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May 30, 2013

Charlie Banana

I have been cloth diapering for two years now and I have never tried a Charlie Banana diaper until now. I am honestly not sure why as I have seen them around on swap groups and in various cloth diapering stores. They have incredibly cute prints and I have always liked what I had seen. 

I was sent this OS diaper in their "Kate" print. They also have a "William" print and they are both part of their Fashion Collection.

Isn't this adorable? It is a one size pocket diaper. If you noticed there are no snaps on the rise to make it a one size, you were right. They have a unique feature which allows the rise to be adjusted through the inside leg elastic. I wasn't sure how I'd like that but it was really easy to do!

I love this print!

When you get a brand new Charlie Banana diaper, you'll get two microfiber inserts. One is a newborn size which is smaller and a toddler size which is larger. You can use one or both depending on your babies wetting needs.

Here is the inside of the diaper. It has the pocket opening at the front (or belly) part of the diaper. 

The opening is wide enough for Dad to help stuff the insert in as well! It also has a nice size flap that covers the opening to prevent the microfiber from touching baby's skin.

The adjustable strap reminded me of a bra strap adjuster. It was really easy to use and there were several different size adjustments to fit what your baby would need. There were 3 levels for each size S, M and L and one for XS. 

When I tightened it to the XS, it didn't feel like the elastic was being over pulled. It still felt like it was not over stretched and would last a long time.

To adjust these was quick and very simple. It was easy to find the elastic, adjust it and then put it back. All of it lay flat in the diaper and did not create any sort of bulk.

There is a full row of snaps along the waist/belly area and then another row of snaps that encircle the leg. I find that this is great for preventing wing droop. You can get the perfect fit but snapping where you need. (Think tiny waist and chubby thighs) 

We were able to get a good snug fit with the Charlie Banana diaper. 

It is small enough to fit in the wetzone without being too bulky.

There is a crossover snap for when you use the smaller rise settings. This would work great for a newborn or smaller baby. (I'll let you know in November how it works on tiny ones!)

The elastic around the leg fit just right at the setting we had it at. It was not to tight but snug enough to keep it from leaking. 

The diaper was super trim!

Overall, we loved this diaper! I cannot believe we waited so long to try one out! I was a little nervous at first about the elastic adjustment for the rise but you don't have to change it that often and I have had diapers in the past that have the rise snaps pop open often! You'll never have that problem with this one! 

Charlie Banana also offers diapers in specific sizes and several prints and colors. They also have a line of wetbags, mama cloth, swim diapers, nursing pads and laundry detergent as well.

 If you are a little leery of buying online or are new to cloth and want to see them in person, head to your local Target store! Target now carries an entire line of Charlie Banana diapers! We love Charlie Banana for breaking into mainstream stores to show the world about cloth! 

Is there a diaper that you have been curious about but haven't tried it yet? Let me know in the comments!

Sodee Naturals

In honor of Moms who need a little pampering, I'd love to share with you: Sodee Naturals. These are amazing products that make you feel wonderful and leave your skin and hair smooth. I love that they are all natural and the company really tries to keep packaging to a minimum. They were wonderful to work with and were extremely helpful with any questions that I had. 

I ordered the Grand Sample Box and was sent a few extras as well. I was so excited to get to try out so many things. I usually don't splurge on myself so I was so excited that all of these were for me me me! 

These are the shampoo and conditioning bars. I have never used a bar shampoo before so it took a little bit to get used to. You'll want to make sure you put them on a rack or container that they can dry on easily. I got the Amla Hair Builder Shampoo and the Pomegranate conditioning bar. They both smell like Pomegranate and were delightful! I loved how they made my hair feel especially with hard water! They are good for 50-70 uses. 

Here is the Egg White Soap for your face. I don't really have a regular face routine but I do now. I love how this made my face feel and it helps to reduce the pore size on your face. I did have a little trouble at first because it recommends keeping it on for about 5 minutes. That gets a little tricky with 3 kids running around so I just changed my routine at little bit and started using it at night. I love that I finally found something that I can pamper myself with a little bit!

I have really dry skin and it drives me crazy when my face gets dry. I got to try this Facial lotion. It starts out thicker but then starts to thin out and is really easy to rub in. They have 3 facial lotions to choose from: 24 hour moisture, normal to dry skin and Oily skin. This has really helped with my dry skin and feels so delicate going on. I love that it is just lightly scented and not over powering. 

