Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Good Stuff: My Bella Baby on Etsy

I recently was introduced to a great shop on Etsy, My Bella Baby. Her creations range from the cutest darn booties you've ever seen, to washies (genius idea, we'll go into details in a bit), to tres hip hair clips. Best of all, everything is very affordable and shipping is a steal! Here are just a few of my favorites:

Ok, here's the deal with these little guys. They are a replacement for your wash cloths, one side is cotton and the other is minky. There's an elastic band on one side (easily flipable to the other though). What's so cool about this is once your little one decides he wants to do it himself, you can put that little washie on his little hand and have him give it a go. Genius!

Are you dying yet? I'm dying. I just showed Pete nearly everything on her site while making a really obnoxious "awwwwww" sound. He's forbidden me from ordering anything until I get my bearings though.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BumGenius 4.0 is here!

Well, it looks like some of my predictions were correct. The new cloth diaper announced by by Cotton Babies today is called the BumGenius 4.0. they will replace the BumGenius 3.0. Here are a list of new features:
  • Available in Snaps
  • New pastel colors: lavender, pale green, & light yellow
  • Replaceable elastic
  • Improved hook & loop closure
  • Accommodates larger baby
Check out the Youtube video for the official announcement, or the Cotton Babies blog.

Preorder the BumGenius 4.0.

What do you think about the new 4.0s? Leave a comment below!

Baby Carriers 101

So, you've probably heard of babywearing, right? It's a pretty simple concept, it just refers to using a carrier to strap your baby onto you, instead of freely carrying him or using a stroller. The most mainstream image that comes to mind for most people is the Baby Bjorn (snubbed by most avid babywearers, but that's neither here nor there). What you may not know about are all the options you have, and the pros and cons of each. So, let's talk about the most popular carrier types:

Soft Structured Carriers

What is it?
These carriers have shape and form even when not being worn and use straps and buckles to attach to your body.

Who makes them?
The most recognized manufacturer of this style is the Baby Bjorn. However, it's widely accepted in the babywearing world that the bjorn is not the best choice, some even theorize that it's bad for baby's hips because the baby isn't in the sitting position and is "crotch dangling" instead. So, what are the best choices? The Ergo, Pikkolo, and Beco are all great SSCs.

How much?
They are a little pricey, ranging from $130 - $150. However, you can get better deals on them at resale shops, and by stalking the web for sales.

Pros: Very user friendly, husband friendly, low risk of back pain, toddler friendly, easily adjustable on the go

Cons:  Expensive, not newborn friendly, not breastfeeding friendly, doesn't work well in hot climates

Mei Tai

What is it? 
A soft structured carrier with straps that wrap around you & baby, and then tie to each other instead of buckling.

Who makes them?
You can find tons of manufacturers of Mei Tais online, you can even find patterns to make one yourself. But, the most popular ones are CatBirdBaby (makers of the Pikkolo) and BabyHawk, If you are looking for a great deal, I have the bargain basement Infantino Wrap & Tie and it's just about as good as the big names.

How Much? 
The big names range from $80 - $110, you can pick up the Infantino for $35.

Pros: Low back pain risk, moderately priced, handles up to 40/45 lbs

Cons: Slight learning curve, not breastfeeding friendly, doesn't work well in hot climates

Ring Sling

What is it?

Ring slings are made of one long strip of fabric with two rings attached at one end, you weave the other end of the fabric through the rings, throw it over your shoulder, and insert baby.

Who makes them?
You can find a ton of etsy shops and DIYers that sell ring slings online. Some of the popular big manufacturers are Maya Wrap, Sakura Bloom, and Ellaroo. You can also buy swim ring slings (how ridiculously cool is that?).But, there is something to be said for buying a ring sling locally, I bought mine at a local shop and was able to go back in with my baby and have the owner help me figure out how to use it just right.

How much?
Prices can range big time on ring slings, from $40 for a simple cotton one on etsy, to $500 for a designer silk Sakura you could wear to a ball (because we all have balls to go to, right?).

Pros: Easily adjustable on the go, breastfeeding friendly, newborn friendly, fashionista friendly, works well in hot climates, affordable, toddler friendly.

Cons: Moderate learning curve, not husband friendly, back pain risk if used incorrectly.

Wrap (Stretchy)

What is it?
One long wide piece of knit fabric that is wrapped over both shoulders, around your body and baby's and can be tied in a multitude of ways.

