Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Jillicious Charms and Accessories Review and Giveaway

I am going to be reviewing Jillicious charms and accessories today. They had supplied an adorable set of Hello Kitty hair clips for me to review.

My niece had a wonderful time modeling for the review. We both think that the clips, while carring the popular Hello Kitty figure, are a rare and charming item to have.  

While going to dance class, where she is all over the place, these clips did not fall out, nor did her hair get any more unrulely than it already is. That in itself is a challenge because of the texture of her hair..  My niece has used the clips for a bit now, and they seem to be durable. She can beat up her stuff fairly well. This is a nice item for a stocking stuffer for Christmas, or could even be something other than candy to put in an Easter basket!  I think as parents we are always looking for smaller items for little treats for our children and Jillicious Charms and Accessories carries these items at her store for relatively cheep too!!!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pine Branch Designs Review and Giveaway

Today I am going to do a review on Pine Branch Designs soap dishes. These cedar dishes seemed simple at first. I realized how amazing they were after using one. Personally, I can  not stand when my soap turns to soup in a dish due to moisture. I know that there are people out there who know what I am talking about. Well, this creative soap dish eliminates that problem completely. With two male figures at my house, to remove some of the mess from happening is a great accomplishment.

This soap dish makes for a wonderful stocking stuffer. For those of us who enjoy using items that are hand made and friendlier to the environment, this is a must have product. Much better than other products that I have used.

The designer of these soap dishes is a woman named Cindy. She is definately enthusiactic about her products and her business. She not only sells stuff, but puts a little of herself into the products. With the package of the item I am reviewing, she sent me this small portion of wood, nicely cut and sanded. in her neat handwriting all it said was "enjoy". That placed a smile on my face. How sweet, there is so little of that extra touch in business today. 

Well, enough of me talking about how awesome I believe that her products are, check out her site and see the variety of items that are offered at Pine Branch Designs.  Please note that with this giveaway there will be THREE winners, so your chances of winning is even greater with this giveaway!!! :-D  

*This review was written by Donna*

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bum Covered Diapers Review and Giveaway

As we covered before, what could be more newborn essential than cloth diapers?  Well, Bum Covered Diapers graciously sent me a newborn fitted diaper to review for the Virtual Baby Shower.

I was so excited about this diaper because I got to build it myself!  On Bum Covered Diapers' website they have an option to build your own fitted diaper.  You get to pick the print on the outside, what you would like as the soaker pad, and the fabric that would be touching your child's skin.  I chose to have microfiber as the soaker and to have the lining be microfleece.  This is what the outside of my diaper looked like when I got it:

I LOVE the microfleece that they use as the lining!  This stuff is so super soft!  Well, so is the flannel that they use.  I couldn't wait to use this diaper because it is just so cute and SO soft!!!!!  This diaper is a bit more on the bulky side on a newborn, but that goes without saying that almost every cloth diaper you put on a newborn would be pretty bulky.  However, I was able to use this diaper during the day without a cover, which cuts down on the amount of fabric on the baby and increases the breathability of the diaper.  I also used this diaper overnight with a cover and it lasted for the 4 hours that my son can sleep at a time.  I was very happy with this diaper and I really recommend these fitted diapers!  Especially seeing that you get to customize it exactly how you would like it!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Types of Diapers and How to Use

Please note that these are not the BEST videos ever, but I you can tell at the end, I really need a tripod lol.  Anyways, hope this is helpful to some of you!!!  I am also going to list some of the major brands (please not that they will not contain EVERY single diaper in that category) that carry each thing except for the OS diapers :-)

OS (One size) diapers:  Diaper used is a Flip

Hybrid:  Diapers used is Flip and then gDiaper
-Best Bottoms

AI2:  Diaper used is a Fino Baby from Hyena Cart
-AMP Diapers

AIO and Pocket:  Diapers used are QTBuns from Etsy and CCBums from Hyena Cart or Facebook
All in one diapers:
-BumGenius (Elementals and soon to come Freetime)
-Rumparooz (Lil Joey newborn diapers)
-Bottom Bumpers

Pocket diapers:
-Fuzzi Bunz
-Happy Heinies
-Tots Bots

Fitted, Prefold, Flat, Snappi, and Cover:  Diapers used are Wee Expressions from Etsy and an Econobum
Fitted diapers:
-Eco Posh
-Happy Heinies
-Tiny Tush

-Chinese prefold
-Indian prefold

-Imse Vimse

Diaper Lingo

Are you confused yet?  I know I was!!!  Here is a short break down of diaper lingo!

