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January 31, 2011

Smart Bottoms Review

When I first started cloth diapering I had looked into having a diaper party, mainly to learn more about cloth diapers and the how to's involved. So while searching I found Smart Bottoms which is a local company to me. I had hear a little bit about them but not a whole lot. Recently though, Christy from Smart Bottoms contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing a diaper or two for them as well as their diaper parties that they host around the country. Of course I jumped aboard on this. With this I got the opportunity to review their Smart One, their Smart Fold and their Smart Cover. I will start off with the Smart One.

The Smart One is the AIO diaper. All the materials they use to make their diapers are certified organic cotton and hemp fleece and are completely made in the U.S. which is awesome! The SmartOne diaper is a sized diaper and only is available in snaps. There are for great colors to choose from. I received the blue raspberry.

Across the front of the diaper is one row of snaps along the waist line and then there are two snaps that go down on the sides of the diaper. The diaper has nice tight leg elastic.

The tabs feature cross over snaps, always nice for the skinny babies. You can also see on the bottom left side a snap. This is for the thigh adjustment.The picture below is showing the waist snaps across the top then the two thigh snaps going down.
The inside of this diaper is almost entirely covered with their organic cotton, hemp fleece material.
Here is the Medium Smart One on my 9 month old. I didn't have to use the cross over tabs because he is a little chunky, it almost looks like I have it to tight by looking at the snaps and pul and seeing how it looks like its pulling a little bit but it was still loose enough where it wasn't going to leave red rub marks.
The back of the diaper has a great fit. Nice and smooth.

The front of the diaper is kind of bulky but not much different then having an extra insert in a pocket diaper in the front for a boy. It also dips down where the snaps are because the absorbent material stops below them so there isn't the bulk to make it look as level as other diapers.
I like this picture (below) because it show the thigh snaps well. I have it set on the larger thigh setting. These are nice and easy to adjust because they are on the edge of the diaper rater than going more into the diaper. So if an adjustment is needed you don't have to stick your finger way into the diaper to push against the snap. You can just do it right on the edge.

I didn't think this was to bulky for an AIO diaperMy thoughts on the Smart One diaper.:
Overall this was a pretty nice diaper. I did have problems with my boys leaking out of this. But I typically have to add extra soakers to their normal diapers anyways so I think if I had one of their Smart Boosts to go in this it would have held better for them. The cotton/hemp blend is pretty soft and dried fairly quick for an AIO diaper. I did like this diaper more on my 9 month old than my toddler. Mainly because it fit better on my younger guy. Also when ever I put this on my toddler he would complain that it hurt him and he would either rip it off or ask me to take it off. I'm not sure if it was because of the different material or the thickness of it but he didn't want it on. I really liked the placement of the thigh snaps on this diaper. They worked great for my chunky thighed baby and great for my skinny leg 2 year old. (The Smart One costs $20 and comes in 4 colors and 4 sizes.)

Okay on to the Smart Fold and Smart Cover:

I was pretty surprised at the size of the Smart Fold. It was really big! I thought for sure that it would be really bulky but its not. The Smart Fold is made of the same Organic cotton and hemp fleece material as the Smart One. So its pretty soft.

Their Smart Cover has the same snap set up and system as their Smart One AIO diaper so I will spare you the double reading. :) I liked the feeling of this cover it was really soft and it has a liner on the inside so you don't have to feel the PUL.

Here is a picture of the snaps...same set up as the AIO for the legs and thighs. This does however have snaps to adjust the rise!Cross over tabsHere is a picture of the cover with the Smart Fold inside. If you look close you can see the snap on the left side above the elastic for the thigh adjustment. I have it set on the bigger setting.
I just tri-folded the smart Fold and placed it right on the cover.
Then I pull the Smart Fold up over my boy
Then Pull the cover up and I have to fold the top of the Smart Fold over about an in and a half so its not to long. Then I snap the cover on.
The Smart Fold is nice and trim

My thoughts on the Smart Cover and Smart Fold:
When I started off cloth diapering I used prefolds and covers so we go a ways back. I feel like I know a good amount of information about prefolds so to be able to review a non-typical prefold was nice. When I got the prefold I thought wow this ting is huge! It was way bigger than my medium size Planet wise wet bag. I thought for sure it would be bulky and not work good at all. Wow, I was so wrong! This prefold is not your typical cotton prefold. It is made of the organic cotton and hemp fleece blend. So it doesn't ahve the 'weave' to it like a DSQ prefold or Bummis prefold. This also is one whole piece where are other prefolds are made by layering material together, you have probably seen the 4x8x4 on packages showing the thickness of the prefold. So because its all one piece there are no 'fold' lines. This is nice for being able to fold the diaper any way you want with out having extra bulk from the seams in the middle of the diaper. This is a rectangle so you can fold it to be longer and skinnier or shorter and wider. It was kind of long still on my 9 month old so I had to fold it over in the front a little which is fine because he needs more absorbent material in the front. For my toddler because he need a bigger rise the prefold didn't need folding under the cover. The Smart Cover had a nice fit. I like that it had an adjustable rise on it. The leg snaps are great just like on the AIO. One thing I did not like about the snaps was that they were 'exposed' on the inside and left red circles on my guy's tummies from where the snaps were pressing against their skin. It was the back smooth side of the snap that is against them so not anything that is going to cut into them. I don't think I ad any leak issues with the cover. Probably because the amount of liquid the Smart Fold holds. Never once when I have changed my boys after wearing this was the entire thing soaked. Usually after a nap in a prefold the entire thing is drenched but the back of this was still dry. Very impressive. I know for sure that I will be getting a few more of these Smart Folds at my diaper party on Tuesday.