Who makes them?
Moby is hands down the number one manufacturer of stretchy wraps. But, when you get right down to it, all it is is a really long wide piece of jersey knit fabric. If you can sew a hem you can make one of these for less than $15.

How Much?
A Moby will run you about $40. As I mentioned above, if you want to DIY you can make your own for super cheap.

Pros: Affordable, low back pain risk, newborn friendly, breastfeeding friendly, carries are extremely versatile.

Cons: Significant learning curve (youtube is your friend), difficult to adjust on the go, not toddler friendly, not husband friendly, not good in hot climate.

Wrap (Woven)

What is it?
One long wide piece of supportive fabric with very little stretch that is wrapped over both shoulders, around your body and baby's, and can be tied in a multitude of ways.. The woven wrap is designed to take over when the stretchy wraps stop providing the support you and your baby need.

Who makes it? 
Wovens are to babywearing enthusiasts as wool is to the cloth diapering world. So, instead of pretending like I'm an expert on the different manufacturers, I'm just going to go ahead and refer you to Piece of Cloth. They have a great list of top woven vendors.

How Much?
Typically $80 - $200, although you might be able to find a better deal on etsy.

Pros: Low back pain risk, toddler friendly, breastfeeding friendly, carries are extremely versatile, fashionista friendly, some are suitable for hot climate.

Cons: Significant learning curve (youtube is your friend), difficult to adjust on the go, expensive, not very husband friendly.

Well, there we have it. The list above is meant to be concise, I know I didn't cover every baby carrier out there, but I want to give moms (and maybe some dads) a good starting point that isn't intimidating. If you're left wanting more, check out these sites for more info:

The Baby Wearer
Dr. Sears on Babywearing

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Mother of all Giveaways

This is so big it's getting it's very own post. An online scavenger hunt called the Green Quiz Quest will begin on July 1st and run throughout the month. The prizes listed are crazy good.

Here's how it works: Go to Green Quiz Quest and register to seek; on July 1st at 9:00 AM Eastern Time you will get an email with your first riddle. Solve that, and continue to solve riddles sent to you, and you just might win one of the big prizes. All submissions with 80% or more correct answers will be entered for prize drawings.

The grand prize includes over fifty items from various eco friendly sponsors. Good stuff too, insanely good stuff like wool longies, a Fuzzi Bunz CD, a Thirsties AIO, and a Moby wrap.

Th first prize is not too far behind in its awesomeness, with over forty items including a Grobaby CD (my personal favorite), a wool cover, a Kissaluvs Marvel CD, and wet bags galore.

They also mention a second prize (but no details), and additional prizes such as a daily prize or additional first or second prizes if enough items are donated from sponsors.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Stripping Cloth Diapers

Since we had our first experience today with stripping diapers, I thought I'd share our experience.

A few days ago we went from being in CD utopia to Defcon 5. It seemed like every diaper we put on X leaked within an hour, and I'm not talking about a little wet spot around his legs, it was as if the flood gates had opened. He was getting drenched all up his back, or his side, or me depending on the luck of the draw.

So first things first, I started to trouble shoot the leak. Our BumGenius 3.0s hadn't leaked, so initially I didn't think detergent build up was the problem. Plus, we use Planet detergent, very CD friendly according to the detergent chart over on diaperjungle. We played around with how we were putting on his diapers, making sure they were tight enough around his waist and legs. I tried adding boosters and using different inserts. Nothing.

Then I finally decided to see if they were repelling water. So, I took one of our grovia soakers, put it under the bathroom sink faucet, and turned on the slightest little trickle I could. It puddled.

I wish I could tell you I said something like "Ah Ha! By jolly I've figured it out", instead it went something like "#$^^&$& *(^&* $%^!!!!!".

You see, I've heard horror stories about stripping diapers. A good friend of mine used Arm & Hammer detergent and had to run twelve cycles before the build up was rinsed out. Insane.

I should back up here. Incase you haven't been completely assimilated into the cloth diaper cult yet, stripping refers to getting rid of build up typically caused by excess detergent, but it can also be caused by really hard water, body oils, or using a CD unfriendly diaper rash cream. If it's just detergent, hot water should take care of the problem. But, if it's something more complicated you might need to use a little squirt of dawn, vinegar, oxi-clean, or the blood of a two headed goat. See here for details on all those fun options.

