other aspects of my life--baselayers--year around, I live in wool socks, even in the summer (when I'm not barefoot or in my Chacos) and we have recently started using wool dryer balls--which we are loving! Just as I didn't give cloth a thought until I was almost in labor, I didn't give wool a chance until about 10 months into this cloth adventure! BETTER LATE THAN NEVER!

Here is a front-view of the shorties--on a moving target! He stopped fussing with them a few minutes after he got used to this new, fabulous feeling of wool fluff on his bum!
And I couldn't have centered that green ball again if I tried. I don't have an egg-laying son, just a knack for having random objects in my pictures!

Annie and her family use solar panels on their roof that are tied into their electrical unit to the house so all power they use is offset by solar!!! How cool is that? They can't run entirely on solar yet, but Annie said maybe in the future that will be possible! They also have cool software that tracks their solar production daily/weekly/monthly/annually and the carbon offset! Additionally, this way-amazing solar mama shares my love of camping, and has a solar panel on the roof of their "very rustic old" truck camper and solar battery inside!! Talk about green! Perfect for Arbor Day! Saving trees in a round about way -- but green nonetheless!!

This is the inside view of the flannel diaper I used in the photos, along with the insert I stuff it with and the adorable fish woolie!

We have a solar powered fence (small solar panel on a solar-powered battery that charges the wire of the fence) and it surrounds our bee hive out at our cabin, because otherwise, since we (and the dogs) are not there it is hard to deter bear activity! Solar power, even in a small amount ROCKS!

Here you can see the curvature of the waistband and the snug but comfortable fit of the legs.


I was a little intimidated about caring for a woolie. But, Annie assured me it was pretty easy. She did a "lanolin soak" on the shortie before I received it. That lasted for about 7 washes. It took a long time to get to 7 washes, and we have been using it non-stop! At night-time we've found we like wool best. It took us over a year to figure out a GOOD night-time routine, but finally, we stuffed a flannel fitted with bamboo and put wool on the top, and ta-da! Night-time is now DRY-time too! For lanolizing, Annie recommended the tutorial from Green Mountain Diapers. Here is the link. I did find it helpful, but what I ended up doing to treat my woolie was this:


First I rinsed the woolie in cool water. Then, I squirted a bit of CJ's Butter Wool Wash (New Mown Hay Scent) onto the woolie, mostly in the soaker/crotch area where the pee and ammonia would likely be concentrated. Then, I swished it around in my sink, in warm water. I let it soak for about 1/2 hour to an hour. I squeezed out the water and then hung it up to dry. I was pretty pleased with the results. The Wool Wash smelled amazing. The woolie held up great from washing. I was pretty impressed with my maiden attempt in wool-care. It was actually one of those really smug moments! I'm proud of myself for adding this to the list of things that I can do! And you can too! The main reason I avoided wool for so long was because I thought it was 'delicate' and 'hard to take care of.' It's actually just as easy as 'regular cloth diapers,' just in a different way! I think I might be on my way to becoming a wool junkie!
Here is the woolie after one wash (following the above routine) -- I think they came out pretty good! Minimal fuzzies from squeezing out the water and rubbing some Wool Wash onto the fabric.

The wool Annie used for this shortie was a "medium to heavy weight" wool. She felts all her wool before sewing. The wool has a really good dense felt, but she did sew in a little extra wool patch called a "soaker pad" in the inside of the woolie in the main "wet-zone." A lot of woolies in bigger sizes have these since they add a little extra protection. This makes total sense, since older babies usually means more quantity but less frequent pee!

The little bit of elastic just helps to hold the top of the shortie snug over the top of the diaper underneath. I use a flannel fitted under the woolie (in the picture posted before of all the pieces to my diapering system!) I have been experimenting with diaper pins, so the result has been bulkier than normal, but it still fits securely under the shortie.

Here Little Bug is checkin' out his new attire! He knows something isn't quite the same as usual...but after a few minutes, he's totally diggin' it, truckin' around in wool!

He kept crouching down and looking at the woolie, and picking bits of fibers out of it. Then he would walk over and give me the fibers and look at me, like "What is on my bum?" But after a few minutes, he grew bored with picking at his diaper and ever since then, he's been indifferent to whether he wears wool or PUL.

The pattern Annie uses to make the soakers like the one she made me has a higher rise in the back. You can see in some of the pictures (though capturing my moving target is getting harder!) that the diaper (a flannel fitted by Greenchild Creations) is securely snugged in by the elastic and the slightly elevated waist, with a bit of curvature to it. This feature makes the woolie fit little baby bodies better! There is some stretch in the legs, but they are not tight at all. Just close-fitting to the leg. You don't have to worry about any messes leaking out, they aren't loose, they actually fit in the legs absolutely perfectly! Annie always serges or zigzag stitches her seams, making the finished product look FINISHED! Wool doesn't fray really, but have the edges tucked in is important for my Little Bug, ever the explorer! If there is a stray fiber, he is sure to find it!

I loved the feel of the woolie Annie made me. It was so soft! It made me happy to know that Bug had natural fibers next to his skin. I do love PUL, but in an effort to green up our life, I've been trying to eliminate things that do not occur nearly naturally. My theory is the more processing something endures, the less the end product is likely to be healthy or good for you. Wool makes me VERY happy for this reason! I also just instantly felt good vibes from Annie's work. Making something for your child with natural fibers and with the warm fingers of sunlight guiding power into your tools, that seems like soulful work to me! Montana Solar Creations is one of the most unique and noteworthy shops I've found on Etsy and Annie is such a friendly, vibrant mama herself! You can follow her BLOG to keep up with all the sunny adventures she and her new babe embark upon! Annie loves creating special orders for folks, so if you have a certain size, color, design--just contact her on her Etsy shop and she'll take care of you! She sells so much more of her handcrafted solar creations than just wool soakers! She also has bandanas, mama cloth, cloth diapers and inserts, nursing covers, and more! Don't forget to "Like" Annie on Facebook as Montana Solar Creations--that is where she will post giveaway events, sales, and new creations added to her store!! That way, you won't miss out on all the sun-made fun! Make sure to tell her that she ROCKS when you say hello! She has also been kind enough to offer a discount code for readers to her shop!! Use arborday2012 now - the end of April to save 10% on your entire order!!!

This guy is so hard to keep up with! Getting shots of the woolie was nearly impossible! So, most are ACTION shots! But, the wool holds up great to Bug's activity level! Even the climbing!


