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January 31, 2013

Yummi Pouch

Introducing the Yummi Pouch!

The Yummi Pouch is a reusable food squeeze pouch that encourages kids to eat healthy snacks when on the go. They are reusable, refillable and resealable and they don't cost a lot so if you need to toss one out, you can! They are 100% recyclable too. We were sent a Yummi Pouch tester so the actual product that you get may look a little bit different than ours. They come with a cap as well.

 A little break down of the Yummi Pouch: the spout-seen on the left side of the pic is very similar to the grocery store pouches that you can purchase. They fit the attachable spoons as well. It is unique in the fact that is on the side. This seems odd but it works really well. The opening is at the top. It has a sturdy seal that has kept all messes inside. It also opens wide enough that you can easily fill it. Yummi Pouch does offer a Filling Funnel Pitcher for sale as well. The Yummi Pouch can hold 6 oz easily and has an area at the bottom that widens so that it can stand while you fill it.

Kynlie sips a smoothie we made...it was a little tart!  

She had a lot of fun drinking from her "big girl" sipper. She thought it was fun to get her own special thing to eat from. They have a unique set up so she held it sideways in order to drink it. 

The Yummi Pouch was nice because it didn't become inflated with extra air. It stayed nice and flat and I like that you can see how much is left. I also liked that you can stand it up. The bottom opens up to create a base which worked great for filling.

The spout is perfect for little ones to slurp from.  

I was a little worried about the seal at the top coming undone while she squeezed it but we have not had any problems at all. It has a nice tight seal and no liquids were able to sneak out.

We made a blueberry smoothie with strawberries and I thought we might get some staining but it rinsed out nice and clean with some soapy water and a little wipe through with a bottle brush.(Which worked perfectly to clean it out) Yummi Pouches are dishwasher safe if you'd rather do that but in my experience with dishwashers, you'll get more life out of them by handwashing.

This was the only issue we had...Kynlie squished it a little too hard and it squirted out the spout and all over the wall and stool. Oops. I think you'll get that with most food pouches.

Yummi Pouch Wins:
*Dishwasher friendly/cleans easily
*Freezer Friendly (make up a big batch!)
*BPA-free and phthalate free

Yummi Pouch Opportunities:
Not spill proof
Caps do not attach to the pouch (make sure you keep away from little ones)

1/2 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)
4 large Strawberries
1/2 cup Apple juice
1/2 banana
Add all to a blender and puree. Fill your Yummi Pouch and enjoy!
You can find more Yummi Pouch recipes here.

Overall we have had great success with our Yummi Pouch. These would be great for a mama who wanted to make homemade baby food and not pay the price of the expensive store pouches. They are wonderful to reuse and refill. I love that you can fill them up and put them in the freezer until ready to eat. We took one out in the morning to add to our diaper bag and by snack time, it was perfect to eat!
You can purchase your Yummi Pouches here and find them on Facebook.

January 30, 2013

Washing Wool

I love wool!  I love that you don't need to wash it after every use, it's breathable, and with a good diaper underneath, it's essentially bulletproof.  But I also know that wool is kind of scary!  It's so different from other types of covers.  I think the hardest part is hand-washing it and lanolizing it properly.  But once you figure that out, wool is actually really easy!  So, here's a step-by-step tutorial of how I wash and lanolize my wool.

First, here's a new wool cover I just received from ForeverGreen Organics.
Isn't it gorgeous!!  I can't wait to try it out!!  (and be sure to check in for my review of it in a few weeks!).  Sometimes wool comes lanolized and sometimes it doesn't.  Just make sure you know (and feel free to ask) because if your cover hasn't been lanolized, it won't be waterproof.

     Here's everything I use to wash and lanolize my wool covers: 
   A glass jar, Eucalan wool wash, lanolin and baby shampoo. 