  • Pocket diaper: Basically, a diaper that does not need a cover.  You will need to put something absorbent in this (usually an insert is provided).  Easy diaper to use, just like a disposable with two extra steps.  The extra steps are washing and stuffing (putting the insert into the diaper).
  • AIO: Stands for All In One.  This is going to be just like a disposable diaper with one extra step, washing.  Everything that is needed to diaper your child is in this diaper.  The waterproof outer layer and the absorbent part of the diaper.
  • AI2: Stands for All In Two.  This diaper usually has a waterproof outer layer with a snap in or lay in insert.  Can use the waterproof outer layer usually 3-4 times before having to change that part of the diaper.
  • Hybrid: This is usually an All In Two style diaper with a disposable insert option.  Great for the on the go mom.
  • Prefold: The old school diapers with pins that you have to fold.  These need a cover because they are not leak proof by any means.  You may fold it the old school way (with pins or a snappi--see below) or you could also fold it into thirds (or tri-fold it) and lie it in the cover.
  • Snappi: This is used instead of diaper pins to make using prefolds, flats, and some fitted diapers easier to use.
  • Fitted: Diapers that go under a cover.  Usually has velcro or snaps on it.  Some of them do need pins or a snappi also.  These are usually great for overnight but are NOT leak proof so they will need a cover.
  • Flats: Basically just a square piece of fabric.  Will be a bit harder to use until you get used to folding them, but the cheapest option to cloth diaper.  Not leak proof and will need a cover and will also need diaper pins or a snappi.  
  • Cover: This is what goes over non-leak proof diapers to make them leak proof.
  • Soaker: Just an insert with a different name :-)
  • OS: Stands for One Sized.  Usually fits most kids from 8 or 14 pounds to about 30 or 35 pounds.
  • Sized: Obviously, sized diapers for small, medium, large and sometimes extra large.  FuzziBunz (a type of pocket diaper) also calls this a "perfect size" diaper

If you have any other "diaper lingo" that you would like decoded for you, please let me know!!!

Detergents for Cloth Diapers

What kind of detergent to use to wash you cloth diapers can be a bit confusing.  Also, there are a lot of detergents that are recommended by some, but not recommended by others and so on that makes it even more confusing.  Well, this is going to be just my personal opinion and experiences, but this may be able to help some of you with detergent questions.  Please note that all of my experiences are with HARD water.

The first thing you should always do before using any kind of detergent is know what kind of water you have.  Don't know how to know?  Well, there are a few ways to figure it out easily!
  1. Simply call your water company and ask :-)
  2. Leave a cup of warm water out over night to evaporate.  If there is white residue, most likely you have HARD water.
  3. If you take a shower and it is hard to get the soap off of you, most likely you have SOFT water.
  4. Make a cup of tea in a glass mug.  Using a microwave, bring the water to a boil in the mug, place the tea bag in the hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes.  Remove the bag.  If the tea is clear your ater is on the SOFT side.  If there is a film on the top of the tea or it is cloudy, your water is on the HARD sideThis is the most accurate test besides calling your water company.
Now that you know what kind of water you have, you can determine what detergent to use (or how much detergent to use).  Please note that with HARD water, you want to use MORE detergent and with SOFT water you want to use LESS detergent than recommended.  Not much more or less, just a bit more or less.
  • GroVia Tiny Bubbles: Great for normal water.  I used it once with well water (super hard water) and it didn't work too well.  
  • Rockin' Green: Great if you use EXACTLY the amount they say to use and also use the right formula for your water.  Get any of that messed up and you will have a big problem on your hands!!!
  • Purex Free and Clear: DO NOT USE THIS!!!!!  Can you say build up!?!?  That is all this detergent will give you!!!  Stay away!!!
  • All Free and Clear and Tide Free and Clear: I would stay away from these too.  You may experience chemical burn on your child's bum from these.
  • EcoSprout: By far the best I have ever used.  Worked with the well water and with my normal water. This is by far the most recommended by me.
  • Tide: I wouldn't use Tide...ever, for any reason.  All Tide does is hide problems, not fix them.  Not only that, it makes elastic not work as well.  
I recently (December 2013) took a picture of a BG OS diaper that is 4 years old and a Fuzzi Bunz size Medium that is only 2 years old.  The  FB was sent to me for elastic repair after use with Tide.  The BG was only washed in CD safe detergent (BG detergent until EcoSprout came out).  Look at the difference in the life of the is crazy!  BG is on the left and FB is on the right.