***All these words are mine -- 100%. I received a complimentary woolie for this review; this is not a paid or endorsed post, I was not compensated for these words in any other way.***

Two Weeks Notice

Well, Wednesday was my last straw with Adult Water Aerobics. It's getting too hard to wrangle a big boy and try to keep a crowd motivated for an hour, while keeping everyone safe! Don't get me wrong, I still love it and it's not because it's HARD that I'm quitting... It's because I don't want my kiddo to be traumatized and hate pools! Or worse! ME!

I put in my "two weeks notice" to the boss lady and she emailed be back saying she understood being a mom comes first. I make about $30/month when gas for trips in to the pool is deducted. She suggested I look into daycare. I told her that just wouldn't be cost effective--I'd then be losing money for a job! The beauty of this job when I took it was not only that they needed someone ASAP to help out at least interim, but also that Bug LOVED being in the water. It must have been a stage, one of many we've seen, because it just didn't last.

I scraped my 2nd littlest toe on the side of the pool that day and bled all over while trying to dress a one year-old while I was in MY bathing suit and try to keep him dry. Needless to say I was done. It sounds like small beans, but I've given it at least a month to get better and it's gotten progressively worse. So, farewell swimming, until we meet again. Well, partially. I'm still teaching Water Babies & Toddler Swim Lessons. A 1/2 hour each week is plenty for Little Bug to get his feet wet.

And also, not being tied up M, W, F will allow me trips into 'the big town' so I can resume Zumba and have more time in general. A one-hour swim class ended up sucking 3-4 hours out of our day with showers, getting ready, and driving included. That just isn't what I wanted to spend our days doing.

I normally am not a quitter. I despise quitting. But, in light of the funeral last week, friends and family that are sick, and again having a reminder that you should ENJOY life, I decided to throw in the towel, so to speak. So, call me a quitter, but the moment I resigned I felt instant relief. May 9th cannot come soon enough! Even though it is only a 4 hour a week position, I still felt like it was common courtesy to give two weeks notice.

So, my short stint back into the "working world" is coming to a hiatus. I couldn't be happier!

Celebrate Being A Mom! Enter the HUGE Mother's Day #ClothDiaperHop and WIN!!



Mother's Day is almost here and we are celebrating

with our love for cloth diapers!

Welcome to the Mother's Day Cloth Diaper Giveaway Hop hosted by Daily Mothering! Nearly 100 blogs have linked up to bring you dozens and dozens of exciting cloth diaper giveaways. Enter my giveaway below and then hop to the other blogs listed at the bottom of this post to enter their fluffy giveaways too! Each blog has a cloth diaper prize valued at $15 or more, and many blogs have prize packs worth over $100. And, don't forget to enter the GRAND PRIZE giveaway at Daily Mothering for your chance to win this amazing $1300 Cloth Diaper Prize Pack!




HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!


Congratulations on being a mom! And now, you've made it to that one day each year that you can be recognized and if you're really lucky even pampered as a thank you for all you do, everyday.


One of my favorite, random quotes about moms is this:

"Mothers hold their childrens' hand for a while, they hold their hearts forever."


Being a mom is hard work. It's the hardest job I've ever had, including trekking around Alaskan mountains in search of birds and fighting wildfires. It's also the most important job I've ever had. I'm raising the future. I'm keeping a human alive! Holy cow! All you mamas out there deserve some fun and fancy-free moments!! Here, to get us started on a fabulous weekend, is a GIANT giveaway hop, hosted by Daily Mothering, to give you mamas a chance at some amazing prizes!


First, a look at my awesome sponsors!!! THANK YOU for helping me to gather up this prize package worth over $100!!!


CJ's BUTTer - This stuff is great! They make many products and I reviewed quite a few of them recently! Check out the review to find out more! You can win a 4 oz. tube of Monkey Farts!


Bumble Baby Cloth Diapers is a Canadian-based business that takes care of everything from wipes solutions to wipes to baby legs! And, they've provided all 3 of those items for this giveaway!


Rockin' Green

Snappi Baby is a trusted and well-known brand among cloth diaper users everywhere. Snappi fasteners are used for snapless diapers, prefolds, flats. They are T-shaped and have plastic claws at the ends of all 3 points on the T. They are stretchy and you simply slip on the left, then STRETCH to the right and affix, then STRETCH to the bottom and affix there. You should always put a cover, wrap, or clothing over the diaper with the Snappi affixed to it--especially if you have a curious toddler like me! Surprisingly, they are pretty sharp (not like pins, but enough to grab the fabric) so be careful with them around kiddos! Visit the Snappi Baby website to learn more!

Harp Diapers This awesome Canadian WAHM made me a diaper to try and made you another one to win in this package! Check out her Facebook page while you wait for the review to link up! Harp Diapers on Facebook!



that's 'THE' balm - This stuff is rumored to smell amazing and work great! And, you can get a chance to try it! It's part of my prize package! Go to their website and look around! I'll update you on what you are winning from them soon!



Kid Safety Bands - This up and coming business is a bonus prize for this package--it's not cloth-related, but child safety is so important to me! Win 2 child safety bands--they will have your childs initials and your phone number on them. Check out the website for more!

Greenchild Creations is a Minnesota, USA based work-at-home-mom business. See my Greenchild Creations Review to learn more about this amazing mom!

Lil' Stuff - Kelly is the owner, operator, and creator of Lil' Stuff and she made a set of hemp cloth wipes for me to try out, and, she's a sponsor for this prize package! Win a small wetbag and a dozen hemp wipes! Check out Kelly's Etsy shop while you are waiting to check out my review!

Breanna's Thirty-One Gifts - Breanna was kind enough to sponsor a Utility Tote (perfect for use as a diaper bag and fun summer trips to the beach!) Check back for the review! You can visit Breanna's Thirty-One site and look around in the meantime!


RLR Laundry Treatment from Bouncing Babies RLR worked GREAT for stripping my cloth diapers! It can work on ANY of your laundry! To learn more about how to strip diapers using RLR or to read about how it works, visit my RLR Laundry Treatment Review!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Away from the cyber world for a few days...

Hi all,

Thank you for your patience and kind words, as I have missed Manic Mommy Monday & a few other posts and have been pretty much "away" for the last few days. My grandmother passed away, so I took time to be with my family. Thank you for the sympathies and for all the kind words. I am working on getting back into the "routine" -- more fun will be coming this week! Hopefully tonight! :) You're all AWESOME for understanding!