To begin with, I always wash my covers.  Although when urine and lanolin mix, they only leave salt behind, you still want to wash it out.  To wash the wool, you can either fill up your sink or a large bowl with cool/lukewarm (never hot!!) water and a little splash of detergent.  I use Eucalan wool wash--since it's specifically made for wool, it doesn't strip the lanolin out.  You can also use any other wool "safe" detergent.  Then just add your wool cover and let it soak for at least 20 minutes.  I often leave mine in there for an hour or so (and sometimes longer, if I forget!).  That's it!  What I love about using Eucalan is that I don't even need to rinse it out.  If you're using a detergent that isn't specific to wool, be sure you do rinse it, again with lukewarm/cool water.  Now your wool is clean and ready to be lanolized.  When you take the cover out of the water, gently squeeze the extra water out, but don't ever wring or squeeze wool too roughly!  When wool gets wet, it is really easily stretched and misshapen, and you don't want to damage it.
wool soaking in Eucalan bath

Now, on to lanolizing.  Lanolin comes in a paste, and you need to turn it into a liquid, so it needs to melt.  To do this, I put a little drop of baby shampoo in my glass bottle (and this is important!-if you don't add the baby shampoo, the lanolin won't dissolve into the water), along with a pea-ish size glob of lanolin.  I usually use a q-tip to get it into the bottle.

Lanolin in water,
completely dissolved
Then I fill the bottle up with really hot tap water and shake it until all the lanolin has dissolved into the water.  It turns to a white/creamy color.  You can also melt the lanolin in the microwave with the water--I've never done this.  I think it's just easier to use hot, hot tap water.

While I'm shaking up the lanolin (it usually only takes about 30 seconds), I refill my bowl or sink with clean, cool/lukewarm water.  I add the melted lanolin to this water and then add my cover.  I usually squeeze the cover gently to make sure the lanolin water gets soaked into the cover.  Then you let this soak for a while-I usually let mine soak for at least an hour; sometimes overnight.  After that, you just take it out, squeezing the extra water out gently, and let it dry!  That's it!  Not too hard, right?  Once you've done it a few times, it's really quite easy.
wool soaker in the lanolin-water

A couple other little tips:
-I usually turn my covers inside out.  Not sure if it even makes a difference, but I feel like you want the lanolin on the inside anyway, so it can't hurt!
drying the wool by rolling
it in a towel
-To get the extra water out at the end and help the cover dry faster, I often lay my soakers in a towel and roll them up and then squish the towel.  This lets the wool keep its shape while getting most of the water out.
-Really thick wool can take a few days to dry, so don't be surprised if it takes a while!  I always get impatient.  But most of my covers only take about a day.
-They also make lanolin in liquid form that you can spray onto the wet zone.  I've never tried it, but it's another option.
-Drying wool on a drying rack or even a cookie cooling rack can really speed up drying time!  I usually use one of the wire racks in my son's closet.
-Be careful with your wool when it's wet!  It can really stretch out and lose its shape-so always make sure to dry it flat!  However, it can be helpful if your wool has lost its shape, that you can stretch it out while its wet.  I had a soaker that often lost its rise and got really wide around the waist after using it for a while, so every time I washed it, I just stretched it back out, and it went right back to its original shape!

I hope this helps anyone out there who's been wanting to try out wool but was afraid of hand-washing! I promise, once you get the hang of it, its really, really easy.  And if you have any questions or trouble, feel free to ask!!

January 29, 2013

Fun Bites Luv It Bites

Luv it!

If your kids are anything like mine...they eat better when it is fun. I was able to review the Fun Bites in Luv It just in time for Valentines Day. We have used it several times with several different types of food. The kids LOVE the heart shapes and have fun "playing with their food" to make the heart puzzle. 

Here we made mini pizzas with some biscuits and then cut them out using the LuvIt FunBites

The bottom of the FunBites is curved so you use a rocking motion to cut all the way through the food you are making. 

You put in the pusher piece to pop out the food in fun shapes!


Here we made an entire Valentines Day lunch (perfect for a snow day!)

Tortillas make a perfect cut out to make a heart puzzle-Mommy let us play with our food! 

We had Valentine candy corn...

Pink pudding

We did just the small hearts out of apples and strawberries! Yummy!

Our FunBites food!

Lincoln is ready to celebrate!

Kynlie and Nyla dress up like princesses for our fancy lunch!

Her favorite-FunBites heart apples!


You can cut out lots of shapes and have your little ones make creations.
Stack them up high with skewers.
Make a heart puzzle. What other things can you make from the heart cut outs?
Create scenes.

You can use it on any types of food. Here are some of our favorites:
tortillas, cheese, biscuits, pancakes, bread/sandwiches, fruit, and brownies

Some unique features:

The bottom is curved so you use a rocking motion to cute through the food. 
(Watch little fingers as you are cutting)
There is a special "popper" that pops the food out after cutting.
They are made of a durable plastic that can handle just about anything!
 (We've had ours dropped a few times!)
Encourages kids to try new foods because it is in fun shapes!