Body Butter. I love this Body Butter. It is so thick and creamy and works wonders on my dry knees and elbows. I chose Sweet Pink Grapefruit and the scent was light and wonderful. Now that I am expecting #4 I am also starting to use it on my belly to help with stretch marks. It contains shea butter and cocoa butter. I am going to need to get more soon!

I was also sent this sample pack for eczema. I haven't had a chance to use it yet as I want to try it out on Lincoln's arms. We are waiting for a few things to clear up on his skin before we test it out. I will post an update as soon as we do though!

And last but not least...Stainbuster soap. This works great on cloth diapers! It also works really well on clothing. We will be busting out our newborn baby clothes soon and I have been told it works great to get those stains out that pop up after storage. (Think milk stains that show up around the collar) I'll let you know how it works for those. As for cloth diapers, you just wet the diaper and then rub the dry bar onto the stains. I found that doing the initial rinse and then pulling out the diapers before the hot wash is a great time to apply the stainbusting soap. You can also run them through a full wash and as you get ready to hang them up, see what still needs a little staining help and then apply it. You can let it sit on your diaper until your next wash. 

I have loved everything that Sodee Naturals has sent me. Each item is so unique and lets Mommy have some special things of her own! I think my favorite item has been the Egg White face wash but I really have loved it all. You can get any or all of these products HERE. Sodee Naturals also has boxed sets which allows you to get a discount and you still get to pick the scents that you like. You can also check out their BLOG for upcoming sales and other great information! 
They currently have a sale running until the end of May where you can get 30% off all products! Just use code Mom. That is such a great day! Hurry though...it ends tomorrow!

GreenChild Creations

I'd like to introduce you to GreenChild Creations. I actually found them on Etsy at first and loved the uniqueness of them. I was sent a OS Flannel Fitted Pocket. If you have no idea what that is...that is ok! I will fill you in and probably get you hooked on them.

Here is the diaper that I was sent. It is a one size which means it can fit from birth to potty training. It is made out of flannel and has a pocket opening to fit an insert into. A fitted is a diaper that does not have any waterproofing built into it and you'll need a cover of some sort to keep everything dry.

I love this print. My husband is a firefighter so it quickly became one that we used often because of the print.

Here is the inside and part of what makes this diaper so unique. She makes them without snaps so that you can get the custom fit for your baby. The long part on the bottom of the picture folds up to the rise that you need as well and will sit at the belly.

This is the pocket opening to fit in any type of insert that you like. It is big enough to fit a microfiber insert, a smaller prefold or two hemp. These are what we tried. I am sure you could get more in to meet the needs of your little one for wetness. If you have a newborn or a smaller baby, you may not need to even add an insert because the diaper itself will absorb some as well. 

Here is how I folded the rise. I started with a small part...(about 3 inches)

And then folded that one more time. 

Here is what it looked liked once it was all folded up. I personally am not a huge fan of pins but these worked really well with what we needed for a waist adjustment.

Starting to get it on.

It was a little tricky with a wiggly baby but easy enough to get the fit you need. 

We got a good snug fit around the legs and belly.

Because there is elastic around the leg area, you wont have any leakage or explosions! 

Overall we really liked this diaper. It had so many options for absorbency and rise/waist adjustments that it truly is a one size diaper. My husband loved the print but hated that it had pins. I didn't mind them but I think you could easily use a Snappi or Boingo on it as well. We used a Bummis cover and that worked well for us for on top. The only bummer was that you couldn't see the cute print! After several washes, the print did fade as it is flannel but it became much softer than when I first got it.

GreenChild Creations also offers homemade soaps, salves and even butt cream! You'll find several different prints on her Etsy page and her Facebook page

GreenChild Creations is also offering THIS OS Flannel Fitted Pocket to one lucky reader!
I love this print too! Just fill out the Rafflecoptor form by midnight June 6th. Entries will be double checked and winner will be announced Monday!

Make sure to read the entries carefully!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pourty Potty

When my daughter decided to potty train sooner than we expected, I knew we had to find something that would work for her since she was so small(only 22 months). We came across the Pourty Potty and really liked the design and the fact that it wouldn't drip when being emptied. 

There is a hole in the front that works as a handle for pouring. The dip in the back is where you empty the contents out. We loved that it never dripped all over the toilet seat...even when we had some "helpers" think that they needed to pour as well.

