Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Extra Entries for $25 Diapers Etc. Gift Card!

        Want a few more entries to win the $25 Diapers Etc. gift card?

1. Read my C3T post and join the challenge by "liking" the C3T Facebook page (as described in the post). Leave a comment on the original giveaway post stating that you did so (if you already have taken the challenge, that counts). 

2. Read and comment on any of my other posts (make sure to again comment on the original giveaway post stating that you did so). Each comment counts as one entry. If you look at the right sidebar, you'll see the category for cloth diapers which probably would be of interest to you. 

It's as simple as that :) Thanks for entering the giveaway! 

Change Three Things (C3T)- The Cloth Diaper Revoultion


          Have I mentioned how much I love the company Cotton Babies? In addition to having some amazing products, they also have the most wonderful customer service and outstanding advocacy initiatives! One such initiative was launched last week and is entitled, "Change 3 Things," or C3T.
       The goal of the initiative is to get 100,000 parents committed to change 3 cloth diapers per day therefore preventing 30-50 million pounds of landfill waste, and 100 million disposable diapers not purchased saving families 24 million dollars! (See their original blog post to find out how they came up with these numbers). WOW! Those are some goals :)
       In order to meet these goals, Cotton Babies is asking families to change 3 cloth diapers a day. It's as simple as that, hence the name "Change 3 Things." If you've ever wondered if even using cloth part-time is worth it, this challenge demonstrates that it is. So what difference can changing just 3 cloth diapers a day do? Listed below are the facts copied and pasted from the Cotton Babies Blog:

Why three diapers?
We are busy parents too and really appreciate achievable, manageable goals. Changing three cloth diapers a day is something that almost any parent can do (stay at home or working).

Do my 3 cloth diapers per day really matter?
Yes, it matters! When I get calls from mainstream media, one of the first questions they ask is "how many people use cloth diapers?" This has been true with every major parenting publication and news organization (including Time Magazine) that I've ever spoken with. It's next to impossible to answer that question because we don't know. This not only gives us a way to answer that question but it also gives us a way to measure how many cloth diapers are being used every day. Is it perfect? No, but it's a start.

How does it really change me?
Every cloth diaper saves about $.25 (depending on what brand of disposables you buy). If you save $.75 a day, it may not seem like much, but those three diapers can save you approximately $260 over the upcoming year. In addition to the savings per diaper, you can save yourself time, money and gas for those emergency trips to the store when you run out of diapers.

As parents, we know how frustrating it is to do those repetitive tasks like dishes, laundry, picking up toys, and changing diapers only to turn around and do it again a short time later. By joining the Change 3 Things revolution, you can take one of those repetitive tasks and turn it into an opportunity to create lasting impact that your two year old can’t undo in five minutes.

Building a foundation of accomplished goals makes us feel we can achieve more. The Change 3 Things campaign is a great place to start and could set in motion habits that build your confidence, empowering you to revolutionize your family.
How does it change my baby?
By using cloth diapers, you choose everything that touches your baby’s skin. Additionally, you could brighten baby’s future by applying the financial savings of cloth diapering towards their education…$0.75 a day in a savings account adds up quickly.

Does it really change the entire planet?

Did you know it could take as much as 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose? That’s right, disposables YOU once wore could be … still out there, full of well, you know. One baby in disposables could contribute as much as one ton of waste to a local landfill! Your participation in this revolution of change could prevent the disposal of as much as 55 million pounds of waste. 

        Convinced yet? To help make it even easier, Cotton Babies has designed some very affordable cloth packages to help families meet the C3T goal. 

The awesome pocket diapers, the Bum Genius 4.0, can be purchased for $53.10!

One of my favorite diapers, The Flip All-in-two, can be purchased for $49.95!

And the most affordable of all, the Econobum Trial pack is only $11.95!