same Rumparooz Diaper, the orange one was used with my son, for SIX months, same exact routine only I used Tide back then. Purple diaper has been used six months, even more than the orange one because my stash is a lot smaller now. I have only washed with Ecosprout, or Rockin Green. Everything else about my routine is exactly the same.

Please remember that these detergents are just my recommendations from my personal experiences of finding a good detergent for my cloth diapers.  Many other people have their own recommendations, but I highly suggest trying EcoSprout out because, like I said, they are by far the best I have used so far!

Fuzzy Venus Review and Giveaway

Well, what can be more of a mommy essential after having a baby than a postpartum cloth pad???  I don't think there is anything better to get!  I used the ones from the hospital while I was there.  When I came home, I was more than excited to try out the cloth pads that I had purchased and this one that I received for a review.

I have to say that the cloth pads work SO much better than the disposables do.  And this one from Fuzzy Venus is definitely top notch!  I was able to wear this all night long and have NO leaks or anything!  I was so nervous about what to do at night time, and now I am not anymore.  If there is any cloth pads that you want to get for postpartum, this is DEFINITELY the top one on my list.  So, make sure you get at least one or two for overnights.  I have reviewed her cloth pads before (obviously the regular pads) and loved those just as much.  All of her cloth pads are so soft and easy to use that they are my first "go to" pad.  Way to go Fuzzy Venus for making me happy with yet another one of your awesome products!!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Couture Fluff Review and Giveaway

What could be more newborn essential then newborn diapers???  Well, nothing really lol.  Couture Fluff provided me with a winged infant prefold to try out.  This winged prefold is made with 3 layers of bamboo terry and is absolutely amazing.  It is super trim fitting, which is a major problem that I have noticed with newborn diapers.  Not only that, but it is also very absorbent and works very well.  I was super surprised by how soft this diaper was also.

This diaper is a bit larger than other newborn diapers are, but that just makes it even more useful because it can be used for longer.  Because it is a prefold, you can just fold it up a little bit to make it fit a smaller baby.

Couture Fluff also provided me with two of her wipes to try out.  These too were so soft!!!  They are literally the softest wipes I have ever tried!!!  They are made of cotton velour and sherpa (one layer of each on a wipe).  These wipes worked wonderfully and because they are so soft I had no problems using them on my newborn son.  It made me feel better that he was getting a nice soft touch to his bottom.

Couture Fluff graciously offered a giveaway of a OS fitted or AI2 diaper for one special winner!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Empire Tank Review and Giveaway

This is the most interesting baby essential and mommy essential I have ever found....and I am in love with this.  This Empire Tank is a wonderful nursing tank that you pair with a nursing bra and a tee on top.  This covers up your stomach while nursing to give you a more modest way to nurse than just exposing everything, which I am sure I am not the only mama who likes to be more modest.  Here is a picture from AR Mommy on how this works: 
This nursing top can come in either black or white and in many different sizes to fit the many different sized mamas out there.  This is one of the first things I grab now hen I know I am going to be having company and I am sure it will go the same way when I can start getting out of the house with the baby!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Amy B Embroidery Review and Giveaway

Another baby necessity would have to be bibs and burp cloths of course!  Well, isn't it even better to get bibs and  burp cloths that are personally embroidered for your child?  Well, that is what you get when you shop at this Etsy shop.  Not only that, you get the most beautiful embroidered products I have ever seen.  I received a wonderful bib and burp cloth from this owner.  Want to see?  They are the most detailed and wonderful looking things I have EVER seen!