~ Amanda a.k.a. Mommy ~

Bee All Natural Review and Giveaway

Coming to you today, as part of the GREEN fun for the GREAT CLOTH DIAPER CHANGE & EARTH DAY is an awesome line of products from a company called Bee All Natural! These products were made, tested, & perfected by a Michigan mama and her family. The products are all USDA Certified Organic.


In my review I include the Lavender scented Diaper Rash Salve, the Intense Hand and Foot Salve (Lavender & Tea Tree), and the Grapefruit flavored lip balm! All of these products smell so wonderful! My nose was delighted when I started the reviewing process!

ONE LUCKY READER will WIN their own set of the items that I reviewed!!!

Intense Hand and Foot Salve


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime - 5
Night-time - 5
Quality - 5
User-friendliness - 5
When All Is Said And Done: 5

Daytime Use: I could see myself using this Intense Hand and Foot Salve every day, multiple times each day. Especially during gardening season! I am among the few housewives of America that still does dishes by hand I think! And, it seems like I do a sink-full 2-3 times each day! I can't even blame anyone but myself--my husband is at work all day and my 13 month-old makes very few dirty dishes! My point is, my hands are PERPETUALLY chapped from the water. What aggravates my skin further is the fact that I work 4 hours at the pool, teaching Waterbabies and Adult Water Aerobics. Chlorine is not a friend of mine. This salve has a great smell and is easy to spread on. I also like it for going outside in this brisk spring (it's snowing today) weather! It keeps the wind off of my already suffering exposed skin. My feet are beyond repair from 8 years in workboots, as I climbed mountains and crawled through streams and fought fire. But, I try to keep them at least presentable because I love wearing my Chacos almost all year and because I'm at the pool. I have terrible calluses and rough feet. No, they're not very girlie, but the salve really does help to moisturize them. I apply it after the pool (well after I rinse off from the pool) and it keeps my feet from drying out from the pool "cleaning" chemicals. I'm loving the smell too! The Lavender and Tea Tree are true to what you would expect it to smell like when you think of those scents, and I find it very calming.

Night-time: I have never ever had a pedicure before and this is as close as I may ever get! At night I will be using this on my rough feet to try to make them a little softer. I did find another use for the salve that I really love it for---make up removal! It's so easy to rid yourself of raccoon eyes before bed--just apply and wipe clean. It makes me feel a lot better putting something natural on my face than something from a brand name in the cosmetics aisle of the local big-box store! Try it!

Quality: I like that it has a screw on lid, instead of a tin pop on and off lid, because when you have salve on your hands, tin containers are so hard to open! The salve isn't too oily and contains enough scent to make it pretty but not overpowering. The ingredients are natural and USDA Certified organic.


Ingredients: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Beeswax, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Kukui Nut Oil, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Lavender Essential Oil, Organic Lecithin, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Organic Tamanu Oil, Organic Tea Tree Oil, Organic Rosemary Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Vitamin E

User-friendliness: Again, the lid/container are super in this arena too. I don't think it gets much easier than taking a dab and spreading it on as needed.

When All Is Said And Done: My husband liked it for his rough hands too, and if he uses it, that tells me a lot about a product (it has to be quality, easy to use, and not be overwhelmingly perfumed.)


Diaper Rash Salve


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime - 5
Night-time - 5
Quality - 5
User-friendliness - 5
When All Is Said And Done: 5

Daytime: We do not use a daytime salve or cream on our guys bum normally. If he has a rash, we just let him run around naked. But, at night we do use salves and creams and this one worked wonders at preventing rashes. We had a little bit of redness and applied a thin layer of the Diaper Rash Salve. By the next diaper change (2-3 hrs later) his bum was back to it's adorable normal color!

Night-time - Bee All Natural Diaper Rash Salve was a great night-time barrier salve. One application lasted until morning and wiped off easily.

Quality: I feel like this is a high quality rash ointment. I've never used a salve form of diaper treatment ointments. I like that it feels like it is a good barrier, but is not a petroleum product. USDA certified organic! By 'food' standards even! I also know that because this was tested by a REAL mom on her own family that it HAS to be quality!

Ingredients: Organic Shea Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Calendula Flower Powder, Organic Chamomile Powder, Organic Plantain Leaf Powder, Tamanu Oil, Vitamin E & Organic Lavender Essential Oil.

User Friendliness: The ointment is in a tube and squeezes out. Not too fast like slippery lotion creams. It's super easy to just grab it and dab some on.

Overall I like this salve a lot. I will be continuing to use it, though I still try to do my 'test runs' on new diaper products using my prefolds until I know how they will react with my precious stash! It's not a bad idea to do that, but so far we have not had any adverse effects of this salve on our cloth. We don't smear ANY creams on though at every changing, like some believe in doing, so note that as well! This is really an nice product though, for natural products to actually work is super cool! No more zinc oxide here!

Grapefruit Lip Balm


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime - 5
Night-time - 5
Quality - 5
User-friendliness - 5
When All Is Said And Done: 5

Daytime Use: This is yummy! I don't like the taste of grapefruit at all. But I adore the scent. This smells amazing. It is wonderful on, it doesn't feel like a dried wax buildup, but just a nice moist & refreshing sheen. I would love if it had a tingle, but other than that, I love it! It comes in Chocolate too!

Night-time: I ALWAYS apply chapstick before bed, because after 26 years allergy-free, I've developed wicked spring congestions, so I mouth-breathe a lot, and of course, that leads to super-chapping! Nothing better than going to bed smelling sweet for goodnight kisses!

Quality: As I said, it isn't a thick paste like you get in Kindergarten. It's a nice, moisturizing light & delicious smelling balm. I really want to try the peppermint too! This stuff is quite delightful on the kisser. The tube doesn't twist in my pocket, so I don't open it to find that it is stuck in the cap. I think this is a great chapstick.

Ingredients Organic Beeswax, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Sesame Oil, Organic Grapefruit Essential Oil, Organic Rosehip Seed Oil & Vitamin E

User-friendliness: Apply & enjoy! Can't be easier!

When All Is Said And Done: My husband liked this chapstick, enjoyed the smell on me and on him too! It isn't uncommon to find MY chapsticks in his pockets & in his vehicle! I would buy this product on a regular basis. The price is right, I enjoy the way it feels and it keeps my lips from chapping!