         If you've wanted to try cloth, but have been intimidated to do so, now is the time! Modern cloth diapers have never been easier or more affordable. Cotton Babies even has live online support to help answer any diaper-related questions that you might have (located below the product index on the main store page). 
       So, how do you join the revolution? Simply commit to changing three cloth diapers a day and "like" the C3T Facebook Page.  Then spread the love by sharing this initiative with others. I've accepted the challenge, have you? If not, what's holding you back? (I'd love to hear your thoughts and promise to give non-judgmental feedback). 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birth Matters

          SO I have baby on the brain lately. Everywhere I go, it seems there are newbie squishees... The crazy part is that I've never really been a "newborn" person. Maybe it just took me awhile to "warm-up" to them, or maybe it's just because as each day progresses, Little Man looks less like a baby, and much more like a boy and it's making me extremely sentimental...
       Anywho, I've been chatting back-and-forth with a friend that is struggling with the thought of TTC after previously having a cesarean. It's crazy how much one scar can lead to so many...
        She asked me, "Why does birth matter so much to me?" I've often asked myself that very same question. Why is it that I would fight to- the-death for something that other woman will happily do heavily sedated and on their backs? Why does it matter so much to me? 
       The more I think about it, the more it seems to be a very personal answer. I guess the answer that I've come up with is that we were created to give birth- our bodies were made to push a baby out and if you are in tune with the natural flow of life, then that desire is recognized. Or at least that's why birth matters to me. I know in my brain that normal birth is better for me and my baby, I know what the research says about its importance, but I'm not always sure why it's such an ingrain desire. I'm sure it's different for different women. 
       I'd love to hear your thoughts on why birth matters to you (and if it doesn't, with all due respect, please don't bother to comment). 

Monday, February 14, 2011

**CLOSED The Cloth Diaper Hobbyist- (For the LOVE of Cloth Diapers: A Diapers Etc. Blog Party and Giveaway)

The giveaway portion of this post in now closed. Random.org chose comment number 102 made by erinnicole14@gmail.com. Erin, you should have gotten an email from Debbie. CONGRATS! Thanks to everyone that entered! 

            Hi! My name is Robin, and I'm a "fluff" addict... For those of you that know me, either online, or in real life, you know that one of the things I'm passionate about is cloth diapering. I have chosen to use cloth for my baby for many reasons (all of which are outlined here), but an unexpected perk of switching from disposable to cloth was that I found it to be a new hobby. 
        Ok, so I know what you may thinking (unless of course you are already a cloth diaper nut like myself), "Really? Diapers? What could be so exciting about diapers?" (also a question that the hubcap has asked me from time-to-time). And my answer of course is, have you seen modern cloth diapers? There are sooooo many options out there as far as brand, model, and style, and also, they are so stinking cute! Once I made the switch to cloth, I quickly found myself researching and participating in online discussions about the latest trends and designs (check out Eco Chic Parties for the latest cloth diaper happenings and events). I was completely sucked in and couldn't wait to get my hands on more diapers (again, you're probably thinking, "Seriously?" but go ahead, I dare you to make that first cloth diaper purchase and see how quickly it becomes fun). 
          The love of cloth diapers has sparked a huge underground online movement and community! I'm so proud to say I've "met" many amazing mamas and papas along my cloth diaper journey that I probably wouldn't have run into otherwise. Mothering, as much of a blessing as it is, can sometimes be such a lonely and monotonous lifestyle, but using cloth has added a bit of fun into the every day ordinary. It sounds crazy, but having cloth diapers as a hobby has made life not just another day another diaper. Changing a diaper that's fun, stylish, and uber-cute, takes a bit of the pain out of diaper changes. 
         Now, to you, my insanely awesome cloth diaper hobbyist readers and friends, I salute you for your love of cloth and the difference you are making for baby bums, budgets, and mother earth. My fellow cloth diaper advocates, I'm sure you have found cloth diapering to be both addictive and exhilarating. To my cloth diapering community, have you admit-tingly become a "fluff" addict like myself? 
        Here's a "You Might be a Cloth Diaper Addict Top Ten List" to check and see if you are indeed a bit more than a simple cloth diaper advocate. If you find yourself, thinking, saying, knowing, or doing any of the following, you may indeed need some retail therapy.