She picked out blue but they also have bright pink, cream and a gorgeous purple. The handle in the front is big enough for Dad to help empty as well but it is also great because your hands never get dirty either. The plastic that it is made out of is really durable and strong. It is all one solid piece with no little ridges anywhere. I absolutely loved that. We have had potty's in the past that had so many nooks and crannies and cleaning them was awful. This can be easily rinsed or wiped without having to worry about some of the mess getting stuck in a corner somewhere. That was also great for keeping the stinkies away! We never had a problem with smells!

Here is the back where you would empty it. You can also see at the front there is a little spot for boys in case they pee a little too high. The actual seat has a nice width on it and my daughter felt comfortable on it and didn't worry about falling in. She also never had it stick to her bottom either. It rises up high enough in the back as well so they can figure out where to put their butt for a comfortable position.

The actual potty is not very tall but this worked perfect for my little mini. Since she trained so early she was still pretty short and this has worked great for us. I don't think it would work well for an older child or a child who is extremely tall for their age. I had my older kids sit on it for that purpose to see what might work well. My son (age 3.5) was able to sit on it but it didn't work for him to actually go. I'd recommend it for younger or smaller children. From what I have noticed though, babies who are cloth diapered tend to train sooner so this would work great! 

On their website I found this "The Pourty is larger and has a wider flatter seating area than most one piece potties, but it is a little lower than some of the two piece and 3-in-1 potties. This allows the child to get into a good position to pee and poo. Medical evidence shows that squatting is the best position for emptying bladder and bowels efficiently and healthily."

Overall we loved this potty. It's size worked great for us and I loved that it didn't spill even when the kids wanted to help pour. I love how incredibly easy it is to clean and that it never left any odors! They also have a Flexi-Fit Toilet Trainer that looks incredible as well if your little one doesn't seem to want to try a little potty or are beyond that stage.
At what age did your little one train?

Have you tried the Pouty Potty? They would love to hear your feedback on Amazon. Here is the link

May 29, 2013

Diva Cup!!

Even though Mother's Day is over, I thought I'd share a little about my experience with a product that has made my life as a mom (and just a woman in general) a whole lot easier-the Diva Cup.  Now, for those of you who have never heard of the Diva Cup, it's a menstrual cup that takes the place of tampons and pads.  And I absolutely love it.

Back in college, one of my roommates who studied abroad for a semester, came back and told us about the Diva Cup she had used while she was out of the country.  I thought she was nuts.  A cup that you have to stick up there that holds everything?  So gross!!  However, the more questions I asked, the less crazy she sounded.  She had explained that it was a lot more sanitary than it sounded, you didn't need to worry about buying "feminine products" at all, and it saves a lot of garbage and waste.  All of those things sounded good to me, so a few months and a lot of online research later, I decided to go ahead and try it out.  Initially, it seemed expensive, at almost $40, but I figured that if it saved me from having to buy tampons every month, I'd make the money back in just a few months.  That was almost 6 years ago, and I haven't bought tampons since.  The Diva Cup is said to last a year or two and to check it often for signs of wear.  I had my first one for almost 4 years with no wear and tear at all--the only reason I got rid of it was that I had a baby and moved up to Size 2 (they come in 2 sizes-Size 1, for women under 30 who have never had a child, and Size 2, for women over 30 OR who have had a child).

Now, I will admit that the Diva Cup has a little bit of a learning curve. I didn't have much trouble getting the hang of it, but I've talked to some people that it's taken a few months to get it right.  The biggest problem is getting it in correctly.  I always just fold my cup into quarters (well, in half and then in half again).  In my opinion, it helps to get it wet ahead of time so it goes in easier.  But it basically just sits pretty low in your vagina-your muscles hold it in place.  In the directions, it says you can tell that its in correctly when you can turn it in a circle using the little stem.  I'm never really able to do that, but I can usually tell that it's in correctly when I can pull it down gently and it doesn't move (now, obviously, if I pulled harder, it would come out, but I just pull gently enough to know that it's expanded to its full shape).

So, how does it work?  Basically, once you have the Diva Cup in place, it just collects all the blood, and you dump it into the toilet, rinse/wash it out, and put it back in.  Easy!  No garbage, no mess (honestly!!), and no waste.  And the blood in the cup is actually not as gross as it sounds.  In my opinion, it's actually much less disgusting than seeing it on a pad.  And you never have to worry about the pain of pulling out a dry-ish tampon again.  Plus, you don't need to worry about forgetting tampons/pads while you're out! 
To wash it, they have a special "Diva Wash," but I just use plain, old soap.  My sister thinks that's disgusting, but I've never had any kind of problem with it.  And if you're worried about it, you can just buy the special wash.  I just do a quick wash every time I take it out.  Between periods, I sterilize it by boiling it for 5-10 minutes and keeping it in the bag that it comes in to keep it clean.