If you would like to purchase a Smart Bottoms diaper go here. You will have to purchase through a consultant so you can just send an email to the company and they will get you set. And Don't worry because Christy is awesome to work with!

*This review is entirely of my own. I received the diapers free of charge for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any way. My experiences may differ from yours.*

January 28, 2011

Eco Sprout Review

Eco Sprout is a newly developed detergent made by a WAHD (work-at-home-dad)! He was frustrated with all the detergents he tried as nothing was getting rid of the ammonia smell. He set out on a mission to find a solution. His requirements:
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • 100% natural
Each batch of Eco Sprout is handmade and close attention is paid to each mixing. You can read more about how Eco Sprout came to be here.

I was originally sent sample backs of Warm Vanilla Sugar and Lavender Chamomile to try out. The first test came in the first soak (highly recommended by the creator of Eco Sprout). I allowed the diapers to soak over night in a machine filled with hot water and 3 Tablespoons of Eco Sprout. When I checked the washer in the morning, I was confused, as I didn't see any proof of the detergent "working" to pull out the funk and grime. I continued to wash per the directions. And, even though there was no visible proof in my washer of the detergent doing anything miraculous, the proof came out of the dryer. My diapers smelled so clean and fresh! I thought my diapers were getting clean with my regular detergent, but it turns out, I had just grown used to a not-so-clean scent!

This detergent worked perfectly on the diapers for my youngest. Not only did his diapers come out super clean and fresh smelling, the diapers didn't smell once he peed in them (another thing I had grown accustomed to!) The detergent did not leave a rash or seem to irritate his skin either.

My toddler however, got a horrible rash. I immediately contacted Eco Sprout, sad, and confused! They immediately shipped me a sample of In the Buff, their unscented detergent, to try for my toddler, as well as their seasonal scent, Cinnamon Sticks. I was also informed that all their detergents had since been switched to the formula for sensitive skin, so it not only works great, it should work great for everyone, no matter the skin type!

I re-tried my toddlers diapers in In the Buff with much improvement! His diapers came out smelling perfectly clean. I was worried about putting his nighttime diaper on him, but knew this would be the true test. Two things: 1) no rash this time! (Woohoo!!) and 2) no ammonia smell the next morning! #2 was huge for us, as Benjamin's diapers reek! Nothing we have tried has worked. We had pretty much decided this was something we had to live with as long as he was in a diaper for 12 or so hours. I was so excited to discover that it didn't have to be that way! More will be purchased for our diapers for sure.

I tried out the Cinnamon Stick scent on our clothes and it worked so well, even on my husband's work clothes (he handles car parts and his clothes get very greasy and dirty). They came out also smelling fresh and clean.

Eco Sprout comes in 6 scents (including unscented) and three sizes:
  • a 2oz sample for $1.75
  • a 24oz bag (24/48 loads)* for $7.98
  • a 48oz bag (48/96 loads)* for $13.98
*Eco Sprout is safe for top loading and HE machines.

Disclaimer: I received 5 samples of Eco Sprout detergent in varying scents to review. All opinions are my own, and you may have a different experience.

January 27, 2011

Fun with Flour

Not talking baking today, folks!
No, we're talking working on fine motor skills using flour (ok, and having fun in the kitchen while mommy fixes food to keep us from getting famished) ;-)
(how's that for some alliteration!)

For this activity, you will need:
Flour/powdered sugar
1 baking sheet per child
A good broom
Patience ;-)

Depending on the age of your child, you can have them copy letters/numbers/shapes, or just let them have fun playing with and drawing in the flour!

Here, Keaton was pretending to be a bulldozer :)
And Benjamin thought that was quite funny!
So, naturally, he copied big brother!

The good thing about flour is that it cleans up easily - no hand washing is needed (just the good broom I mentioned!)

This is a great rainy/cold day activity, especially for children who want to be in the kitchen with mommy.