These products can be purchased at the Bee All Natural website! And, One Lucky Winner can WIN some of them below!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

*Open to the US and Canada, see all terms and conditions in the form. I received the complimentary product to review. All opinions are 100% my own.*

The GREAT CLOTH DIAPER CHANGE 2012

After all the anticipation, the moment had finally arrived.....

5...4...3...2...1...

***Catch the toddler. Wrestle to a stop. Keep happy with a song and a toy. CHANGE DIAPER!!!!***


I thought we did okay, considering you only get 'one shot' at photographing this, and it was a self-photo, since I am a tree-planting widow for many days yet...


So, here it is for all of you who tried to guess....

A famous *Earth* diaper made by BUNZUKE!!


Isn't it beautiful? I couldn't be happier with it! The colors are so incredibly vibrant! The minky fabric is ridiculously soft, and the PUL is nice & thick. It even matches my Great Cloth Diaper Change 2012 tee-shirt (which you can win as part of 'My Swag Bag'!! -- a new one of course, not the one I'm wearing!)

So even though we could not go to an official site...

All of North America was with us...


And Africa...


And South America...


Some of Europe and Asia...


And everywhere else in the WORLD that didn't fit on the bum!! :) It was nice to feel connected to everyone for this awesome event!


So we did it. I need a sticker and instead of "I voted" it would say "I changed" and maybe one for Little Bug that says "I peed!" (In our case, "I pooped!") We did not get included in the world record, though I hope it was broken! But, we were part of something epic. Something to better the world. If even a handful of new parents cloth diaper because of all the buzz this event created, then that is a SUPER win! Think too, of all of the diapers that must have been collected at various sites for donation to worthy charities & diaper associations for distribution!?


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To help advocate for cloth, the environment, and families further, you can sign this petition to get cloth into the WIC (Women, Infants, & Children) program. I signed, did you?

Go here to sign or to learn about the effort!

In a few weeks, I will be taking on another Cloth Diapering Advocacy program--the 2nd Annual Flats and Handwashing Challenge! I've never used flats before and I am SO excited to be a part of this awesome outreach too! Here is a bit about the Challenge:

When: May 21-27, 2012
Where: Everywhere! The challenge is to use flats and handwash for one week! We are proving that you can cloth diaper for REALLY cheap! This was put together by Dirty Diaper Laundry, last year. Here is a blurb right from the site for you to read:

"The Flats and Handwashing Challenge 2011 was an idea that came about after numerous articles referenced the practice of reusing disposable diapers. Families with no money for new diapers were scraping out the solid contents or using a hair dryer to dry the diapers for reuse. Not only is this unsanitary but it is also extremely dangerous. The media neglected offering the suggestion that families use cloth diapers. Why? Who knows. {read the original article} It was my personal mission to educate others that, although not ideal, hand washing the inexpensive flat cloth diapers was an option to families who had no other way to diaper. No baby should have to suffer when there are ways to diaper for less than $50.00."

THERE ARE NO GOVERNMENT FUNDED PROGRAMS TO HELP BABIES IN NEED OF DIAPERS.

So go ahead! Sign up! Take the challenge! Earth Day is tomorrow! Do something GREEN! Do MANY things that are green!! :) Oh, and enter the giveaway by clicking on the link below! You attended virtually, so, you earned it! Enter quick, ends at midnight! Virtual GCDC Swag Bag Giveaway!

What's on the bum?!

Okay, here is Photo 1. Comment on this post as to what you think will be on Bug's bum based on this photo. When my cup of coffee is gone or cold, haha, I'll read them and see if anyone has guessed it. If not, Photo 2 will post. It will progress until someone nails it or the GCDC post is LIVE and all is revealed.

*If it's way easy, the first person to name it according to the time stamp on the comment wins.* Winner will receive a mini swag bag. ...GO...

Photo #1:


Photo #2:


Photo #3:


SUNBABY 4.0 Pocket Diaper Review

Sunbaby 4.0 Pocket Diaper

Sunbaby diapers was started by Sun Pei, a friendly mama in Shanghai, China. Sunbaby diapers are produced under fair labor conditions. Here is the diaper she sent for review, in the "Melody" print.


How It All Shakes Out:
Daytime: 4
Nighttime: 3
User friendliness: 4
Quality: 4
When All Is Said and Done: 3.5

Daytime: This is a "one-size" diaper, which by most brands' standards means it should fit most babies from birth to potty training. So, we would probably get good use out of this diaper, but depending on when Bug potty trains, I'm not sure the largest setting will fit him if he's 2 or older. We're on the last settings on many of our "one-size" diapers. It will fit most babies from 7-35 lbs. There are 3 snap rise settings to adjust the fit. They now offer two sizes to get the best fit for your child. The larger size offers snaps that increase the rise by one row.

Like the name implies, these are a pocket diaper, which means it has an opening to stuff inserts. This diaper came with a standard sized microfiber insert and a newborn size or doubler made of microfiber as well. These diapers are only available in snaps.  

Quality: The outer portion of the diaper is made of a waterproof polyurethane laminate (PUL). The inside is a soft microfleece lining, which wicks the moisture away from the skin. The PUL is a little more thin than I like, but it was effective--I just like a thicker PUL because I have a heavy wetter. He also plays rough and thicker PUL is less likely to get damaged. However, I could tell that this PUL is VERY breathable which can help a lot with rashes! So I did like that feature about it. The SunBaby 3.0s have thicker and more durable PUL, so I would be curious in the differences between the two.

The inserts are made of microfiber (but you can specify Bamboo for $1.00 more) and looked and absorbed like the other standard sized microfiber inserts on the market from various other brands. The snaps were very easy for my toddler to figure out and unsecure, as you can see below. That is my only complaint of the diaper. And, he's a very busy, smart boy, so he tinkers with things until he figures them out. They are just not quite heavy-duty enough for him.

I really like that Sun Baby boasts fair labor conditions. Sun Pei was very easy to contact and available for questions and customer service very quickly, in spite of the fact that she is 1/2 way around the world! It was also really exciting to get foreign fluff mail! She shipped quickly and was friendly in all our correspondence.


Night-time use: I have not found very many diapers that can hold up to our heavy wetter. Most of the time we need wool or 2-3 hemp/bamboo inserts. That is common for many moms and I understand diaper companies keeping costs down for consumers by opting for microfiber. We had a few leaks each time we tried, but when the 2 Sun Baby inserts were paired with a hemp insert, we made it through pretty well.