Some (extremely) minor issues:

Washing was tricky with the popper part. 
(We ended up using part of a bottle brush to reach those tiny crevices)
Only two styles to choose from! (I hope they make more!)

Overall we LOVE our Luv It FunBites. We have used it at almost every meal for part or all of the kids food. We let our 5 year old help with some of the cutting but you do have to use a little bit of force to cut through some things. 

FunBites is offering free shipping to our CDA blog readers! Just enter ValentineFun at checkout!

FunBites is also offering one Luv It FunBites as a giveaway to a lucky reader just in time for a special Valentines Day. All entries are mandatory. 

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January 28, 2013

Happy Baby Food

When a baby is born feeding is pretty simple to figure out. They need milk. Whether it be from mama or from formula you know that you can provide the best you can for your baby. But as they get older you realize that they will need other forms of nourishment  and that is where it gets tricky. You walk down the aisle at the store and there are so many options to choose from for what to feed your baby. You have different flavors, different stages, brands, types of food, so many choices! Even with Micah being my third child I still have to stop and think about what in the world I needed and wanted for him when it came time to start solids. I did make  some home made baby food for him but I knew he would need more.

Thats where Happy Baby Foods come in. I have used the previously with my middle son and was very please with them. Happy Baby Food is a part of the Happy Families Brand. They offer foods for babys, toddlers, kids and everyone! All of their foods are organic so you can feel reassured that you are giving your child the best.
 I was able to receive some Happy Baby Food products to review and use for Micah. We have not used all of these yet because he isn't quite old enough for them but with what we have used we are very pleased.

 Each item is labeled showing what the appropriate estimated age is for the item. Above are rice cakes. I enjoy eating rice cakes myself and so I thought these would be great for Micah. We are not quite ready for him to start eating these but I am sure he will love them. Zeke my 2 1/2 year old does love these though too!
 The Happy Baby squeeze pouches were the first squeeze pouches that we had ever had back when Zeke was little. He loved them and they are great for keeping in the diaper bag or a quick on the  go snack. I was out shopping one day when Zeke was about 9-10 months old and he was starving and I had a thing of jar food in my diaper bag as well as one of these pouches. Well...feeding a baby food out of a jar can be kind of tricky when you forgot the spoon! And so the Happy Baby squeeze pouch came to the rescue, Zeke sucked the food right down, I put the lid back on and threw it back in the diaper bad to dispose of later. It was great. Just make sure to keep the caps away from baby.
 The puffs are also a favorite of ours. I love opening of the pack and smelling the nice fresh smell of bananas or what ever flavor you picked out. The puffs are a perfect size for little fingers and dissolve really quick.
The last items we received for review are the Happy Bellies baby cereal. I have the multi-grain cereal and oatmeal cereal. One of my favorite things about these is the packaging. I love just being able to scoop out what I need rather than trying to pour just the right amount of a box...I always seem to pour it really fast and end up with way to much so being able to just scoop out of this container is great.

The Happy Baby Foods can be found at Target and other stores. You can go here to find a store near you to purchase the Happy Baby Foods.

The Happy Family's brand has offered up a great prize to one lucky winner.
Free Trial coupons, Happy Family Nutrition Guide (hard copy) & Happy Baby organic baby t-shirt, a $30 value!

If you would like to enter to win please fill out the rafflecopter form below.
Giveaway runs Jan 28-Feb 4.

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January 25, 2013

Breaking Down Prefolds

Prefolds were my first cloth diaper experience and are perhaps the most economical option. Many call them the "workhorse" of cloth diapers. They are one piece of cloth that has been folded over itself many times and sewn permanantly to an fixed size to wrap your baby in. There are really no limits to what you can do with a prefold. The larger are useful for changing pad covers, burp cloths, and rolled up as head props for baby.