Ok, back to the fun. Once I fully accepted the situation, here's what we did:
  1. Wash dirty CDs as we typically do, but cut down to a quarter of the recommended amount of detergent instead of the half we were using.
  2. Take out just the covers & shells, throw them on top of the shower rod to dry, leaving all the inserts, soakers, and boosters in the washing machine (I should mention that we only have pocket & hybrid/all-in-two diapers, no all-in-ones)
  3. Repeat the cycle on hot with no detergent
  4. Check 15 minutes into the cycle to see if there were bubbles (there were)
  5. Repeated steps 2 & 3 until there were no bubbles (it took us 3 cycles)
  6. Dry everything
  7. Test for water repellency (it absorbed immediately, success!)
I'm not exactly sure why the BG3.0s never leaked, maybe it has something to do with the microfiber (all the rest of our soakers & inserts are cotton). But, I have no doubt that they would have eventually had the same problem.

For now we're going to keep using Planet, but cut down to 1/4 of the recommended amount. It's the only CD friendly detergent I can find locally, so I really don't want to have to change and exclusively order it online. If that doesn't work I guess I'll break down and order Rockin' Green.

Have any tips for preventing build up, or tricks to strip your cloth diapers? Leave a comment below!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Natural Ways to Repel Bugs

Lifehacker has a great article today on natural ways to repel bugs (i.e. without the spray).

I don’t know about you, but I get eaten alive in the summer time by mosquitoes. Pete’s always told me to eat pickled garlic to keep them away. Surprisingly, this works. I also discovered eating any type of garlic works (I suggest roasting it and spreading it on some yummy french bread. Never done this? You are missing out. Go here immediately).

So, suggestions from the lifehacker article include same pretty obvious things like getting rid of standing water, covering your food, burning citronella candles, and moving trashcans away. But, they also suggest some more interesting methods:
  • Build a bug trap
  • Plant a mosquito repelling garden with citronella grass, rosemary, catnip, and marigolds (you can even use the plants to cook up your very own completely natural bug spray)
  • Use non-toxic ant repellents like chalk & cucumber (cucumber, really?)
Sounds interesting, and I know Zelda the cat would be a big fan of option #2.

Lifehacker: Keep The Bugs at Bay Without Bug Spray

Weekly Blog Giveaways

Every Friday I’m going to do a weekly roundup of giveaways in the blogosphere. These may be crunchy or soggy (I’ve deemed that the opposite of crunchy), but they will always be great:

What: Nikon D90 DSLR camera & Adobe Photoshop CS4
How: Leave a comment in her blog here about what photography project she should tackle next (I voted for cows. Everyone loves cows.)
Deadline: Friday June 24th @ 2:00 Central Time

What: Organic Ergo of your choice
How:  There are 7 different ways you can enter to win, check them out here.
Deadline: Monday, July 5th @ 10:59pm Central Time

What: One dozen BumGenius 3.0 One Size Cloth Diapers
How: There are 10 different ways you can enter to win, check them out here.
Deadline: Once they reach 7500 facebook fans they will draw a winner (they have 6,571 fans now)

How:  There are 15 different ways you can enter to win, check them out here.
Deadline: Thursday, July 1st at 6:00pm Central Time

How:  There are 12 different ways you can enter to win, check them out here.
Deadline: Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:00pm Central Time

What: List of smaller, but still awesome, cloth diaper related giveaways
Who: Cloth Diaper Blog
How: See list for details
Deadline: Different for each giveaway

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The iPhone 4 is here!

I would be so much more excited about this if I had been able to preorder one before apple’s servers blew up. But, that’s ok, I don’t really need it right this second. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. In the mean time I’ve been playing around with the new features I can get on my regular old outdated 3GS with iOS4. So far, it’s pretty sweet. Multitasking is a big one, but something I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t work on all apps. Craigs Pro, for example, reloads even when using multitasking. But, according to apple, that’s the app’s fault, not theirs.

Check out all the new iPhone updates here.

Now, what does this have to do with a crispy lifestyle? Well, not too much, that’s why I don’t call myself crunchy. BUT, I did find some nifty information about how the iPhone 4 is at least a little greener than some of the other guys:

  • PVC-free handset 
  • PVC-free headphones
  • PVC-free USB cable
  • Bromine-free printed circuit boards
  • Mercury-free LCD display
  • Arsenic-free display glass
  • Majority of packaging made from post-consumer recycled fiberboard and biobased materials
  • Power adapter outperforms strictest global energy efficiency standards

Pretty sweet, right? 