You Might be a Cloth Diaper Addict if:

10. A "snappi" has nothing to do with tomatoes or pizza...

9. Your "stash" is not made up of anything illegal...

8. You spend your free time arranging your stash into fun designs (for contest purposes only, of course!)

7. "OH-MY-GOSH! It glows in the dark?" 

6. "FLIP" has nothing to do with gymnastics...

5. To significant other, "But I don't have this print!"

4. "OH! It's been an hour- I can tweet AGAIN!"

3. "ARTIST SERIES"  warrants third child...

2. Diaper inspires photo opps (see slideshow below). 

AND the number 1. way you can tell if you are a cloth diaper addict is, 

The thought of potty training makes your stomach churn and causes it 
to be tough to get out of bed in the morning....

          I hope you enjoyed my "Top Ten" list. I may or may not be guilty of any or all of the above statements. My addiction love certainly has nothing to do with the below slide show...

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read my post. Make sure to visit all of the awesome blogs participating in the very first Eco Chic 
Parties Blog Party sponsored by Diapers Etc. To read more about the 
blog party, check out this post by Eco Chic Parties. (And listed below,
are all the other blogs participating!)

       Diapers Etc. is a wonderful online retailer where you can feed your 
fix and support your cloth diapering habit (notice the links above in the 
top ten list). The Happy Heiny's Skull Print diaper in the above slideshow 
came from Diapers Etc. You can find that print, along with many others, at the newly made-over site.
      AND, here's the really exciting part- Debbie, the owner of Diapers Etc., has graciously offered to giveaway a $25 gift certificate to Diapers 
Etc. to one lucky reader (each blog participating in the blog party is also hosting a giveaway).

SO, how do you win?

Visit Diapers Etc., sign up for their newsletter on the homepage of
their store, and tell me what you would buy if you won the $25 gc.

Extra Entries:
Mandatory entry MUST be completed first.
1. Like Diapers Etc. on Facebook (one entry).
2. Follow Diapers, Etc. on TWITTER (one entry).
3. Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect (at bottom of blog, one entry).
4. Like Eco Chic Parties on Facebook(one entry).
5. Follow Eco Chic Parties on TWITTER (one entry).
6. Tweet about my post with link back to this page. Must include  
@EcoChicSidekick and @Diapersetc. You may tweet once a day and each tweet counts as an entry. Something like, "Are you a #clothdiapers addict? #Win a $25 gc 2 @DiapersEtc from @EcoChicSidekick http://bit.ly/euE0zS "

Leave a comment for each entry and make sure to leave your email if
it's not visible in your profile. Contest runs from midnight Feb. 14, 2011,
until midnight Feb. 28, 2011. Winner will be chosen via Random.org and 
then notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new
winner will be chosen.

To participate, you must be 18 years of age and live in the continental

Disclosure:  This party is part of an integrated marketing project between 
Eco Chic Parties and Diapers Etc. I received the Happy Heiny's Skull Print
for participating in this party however my opinions and post has not 
been influenced by my participation. 


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Funk Rock Review

        Got stink? As much as I love cloth diapers, I have to admit that nothing is more frustrating than dealing with the dreaded ammonia stench. I use Rockin Green Soap for my diaper laundry and for the most part, it does a good job at keeping the stink at bay. Every few months, however (especially in the winter when I can't get my diapers on the line as much), I notice the ammonia smell to creep it's ugly head back into my diapers. It starts as a mild nuisance and gradually builds its way up to an eye watering, wretched stench as soon as one of the boys pees (I use mainly pocket diapers). I've tried every stripping method I can find, but still, the smell rears its ugly head...
         Enter a new product, FUNK ROCK from none other than the geniuses behind Rockin Green Laundry Detergent! Known as the "Ammonia Bouncer," Rockin' Green describes its product as :

Do you have the funk? Stinkies? Ammonia problems? Diapers that make your eyes water? Have you considered a kryptonite lined diaper pail to contain the smell of your dirty diapers? Did fluffy or fido have an accident on your bunny slippers? Dealing with the dreaded toddler pee? You need funk rock! This 100% natural compound is unlike anything you have tried before. It targets funk at the source and leaves no prisoners. Just 4 tablespoons is enough to de-funk up to 20 diapers in one sitting. A little to your pre-wash to keep the stinkies from coming back. That’s right, this little 9 ounce bag will keep the diaper funk away for over a month! Phosphate Free – Enzyme Free – SLS Free

      Kim, the creator and owner of Rockin' Green, graciously gave me the opportunity to review her newest product. Since both of my boys are in the toddler stage (and beyond), I was more than happy to get this opportunity! I received the 9 oz bag of Funk Rock, pictured below, about a month ago. 