There are a few poplular ways to use a prefold which are great to start with. There is a great video from a previous post that I linked at the end describing how to implement prefolds. Each person and baby may like something different and what you like may change. I know it has for me in the last year. The prefolds that I have are 3 different sizes of Knickernappies. Below is a picture of Coral, two months old, in a newborn prefold with a Snappi closure. Gone are the days of diaper pins for me. Snappies are hook closures and are fast and simple. In order to use a prefold like this, tuck one end beneath the baby, roll the sides inwards and tuck between the babies legs. Bring the back corners around the babies hips and attach Snappies at the side. Tug the front up until snug and pull the bottom down and press in to diaper. (don't worry, there's a video at the end that I reposted)
Prefolds need waterproof covers and my favorites are Thirsties, shown here in Size 1. This was a great way to use the prefolds when Coral was younger and had more runny poops. I never had a leak with a #2 in these dipaers. The only time that I had a leak was when they were left on overnight and an additional layer of hemp, microfiber or cotton would have taken care of that.
Prefolds are probably the most bulky diaper system but I don't mind as long as Coral can still do the Can Can, like she is here.
Now, as Coral is just over one, I prefer to simply lay the prefolds in the cover and put them on with no snappi. Below is a size 2 Thirsties Duo Wrap and a large Kinckernappies prefold. The prefold looks longer than the cover here on the right, but as it contours to the baby's body, it will fit well. Once the diaper cover is all in place, make sure the prefold is all tucked in under the leg gussets and at the waistline. If there is exposed prefold, there can be leaks at those points.
Here is a great video that I am reposteing here to give you a visual on prefolds in action:
More posts about prefolds reviewed on this site are below.
Prefold Week- some good basics about prefolds

January 24, 2013

Breaking Down Cloth Diapers {All In Ones}

All In One

One of my favorite things is helping new mamas learn about cloth. Because there are so many options (sized/OS, styles, brands etc) it is nice to be able to get some real feedback from people who use them. You can find a lot of information online about the different types of diapers but not all of them include specifics. This week we are helping to break cloth down in a way that you can understand it and see the different styles and types of diapers. And as always, feel free to ask a question! 

With an All in One (AIO) the name basically says it all. Everything is in one piece, connected in some way or another. The All In One (AIO) diaper is the diaper that most resembles a disposable diaper and has the same ease of use as one. They are very easy to use and probably most preferred by Dads because of the simplicity of them. There are also several different types of AIOs and I put together a small group of them to show you.

Generally AIO diapers have a waterproof outer with an absorbent inner that is all sewn together. Unlike pocket diapers, the absorbent layer cannot be taken out/off and therefore they have a slightly longer dry time.

Some AIO diapers have the inner sewn completely around the edges and you have no access to the underside of the absorbent layer.

Here is an example of a Koala Huggerz diaper that has the absorbent layer completely sewn in. The particular brand comes with a booster that is safe against baby's skin and helps with additional absorbency.

Others have the absorbent layer sewn just on the front end and the back end with the middle edges open and everything lays flat.

This is a BumGenius Elemental diaper. It has the absorbent layers sewn at the back and front ends. This helps with dry time significantly. If you needed some additional absorbency, you could tuck a hemp insert underneath the two layers. This style can be tricky with small babies as you have to figure out how to fold the access without creating a bulk.

There are also some that have a pocket style opening to add extra absorbency if needed. 

This is a Thirsties duo AIO. It has the absorbent layer sewn on the sides at the leg area and the back and front are left open. You can add in extra absorbency at the back/front if needed. (Although this particular diaper can hold a lot!)

BumGenius also recently released this AIO which is different as well. This is the FreeTime. It has one end sewn but not the other on two different absorbent layers. This makes dry time on this a lot faster as well.

All In One diapers come in both Hoop/Loop (velcro) and snaps depending on the brand. They also come in either sized (NB, S, M, L) or OS (one size) again depending on the brand.  

Pros of AIOs:
*Easiest to use
*Most similar to a disposable (helpful for Dad or Grandma)
*Typically have a trimmer fit on baby's bum
*Most convenient
*Great for nighttime

Cons of AIO:

*One of the most expensive options
*Longer drying time since everything is connected
*Tend to need to be stripped most frequently than other styles 

Here is a list of the AIO diaper reviews that we have posted on the blog.

All In One Diapers:
-Bumgenius Elemental 
-SmartBottoms 3.0 
-Thirsties (v. 1) 
-Tots Bots Easyfit (V. 2)
-Tots Bots Easyfit (V.3)snaps 
-Tots Bots Easyfit  (V.3)aplix
-Tots Bots Easyfit (V. 3 intro)
-Ragababe (Dana's Review)

These are just a few of the different brands out there. Many companies now have different versions and slight variations to their AIO diapers. My personal favorites for AIO are the Chelory and BumGenius Elementals.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! We love to share what we know about cloth!