(I'd also suggest not using your best flour for this activity! I use a cheap bag of all-purpose from Kroger during their 10 for $10 sale. I store used flour in a tupperware container to re-use).

January 24, 2011

Do you dare...

...to travel with cloth?

This past weekend I traveled with my hubby, sons and about 14 other people up north to go snowmobiling up to Mackinac Bridge. We were gone three full days. Before leaving for out mini-vacation I was asked a few different times by my mom as well as my sisters if I was going to buy disposables for the weekend. My two sisters were planning on staying at the cabin to watch the boys and their kids while the rest of us were out on the trails. I do remember me telling them I wasn't going to waste money on disposable diapers when I already had diapers! Besides, they were used to changing cloth anyways.

So to prepare for the weekend I had to do a couple of things.
-figure out how many diapers I would need.
-Wash my diapers at the last minute possible allowing me to have time to wash AND dry everything I was going to need.

Friday morning I collected and gathered all my dirty cloth diapers as well as wet bags. Everything went into the washing machine and I did my normal wash routine.

rinse in cold
wash in hot with detergent
do an extra rinse
put in dryer

Typically I always hang my covers and shells to help keep them in a nice condition. But I knew we would be traveling for 3-4 hours in the car depending on the roads and new they wouldn't ever dry while piled into a laundry basket so they went into the dryer as well on low heat.

After they were dry I found an empty laundry basket and started folding and stuffing and putting everything back together. Once I was done with that I had to figure out what to bring. I have quite the assortment of diapers and wanted to bring the diapers that work the best and were the easiest to use. I also made sure I brought night time diapers that I KNEW would work so I wouldn't have wet bedding to bring home.

Here is my basket of diapers that I was going to need for the weekend. Everything was all ready and set to go except for a few items that needed an extra 20 minutes in the dryer.

I also brought all of my wet bags with me. I have the Planet Wise wet/dry hanging bag which we used as the main dirty diaper bag. That was kept up stairs in our room along with the basket of diapers. For Saturday when I was gone snowmobiling I packed my diaper bag like normal with diapers, small wet bag, plastic baggies for dirty wipes and butt cream. I brought that downstairs for my sisters to use. This worked out great. When I got home they had just used the last two diapers from the bag and didn't need to go upstairs to get extras.

I used my large planet wise wet bag for the boys dirty clothes. This worked out great. I was able to put all the remaining diapers in to my diaper bag when packing up to leave and used the laundry basket for my husbands and mine's dirty clothes.

By the time we left I had about 5 diapers left which was perfect. Two of those diapers were prefolds. We ended up stopping halfway home for diaper changes because E-man was complaining his butt hurt. When we got home I had one Bummis Easy fit and the two prefolds left over. I was lucky to have brought the right amount of diapers with me but its really hard to figure out how many you are going to need.

If you are worried about how many diapers you are going to need when traveling, consider the following:
-How long will you be gone?
-Will you have access to a washing machine/dryer?
-How many times a day do you typically change diapers?

If you typically change your babies diaper 6 times a day and you are going to be gone for 4 days you will want to bring around 24 -30 diapers. You never know when your little one will get active BM's! If you have access to a washing machine you could easily do away with just bringing 12-15 diapers and washing every other day.

We did have a small washing machine an dryer at the cabin where we stayed in case I did happen to run out of diapers but luckily I didn't have to use it.

Here are a few pictures of our weekend getaway:

The beautiful cabin we stayed at for two night, 3 days

This was on the way home from Mackinac City. The trail came to this clearing in the woods and you could see so far away. My husband and I shared my parents 2up snowmobile and took turns driving.
This is our group that went for the ride. We all decided to stop for a potty break (the outhouse had ICE on the seat)! YIKES! There were 8 snowmobiles and 9 adults. I'm the first one on the red sled (my dads).
Have you traveled with cloth? How did you plan for it? How did it go?

Are you nervous about traveling with Cloth? What questions do you have about it that we can help you with?

Zubels Review

One day while looking through one of my parenting magazines I seen an add for Zubels...now you are probably wondering what in the world Zubels is, right? Check out the pictures below.
Are you in love yet?

And some crinkly ones for the babies!

Here is a little about Zubels:

Zubels is an eco-friendly product for several reasons.

1) Zubels uses 100% cotton yarn. Cotton is a natural fiber and a renewable resource.

2) Zubels has minimal packaging. By not packaging our product with excessive and needless packaging there is less waste of resources and less waste for the landfill.

3) Zubels uses eco-friendly low-impact dyes.

What do you mean by Organics?

Our Organics collection uses 100% certified organic Cotton yarns. Organic cotton is grown without the use of harmful pesticides and is better for the environment. Zubels organic cotton is certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) organization. Each Zubels from our Organics collection is knit using 100% organic cotton and stuffed with a soft poly fiber fill making them snugably soft.