Notice the size of the bag compared to the regular detergent.

          The first thing that caught my eye upon arrival was the size of the bag. In my head, I was thinking it would be the same size as the regular detergent bag, but it was quite a deal smaller (and if you read the product description it does say 15 loads compared to the 45/60 loads of the regular detergent). The 9 oz bag retails for $12.95 and should help you maintain your cloth diaper stink for about a month. The directions on the bag read:

How to Use:
1. Throw everythin in the washer, sink, tub, or bucket.
2. Add 4 tbs of Funk Rock with hot or warm water.
3. Let it soak for 30-60 minutes.
4. Rinse, and wash like normal using Rockin' Green detergent.

(The bag also states that you can maintain your diapers by adding a tablespoon to your cold pre-rinse or wash every load and also recommends doing an overnight soak in Rockin' Green prior to doing a Funk Rock treatment for best results). 

          I have a rather large stash, since I have two in cloth, so I was ready to start my stripping right away, and crossing my fingers that Funk Rock would perform as promised. I did four loads of 15-20 diapers and couldn't wait to see how the freshly washed diapers smelled upon being soiled (LOL- things you never thought you would be excited about). And guess what, you know that awesome, fresh, exhilarating smell of nothing that happens when your diapers are washed properly, well that's what I smelled- NOTHING! Absolutely NOTHING- WAHOO! The ammonia smell that had been eluding me for so long had finally seemed to disappear! My mostly microfiber inserts were suddenly light and fluffy and I was thrilled! The true test, however, would be to see if the smell stayed away for good...
           Fast-forward about a month. Since using Funk Rock a little more than a month ago (and  I also got about 2 maintaining loads out of the bag), I still have fresh, smell-free diapers! I am truly amazed at the power of this product. Nothing has worked this long at keeping the ammonia stench away! My only sadness is that the product was used so fast. I give this product :

     5 out of 5 Diapers for Quality 


3 out of 5 Diapers for Quantity 

           Bottom line, if you are currently battling the ammonia stench, this product may save your sanity and your love for cloth, but it is a bit on the expensive side so may be hard to use continuously. I would love to see Rockin' Green add whatever extra ingredients (can't find the Funk Rock ingredients listed anywhere) of Funk Rock to their existing detergent for an "Extra Hard Rock" formula option (and would gladly pay a few bucks more for that product). Overall, I'm very pleased to have my diapers smelling clean once again and would recommend this product to the cloth community.

Disclosure: The Funk Rock product reviewed above was given to me free of charge by Rockin' Green Detergent for the sole purpose of review. The opinions of this post are strictly my own. See my PR Friendly tab for my full disclosure policy. 

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Upside Down 41/365

So Little Man LOVES to be upside down- notice the smile? Seriously, he laughs and signs more over and over whenever the opportunity to be an opossum presents itself. It will be a miracle if he doesn't have stitches by his second birthday. Anyone else have a toddler that loves to be upside down?

Monday, February 7, 2011

15 mths 38/365

         It's so hard to believe that Little Man is already 15 mths! As cliche as it sounds, it does go by way too fast... I took Little Man to his 15 mth well visit at the ped today. He weighed in at 21 lbs 15 oz, and was 2 ft. 6 inches (both at the 13 percentile). His growth has slowed down considerably considering he was in the 95 percentile at this time last year (all baby chunk). It's really no surprise to me though considering his parent's size and his amount of activity...