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ergo on for $60 - $70

Too bad the designs are fugly, but that's ok, it's still an Ergo. Now go get yourself one before all that's left is that god awful black one. I think I'm going to have to pass since Pete won't be caught dead in any of the designs :(.

Get the Ergo tomorrrow for half off

This is huge! The Ergo, the Cadillac of soft structured baby carriers, will be going on sale tomorrow on, rumor has it they'll be 50% off. Since the cheapest ergo is $105, you bet your fluffy butt I'll be stalking babysteals, credit card in hand, at precisely 10:00am central time tomorrow.

If you aren't familiar with the Ergo, here's why it's such a big deal (stolen from the ergo website, because I'm lazy like that.)

"The ERGO Baby Carrier's ergonomic design supports a correct sitting position for the baby's hip, pelvis and spine growth. It disperses most of the baby's weight between the hips and thighs, which helps to eliminate compression of the spine when hanging by the crotch which most other designs require. The ERGO also balances the baby's weight to parents' hips and shoulders, and alleviates physical stress for the parent."

Panic in the Cloth Diapering World

The CDing blogosphere was thrown into a tizzy today as Cotton Babies made the announcement that they would be discontinuing their widely popular BumGenius 3.0 pocket diapers. What will they be replaced with? Well, you're just going to have to wait and find out, because they aren't telling us until next week. Pretty genius marketing if you ask me, everyone is talking about it. And by everyone, I mean people who have cloth diapering blogs.

We have a couple BG3.0s, and I'm going to go ahead and predict the next product right now. Go ahead, brace yourself.

The next product will be called BumGenius 4.0 and they'll have snaps, or maybe even nicer velcro (I'll never understand why it's called aplix just because it's on a cloth diaper) similar to what Grovia uses. You see, Cotton Babies offers a one year warranty with all their diapers, and the biggest complaint I've heard about BGs is wearing velcro. I bet they're getting sick of fixing so many worn our diapers after 8 months, the next version is bound to address that issue.

But, I could be completely wrong. We'll just have to wait and see. Cotton Babies is making the announcement about the new product on June 29th.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kleenex thinks you are dumb

That's the only explanation I can come up with after seeing their new product, Kleenex Hand Towels.

Now, don't get me wrong, we have paper towels in the house, but these are not marketed as paper towels. Kleenex is running a smear campaign against your evil cloth hand towels, and they want you to replace them with their disposable towels.

What's wrong with regular hand towels you ask? Well, they are filthy, you run the risk of bringing back small pox every time you use one. Which begs the question, when are they coming out with disposable pants? Sometimes (and by sometimes, I mean all the time) I'll wear jeans 3 or 4 times between washings. Help me kleenex, before they bring back the plague.

The best part is they've come up with this cute little song to market to kids, here are the lyrics:

My hands are gonna be clean
When I wash and I dry with mommy and sing
This song that's exactly two clean hands long
Warm water and soap and bubbles that shine
A Kleenex Hand Towel that's mine all mine
And a song that's exactly two clean hands long
No yucky old towel's gonna ruin my day
I dry my hands the Kleenex towel way
So if you're a fan of clean hands too
Roll up your sleeves and I'll sing with you.


Obligatory First Post

Does anyone read these posts? I know I never do, but I hate to anger the blog gods by skipping it.

So, here goes; all about me and this blog, in list format, because that means you just might read it: 
  • Name: Laine
  • Age: 29 (and staying there, don’t bother trying to do math if it’s 2012. I’m still 29) 
  • Location: St. Louis, Missouri
  • Mom to the coolest little dude ever, Xavier, born in March of 2010
  • Wife to Pete, the most patient man ever
  • Owner of a 100+ year old rehabber we bought during my pregnancy induced insanity
  •  Furmomma to Ginger the Dog, Zelda the Cat, and Sam the Turtle

Here’s why I started this blog, stay with me just a minute, it’ll be short and painless:

I’m what I guess you'd call crispy (if that sort of thing is in your vernacular). Not exactly crunchy, not exactly uncrunchy (please message me if you know the opposite of crunchy, soggy maybe?), I fall in the middle. We cloth diaper, but we’re not switching to family cloth, I don’t use prefolds, and synthetic fabrics routinely touch X’s booty. I try to shop organic , locally, and free range; but damnit, sometimes you just want a strawberry blizzard and cheeseburger. So, this blog is about bringing out your inner hippie as a parent and person, just a little bit. You’ll get to keep your shoes on, and I promise I will never post a vegan cheesecake recipe.