The question I'm asked most often is what to do if you're in a public restroom.  And quite honestly, I rarely need to empty it while I'm in a public restroom--one of the best things about using the Diva Cup is that you only need to change it 2-3 times a day, depending on your flow!!  Even on my heaviest days, I only need to change it 3 times a day, and the rest of the week, I just empty it when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed. So, usually, I can time it so I never need to empty it while I'm out and about.  But if you do, I just skip the wash.  I just wipe it out with a little toilet paper and stick it back in, making sure to do a really good wash the next time I empty it.  It's that easy!  

So, does it leak?  Honestly, I think I've only had my Diva Cup leak twice in the nearly 6 years I've used it, and both times were my own fault.  Once was because I had a pretty heavy flow and forgot to empty it in the afternoon.  And the other time, it didn't open up completely when I put it in, so it leaked.  But both times I could tell there was a leak right away, so I was able to fix it before it became a problem.  Now, I know a lot of people have some trouble in the beginning, but if you stick with it and figure out the best way to insert it, it's definitely worth it!!

Overall, I am in love with the Diva Cup and would never, ever go back to tampons and pads again!!  I love how much money I save, how much garbage I'm keeping out of the landfills, and I love how easy it is (once you get the hang of it).  I, quite honestly, would never use anything besides a menstrual cup again.  The Diva Cup isn't the only menstrual cup on the market-I've also heard of the Lunette and the Mooncup, but have never tried either out.  

Have any of you ever tried a menstrual cup?  What is the best or worst part about using one?  If you have any questions, please let me know!!  I'm not an expert, but will help if I can!

**The review and opinions above are completely my own.  I did not receive anything for the review, except the hope that maybe a few of you will try out a menstrual cup!!**

May 28, 2013

Brown Cow Cotton

The next Flats review I have to share with you all is a shop called Brown Cow Cotton. Owned and made by WAHM, Elissa, Brown Cow Cotton sells adorable diaper covers and flats. Elissa sent me a One Size Diaper Cover and an Organic Cotton flat to review.

The cover and flat came with a sweet ribbon tied around them. I just love the Brown Cow Cotton labels that Elissa uses! 

The inside of the cover is lined with organic cotton, which keeps all the PUL away from your baby's skin. The stitching on this cover is perfect, and I love the soft luxurious cotton that lines it.

This is a one size cover that fits most babies from 8-35 pounds. The picture below shows the diaper snapped on the smallest settings. I definitely think this could have fit Ava when she was small.  

The organic cotton flat that I received to review is just awesome. The cotton is buttery soft, and Elissa makes these into just about a perfect square. Some of my other flats tend to pull or warp when they are washed and then dried, but this has held it's shape really well.

I was especially impressed with the serging on this flat. I've had serged items before that make me worry about the threads coming undone, but this flat has beautiful serging.

This flat was really fun to practice folds on because of its nice square shape. The soft cotton holds a fold really nicely and every fold I've done looks really awesome with this flat.

Above and below here are an Origami Fold. The picture below I simply tied the ends in front, but when I use it on Ava I snappi it or pin it.

Here is the same origami fold on Ava. It got a little messy looking because I was trying to find a cute way to display the tag for the photo! As you can see, it didn't work.

This is the cover over that same Origami Fold. I struggled a little to get the cover to completely cover this particular fold, but I suspect that that was more because I was still learning the folds. I have since had the cover over other folds and haven't had that problem again.

I felt like we got a really trim fit with this cover and flat combo, and Ava seemed really comfortable in it.

This picture below is a front view of the cover over a pad folded flat. I discovered that I preferred the pad fold for this cover, mostly because I could "pre-load" the flat into the cover and basically have an "all-in-one."

Overall we just love this diaper combo! The only thing that I did notice on this cover was that the farthest outside waist snaps could touch baby's skin when you get to the bigger sizing for this cover. I saw on Brown Cow Cotton's Etsy store that she does sell Snap Snuggies to keep these snaps off of baby's skin if you need them though! This diaper has fantastic absorbency though, and we got a really nice fit with the cover. There are some really cute and unique prints in Brown Cow Cotton's Etsy shop that I just love! Check out her adorable covers and awesome flats on Facebook and on Etsy.