          At this time last year, my chunker looked like this:    

          And now he looks like this:

      It's so fun to see his "little" personality blossoming and to see him learning and saying new things. He loves to be a ham and I fear love that he has that Type A personality- happy and always cuddly. He currently says, "mama, dada, cat, hi, uke (for Luke), Emma, bottle, cup, milk, car, more," and, "eat." He also has a few signs and shakes his head yes and no. It's such a blessing to see him and Big Boy developing their brotherly relationship and communicating.
        Love you so much, Little Man! You bring so much joy to my life every day and I can't wait to see you grow and change throughout the next 3 mths (until his 18 mth well-visit). 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Haircut 37/365


Snip, snap-
Lots of locks softly flow,
Down to the ground.

Big Boy and I wrote this after looking at this picture of Little Man getting his hair cut by his Grammie. We talked about the sound of the scissors and what we saw and then wrote this simple poem.

I'm always amazed about how grown-up my boys look after getting a hair cut- not sure what it is, but somehow it ages them :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cat-Owl 36/365

Tawny OwlImage via Wikipedia
Round owl eyes-
feather-like fur;
casting shadows on the bedroom floor
as you silently...creep...away.

I was reading Owl Moon to Big Boy last night and when we got to the page where they finally find the owl, he pointed at the illustration and said, "Stella." Stella is our cat pictured above. After he said that, it struck me how children are natural poets often speaking in similes and metaphors. Children see the world is a beautifully innocent way that allows their brains to speak poetry. So today, we took a picture of Stella and then printed it out. I got the book back out and we took the picture and placed them side-by-side. I then asked Big Boy to name all the ways that Stella and the owl were similar. We listed them on paper and then created the above poem together. It was so fun and easy! Try this with your child sometime. Begin making a list or documenting when he or she speaks in similes/ metaphors (something like, "Mommy- the lights on the car are like eyes seeing in the dark.") and then turn their ideas into simple poem- it's a great way to get kids thinking about using writing in everyday life. 

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Elimination Communication 35/365

Have you heard of Elimination Communication? My first thought- laughter; second thought, hey this might just be worth trying. Here's a great article outlining 75 reasons to try "EC" with your little one. We just recently started using the technique with Little Man and I think I'm becoming a believer- that or I'm just excited that at least one of my sons is interested in using the toilet (granted Big Boy does have developmental issues so it's not entirely his fault). Stay tuned for updates and more resources regarding our EC journey :)

Anyone else out there tried Elimination Communication? What age(s) did you start potty learning with your little ones? 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, What Both Sides Can Learn