User friendliness: The diaper was completely easy to use. There is a large pocket for stuffing ease. My husband went for this diaper quite a few times, which I thought was funny and ironic since it is so girly! Anything that he grabs gets major points for ease-of-use! They also dry very quickly--this is important in a good diaper and I attribute it to the thinner PUL. The inner fabric is very soft. The material does wick moisture, so that's a plus. The only downfall here is that the snaps are a little too user-friendly for my boy! Otherwise, this would be a great diaper for starting a stash, and with the lower prices and bulk purchasing options that SunBaby is famous for, you can't go wrong.

When All Is Said and Done:
I am mostly happy with this diaper. I think that for the awesome price, they are good quality. I love that they are fair-labor. Sun pei is constantly striving to improve Sunbaby diapers and is always thinking of more options for customers. I would definitely recommend this to folks just starting to build their stash, because it's an affordable way to try cloth. There are many fun prints that she offers, including this one. They do offer 2 sizes and they offer Bamboo inserts, they just do not come standard with diapers, so you CAN get them if you order them that way!


All the cool guys ride in pink!

Host Spotlight - The GCDC (Southeast New Mexico & West Texas) - Co-hosted by BUNZUKE & Mandie's Krafty Kreations

Happy Real Diaper Week Everyone!

Today's Host Spotlight features a very popular and creative WAHM named Sara, who is the creator of Bunzuke (bun-zoo-kee) and her super fantastic co-host, Mandie, creator of Mandie's Krafty Kreations, where she sells crocheted hats. These two gals teamed up to cover SE New Mexico and West Texas for their event.

For those of you that haven't heard about Bunzuke (bun-ZOO-kee) Cloth, here is a little bit about Sara and her rapidly growing business:

What started out as making a variety of handcrafted gifts for friends and family, under "The Operation," in March 2011, quickly turned it’s focus to re-usable cloth diapers.

“I started making diapers for my daughter when she was 3 months old. I cut up just about every pair of flannel pajamas and fleece throw blankets in the house for my first diaper stash! I was hooked and began to design, invent, and create completely original cloth diapers.” - Sara Scholl, owner

Bunzuke Cloth is now a work-at-home-mom (WAHM) operated, local business, which specializes in creating custom, boutique-style diapers for a growing customer base all over the world. Along with the unique appearance of Bunzuke Cloth diapers, customers also like the ease of use and versatility of innovative designs, such as the Convertabunz Multi-purpose Cloth Diaper and the option to use “Bunzuke’s” as an all-in-two (AI2) or pocket style diaper.

Every Bunzuke diaper is personally handcrafted and goes through a quality assurance process to make sure you are receiving a top quality product. When it comes to perseverance, customer service, and innovation Bunzuke Cloth strives to remain “One step ahead.”

Sara & Amanda's event will be from 11am-1pm with the change happening at 11:30 am sharp. It is at Sara's small church, Calvary Christian Fellowship, located inside a shopping center. Some of the fun goings-on include refreshments, prizes, baby signs, Cloth Diapering 101 class, Cloth Diaper swap, a "photobooth" room, 2 crafts for the older children, displays, and a nursery available. The idea is for this to be a fun, family event.


The closest location was over 300 miles from Sara last year, which is why she decided to host. Amanda was going to host in Carlsbad and they decided to team up.

According to Sara, planning has not been hard, just very time consuming. They are limiting our participants to 30, due to space, but also to gain experience with a smaller group before expanding. The bulk of her time has been writing e-mails to possible sponsors, witnesses, and helpers. She has also poured a lot of brainwork into planning activities and organizing a schedule.

"I think it is easier for people to have a fun time when there is some well thought out structure to an event like this. No one has to waste brain energy wondering 'what's going on' and 'what do we do now?' They can just hang out with other parents and play with their kids!"

You can tell Sara is really excited about their event! She said that "gathering supplies, making goody bags, and displays is the fun part" and she could hardly wait until the 19th (Thursday) when they were able "get in and start setting up!" This is the kind of energy and attitude that will make that event one that will be super fun to attend! I wish I was in the neighborhood on Saturday to stop by and help break last year's record!

Here is a glimpse at the 'swag bag' that the participating diaper changers and their kiddos will be taking with them from Sara & Mandie's event


Sara was recently featured in her local newspaper too! The article is a good read and it was really nice for me to put a 'face to the woman behind Bunzuke!' Check out her work---she's more than a WAHM...she's an artist!

Good luck to you ladies! Thank you for sharing your event and start-up story with us! 

Are you going to an event? If so---that ROCKS! If not, don't feel left out, keep checking back here at Adventures of Mommyhood on the blog and on Facebook for more fun, host spotlights, and a giveaway! See what will be on Little Bug's Bum! Read about some great companies' with a review or two! 

I realized that an event was right around 300 miles from me this year as well, which is, as many of you have read this week, why I am bringing you these highlights from around the country! Since I could not feasibly make it work for me and my baby this year, I am unofficially hosting this virtual GCDC through Real Diaper Week and through Saturday. There are more 'spotlight showcases' to come, prizes from my "Virtual Swag Bag," and you will see the diaper that I have chosen to grace the bum during my Diaper Change, which will be posted at 11:45 am CST.

**This interview was conducted based on questions I asked of the hosts. The answers are theirs, the rest is mine. If you have any questions, please contact me.**

Day #5 - Real Diaper Week - Cloth Diaper with a Wanderlust

Real Simple Real Diapers Reuse – Reuse, traveling with cloth, cloth diapering at night

Travel with cloth! (And enjoy it!)

We travel like crazy with cloth. I have TEN tips to make it more enjoyable.

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1) have a wetbag just for travel

2) have a small tote or diaper pail in the back of your vehicle to put the wetbag in, when it is full of stinky, used diapers. Also a hanging wet bag that is enormo would be nice for the bathroom of the destination spot.

3) Ditch the pants when you can. This makes the kiddo more comfortable and it breathes a little better when stuck in the carseat for long hours on the road.

4) I use a wipes box from disposable wipes and keep 5-10 pre-wetted in that box wipe out and about. (Just in case it's not a bathroom where I change Bug or no water is available)

5) Cloth safe detergent stays in my travel bag. Small packets of RnG or a small bottle of Allen's Naturally is perfect for stays at the grandparents houses or a hotel. Don't forget you may need a few extra quarters if you're going to be using public laundry for the extra rinse.