Zubels sent me on of their items to review. I received this totally adorable Santa Zubel.
I was so amazed at the kniting job that this toy had. The details were fantastic. The little beard and mustache are so cute. One thing that popped into my mind immediatly was the eyes, nose and ball on the top of his hat. Before I let my son have this Santa Zubel I gave it a good test of my own. I yanked on the ball and took a close look. The ball was knit right onto the hat and there was no way it was coming off. The eyes and nose were also knit right onto the face so no little beads to fall off and choke on.

Sideways picture but it shows the cute and simple tag that comes on the Zubel. The inside has the name of the Zubel in it.

Here is a shot of the back of Santa. Note again the great detail and bright colors.Here is a full front shot of Santa. He has this boots, belt, green mittens and is so cute!

Now to test out this cute Santa...num, num, num...
Yup, it tastes good...I mean he LOVES IT! Inside the Santa was a little rattle ball/bell which Zekey loved to shake and listen to. He also loved chewing on this. I however had to be careful when I picked it up because it would typically be a big ball of slobber. I think because it was knit it felt really good on his teething gums. His favorite part to chew on was the ball of the hat. I think because it was the hardest area of the Zubel. I am almost kind of bummed that I have the santa one because I just love this but I am a 'put away the holiday toys once the holiday is over' kind of girl. So Santa is packed away.

Would you like to buy a Zubel? You can find a store here by putting in your Zip Code! The pricing on these are actually really impressive. I thought they would have cost more than what they do. The Santa I got was only around $7.50!

January 21, 2011

Sprout Change Review

I was super excited to try out this one size diaper from Sprout Change. Quite a few details about this diaper intrigued me:
  • The fact that the shell is reversible (I love color and the one I picked out, Chili Pepper, definitely packed a punch! And the fact that EITHER color could show...be still my beating heart!)
  • It is one-size (having two in diapers, I love anything that I can share between the two!)
  • Made in the USA (wooho!)
The best way to explain how this works is pictures (I'm a visual person, so I wish I had a tutorial like this as I was figuring the diaper out!)

You get the shell and booster - hello color! See those green snaps? Pop em open...
Here is the hidden location of how you change the size! I confess. This was super hard for me. I claim that I have giant thumbs (and you know how some people have "two left feet"? I have two left hands. Clumsy!) I fumbled with this thing for a couple days before getting it right....
There are three bands of elastic - one at the waist and one for each leg. There are small buttons on each side of the waist, and then one at each leg (at the top of the waist). So, where the green snaps were, inside there there are 2 small buttons, that is where the elastic hooks and you adjust the size.

My set came with a hemp booster, but you can use inserts from other pocket diapers or even prefolds! You lay the booster (insert/prefold) inside...
Fold and snap! One side facing out, the shell closely resembles a side snapping diaper.
While the reversed side is closer to, but not exactly like, a front snapping diaper.
Now, onto the baby! First up, my "infant", clocking in at 18ish pounds and 5 months, this diaper is a great fit! I probably could have tweaked the size a bit more, but, we experienced no leaks whatsoever!
As you can see it is a very trim fit! (ignore the previous diaper markings on his legs - those are NOT from the Sprout Change!)
Here you can see how the booster goes on - it stays in place very well on an infant who isn't moving around too much (you know, once the shell is on...)
Time for more color - still a great fit with the snaps more towards the front.

The back fit a bit funny when it was reversed, but he was in this diaper for quite a while on a number of occasions on both sides to truly test it out...no leaks! Thanks to the double-layer PUL!
The only thing that slightly bothered me was I could never get a snug fit across the tummy. If you look closely to the left hip in this picture, you can see some gap. I was so worried all diaper contents would come out of that gap, but they never did! I tried resizing the waist, but it was either way more gap or entirely too tight, with still a gap.
Now we move onto my toddler, clocking in at 32lbs and 2.5years. I went ahead and moved the elastic all the way out (look closely and you can see the white buttons I mentioned earlier - hard to get a good picture of those!)
This fit him a little funny with the hemp booster, but a prefold was way too big and bulky - almost as if he had maxed out the size of the shell even though it goes to 40+lbs (he does have a "high rise", so that may contribute).
It was a great fit on the back though!
Still nice and trim!
Even in pants - no bubble butt (if that is a worry for yo!)

I really love this diaper, but mostly on my 5 month old, it's just a odd fit on my toddler. I found the adjusting between sizes, to go daily between 18lbs and 32lbs, very cumbersome. However, to use on a single baby and just adjust as needed as the baby grows, this would make a great diaper for your stash! The double layer PUL really makes this a solid diaper - many uses, various lengths, very heavy wetters and no leaks!

Sprout Change offers a variety of sets to round out your cloth diaper stash! Not to mention a variety of colors!

Disclaimer: I received a Shell & Booster from Sprout Change free for review. All opinions are my own and you may have a different experience.