Are they not amazing!?!?  And they work so awesome too!  The bib is just a little too big for him now, but that means that it will work amazingly when he grows into it!  And the burp cloth was able to soak up even the biggest spit up he had.  I was taking the picture of these at the hospital and I got some amazing comments on these.  The nurse was amazed by these!  My mother in law thinks that they are just the best things ever.  And I have to say that their comments basically sums up everything!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Teething Bling Review and Giveaway

Teething Bling is our third review and giveaway for the "virtual baby shower."  Well, you may be saying to yourself, "Why is Teething Bling a newborn necessity?"  Well, if you ever nursed, you know why lol.  When you are nursing your little baby newborn, what does he/she like to do?  Well, grab of course.  Those little fingers want something to hold onto.  This necklace works perfect for that.  And what could be better then buying a nursing necklace and then a teething necklace?  Getting one that could be used for both!  And that is what is so awesome about this necklace.  My son obviously has not teethed on it yet, but he could if he wanted to.  I love that it hangs right there in the grabbing area for him right now though.  I LOVE that I do not have 10 million scratches all over my chest!!!!!!  (Okay, 10 million might have been a stretch...but you know what I mean)  

On the back of the package it says: 
"Teething Bling by SmartMom was inspired by babies who like to tug on our jewelry.  Stylish and beautiful, Teething Bling was designed for little ones to handle and chew.  Made from the same material as many teething toys, Teething Bling looks great on Moms, Grandmas and Aunts but is safe for curious babies.

"Teething Bling is made from fine quality materials.  As with any adult jewelry, unsupervised handling by children is not recommended.  Our products are made from a silicone that is phthalate and lead free, non-toxic, dishwasher-safe and federally approved."

Wait a minute, did that just say "dishwasher-safe!?!?!"  Why, yes...yes it did!  Whew, one more chore off the mommy to do list!!!!  I love things that are makes a busy mommy happy happy happy!!!!!!

So, we are adding Teething Bling to the newborn necessity list!!!  CHECK!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Milky Baby Review and Giveaway

Here is review and giveaway number two for our "virtual baby shower."  Milky Baby provided me with a review and giveaway of a nursing cover, which is a MAJOR necessity for your new baby.

You can find nursing covers everywhere, but let me tell you, this nursing cover is different than any other nursing cover I have ever seen.  This one is more like an apron and has a lot more fabric to cover up your child and belly completely.  I love this nursing cover.  It is amazing for if you are standing up nursing the baby.  I know that was my major problem when I was nursing Lucas.  If you are out and about, it is kind of hard to just find somewhere to plop yourself down at to nurse the baby (of course we have not been out and about yet...but we will get there hehe).  Well, when you stand up with this nursing cover, it comes down to about mid-thigh without the baby under it.  So, basically, it is great.  I can even use it to give myself some extra coverage when nursing with my Sleepy Wrap on because it can just flow right over the Sleepy Wrap also!

This is seriously the best nursing cover I have ever used (and I tried a lot with Luke and just opted for a blanket even though it was hot and sweaty).  Would you like a chance to win this nursing cover?  Here is a picture of it:

Good luck!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water Review and Giveaway

This is going to be the first review and giveaway of many things for the "virtual baby shower" which is all things newborn!  As we all know, getting ready for a newborn can be challenging, so I put together this event to help sort out if it is a necessity or not.  And I completely believe that this Gripe Water is a necessity!

On the box it says, "Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water is a safe and effective all natural herbal supplement used to ease gas and stomach discomfort often associated with colic, hiccups and teething."  It also states that it is, 
  • "All natural"
  • "Organic fennel &ginger"
  • "Fast acting-works in minutes"
  • "No refrigeration needed"
  • "100% vegetarian &vegan"

Well, if that didn't tell you enough, let me tell you about the hiccups.  I figured that it would just ease the discomfort with the hiccups like the package said.  BUT oh, was I wrong!!!  I tested this on my 2 year old son and my newborn when they had the hiccups and almost instantly the hiccups were gone!!!  I was amazed!  I was also amazed to find out that not only is this children and baby friendly, but it is also parent friendly too.  Meaning, it can work with your discomforts also!

This is a wonderful go to product to have around your house for a newborn, toddler, or even just mommy and daddy!  I highly recommend this product to, well, everyone!  Would you like the chance to win one?  Well, here ya go!