6) Parachute cord. Why, you may ask? Drying. (for the more long-term vacations and stays. You can string up parachute cord even in a hotel room, and then you don't have to worry about drying in a public dryer (where there could be fabric softener residue) and it will cost less. Just hang the diapers at night or while you're out adventuring, and come back to a clean travel stash!

7) I've never tried flushable liners, but that's one way to go, especially for poops. And if you aren't a dunker.

8) Flats and Prefolds can be washed in the sink or bathtub. The is especially handy for travel abroad. We haven't diapered abroad, but I've done plenty of laundry abroad in sinks. So I'd definitely go that route if I were going somewhere far, far away. Flats will dry the fastest, especially in humid climates.

9)If you are going to a city with a diaper service, really relax on vacation, and let someone else do your dirty diaper laundry! A little PREsearch goes a long way!

10) Strip before and after! If you strip before, you'll reduce smells of inserts and dirty laundry by at least a little bit. Stripping after (especially if you used public laundry) will get rid of any buildup from the unknowns that may have gotten onto your diapers and because of additional "sit time" in between laundry.

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The Great Cloth Diaper Change at All Things Diapers - SIGN UP TODAY!

Today is April 19th!! What does that mean? LESS THAN 2 DAYS UNTIL THE GREAT CLOTH DIAPER CHANGE!!

Are you in the Blaine area? Are you bummed that you didn't find a place to attend the Great Cloth Diaper Change and help to break the previously set world record for most cloth diapers changed around the world at one time?


THERE IS STILL TIME!! All Things Diapers in Blaine is hosting a super fun and exciting event on Saturday, April 21st starting with a Baby Expo at 9:00 am - 11:00 am! The actual change will be from about 11 am to 11:45 am.

All Things Diapers will open at 8:00 am on Saturday, so if you need any gear or last minute shopping for a new diaper before the change, you can go in early! The shop will close temporarily for the change at 10:30 am, so plan accordingly! The store will re-open from 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm.

To register head on over to All Things Diapers to fill out the quick and easy sign up form. This is used to help them plan for all the mommies, daddies, and fluffy bums that will be there! To be official, they need to plan for the appropriate ratio of 'changers' to official witnesses.

The GCDC Event is being held at The Davinci Academy School - which is about 3 minutes from the All Things Diapers Store. Call them if you need directions or have any questions!

The FREE Baby Expo will feature vendors including:

BonnieBaby
Baby Wawl
Desired Health Chiropractic
Hygeia Breast Pumps
Greenbaby North Dakota
Lia Sophia Jewelry
Smart Snugs
The Original Diaper Pail
Thirty One Bags
QTPa2T
And lots more!


Do you have more than one kiddo? There are activities for the older ones too! * Swingset/Play Area * Yoga Class * Music Class *

Child Eligibility:

Guinness World Record requires:


The child being changed must be 39" or shorter and must be paired with an adult. One adult cannot change 2 children. The child must be changed into a fully reusable diaper. Disposables and hybrids cannot be used in this world record attempt.


What will be on your kiddos bum? Are you new to cloth and want to try it? The Great Cloth Diaper Change would be the perfect time to make the change! All Things Diapers has a huge selection of "fluff" for all of your cloth diapering needs! Their "stash" includes many popular brands of cloth diapers and accessories!

Do you want to stay updated on the events, information, new products and all the news that All Things Diapers has to offer? Follow along as they blog about the store and all that is happening there!

Go ahead. Take the challenge. Help break the record! Sign up TODAY!!

Donations are also being accepted and all donations are appreciated for the MN Cloth Diaper Donation Center.



*This is a sponsored post. All opinions however, are my own.*

Day #4 - Real Diaper Week - Health Benefits of Cloth Diapers

Real Simple Real Diapers for Babies – Health benefits, cloth diapers in hospitals, or cloth diapers in day cares

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I wish I had the confidence in cloth diapering when I was in the birthing tub that I have now. I would have definitely used cloth from birth. I was afraid of the meconium. I was afraid I wouldn't have time for laundry. I was afraid of rashes. I used pretty much every excuse in the book for the first few weeks. After I finally started at about 3 weeks old, I never looked back. I didn't ask about cloth in my hospital, but from the array of supplies paraded in and out of my birthing suite and from my scavenging for the giant 3 foot long pads at 2 am, I know that my hospital does not boast a cloth option.

I plan on looking into it now that I am confident for baby #2. I will definitely bring a good supply of newborn dipes or at the very least prefolds with me in my hospital bag.

Moving on...

I am a stay-at-home-mom, so I don't know the ropes of day care, but I do know, based on the population surrounding me that is baffled by my cloth diapers, there is not likely very many that are ambitious about cloth diapers. One place that IS super cloth-friendly is the local YMCA wee care! They were very open about the fact that they are totally on board with cloth. So, when I drop off my boy, I know his bum is going to stay fluffy. The only thing I am ever scared about is the care of my cloth when not in my hands and the potential for tragedy...losing a diaper!! I would cry if I lost some of my diapers! Most of them have a story, a Twitter party, a review or a specific memory of the Bug in the diaper, so if I were to lose it I would be very sad. That makes me giggle a bit, having emotional attachment to a diaper! But, at my YMCA I'm pretty sure I am good friends with the only other mama that uses cloth--so we'd get it sorted out! I would never write Bug's name on his cloth, so other than bringing his diaper bag and keeping all belongings together, I'm not sure how to avoid the potential hazard of losing a diaper. Maybe an inventory of what you bring to a care center? I always ask if they changed his diaper and drop him off with a fresh one, so that helps to keep track. I do also mention that we don't use Desitin and I will probably get my butt kicked karma-wise for this, but I say it's due to allergies. :) Then there is no confusion.

That's all I have to say about that...

As for health benefits, there are many.

What I really wanted to bring to the table for the health portion was an MSDS sheet for a disposable diaper. Apparently, I would have been chasing my tail for a long time, according to this entertaining article. Coming from the government and being part of the district safety committee once upon a time, I read a lot of MSDS sheets. For everything. Spray paint to dry erase markers. You name it in a workplace setting, it has an MSDS sheet. So, I assumed I could easily find on on disposable diapers. Even in searching the OSHA database, I didn't find what I was looking for. Sorry all...epic fail.