         This past weekend marked the 38th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade case. Many bloggers on both sides of the Pro-Life/ Pro-Choice debate wrote posts in its "honor". One in particular that caught my eye was written by Danielle from Momotics. Now before you read any further, please go back and read her original post, or this discussion will make little sense. I will probably upset both sides of the debate before this post is over, but I do believe that there is something that both sides can learn from my train of thought. 
       First off, let me just disclaim that I am 100% Pro-life to the fact that I believe that abortion is wrong and that life occurs immediately upon conception. My belief stems from my Christian world-view and its my opinion that abortion hurts not just babies but leaves lasting scars on a mother's emotional well-being. Ok, so now if you are Pro-Choice, you are probably getting fired up and tempted to stop reading, but please do me a favor and read-on to the end. You might be thinking, "She has an agenda. This is coming from a biased point-of-view," but honestly, how can one write about this topic and not in someway, shape, or form be subjective? Please note that my post is obviously somewhat biased, but I would still love to hear your thoughts. 
      Secondly, although I am Pro-Life, I'm also not persuaded that the government should regulate morality. I subscribe to the belief that small government is best and that our freedom depends on upholding our rights to make choices and to live how we personally see fit. If we want the freedom to choose our church, our religion, how we educate our children, etc., then it makes sense that abortion should remain legal. GASP, did I really just say that? Well, to you my Pro-Life friends, I guess what I'm saying is that you can't have it both ways- i.e. expect the government to stay out of your business in some areas while forcing/ regulating other parts of life. Ok, now that my Pro-Life friends are outraged, again, I implore you to read this post in its entirety and then leave me some comments with your thoughts. 
       Now, back to the original post referred to in the opening paragraph. Something that struck me was the paragraph where Danielle wrote, "But I think that my pro-choice stance on reproductive health for women goes way farther than just abortion. It goes to birth choices, choices in prenatal care, choices in providers, choices to birth the way a woman wants without fear of legislation that will force her to birth in a hospital or scare her that child services is going to be knocking on her front door if she doesn’t consent to a c-section she does not feel is in the best interest of her or her child." I couldn't agree more with this thought- CHOICE should include all of the things that Danielle passionately listed above. We, as mothers, as women, as Americans, should fight to have these reproductive rights. My insurance company should not be the one tells me where I can give birth. When I had my VBAC last October, I only had one choice in doctor (whom I was grateful to have had), but if you are left with only one option, is that really a choice? My Pro-Life friends, although we are often passionate about saving babies lives, we often fail to really care about the women we claim to be "protecting." Please consider re-evaluating how we can take the time to be compassionate advocates for woman in all areas of reproductive rights.
        The one thing that I feel the article left out, however, is that the word choice in its self is often misleading. A young woman, or any woman, walks into a Planned Parenthood for a consult and really only hears about one choice and that choice is abortion. When a woman becomes pregnant, she has the right to be informed of all three options (abortion, adoption, parenting) so that she can make that choice for herself. If you are truly Pro-Choice, then shouldn't adoption and parenting come into the equation as well? To be fair, Danielle did state, "Of course women that make the rash decision to abort before she has fully examined all of her options, and made an informed choice could really feel the same way, but that is another post in itself. Because I care about all women, not just those who agree with me."  I applaud Danielle for her last line, however, I rarely hear parenting and adoption being discussed among Pro-Choice advocates. Take a look at the Planned Parenthood site for yourself, do you see anything in regards to adoption or parenting as choices / options? If you claim to be Pro-Choice, then please consider broadening your horizons as well and include all options into your claims of choice. To show stories on all sides of the spectrum. 
        Ok, now you know I disclaimed that I am biased and Pro-life, so I want to just wrap this post up by saying that I am also Pro-woman. My Pro-Choice friends the rest of this post will probably upset you, but again, I did inform my readers of my world-view. The end of this post is not just for my Pro-Life friends, but my family in Christ in general. I believe that abortion hurts women and disturbs the natural flow that God designed for a woman's life and that abortion can leave long withstanding emotional scars; I do believe that an embryo, a fetus, is a "baby" and should also have rights- yes, to me it is a moral issue, however, I don't think by making abortion illegal we solve the issue that is at the core of the problem. Yes babies will be saved (a good thing indeed), but by forcing women to not have abortions, by simply protesting- waving signs in people's faces, we still fail to embrace a christlike love for women in general. The key to winning the Reproductive Health debate, is to address the issue at its core- the sin-nature of mankind and to reach out in love to women- to walk besides troubled teens, single moms, married women, women in general- to take the time to get to know women and to truly love them with no strings attached, to show them how Christ changed our lives and how he offers that peace and joy to all that may seek Him. To share the same passion that we have for babies for women. I guess that's what I think it means to be Pro-Woman. 
       And here's my final thoughts (again taken from my Christian world-view), Being a mother has definitely made me more Pro-Life. My pregnancies, labors, and deliveries were not the easiest, but also could have been much, much worse. Being pregnant and giving birth was nothing short of miraculous and I certainly can't imagine my life without my little guys. It's always hard for me to understand how women can go through the miracle of life and still not see a higher power in it all. I applaud some of my everyday heroes that have had to make much harder choices than I have, whether that be single parenting, or adoption. When we disturb the natural order of marriage and what God made sex to be, we are always faced with hard choices. I have nothing but respect to those that selflessly have given their bodies to help make another family parents or have chosen to give up some of their livelihood to single-parent. If you made it to the end, I thank you for reading and welcome any thoughts or criticism. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Robin vs. Treadmill 32/365

Well, I did it. I signed up for Cincinnati's local Flying Pig Marathon (well the half). SO the treadmill and I have become really good enemies friends... Last Saturday I ran 8 continuous miles at 92 minutes, yes slow, but hey, I DID IT!