January 23, 2013

Breaking Down Cloth-Fitteds & Wool Covers

This week, we're explaining the different types of diapers.  There are so many out there that it can become very overwhelming!  So hopefully, these explanations will help distinguish between all the different types.  I'm going to be describing fitted diapers, and then one specific type of cover--wool!  It's by far my favorite kind of cover.

Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted

Fitted diapers are a diaper that looks like a diaper (versus a prefold/flat that is just a rectangle), which is why they're called "fitteds."  However, fitteds are not waterproof, so they require a cover.  In my opinion, fitteds can be one of the most absorbent types of diapers because the whole thing is absorbent, including the wings, rather than just the rectangle insert that you would put in a pocket diaper.  This is why fitteds are considered a nighttime solution, because they can be so absorbent!  
Often, they have inserts included in them for extra absorbency.  These can be sewn in on one side (but not all the way so they dry faster), they often snap in, or they just rest in the diaper.  Other fitteds actually have a pocket inside them, so if you want to add more inserts, you can make the diaper more absorbent.  
cute fitted!
Fitted diapers often come in really cute prints!  That's one of the things I love about them.  But, because they aren't waterproof, their cuteness usually needs to be covered up.  Sometimes, if we're at home, we go without a cover, but just be careful to change your little ones as soon as they get wet....otherwise, your furniture might get wet!
Fitteds can be affordable, but keep in mind you'll also need to get covers for them.  You can get a basic fitted diaper for anywhere from $8-10, but they probably won't be really absorbent.  If you buy a fitted diaper especially for nighttime (super absorbent) or with a really cute print, they'll often run you anywhere from $16-25.  

Here's a list of the fitteds we've reviewed here on CDA:

As far as covers go, you can use PUL covers, fleece or my favorite, wool!!

EcoPosh wool soaker

Wool covers can be kind of intimidating!  They have different names, have to be hand washed, and are perceived to be very difficult to care for.  But I promise--once you learn the basics, wool is really easy!!  Almost easier than other diapers simply because you don't need to wash it very often.

Wool not only repels moisture (due to lanolin, which is added to the covers), but it can also absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture when needed.  When you drip water on a wool cover, it immediately puddles up into droplets that don't soak in right away (repelling the moisture), but when left there long enough, it will eventually soak in, and it can soak in a lot of moisture before it soaks through.
The other great benefit of wool is its breathability.  I often feel like PUL covers can act like a little oven over babies' bottoms.  Wool naturally breathes-it lets the air circulate.  I think this is really great over nighttime, when diapers get really wet!  It also helps with rashes because it lets the area breathe. 

There are a few different names for wool covers that you don't often see in other types of cloth:
-soakers (not to be confused with inserts that you add for absorbency): soakers are a cover that you need to pull up (no snaps) to cover a diaper
-shorties: a soaker with longer legs, so they can be shorts
-longies: basically, wool pants
upcycled wool longies
-cover: a cover with snaps, but made with wool rather than PUL

Wool covers can either be knitted/crocheted, or, they're often made from old sweaters (upcycled)!  How they're made often determines the price.  Really thick wool covers or hand-knit are often more expensive, while upcycled covers are often a little cheaper.  Some of the big-name covers go for anywhere from $35 to $65 for thick longies.  But you can also get upcycled longies on etsy or another homemade shop for as little as $15 to $20.  I've used both, and especially for daytime, I think they both work well.  For nighttime, specifically with a heavy wetter, I prefer a thicker wool cover.  This could be a more expensive cover, or I have cheaper covers that have an extra layer of wool sewn into the wet-zone that work just as well.

Next week I'm going to go more in-depth into washing and caring for wool, but here are the basics.  In order to be waterproof, wool needs lanolin, which is naturally occurring and comes from sheep.  You might have some at home if you breastfeed--it's a very common way of helping nipple pain.  So when washing your wool, you also "lanolize" it.  This only needs to be done once or twice a month, depending on how often you use the covers.  This might sound kind of gross--not washing them very often, but when urine and lanolin meet, it actually causes a chemical reaction that turns the urine into salt water!  So it's not like there's urine sitting in your cover until you wash it next--only salt. 

As I said, next week I'll be going more in-depth on how to wash and lanolize wool, so if you have any specific questions you'd like me to address, please ask them in the comments section!