I think firstly I would like to say, the smell of a Pampers or similar disposable diaper just about gives me a headache it is so strongly scented. Everyone is so worried about using Dreft and gentle detergents on babies, yet they put those perfumed, chemical-ridden disposables on baby bums indiscriminately without blinking an eye. Where is the chapter in "What to Expect" that addresses cloth vs. disposable?

Do disposable users realize that technically they are supposed to clean out the poo before throwing them in the trash, so really they should be doing what cloth users are doing when cleaning out diapers, but then THROW them away?! They can also contain carcinogens and chemicals for absorbency enhancement that can be linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome. We moved away from disposables just as I am discontinuing use of tampons and moving to mama cloth. There are just too many unknowns with disposables for me to be comfortable. At least with cloth, I can determine 99% of what's going on in that diaper and on the bum. I'm okay with that. Diapers could be part of my sons' life for years (I hope not, but potentially...) and knowing that icky chemicals would be next to his skin for 2 years is enough for me to fork over the money, the time, the commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Not to mention, I want grandchildren! With the potential for disposable diapers to prohibit heat regulation in males, causing problems with fertility--I'm not taking that risk!

I don't mean to go on a rant, but people go to such lengths to keep their kids safe and buy them the best in so many other areas of life, it astounds me when they 'go cheap' in this arena. I want more awareness. Did you know that health benefits of cloth are even showcased at Livestrong? They mention a new potential health problem link that I hadn't hear about--disposables and asthma.

Lastly, and there is no scientific data to back this up that I am aware of, though if someone were to test it, I'm sure my theory would hold up... I think it's healthy that cloth makes me and my husband smile. Smiling lightens your mood. Seeing cute fluff makes me happy. Everyone knows a happy mama = a happy home! So there must be some mood-enhancing endorphins or something that are released when you get fluff mail, right?!



Hey all! This is not related to Real Diaper Week, but it's a worthy cause and is something different. They don't currently have a State Pageant in my state, but there are many areas that DO have them. I'm not a watcher of the reality show "Pageant Moms." I'm not for or against them. I know very little about them When I heard about this pageant, I kept reading... I was involved in both the Student Conservation Association and Americorps and fully believe in civic engagement and volunteering. I enjoy volunteering. So, if you are curious in that type of activity or are interested in an informative read about a fabulous program out there...READ ON!

The Miss Heart of the USA Pageant strives to provide ladies of all ages with the opportunity to have fun, establish lasting friendships, build confidence, and self esteem; all while encouraging them to get involved with organizations in their community, that benefit those in need.

Miss Heart of the USA Queens are involved at the local level with many organizations like the humane society, the March of Dimes, Children's Hospitals, etc.

The pageant began as a food drive for a local Rescue Mission and blossomed into a National Pageant Program that has distributed over 750,000 non perishable food items to non profit organizations, collected toys for Toys for Tots and even assisted a Women's Hope Center by collecting much needed baby items to be distributed to mothers in need.

So what makes this pageant so different? When Ciera Nitkowski began this program she wanted to teach the contestants and future queens the importance of giving back to their community. She wanted to do something that at the end of the day, the girls could look around a room and see the impact they had made. The very first pageant collected over 3,500 non perishable food items.



In 2010 their program sponsored the Miss Pink Pageant and raised over $3,000 for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides event. In Christmas of 2011 a pageant was held for Sand Hills Santa and over 850 toys were collected to be distributed to hospitalized children all over North Florida.

The Miss Heart of the USA Pageant currently holds State Pageants in

Alabama
Florida
Georgia
Mississippi
Louisiana
South Carolina
Texas
Illinois
Massachusetts

The Miss Heart of the USA National Pageant will be held on November 17th, 2012 at the International Palms Resort in Orlando, Florida. Each year, Miss Heart of the USA awards a $5,000 Scholarship at Nationals. Winner from each state pageant will advance to Nationals with their entry fee paid where they will represent their state. If you live in a state that does not currently have a state pageant, you can register at large to represent your state. You will receive a rhinestone crown, monogrammed sash, rhinestone sash pin and referral cards and can immediately begin representing your state as a Miss Heart of the USA Queen. We have a division for all ages!

Baby Miss (Ages 0-23 months)
Tiny Miss (Ages 2-4 years)
Little Miss (Ages 5-7)
Petite Miss (Ages 8-10)
Junior Miss (Ages 11-13)
Teen Miss (Ages 14-16)
Miss (Ages 17-23)
Ms (ages 24 and up)

For more information visit www.missheartoftheusa.com or become a fan on Facebook.

Real Diaper Week - Day #3 - Buy Smart, Be Savvy

Real Simple Real Diapers Savings – Cost savings, diapering on a budget, cloth diaper banks or support organizations

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One of the major reasons many of us choose to cloth diaper is to save money.

Save buy not buying diapers. We bought pampers before going 100% full-time cloth. At $0.46 per diaper, changing them at least 6-8 times a day, so we'll figure 7 times each day, we save $3.22 each day. $3.22 x 366 (leap year!) = $1175.30 each year. And this is not figured the newborn time (when there are more diapers each day), I'm figuring for right now, a 13 month-old. So, you can tack on a few hundred more dollars. Let's round to $1300. I can tell you really honestly, my whole stash, accessories, including a diaper sprayer ($45) is way less than that total. And, I can use these cloth diapers for baby #2. I can also re-sell them.

Cloth diapers are really well-known for holding their value. So, if you take care of them, you can expect to be able to sell them in functioning condition and re-coop some of that money invested in your stash.

Here are some things you can do to ensure you will get the most out of your diapers, for resale or reuse:

1) The Power of the Sun - drying diapers in the dryer means more wear and tear on the PUL, elastic, and fabric itself. If you have the climate and availability of hanging space for it, dry your diapers outside as often as you can, year-around if possible.

2) Keep it Natural or Keep it Away! - No diaper creams unless they are cloth-approved! Zinc oxide, found in most creams like Desitin, stains cloth diapers terribly. Creams and balms that are not safe for cloth use will generally negatively affect absorbency too.

3) Sink the Stink. - Rinse inserts after each use. When you throw your shell into the diaper pail or bag, take the extra few seconds to rinse the insert until it runs clear. This will help your stink issues both short and long-term.

4) Detergent Determination - do your homework about detergents. Read the labels and recommendations that come with the diapers. There are so many different views on detergents and what is safe and what is not. What will affect absorbency? What will deteriorate PUL? Make an informed decision! Yes, cloth-safe detergents are sometimes more expensive, but this fabric is going to be on your baby's bum 24/7 for months or years! It's worth the investment! You cannot cut corners on this one. You wash every other day. This is a big factor in cloth up-keep.

5) Consistent Strippers Wanted - Stripping your diapers regularly can not only help with stink but it can give you more longevity. Build up of detergent residue creates a happy home for bacteria. If your kiddo has had a diaper rash, it's not a bad idea to strip right away (in case it was caused by an ammonia-burn or yeast.) Remember to also treat the diaper for yeast, which stripping alone will not do. To strip there are again, many products that claim to work. Many recommendations from other users. My advice, as always: Find What Works For YOU, and Stick With It!
Personally, I love RLR for stripping inserts, prefolds, and fitteds (anything without PUL). Don't forget to occasionally strip your wet bags and pail liners, too! I am going to be trying the 'grape stomp' method for my AIOs, AI2s and pockets soon....I'll let you know how THAT goes!

Here is a list of things to think about if you decide to buy used diapers:

*Scrutinize* This is going to be on your kiddos bum. A lot. Don't feel bad about shopping around, asking LOTS of questions of the prior owner, and passing if it doesn't sound like they were taken care of diligently.

*Detergents & Additives* Make sure to ask what has been used on them. What detergent? Stripping agents? Fabric softeners? Bleach? Lemon? Vinegar?

*Drying method* Dryer has much more wear and tear than hanging out to dry.

*One owner?* Ask if they bought the diaper used. Chances are it will tell you a lot about the diaper. If it's been through 2 kiddos of different families, there could be a lot of mystery in that diaper's history.

*Condition* Don't be afraid to ask about tears, PUL, elastic, stains, smells, etc.

*Why?* This is always a good question to ask. If they suck, you don't want 'em! If it's because they are moving to a new system or brand...that's much more positive!


Here are some sources for buying, selling, and trading used diapers:

ClothDiaperTrader - No muss, no fuss. I love this site. I've had more luck here than anywhere!
DiaperSwappers - I find this site cumbersome & cluttered. You have to do X amount of tasks before even being able to sell or trade, which I don't have time for. But, some love it. It's a little more of a 'community' too--you can find other information, which is sometimes fun. But, for the purpose of buying/selling/and trading fluff, I like to get right down to it!
Ebay - The old stand-by for all buying and selling needs. Fees can get you here, so selling in LOTS is generally better than single diapers. I still think ClothDiaperTraders is easier.
Craigslist - You can find some really great stash additions (and a lot of ENTIRE stashes) here. Diaper sprayers, wetbags, longies, the works. Great for 'keeping it local' too. But, sometimes it is feast or famine. You may go months without seeing fluff in your area, so if time is of the essence, it may not be for you.
Facebook - There are MANY groups on Facebook devoted to cloth selling, trading, swapping. Check around, I bet there is something in your area, or at least in your state. It's also a great way to "meet" new mamas with similar interests.

Some mamas find that it is hard to part with their fluff. Others decide they despise using prefolds or fitteds or whatever it may be, and send them down the road. Selling fluff is fun because if you love a diaper, it's nice to see if find a new home to be loved more! People probably think I'm crazy. I went from totally ignorant of cloth, to using it part-time, to full-time, to advocating and actually thinking of it as a hobby! I have sentimental attachment to some of the material that catches my son's poo. I know I'm not alone! You might find you love it too! What started as 8ish diapers is now 30+. Maybe more. I need to sit down and count!




Real Diaper Week - Day 2 - "Pssssss"

Real Diapers, Real Simple! - Waste Reduction, Environmental Benefits, Elimination Communication

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I wanted to "potty train" early. When the Little Bug was about 4 months old, my thoughts were on 2 major focal points in our daily routine: elimination communication and baby signing. Since this is "Real Diaper Week," we'll only be talking about our Elimination communication journey.

I first polled my 'Moms' group for their thoughts on early potty-training. I once lived in a smallish very green town, and usually those types of towns are where great green advice comes from. I love those towns. So all of the mama's agreed on a few things: 1) girls are usually easier to get trained earlier 2) cloth diapering helps speed it up 3) read "Diaper-Free Baby" the book. So I did.

I skimmed it. It was a lot of propaganda and about a million pictures of the BabyBjorn potty. And a lot of the same people talking about their testimonials. But, I figured if I could glean anything out of it, I'd be that much further in my journey. And, I knew that developing nations potty train by about 2 years old at the latest, consistently with either gender. What does that mean for me here in the USA? That it IS possible! (Even though my mom and MANY others scoff at the idea of trying to start potty training a child under 2 years old.)

So we started potty shopping. I decided on a Fisher-Price Duck potty. Little Bug loves it. He has been peeing on the potty since he was 5 months old. Maybe younger? At least that young. I took the 'psssst' tip from the book. He associates that sound with peeing and goes. Now at 13 months, he is aware of the action of peeing. He doesn't automatically pee when his diaper is off and you are changing it. I'd say we're on our way. It's not overnight success and we've never caught a poop. He has pooped on the floor twice. He has peed on the floor countless times. I plan on renting a carpet cleaner as soon as he is 100% trained. To me, it's no different than puppy training really! Repetition. Encouragement. Consistency.

We are still working on this. Some other things have taken precedence--signing, vocabulary... But, we still try to put him on his potty at least 2 times a day. If he doesn't want to be on it, we don't force the issue. If he pees, we cheer! Daddy shows him where 'daddy's pee' on the big potty. The potty folds into a step stool. We haven't used that feature to wash hands, because we have a small bathroom, but he does use it at the window to look out. It also sings, and we haven't used that feature either--when we really hit the potty learning hard, we'll probably turn it to the sound option. (The duck sings when it's sensor has 'wetness' on it.) I'm not sure if it will frighten or delight him. B

It takes dedication. Some days I feel really guilty that it seems like too much 'work' to walk him to the potty or place him on the potty instead of just putting on a new diaper. I try to remind myself that once we are successful it will be a lot LESS work to not change any diapers at all! It's teamwork, for mom and baby. I recommend reading about it--not just one book or method, but several. And, the rule that has become our 'go to' for all things parenting:

DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU AND YOUR BABY! To hell with societal norms, what your in-laws thing, what your friends say, or even what your own mom or doctor think! You have a 'mommy instinct' and if you listen to it and pay attention to the cues your child gives, you'll find what works.



 

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